Out of school care - draft framework: consultation analysis

This is the summary report of the 2019 consultation on the draft framework for Out of School Care in Scotland. It will inform the final Framework and provide evidence for future development of School Age Childcare policy.


Background to the Research

The 2017-18 Programme for Government requires the Scottish Government to publish a framework for after-school and holiday childcare by the end of this parliamentary term[2]. In addition, one of the 15 actions specified in the Child Poverty Delivery Plan[3] is to provide new support for after-school and holiday childcare to help low income families reduce childcare costs, work more flexibly, and increase their incomes.

Following the collaborative approach promoted by the National Performance Framework[4], a draft Out of School Care Framework was developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with children, families, providers of out of school care and organisations with an interest in children's outcomes. To better understand the needs of families and current out of school care provision, the Scottish Government liaised extensively with these key stakeholders, establishing a Reference Group and conducting a range of research activities such as surveys, interviews and events/workshops with parents/carers, children, the out of school care sector and others. This work lead to the co-creation of a vision for out of school care in Scotland, which is "a rights based dynamic offer for all children and young people which supports choice and growth, enabling families and communities to reach their full potential".

The Scottish Government then undertook a public consultation to seek feedback on the draft Framework. This focused on four broad questions, as follows:

  • How can national policy support and enhance out of school care?
  • What sort of out of school care activities do families want/need?
  • How can we make out of school care accessible to all families and children?
  • How can we support the out of school care workforce to deliver high quality services?

The results from this consultation are presented here.

The Consultation Process

The consultation ran for 14 weeks, opening on the 30th August 2019 and closing on the 6th December 2019. It asked 21 questions, consisting of 3 closed questions (i.e. yes/no responses or multiple choice options), and 18 open questions (i.e. free text response options).

The questions followed the structure of the draft Framework, with questions designed to elicit views on each of the four key areas above.

As a public consultation, views were sought from both individuals and organisations. Various consultation methods were used, including hosting the consultation document and seeking views via Citizen Space (the Scottish Government's online consultation platform), parent packs being provided to various organisations to encourage discussion and participation among parents/carers, and a series of consultation events held with professionals working in the sector, parents/carers, and children.

Response Profile

A total of 1,273 responses were received, however, two responses were removed from the analysis as they were blank/contained no information relevant to the consultation. One duplicate response was also removed. As such, the final number of substantive responses included in the analysis was 1,270. This included 111 responses from organisations, 1,141 from individuals (including 38 parent pack responses), and 18 event summaries.

Responses were classified by 'type' based on Respondent Information Forms (RIFs) submitted by participants and by information contained within the consultation responses. The consultation document initially did not ask respondents to classify themselves beyond being either an individual or an organisation, although the RIF was later amended to request further details. All responses where further details were not specified were examined by the research team and recoded where they explicitly detailed a respondent's 'type'. This resulted in 172 respondents being recoded from 'not specified' to 'parent/carer', 13 to 'out of school care provider', and one as an 'other' individual.

The table below shows the final profile of respondents by sector[5]. This shows that most responses were provided by parents/carers (62%), followed by other individuals (21%), and out of school care (OSC) providers (10%).

Sample Profile
  Number Percentage
Parents/Carers 788 62%
Other Individuals1 269 21%
Out of school care providers 125 10%
Third Sector/Charities 28 2%
Education Providers 14 1%
Young People 12 1%
Early Years Practitioners 11 1%
Local Authorities 11 1%
Other Public and Regulatory Bodies 7 1%
Youth Workers 4 <1%
Total 12692 100%

1 Including those that did not specify beyond being an 'individual' (n=249) and those classified as 'other' (n=20) and reflect a wide range of different professions/roles.
2 One further response represents an event which included both parents/carers and out of school care providers and so could not be allocated to one respondent 'type' only.

The majority of responses (n=1,184; 93%) were submitted directly via Citizen Space. A further 68 (5%) responses were submitted by post or email, in addition to the 18 event summaries provided to the research team via email (2%).

Most responses followed the standard format although several were received which did not answer the specific consultation questions, but instead discussed their views in relation to the four sections of the consultation more generally, or offered generic observations or feedback on the draft Framework as a whole. There was no word limit for free text responses and the length and level of detail provided in responses varied considerably (with responses from individuals typically being shorter than those from organisations).

Not all questions were relevant to all respondents, and so the parent packs and events focused on the questions that were most relevant to each group. Therefore, some respondents did not answer every question.

Several respondents referenced external sources of evidence within their responses. These were not analysed here but a full list of these references was provided separately to the Scottish Government for consideration.

Analytical Approach

All responses were logged into a database and screened to ensure that they were appropriate/valid. Feedback was then analysed and is presented under the appropriate sections below.

