6. Summary and Next Steps
This is an ambitious framework that sets out our commitment to build a system of school age childcare, providing care before and after school and in the holidays, which will be funded for those families who need it most. It supports our aim of making that system more accessible and affordable for families on lower incomes.
We have defined our 2 key action areas: Building the System and Testing the Change.
Our Tests of Change projects will be progressed through our six Early Adopter Communities. We will build on our learning from the summer programme and Access to Childcare Fund evaluations, feeding this into the design of our new community level systems.
We will also progress our action areas which will help to Build the System – considering the frameworks which will be needed to create capacity, support a thriving workforce and ensure appropriate regulatory and legislative structures are in place.
Ensuring our policy design is evidence-based is key – that’s why we’ve also set out how we will use data, both qualitative and quantitative to tell the story of the impacts which our new services have for families, particularly those six family types who are most at risk of living in poverty. Evaluation is paramount to ensuring our work contributes towards our high level programme outcomes:
- More parents from targeted families take up, sustain and/or increase their hours of work, training or study
- Targeted groups of children are healthier and have increased wellbeing
- The poverty-related outcomes gap narrows.
Developing a system of school age childcare is being realised by using a programme approach and will include governance structures and a programme board. This will involve key stakeholders and ensure regular and informed communication. We will review our existing stakeholder groups, including our reference group, and make sure that sector voices and views, continue to be heard in our programme work.
We will build on our engagement to ensure that the delivery of our school age childcare commitments reflects the views of children, families, communities and the sector. In 2023, we will undertake a series of engagement events for local authorities and providers with a focus on clarifying our approach, as well as communicating the expectations of the Scottish Government as we move towards realising our school age childcare commitment. Building on this engagement, and on the contribution providers have already made to co-design as People Panel participants, we will develop plans for dedicated provider co-design work in 2023. In addition, we will engage with SSSC, the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland, as well as the national organisations (including the Scottish Out of School Care Network and the Scottish Childminding Association) that represent the school age childcare sector, to raise awareness of the approach we are taking and their role in the supporting delivery of our action areas.
As our action areas progress and we move forward with the co-design of our system, we will, in 2025-26, develop a more detailed delivery plan setting out what a targeted school age childcare offer will look like for families within communities and providing a clear timescale for delivery.
Finally, we would like to thank the children, parents, carers, providers of school age childcare, and the many other stakeholders who we have already spoken with, who have helped to shape our vision and action areas for the future. We particularly want to thank our children’s charter and people panel members who have provided invaluable insights communicating openly and honestly about challenges and working enthusiastically on ideas for the future.
We would also like to thank everyone currently working to provide school age childcare for families across Scotland – you are providing the vital services which support children and families within your communities now and into the future.
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