Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare: ELC Leavers (Phase 2) Report - Updated 2021

Findings from the second phase of the Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare (SSELC), a research project established to evaluate the expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC) in Scotland.

Child, parent and household characteristics

Characteristics of the cohort

The cohort was designed to be nationally representative of four- and five-year old children in their final term of 600 hours of state-funded ELC provision (and their parents / carers) when the data are weighted[12]. ELC settings in the most deprived areas were deliberately oversampled, so unweighted data are only representative of those attending settings in deprived areas and those attending settings in other areas separately. While half (50%) of children in the cohort[13] attended settings in the most deprived areas[14], only 31% actually resided in the most deprived areas. Figures in this section are based on unweighted data, while for the rest of the report, figures taken from the keyworker or parent questionnaire data have been weighted.

One-in-five (20%) of those responding to the parent / carer survey were single parents[15], with the remaining four-fifths (80%) living in two-parent households. Eighteen percent of the children in the sample lived with just one adult (aged 16 or above[16]), while 76% lived with two adults and 6% with three or more. Twenty-two percent were the only child aged under 16 in the household, while 53% had one sibling aged under 16, 20% had two and 5% had three or more.

Household incomes were distributed fairly equally across the ten equivalised income deciles[17], with the exception of the top decile[18]. Twenty-two percent of children lived in households with an annual income of less than £14,300 (the bottom quintile) whilst 14% lived in households with an income of £49,400 or more (the top quintile). The remaining 64% had incomes between these ranges.

Levels of education among respondents to the parent / carer survey were as would be expected in a nationally representative sample of parents of young children in Scotland. Forty-four percent had a university degree or equivalent qualification and 23% had other post-school qualifications whilst 13% had Highers, Advanced Highers or equivalent and 16% had Standard Grades or equivalent. Four percent of parents had no formal qualifications. Similar studies of parents, such as Growing Up in Scotland show a slightly higher proportion of parents of young children having a degree; the figure here is lowered by the oversampling of those in deprived areas. Figure 1 shows highest level of education for those from the deprived and non-deprived groups of the sample separately. As the graph shows, 38% of those whose children attended a setting in the most deprived areas had a degree, compared with 51% of those whose children attended settings in other areas. This contrast is starker when making comparisons based on the parents' home addresses, with 22% of those living in the most deprived quintile having a degree, increasing steadily to 76% in the least deprived quintile.

Figure 1: Highest level of education of respondent
Figure of education level of parent/carer by SIMD area of child’s setting

Base: All respondents (parent survey, unweighted)

Nearly all respondents (95%) were White: 83% reported themselves to be of White Scottish origin, 7% White Other British and 5% White non-British. The remaining 5% reported themselves to be of non-White ethnic origin, similar to the 4% recorded in the 2011 Census[19].

Most respondents (90%) spoke only English at home, while 8% used both English and another language. Only 1% did not use English at home.



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