Closed question responses were quantified and the number of respondents who agreed/disagreed with each response option is reported below. Non-responses are also shown. Comments given at each open question were examined to identify the main themes and issues being discussed, with analysis conducted to identify any differences in views between the respondent groups. The main themes to emerge across the consultation were also recorded and verbatim quotes extracted in some cases to highlight the dominant views that were expressed.

All respondents were asked if they were willing for their response to be published. Two thirds (n=840, 66%) wanted only their response to be published, without their name, while 18% (n=234) were content for their response to be published with their name. The remaining respondents (n=196, 16%) either did not wish their response to be published or did not answer the question, and so were treated as wishing to remain anonymous.

Only extracts where the respondent indicated that they were content for their response to be published have been include in this report. A decision was made to anonymise all responses as part of the reporting process.

Report Presentation and Caveats

Findings are presented as they relate to each question in the consultation. The report is structured, however, around the four overarching questions outlined in the consultation, with questions clustered under each heading as appropriate (as detailed in the chart overleaf). As such, the questions are not presented here in numerical order, or in the same order in which they appeared in the consultation documents, i.e. some of the questions asked at the outset of the consultation are presented later in this report. It should also be noted that the order in which questions were asked varied between the different administration methods, (i.e. between the Citizen Space, parent pack and event formats), and this may have had an impact on the level and nature of detail given at individual questions between response methods (with many respondents providing more detailed responses at earlier questions, but which often covered material more relevant to later questions).

The tables in the following chapters show the difference in views expressed by the respondent group as a whole, and are split by individuals and organisations for each of the closed questions (further disaggregation is provided at Appendix A). Responses from the events have been counted as a single response, although they were attended by multiple respondents. Similarly, several organisations collated/presented the views of multiple service users and, again, these have been counted as one response. As such, the actual number of contributors will be higher than stated overall. Further, a few respondents identified themselves as belonging to more than one respondent typology (e.g. as a parent/carer and an education provider). In these instances, respondents have been analysed based on their initial typology.

Where individual respondents offered views that differed significantly from those submitted by organisations at the open questions, this is picked up narratively in the report, as are any differences between the different respondent groups.

In several sections throughout this report bullet point lists are provided to summarise issues discussed by respondents. The order of the points typically denotes the frequency with which they were discussed, i.e. those at the top of the list were mentioned most frequently, while those at the bottom were mentioned less frequently, unless otherwise stated.

Finally, there was a notable bias in the overall sample, with parents/carers making up a large proportion of responses. However, despite the large numbers of parents/carers taking part, it is not possible to determine any additional demographic or geographic information about the respondents and so it is not possible to determine the representativeness of this group. There were also very few responses from childminders and those involved with other activity clubs in comparison to those representing the out of school care sector. This means that there will be an inherent bias in the findings from the consultation, with views skewed towards the interests of those who responded. The findings presented here should not, therefore, be taken as representative of the wide range of stakeholders invited to respond to this consultation, nor should they be generalised too broadly. Rather, they reflect only the views of those individuals and organisations who chose to respond.

What name should we use for the range of out of school services and activities? Is there a better term than 'Out of School Care'? (Q3) What sort of out of school activities do families want/need? How can we make out of school care accessible to all families and children? How can we support the out of school care workforce to deliver high quality services?
  • Do you agree with our 3 key aims for a future out of school care framework? (Q4)
  • What range of services are needed: regulated out of school care, childminders, activity based clubs and programmes such as sports clubs, creative arts clubs, outdoor activities, other types of activities? Can you tell us why these services are important? (Q1)
  • What ages of children do parents/carers need provision for? (Q13)
  • What flexibility do parents and carers need from out of school care services? Can you tell us why this flexibility is important? (Q11)
  • What is important for parents and carers in terms of location of out of school care services? Should they be delivered in school, community facilities, outdoors? (Q12)
  • Do parents/carers need food provision as part of after-school and holiday clubs? (Q14)
  • What do children and young people want from out of school care services and does this differ depending on age? (Q6)
  • What different activities or provision might secondary school aged children want? (Q7)
  • How can we make sure out of school care is an affordable option for more families? (e.g. subsidised provision, remove barriers in accessing benefits, help with upfront costs). (Q8)
  • How can we help to ensure that all families have access to an out of school care place for their child/ren if they want it? (Q5)
  • How can services be more effectively delivered in rural/remote areas to meet the needs of families? (Q9)
  • How can we ensure that children with disabilities and additional support needs can access out of school care services? (Q10)
  • What can we do to support community based approaches to delivering out of school care? (Q2)
  • What qualifications, skills and experience should the out of school care workforce have? What is most important and why? (Q15)
  • Thinking about the full range of provision – regulated out of school care, childminders, holiday programmes and other activities – should qualification requirements for staff working across these provisions be the same or different? Why? (Q16)
  • How can we promote working in the out of school care sector as a more attractive career choice? (Q17)
  • How can we increase diversity across the out of school care workforce? (Q18)


Email: outofschoolcare@gov.scot

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