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Review of Scotland's early learning and childcare services

20th March 2019

Photograph of Review of Scotland's early learning and childcare services

The number of children experiencing early learning and childcare in Scotland has increased to more than 290,000.

The Care Inspectorate has published a new review of settings for early learning and childcare covers the three years from 2014 to 2017. It shows the number of children accessing early learning and childcare increased from 254,770 in 2014 to 291,460 in 2016.

The review highlights that children and families experience a high quality of care and support across Scotland and that the quality of early learning and childcare settings is good and improving.

KEY FINDINGS

1.The number of children experiencing early learning and childcare has continued to increase over the period of
this review from 254,770 in 2014 to 291,460 in 2016.

2. Overall, the quality of early learning and childcare services is good and improving. In general, children and families
are experiencing a high quality of care and support across Scotland. The settings in which they spend their time
are well planned and meet their care and learning needs. This is supported by staff who are well trained and
motivated to offer warm and compassionate care which enhances children's development.

3. The number of fully qualified managers in early learning and childcare has decreased over the period of the
review and while these managers are currently working towards the appropriate qualification required, we can
see that the number of settings achieving an evaluation of ‘Good' or above for the quality of management and
leadership has also decreased slightly.

4. More settings have identified themselves as offering a forest philosophy, using the outdoors to provide early
learning and childcare.

5. More people will need to be working towards a qualification in order to be effective and well trained practitioners
as a result of the expansion. As the expansion continues, it will be important for settings to recognise this and
ensure that they maintain and improve the quality of care and learning for children and families throughout this
period of change.

6. The voluntary sector tended to provide nurseries to the fewest number of children aged 0 - 3, with the majority
of their children being aged 3 and 4 and this has remained stable throughout the period of the review. As early
learning and childcare continues to expand, it will be important for those planning and commissioning settings to
understand this balance more effectively to ensure the needs of families are being met.

7. There are aspects of early learning and childcare which still require support to be the best it can be and the Care
Inspectorate is committed to being a part of this improvement journey. Concentrating on improving the quality
of management and leadership over the next three years and recognising the need to close the attainment
gap through early intervention, we will work with services collaboratively to improve outcomes for children and
families across Scotland.

Read the full report here

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