Publication - Minutes

ELC Strategic Forum minutes: September 2017

Published: 11 Dec 2017
Location: Scottish Parliament Committee Room 6, Edinburgh

Minutes of the meeting of the Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum that took place on 20 September 2017.

11 Dec 2017
ELC Strategic Forum minutes: September 2017

Attendees and apologies


  • Mark McDonald, Minister for Childcare and Early Years
  • Vicki Crichton, Save the Children
  • Jaci Douglas, CALA
  • Ann Henderson, STUC
  • Jane Malcolm (on behalf of Purnima Tanuku OBE), NDNA
  • Satwat Rehman, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Maggie Simpson, Scottish Childminding Association
  • Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland
  • Kevin Mitchell, Care Inspectorate
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Anne McSorley (on behalf of Anna Fowlie), Scottish Social Services Council
  • Andrew Shoolbread (on behalf of Irene Audain), Policy and Research Manager, Scottish Out of School Care Network

SG Attendees

  • Alison Cumming, Scottish Government
  • Liz Levy, Scottish Government
  • Janet Dunsmuir, Scottish Government
  • Susan Wallace, Scottish Government
  • Gregor Urquhart, Scottish Government
  • Nicola Clark-Tonberg, Scottish Government


  • Irene Audain, Scottish Out of School Care Network
  • Sally Cavers, (on behalf of Jackie Brock) Children in Scotland
  • Jane O’Donnell, COSLA
  • Christine Stephen, Stirling University
  • Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Purmina Tanuku, NDNA
  • Graeme Logan, Education Scotland
  • Davina Coupar, West College Scotland  

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

The Minister welcomed everyone to the meeting. As this was to be Ann Henderson’s last meeting, the Minister thanked her for her positive contributions to the work of the forum and wished her well for the future. STUC will confirm future representation with the Secretariat.

2. Minute of last meeting

The minute was approved with no changes.

3. ELC policy update

Thanks were expressed to Jean Carwood - Edwards for her assistance with the First Minister’s visit to Butterfly Nursery.

Programme for Government contained a commitment to multi-year funding to support planning for 2020 and beyond for the expanded service and will include both capital and revenue funding. This will be confirmed in autumn in advance of the spending review.

The Programme for Government also highlights publication of the quality action plan and thanks were expressed to quality reference group members.

There have been over 9000 responses to the Scottish Government Parents Survey so far. Forum members were asked to encourage families to respond to the survey particularly those who meet the eligibility criteria for 2 year olds. The survey is only available online and Satwat Rehman from One Parent Families Scotland offered to distribute printed copies of the survey to some of their parents if that would be helpful to boost responses from “seldom heard” families who may not otherwise be able to access the online survey.

Action 6/01 – SG to contact Satwat Rehman re hard copy submissions of the parent survey.

In discussion, the following points were raised:

  • living wage and funded partners – the rate of pay is set by local authorities and it was agreed that it will be necessary to look at how to ensure that the hourly rate drives the living wage agenda.
  • it was pointed out that marketing for the Daily Mile doesn’t include childminders. Consideration will be given to how to encourage the wider environment and tie in opportunities outside the school environment. Maggie Simpson offered to assist.

Action 6/02 – ELC Quality Team to discuss with Maggie Simpson.

  • Early Years Scotland has been commissioned by Skills Development Scotland to make a video and brochure promoting childcare careers. Copies of the brochure were available in the meeting.

4. ELC expansion plans – submission and review

The paper sets out the plans and proposals for the review of expansion plans and finance templates. The first stage will be checking plans for completeness and local authorities will be contacted regarding any gaps. A more in depth review will take place from October until mid -November and will focus on the cohesion of the plans. The ELC Delivery Team will engage with authorities over the review period, with individual feedback provided to authorities by the end of November. There will be an offer of 1-1 follow up engagement with the Delivery Team as work progresses on the plans. By Christmas the SG will publish a national learning report on a thematic basis supported by case studies.

The key message is that the planning process is iterative.

Discussions are taking place with local authority groups and forums on how best to use the plans to learn what different local authorities are doing across the country and how that will inform the next phase of the programme.

Early in the new year a national event looking at key findings will be held for local authorities and partners.

Members views were sought on how the review could best consider the views of the widest group of stakeholders and share learning. Comments included:

  • local authorities are engaging with partners at a local level, which was welcomed by Forum members, but they considered there to be scope for some authorities to have more meaningful engagement with partner providers in developing plans
  • include best practice but focus on what we are learning from plans being submitted.
  • the Delivery Team to consider how to draw out learning from the 14 SG funded trials and consider how best to draw out learning from other trials which are not funded by SG and share the findings.

Action 6/03: Delivery Team to consider how to draw out learning from SG and local trials and share findings.

  • it is important to value current workforce and reassure them of their role in the expansion.
  • it would be helpful to know how local authorities have assessed their community needs, how they are planning to use existing community assets and to get good examples which can be shared.

5. Workforce recruitment campaign update

Gregor Urquhart and Nicola Clark Tonberg provided an overview of the ELC recruitment marketing campaign. Phase one of the campaign, focused on school leavers, is due to launch in October. The campaign has been supported by an extensive programme of research.

Forum members were shown a sample of the adverts which will run in cinemas and posters which will be used in the campaign. The campaign will be evaluated to measure changing views, what young people think now and how they feel after the campaign has run. This will be used to inform development of the second phase aimed at career changers, returners to work which will run in spring/summer 2018.

Comments from the forum members included:

  • target secondary teachers to raise awareness as they can be very influential with young people also how to make wider use of the campaign amongst parents and other influencers
  • messages should include the variety of roles and a gateway into other bodies, teaching, social work, prisons, etc, raising awareness that there are many different opportunities for career progression and developing a very worthwhile career

6. Funding follows the child

Forum members were introduced to Susan Wallace from the SG ELC Team who is leading the service models work. Susan is organising the next meeting of the Service Models Working Group, which will include a workshop with providers to understand the challenges inherent in the current partnership process, what works well, and what they would like to see reflected in the national standard.

In response to questions about how quality would be protected, the Minister stated that the model would be underpinned by quality with parental choice limited to quality settings. It would be necessary to ensure all settings meet the standards required, regardless of whether they are run by the local authority, private or third sectors.

7. ELC Quality Action Plan update

The Quality Action Plan will be published at the end of October. It has been developed in partnership with the Quality Reference Group, which has met five times over the summer. The group were praised for their commitment to the development of the action plan.

Forum members noted the emerging actions to be reflected in the plan.

8. AOB and close

The Minister expressed his thanks to everyone for their attendance and contributions.

The next meeting will be in early December and invitations will be issued shortly.

Summary of actions

  • 6/01 SG to contact Satwat Rehman re hard copy submissions of the parent survey. SG officials
  • 6/02 ELC Workforce Team to discuss with Maggie Simpson. SG officials
  • 6/03 Delivery Team to consider how to draw out learning from SG and local trials and share findings. SG officials

Email: Janet Dunsmuir

Telephone: 0131 244 5370

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