Independent review of Scotland's early learning and out of school care workforces

An independent review of the skills and qualifications essential for the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) and Out of School Care (OSC) workforces in Scotland.

Appendix A

An Independent Review of the Early Learning and Childcare Workforce and Out of School Care Workforce.

Terms of Reference

Policy Context

  • The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act will deliver an increase in the funded entitlement to a minimum of 600 hours per year for 3 and 4 year olds, and 15% of 2 year olds, from August 2014. There will be a further expansion from August 2015, meaning that 27% of 2 year olds will be entitled to 600 hours of funded provision.
  • The Act is also setting the stage for further expansion to meet the Scottish Government's wider ambitions to develop a high quality, flexible system of early learning and childcare that meets the needs of all children, parents and families. This includes a requirement on Local Authorities to consult parents on their needs in relation to all early learning and childcare and out of school care which they have duties or powers to deliver or support; and, not just the statutory entitlement to provide a degree of choice and flexibility over the funded entitlement to 600 hours.
  • The Scottish Government's White Paper, 'Scotland's Future', sets out an ambitious programme to further expand high quality early learning and childcare for children aged 1-5 in the longer term.
  • A significantly expanded and qualified workforce will be vital to deliver the improved and expanded system of childcare outlined in the White Paper. It is estimated that an expansion to 1,140 hours, as set out in 'Scotland's Future', will require around 35,000 additional
  • staff in nurseries and early years centres. This represents double the number currently working within these settings.
  • The last National Review of Early Years Workforce in Scotland took place in 2006. Since then, there have been major advances, particularly in the field of neuroscience, highlighting the importance of the earliest years of a child's life in terms of influencing their future outcomes cognitively, socially, emotionally and behaviourally.
  • The Early Years Framework, published jointly by Scottish Government and COSLA in 2008, sets out the case for early intervention, and sets the strategic direction for early years policy in Scotland.
  • The Scottish Government wants to see a significant shift to preventative spend in the early years and has set up an Early Years Taskforce to lead the drive to preventative spend at a national level.
  • This is supported by the establishment of a £274.25 million Early Years Change Fund over this Parliamentary term and by the establishment of an Early Years Collaborative from November 2012.
  • Given the significantly changed landscape in early years since 2006, it is timely to undertake a new Review to look at a range of issues relating to recruitment, training, skills and qualifications, career progression and status of the workforce.

Purpose of Review

To identify and make recommendations on how the skills, qualifications and training of staff working within the early learning and childcare and out of school care sectors, from birth to age 14, can contribute to improved outcomes for children, help to reduce social inequality and close the attainment gap, based on the evidence gathered in the course of the Review and wider research evidence.

Key Areas for Review

This Review will look at a number of key areas:

  • Skills, training and qualifications of the early learning and childcare workforce, including teachers, Childhood Practitioners and all other levels of the workforce
  • Recruitment and retention in the workforce, to ensure the right people are attracted to working in the sector
  • Career Pathways, including continual professional development pathways, to ensure that staff are encouraged to progress their careers within that sector
  • Status of Early Learning and Childcare Workforce, in recognition that working with young children is vitally important work, and should be valued as such
  • Workforce Planning, to identify the steps needed to grow the early learning and childcare workforce over the next decade, including consideration of the level of qualifications and training that should be aimed for, to enable a significant expansion of high quality provision in this timescale
  • Status, skills, training and qualifications of the out of school care workforce.

Key Questions for Review

  • What are the key, critical skills, knowledge and experience necessary to achieve high quality learning and care in early years and out of school care?
  • How best to support staff who are undertaking different levels of qualifications including the higher level qualifications such as teacher training, early years specialism, and the BA Childhood Practice Award or similar?
  • How to provide opportunities for training and up-skilling the teaching workforce in specific early years pedagogy to help improve the delivery of quality experiences for children?
  • How to up-skill the whole workforce in early childhood pedagogy through relevant continuing professional development to help in the delivery of quality experiences for children?
  • Is there scope for any further activity or support for the workforce to increase skills of those working with young children at all levels?
  • How to increase the status of the early years workforce as a profession?
  • How to increase levels of recruitment and retention of the best candidates to build careers within early learning and childcare, to grow a high quality workforce in future?
  • How can staff, including heads and managers (teachers and childhood practitioners), with different skills, training and qualifications best be deployed to ensure a high quality provision for young children?
  • Is the existing training for all those working within the early years workforce and the out of school care workforce equipping them with the skills and knowledge to provide high quality early learning experiences for young children?

Structure for Review

Professor Iram Siraj will chair the review, assisted by a researcher. Professor Siraj will engage with a wide range of stakeholders from across Scotland to gather views, perspectives and data for the Review. This will include a web-based consultation exercise. The Chair will also conduct a literature review of relevant research on the issues set out in the Terms of Reference. The Chair will produce a report for the Scottish Government with recommendations by 15 April 2015.

The Review will be informed by expert knowledge derived from:

  • Writing a literature review on best training and qualifications to achieve high quality early learning and childcare.
  • Visits to early years settings and discussion with practitioners local authority, partner providers, and, private and third sectors provision.
  • Documentary analysis; e.g. content of training, vocational and academic courses; web based and other sources and resources; Government reports, guidance and documents.
  • Focus Group discussions with practitioners, advisors, academics etc.
  • Meetings with key stakeholders.
  • Questionnaires completed via Scottish Govt consultations hub.
  • Scottish Govt Officials and Ministers.

The Chair will also draw on the expertise of a Core Reference Group, comprised of the organisations listed below, who represent a range of interests on early years workforce in Scotland.

EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland)

SSSC (Scottish Social Services Council)


STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress)

COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities)

Dr Christine Stephen, University of Stirling (early childhood academic)

Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop, Emeritus Professor, University of Strathclyde

West College Scotland

West Lothian College

SQA, (Scottish Qualifications Authority)

Education Scotland

Care Inspectorate

ADES (Association of Directors of Education in Scotland) Early Years Representatives

Skills Development Scotland

National Day Nurseries Association

Scottish Out of School Care Network

Scottish Childminding Association

AHDS (Association of Heads and Deputy Heads Scotland)

GTCS (General Teaching Council Scotland)

The role of the Reference Group will be to contribute expertise, knowledge and a range of perspectives to the Review. Professor Siraj will meet members of the group individually in the first instance in order that they can:

  • Provide an overview of key issues;
  • Identify potential visits and other key stakeholders to engage with;
  • Assist the Chair to establish ongoing contacts and sources of expertise;
  • Represent their members or interests.

The Reference Group will also meet formally, particularly during the second phase of the Review, to comment on the Chair's initial findings and consider drafts of the final report.

The Chair will be supported throughout the Review by Scottish Government officials within the Early Years Division, as below:

Kathryn Chisholm - Early Years Workforce Review Manager/ Policy Lead

Liz Paterson - Professional Advisor to the Scottish Government on Early Learning and Childcare; and, the Early Years Workforce Review

Susan Bolt - Team Leader, Early Learning and Childcare

Stuart Robb - Unit Head, Early Years Policy Development Unit.

The Chair will also undertake a wide ranging programme of wider engagement with key stakeholders throughout the Review process, to be agreed with officials from the Scottish Government's Early Years team.

The Chair should produce a final report setting out recommendations on all aspects of the Review, as set out in the Terms of Reference, no later than 15 April.


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