Publication - Research and analysis

Early Learning and Childcare Expansion delivery trials: evaluation

Published: 22 May 2018
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education

An evaluation of 14 trials delivering 1140 hours of government funded Early Learning and Childcare.

Early Learning and Childcare Expansion delivery trials: evaluation
3. Evaluation approach

3. Evaluation approach

3.1 Aims

The evaluation sought to gain a better understanding of issues and experiences related to the delivery of 1140 hours of ELC, with a focus on the following themes:

  • Capacity
  • Uptake
  • Quality
  • Child and parental outcomes
  • Flexibility
  • Scalability

This report presents learning from across the trials programme. Part A presents an independent review of joint evaluative visits completed by Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate. Part B presents evidence collated by the Scottish Government on what trials did, what worked well, and what did not work well in relation to the above themes.

It should be recognised that given the relatively short duration and small scale of the trials, evidence in some areas, for example improvements in children's progress, wellbeing and impact on families, is largely anecdotal in nature and should be considered preliminary. Additionally, it should be recognised that it was not an aim of the trials to examine the economic efficacy of any particular model of delivery. While the trials cannot necessarily be said to apply to Scotland as a whole, they aim to help others plan to deliver 1140 hours of ELC by showcasing the steps taken and lessons learned.

3.2 Methods

The evidence collated in this evaluation report is drawn from the following sources:

Part A

  • Care Inspectorate ( CI) and Education Scotland ( ES) observations. CI and ES supported the evaluation of the trials programme by assessing quality aspects of the trials settings. It is important to note that these assessments did not take the form of an inspection but rather an evaluative visit to provide helpful information on support, environment, staffing, management and leadership, and positive outcomes for children, to support the ELC sector as it moves towards 1140 hours.

Part B

  • Semi-structured conversations with trial leads from each Local Authority. In addition to regular updates from each trial, semi-structured conversations were conducted by SG trials affiliates midway through and at the end of the trials period.
  • Local Authority self-evaluations. Several trials conducted their own evaluations, by e.g. running surveys with parents/carers and staff, documenting learning from materials used and, where possible, learning from these materials have been included in this report.