HRH Duke of Edinburgh, 10 June 1921 to 9 April 2021 Read more

Publication - Minutes

ELC Strategic Forum minutes: March 2017

Published: 30 Apr 2017
Location: Committee Room 3, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Minutes of the meeting of the Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum on 30 March 2017.

30 Apr 2017
ELC Strategic Forum minutes: March 2017

Attendees and apologies


  • Mark McDonald (Chair), Minister for Childcare and Early Years
  • Satwat Rehman, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Lesley Brown, Education Scotland
  • Valerie Gale, Care and Learning Alliance
  • Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland
  • Vicky Crichton, Save the Children
  • Carrie Lindsay, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
  • Cath Agnew, Care Inspectorate
  • Cllr Stephanie Primrose, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Jane O’Donnell, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Bruce Robertson, ELC Strategic Evidence Group Chair
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Christine Stephen, Stirling University
  • Maggie Simpson, Scottish Childminding Association
  • Julie Wild, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Jane Mair, National Day Nurseries Association Scotland
  • Jim McCormick, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Geraldine Miller, West College Scotland
  • Gerald McLaughlin, NHS Health Scotland
  • Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland
  • Anna Fowlie, Scottish Social Services Council

SG attendees

  • Liz Levy, Early Learning and Childcare Team
  • Chloe Adam, Early Learning and Childcare Team
  • Sheree McAlpine, Early Learning and Childcare Team
  • Jeff Maguire, Early Learning and Childcare Team
  • Euan Carmichael, Early Learning and Childcare Team


  • Fiona McQueen, SG Chief Nursing Officer
  • Davina Coupar, West College Scotland
  • Kevin Mitchell, Care Inspectorate
  • Purnima Tanuku, National Day Nurseries Association Scotland
  • Irene Audain, Scottish Out of School Care Network
  • Lesley Gibb, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
  • Ann Henderson, Scottish Trades Union Congress

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

The Chair began by apologising that the meeting would not be the full two hours, noting it was a very busy time and that he had parliamentary business to attend that afternoon.

He said that the key focus today was to get feedback from forum members on the ELC Statement to Parliament of 23 March and associated Action Plan, which set-out the actions the Scottish Government and others will take to deliver high quality ELC provision in the expansion to 1140 hours by 2020.

2. Minutes of last meeting

The minute was approved with no changes.

3. Parliamentary Statement Roundtable - incorporating summary of actions

The chair invited forum members to give their high level reactions to the policy direction set out in the ELC Ministerial Statement on 23 March, asking them to keep to 1 minute each if possible.

Ensuing discussion - key points made:

  • the commitment to keep quality at the heart of the expansion was strongly welcomed
  • important to consider the impact of Apprentice Levy on training budgets
  • the new Inclusion Fund was well received
  • parental engagement is crucial, and a strong Comms plan should be in place to ensure buy-in from parents and carers
  • need to look at messaging around the Pupil Equity Fund, and what it means in relation to ELC
  • while the acknowledgement that childminders will play a vital role was welcomed, there were concerns that LAs are not currently doing enough to involve them in their thinking
  • many forum members welcomed the link to wider policy developments – e.g. Raising Attainment and the National Improvement Framework
  • Funding Follows the Child was broadly welcomed, but caution should be taken to ensure there is a consistent approach across all local authorities
  • the interdependencies of tax and benefit systems must be considered - Universal Credit, Tax Free Childcare and new funding model must be integrated to help parents understand what they are entitled to.
  • registration processes must be undertaken for new services – there are different categories for registration dependant on the service type. The Care Inspectorate are in negotiation about reviewing the categories of registration

  • consideration should be given to family support centres, which do not feature prominently in Action Plan

  • acknowledgement that upskilling existing staff may be challenging, and thought should be given to annual funding cycle in relation to SAAS and SFC , which support part time training

4 and 5. ELC Blueprint Action Plan and Quality Action Plan - EU Quality Framework and SG ELC Quality Action Plan (papers 05/02 and 05/03).

The chair introduced this item by noting restrictions on time and suggested the group combine items 4 and 5. The chair asked Liz Levy to speak on paper 05/03.

Liz outlined the Scottish Government’s vision for Quality – noting it is the golden thread running through the entire programme. She explained that there had not been a specific question on defining Quality in the Blueprint Consultation, and wanted to ensure the Quality Action Plan is shaped in collaboration with stakeholders.

Liz explained that the immediate priorities are childminder accreditation, the creation of an Inclusion Fund to support young people with additional support needs and disabilities and developing a Quality Action Plan by end October.

Liz sought a steer on how to define quality and stated her intention to expand the existing Workforce and Quality Group. Notes of interest were requested from forum members and that they consider appropriate colleagues for inclusion by next week (w/c 3 April).

Liz discussed the EU Quality Framework, which can act as a driver for developing the Quality Action Plan. The Framework sets out 10 key principles to support policy-makers in pursuing excellence in ELC (Annex A).

Ensuing discussion - key points made:

  • recognised the need to identify ‘what quality looks like’, and to think about how that would be measured i.e. self-evaluation or inspection. There must be a robust system to assure the Scottish Government and families.
  • must address children’s outcomes but avoid league tables
  • all quality provision must tackle the attainment gap by ensuring staff explicitly focus on and meet the particular needs of children living in disadvantaged circumstances?
  • it was noted that there should be representation of an ASN body on the new Quality Reference Group who will assist with development of the Quality Action Plan
  • the expansion offers an opportunity to rethink the education landscape, enabling more analysis for children’s outcomes and drawing in transition from ELC to school. Creating a wider picture
  • underperforming settings must be supported by local authorities, inspection and improvement bodies (CI, ES) and Scottish Government to develop and improve their services, without threat of losing partnership status
  • join-up with work by National Improvement Framework, noting the difficulty of measuring outcomes in a very flexible environment


1/. Liz to receive notes of interest to sit on the new Quality Reference Group by 7 April.

AOB and close

There was no AOB. The Chair thanked everyone for their feedback today.

The Chair suggested that the next meeting should take place at the end of August or early September, to accommodate family commitments over the summer break.

It was suggested that a member of the Delivery Models Trials team attend the next meeting to provide an update on the trials progress. Forum members were made aware of trials team showcase taking place on 4 May. It was noted that the date coincided with local government elections.


2.Provide the group with details on the roles of SG ELC team members 3.Provide the group with Governance structures so they are aware of other groups and forums

Summary of actions

1. Liz to receive notes of interest for membership of the Quality Reference Group. 2. Provide the group with details on the roles of SG ELC team members. 3. Provide the group with Governance structures so they are aware of other groups and forums.



Telephone: 0131 244 5370

Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Programme
Area 1C-South
Victoria Quay