The Early Years Framework

Steps the Scottish Government, local partners and practitioners in early years services need to take to give all children in Scotland the best start in life.


Government in Scotland at national and local level has already taken forward a number of initiatives and policies that provide the wider context for this framework. It has:

  • established a clear Purpose of Government, National Performance Framework and Government Economic Strategy that set a coherent policy framework;
  • published a joint policy statement that establishes a set of principles for early intervention that can apply to a range of frameworks and strategies. These principles have already been embedded in a number of policy documents;
  • through the Getting it Right for Every Child programme, underlined the need for appropriate, proportionate and timely support for children through integrated multi-agency intervention where necessary and begun to develop tools to aid this;
  • published the anti-poverty framework Achieving Our Potential;
  • published Better Health, Better Care and Equally Well and their implementation plans, which show how early years can contribute to addressing health outcomes;
  • made significant progress with Curriculum for Excellence which will bring coherence to learning experiences for children from 3-18 and build skills for learning, skills for work and skills for life from the outset. Published Skills for Scotland, the first cradle to grave skills strategy;
  • published National Standards for Community Engagement to help in the process of building community capacity. Launched a joint statement on community learning and development ( CLD) setting out the outcomes that CLD can contribute to and how they can be maximised;
  • developed new SCQF level 9 awards in Childhood Practice, strengthening leadership and the status of early years managers/lead practitioners;
  • made a commitment in the Concordat to substantial progress towards a 50% increase in pre-school entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds. The entitlement to pre-school provision will be maintained at the new level of 475 hours per annum (equivalent to 38 weeks at 12_ hours) in 2008-09 and 2009-10. This will increase to 570 hours (equivalent to 38 weeks at 15 hours) in August 2010;
  • made a commitment in the Concordat to, as quickly as is possible, reduce class sizes in P1 to P3 to a maximum of 18. Taking into account retirals, the capacity of universities to train new teachers, changing demographic trends, and the different circumstances across local authorities, including accommodation pressures, it is recognised that the pace of implementation of class size reduction will vary across authorities depending on local circumstances and needs;
  • made a commitment in the Concordat to, as quickly as possible, improve early years provision with access to a teacher for every pre-school child;
  • made a commitment in the Concordat to provide nutritious free school meals for all P1 to P3 pupils in pilot areas. Following a successful evaluation, introduced legislation to Parliament to assist local authorities to meet this Concordat commitment;
  • made a commitment in the Concordat to extend entitlement to free school meals to all primary school and secondary school pupils of families in receipt of both maximum child tax credit and maximum working tax credit from August 2009, subject to the necessary legislation being passed by the Scottish Parliament;
  • made clear our commitment to Gaelic and to Gaelic medium education;
  • announced an intention to introduce a Bill in Parliamentary session 2008-09 to protect rural schools which are key to accessibility of services in many areas;
  • pressed the UK Government to simplify support for parents with the costs of childcare and to improve the level of support available for larger families and families with disabled children. Started work to promote uptake of childcare supports that are available;
  • started developing joint roles which can span a number of services to provide a more integrated service, starting with a joint health and social care role;
  • improved support for family members, including grandparents, who have the care of looked after children;
  • developed a National Delivery Plan for Specialist Children's Health Services;
  • commissioned baseline research with Inspiring Scotland with a view to establishing a fund to support play;
  • issued Scottish Planning Policy 11: Open Space and Physical Activity and an updated version of the relevant Planning Advice Note, strengthening protection for existing open space and ensuring future needs of communities are planned for;
  • developed Good Places, Better Health: a 3 year project which aims to ensure we create physical environments which nurture good health;
  • by awarding each Community Planning Partnership an allocation from the Fairer Scotland Fund, Partnerships have been enabled to make early interventions to tackle the poverty and inequality experienced by the most vulnerable people and communities.
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