Publication - Minutes

ELC Strategic Forum minutes: March 2019

Published: 18 Jun 2019
Date of meeting: 6 Mar 2019
Date of next meeting: 4 Jun 2019

Minutes of the meeting of the Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum, held on 6 March 2019.

18 Jun 2019
ELC Strategic Forum minutes: March 2019

Attendees and apologies


  • Joe Griffin, Director of ELC Programme, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Cheryl Burnett, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Jean Carwood-Edwards, EYS
  • Vicky Crichton, Save the Children
  • Jaci Douglas, CALA
  • Laura Lamb, SSSC
  • Jane Malcolm, NDNA (for Purnima Tanuka)
  • Satwat Rehman, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Maggie Simpson, SCMA
  • Christine Stephen, Stirling University
  • Matthew Sweeney, COSLA (for Nicola Dickie)
  • Doreen Watson, Care Inspectorate (for Catherine Agnew)

SG attendees

  • Sarah Duncan, ELC Programme Assurance (Secretariat)
  • Laura Hill, Funding Follows the Child Policy Manager
  • Hannah Keates, Children and Families Strategic Engagement Co-ordinator
  • Joanna Mackenzie, 2 Year Old Offer Team Leader


  • Irene Audain, Scottish Out of School Care Network
  • Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland
  • Jim Carle, Disabled Children and Young Person Advisory Group
  • Christine Frame, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Lesley Gibb, Dundee City Council
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland
  • Angela Leitch, SOLACE
  • Isobel Lightbody, West College Scotland
  • Gerald McLaughlin, NHS Health Scotland
  • Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Helen Martin, STUC
  • Laura Mason, ADES
  • Mairi Morrison, Bòrd na Gàidhlig
  • Magaidh Wentworth, Commun na Gàidhlig
  • Paul Zealey, SDS

Items and actions

Welcome and minute of last meeting

Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made. The minute of the meeting of 18 December 2018 was approved. It was confirmed that the recorded action to provide members with links to published documents had been completed and was now closed. 

Programme update

Chair referred members to the Programme Update that had been issued on 28 February and noted the following additional points:

  • local authority data was being collected and reported on bi-annually and evidence showed positive progress being made across the country.  The next report was due to be published in the Summer
  • the individual dynamics of each local authority and the mixed landscape across the country was recognised, however the availability of more robust data would enable local authorities to benchmark against each other and challenge assumptions
  • support on specific issues could be sought from Scottish Government and Improvement Service

Key areas of discussion:

  • SCMA and NDNA noted that there continued to be issues with partnership working in some areas and it was noted that this would need to move forward to enable the whole sector to effectively support families by August 2020
  • there was discussion around the use of Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RIC) to share good practice and engage with providers.  It was noted that the recent review of RICs did not include early years services which members found frustrating
  • CALA advised that individual head teachers and service managers were not yet getting accurate messaging on what the National Standard means for them
  • Early Years Scotland advised that they had organised professional learning events on unpicking the national standard to members which had been fully booked. It was hoped that these events would help to consistently share key messages

National Standard: update on supporting materials and partnership working

Laura Hill provided an update on the supporting materials being developed by Scotland Excel and shared the following key messages from the recent round of engagement events:

  • clarity was appreciated around flexibility, food provision, partnership working, cross-boundary issues and admission policies
  • next steps included developing the delivery support offer, discussions around motivation to go above the minimum standard and encouraging use of Knowledge Hub
  • Partnership Forum was planning to hold a summit in the Summer to share good practice and strengthen partnership working
  • hard copies of the National Standard and operating guidance will be iussued to all settings

Key areas of discussion:

  • parental communications needed to make clear what the national offer is and how this is being made available locally, especially around 2 year old eligibility
  • it was noted that practitioners, health professionals and childminders would have a key role in spreading messaging in their communities however this required clear messages to be provided

Action 12/01: parental communications strategy to be added to agenda for the next meeting.

Family resilience

Hannah Keates provided an overview of the strategic work taking place within Scottish Government to meet the national outcome “We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential”.  It was noted that links had been made with children’s services across the country  and key themes from these sessions were:

  • the cluttered and complex landscape needs streamlined
  • clear messaging from SG is required on health and education policies to ensure priorities are not competing
  • SG need to consider what information we need so that local authorities can be confident they are collecting appropriate data

Joanna Mackenzie invited discussion at tables on how we can ensure the expansion increases family resilience through improved health and wellbeing of parents and children.   Feedback from each table was collated for further consideration and an update on this work would be reported back to members at a later meeting.

AOB and close

The next meeting was scheduled for 4 June 2019, invites would be issued in due course. 

The Chair expressed his thanks to members for their commitment to the programme and in particular noted the considerable contribution that Maggie Simpson had made to the wider ELC sector during her time at SCMA and wished her well in her forthcoming retirement. 


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