This publication pulls together information from a Care Inspectorate special inspection focus on Equity and Excellence Leads during the inspection year April 2019 to March 2020, with follow up detail provided on specific case studies from March to December 2020.
We assume readers will be familiar with the policy, regulatory and legal framework for early learning and childcare (ELC) in Scotland. Further information on this can be found on the Scottish Government's early education and care webpage.
We would like to thank The Care Inspectorate and all settings and practitioners who have contributed to this report.
The Special Inspection Focus Area
The Care Inspectorate included a 'specific Focus Area' for the inspection year April 2019 to March 2020, which gathered information on the role of Equity and Excellence (EE) Leads. This aimed to understand how the commitment was being implemented and supported, and how well the roles were understood by staff.
Data for the Focus Area was gathered by the The Care Inspectorate during inspections. The Care Inspectorate identified settings scheduled for an inspection that had an EE Lead in post – settings to take part in the Focus Area were then selected to reflect a variety of local authorities and setting types. Inspectors interviewed EE Leads and their setting Heads/Managers using a mix of closed and open questions. Data collection began in September 2019 and 74 interviews in 37 early learning and childcare (ELC) settings (37 EE Leads and their 37 Heads/Managers) were conducted by February 2020. Inspections and data collection were stopped in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and associated restrictions. As a result, we have decided to analyse the data collected to date. The findings are presented below. It should be borne in mind when reading these findings that they only present the views of Leads and Setting Heads in a small proportion of the settings in which EE Leads are currently working (around 10%).
The Care Inspectorate have also written five case studies after following up with five EE Leads and their colleagues who took part in the Focus Area. Inspectors spoke to Leads, setting-staff and parents to find out more about the work the Lead has been doing in that setting, including during the period from March 2020 – December 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. These Care Inspectorate case studies have all been linked to the Scottish Government's Health and Social Care (HSC) Standards to highlight how the EE Lead approach also supports the delivery of high quality childcare.