Early learning and childcare expansion - learning and wellbeing project: EQIA

Potential impacts of early learning and childcare expansion policy on the outcomes of children with protected characteristics.


Key Data Sources

A number of data sources were used in this EQIA process, including:

  • Scottish Government ELC census[9] which provides information on funded ELC. This includes data on the number of registrations for funded ELC, with information available on numbers by age, disability and additional support needs. Additionally, data on teachers, graduates and staff working towards graduate level qualifications working in funded ELC is provided.
  • Research Exploring parents' views and use of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland[10]. This was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2017 and involved a nationally representative survey and follow up discussions with parents and carers of children under the age of six about their use, views and experience of ELC. A total of 10,526 valid survey responses were submitted by parents. The research explored views and experiences across different parent groups.
  • The Child Health 27 – 30 Month Review Statistics[11]. The child health programme is offered to all children in Scotland. The programme includes screening for specific medical problems, provision of routine childhood immunisations, and a series of child health reviews. Health Visitors usually provide reviews for preschool children which involve an assessment of children’s growth and development as well as the provision of advice and support for children and their families. The review for children aged 27-30 months was introduced in Scotland in April 2013.
  • The Growing up in Scotland Study[12] which is a longitudinal research study, tracking the lives of thousands of children & their families from the early years, through childhood and into adulthood.
  • Scottish Government statistics on Equality characteristics of people in poverty in Scotland, 2015/16[13], published in June 2017 to support the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 and measure progress towards targets to reduce the number of children experiencing the effects of poverty by 2030.
  • A wide range of academic and external research was also considered. Research from Scotland was used where possible, but supplemented with relevant evidence from elsewhere were appropriate. In addition to considering consultation responses throughout the policy development process, an internal Scottish Government workshop was held with a wide range of connected policy teams, and discussions were held with representatives from a number of equalities organisations.


The Scottish Government has consulted widely on the expansion of funded ELC and finding from these consultations have shaped the development of the policy. Those relevant to this EQIA are:

  • 1140 Hours Expansion – Programme of trials [2016][14]. This consultation gathered views on the Scottish Government’s programme of trials to test a variety of models for delivering the expanded ELC commitment. This consultation received 73 responses.
  • A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion in Early Learning and Childcare [2016-2017][15]. This consultation gathered views on the Scottish Government’s vision and high-level principles for the expansion as well as the key policy choices that had to be made. It included questions on ensuring equality of access. This consultation received 336 written responses. In addition, a series of consultative events were held across Scotland to raise awareness of the consultation and to seek views of parents directly.
  • Early Learning and Childcare Service Models consultation [2018][16]. This consultation gathered views on the proposed range of criteria that would form the National Standard underpinning the new ‘Funding Follows the Child’ approach to early learning and childcare (ELC) service provision. This consultation was run jointly with COSLA. This consultation received 219 written responses. In addition to the online consultation, the Scottish Government held a total of eight consultation events in different locations. Most attendees at the events were ELC providers.


Email: katrina.troake@gov.scot

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