Chapter 5: Early Learning and Childcare
98% of eligible three and four year olds were registered for funded ELC (99% in 2018)
11% of two year olds were registered for funded ELC (10% in 2018)
Table 5.1 shows that there were 96,375 registrations for funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) in September 2019, a slight decrease of 0.2% since September 2018 when there were 96,549 registrations. Uptake of funded ELC for eligible three and four year olds remains very high, with an estimated 98% registered (99% in 2018). Children registered to receive funded ELC at more than one centre may be counted more than once, so this will slightly overestimate true uptake.
The number of two year olds registered has increased from 5,701 in 2018 to 5,990 in 2019. This represents 11% of all two year olds, an increase from 10% in 2018. Around a quarter of two year olds are eligible for funded ELC through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and through subsequent secondary legislation which commenced in August 2015.
At local authority level, the proportion of two year olds registered varies considerably, with the highest proportions found in Inverclyde (21%) and East Ayrshire (21%). Shetland Islands (3%) and Scottish Borders (6%) had the lowest proportions of their two year old populations registered for funded ELC. It should be noted that the proportion of the two year old population registered for funded ELC will be affected by the proportion of the population that is eligible in each local authority area. However, this is currently not known, so the proportion of eligible two year olds that are registered for funded ELC cannot be reported on.
The number of deferred registrations for funded ELC also increased, by 9%, from 4,884 in 2018 to 5,326 in 2019. Of children potentially eligible for deferral 19% were registered for funded ELC in 2019, compared with 17% in 2018.
Table 5.2 shows that the overall FTE of teachers, graduates and staff working towards the SSSC benchmark degree level qualifications in ELC was 4,781 in 2019, compared with 4,222 in 2018, an increase of 13%.
The FTE of teachers working in ELC was 798 in 2019, compared with 821 in 2018, a 3% decrease of 23 FTE. There were 2,535 FTE graduates working in ELC with degrees relevant to early years, other than teachers, a 10% increase of 233 FTE compared with 2,302 recorded in 2018. The FTE of ELC staff working towards the SSSC benchmark degree level qualifications increased by 350 to 1,448 in 2019, a 32% increase compared with 1,098 in 2018.
Table 5.1: Registrations(1) for funded early learning and childcare at local authority and partnership centres, September 2019
|Under 2||2 year olds||3 & 4 year olds(2)||Deferred entry(4)||Total|
|Number||% of population||Number||% of those eligible(3)||Number||% of those eligible(5)|
|Argyll and Bute||0||45||6||1,225||106||89||23||1,359|
|City of Edinburgh||118||476||9||7,287||95||489||19||8,370|
|Dumfries and Galloway||0||134||11||2,081||104||157||24||2,372|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||4||32||14||382||103||40||33||458|
|Perth and Kinross||0||165||12||2,225||102||239||32||2,629|
(1) This is a snapshot of registrations at census week (16-20 September 2019). It does not include children who were registered between census week and the end of December.
(2) Refers to academic year - three and four year olds were previously referred to as 'ante pre-school' and 'pre-school' respectively.
(3) Eligible children are estimated from National Records of Scotland population projections. For three year olds, only around half of children are eligible at the time of the census (16-20 September 2019). Children are counted once for each centre they are registered with, so the same child may be counted multiple times if they attend more than one centre. Children may also attend centres outside of the local authority they live in, which would also affect these figures.
(4) Refers to children who are eligible to attend primary school but have deferred entry and remain in ELC.
(5) Eligibility figures for deferral are calculated on the assumption that all children born from September to February inclusive are potentially eligible for funded ELC if they defer entry to primary school; January and February born children are entitled to the additional year of funded ELC, while for September to December born children, the local authority decides whether to provide it. Children born after school commencement date in mid-August can also defer entry to primary school, but they are not included in the calculation for the percentage of those eligible for deferred entry to avoid double counting with the four year old category.
Table 5.2: Teachers, graduate staff, and staff working towards graduate qualifications at centres providing funded early learning and childcare, by local authority, September 2019
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and percentage
|Teachers(1)||Graduates(2)||Working towards graduate qualifications(3)||Total|
|FTE||% change since 2018|
|Argyll and Bute||9||44||21||75||44|
|City of Edinburgh||132||283||123||537||9|
|Dumfries and Galloway||20||74||23||117||40|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||2||4||3||10||-60|
|Perth and Kinross||40||65||56||161||34|
(1) GTCS registered teachers. Includes teachers in ELC centres, centrally employed teachers, and home visiting teachers.
(2) Includes staff that hold: a degree level benchmark qualification required by the SSSC for registration as a manager/lead practitioner (see background notes for list of benchmark qualifications); a degree level (SCQF level 9) qualification relevant to early years and are working towards a degree level benchmark qualification required by the SSSC for registration as a manager/lead practitioner; or a degree level qualification sufficient to meet the registration standards of another regulatory body (e.g. Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council).
(3) Staff that do not hold degrees (SCQF level 9) relevant to early years, but are working towards a SSSC benchmark degree level qualification for registration as a manager/lead practitioner.
Table 5.3 shows the characteristics of teachers in ELC. The vast majority of teachers (94%) were female. Since 2015 the proportion of male teachers has doubled from 3% to 6%.
Table 5.3: ELC Teacher characteristics percentages, 2019
Percentage of headcount
|Female||Male||Under 25||25 to 34||35 to 44||45 to 54||55 or over||Average Age|
Since 2012, the average age of teachers has remained around age 45. Data on age and sex is only available for teachers, although they only form part of the graduate workforce in ELC.
Chart 2 shows the age profile of GTCS registered ELC teachers, as at September 2019. The number of teachers generally increases to age 40, then peaks at age 40 and 47, before decreasing sharply after age 59.
Chart 2: Age profile of GTCS registered early learning and childcare teachers