/ ELC / Childcare Matters

Your Questions Answered

Q. What does the term 'blended' Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) mean?

A. A blended model of ELC, in relation to childminding, means that a minded child would spend part of the day with a childminder and part of the day with another childcare provider - with a clear focus on what is best for the child.

Q. Am I eligible to deliver funded ELC for two, and three and four year olds?

A. To be eligible to deliver funded ELC, childminders must be working in partnership with their local authority and meet the National Standard. Your local council is responsible for commissioning funded ELC places. To find out if your local authority is contracting with childminders to deliver funded ELC contact their Education department.

Q. Do I need to have a qualification to register as a partner provider to deliver funded ELC?

A. All funded ELC providers must meet the National Standard, which is a set of mandatory quality criteria from the Scottish Government, which includes:

  • Care Inspectorate quality evaluations (sometimes referred to as grades) of ‘good’ or higher across all themes
  • Meets the recommended adult-to-child ratios, which depend on age groups
  • Achieved or be working towards the benchmark qualification (SCQF Level 7 qualification with 68 credits) to be completed within five years. 
  • Allocate 12 hours per year to Continuous Professional Learning (CPL)
  • New childminders (registered within the last year) need to have completed the appropriate induction programme, e.g. SCMA’s Complete Childminding Induction Support Programme.

Q. Will I get inspected by both the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland?

A. Currently inspections will remain the same, whether you are a childminder delivering funded ELC or not, and you will be inspected by the Care Inspectorate, and they are responsible for visiting your home and evaluating your service. Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate will be developing a shared inspection framework in the future, once the expansion of funded ELC has been rolled out and established.  

Q. Do I need to adapt my service to become a partner provider?

A. No. If you are registered with the Care Inspectorate, meet the National Standard criteria, your service is suitable to become a ELC partner provider with your local authority.

Q. Who should I raise the issue with locally to ask for support if my local authority is not using childminders?

A. Initially you should contact whoever within your local authority has responsibility for leading this work. SCMA can help provide you with information and guidance, so please contact our Helpline on 01786 449063 (Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm) or email information@childminding.org.

If you have already contacted your local authority and not got a satisfactory answer the next step is to contact your local MSP or constituent counsellor via your council website and ask him/her to pose the questions on your behalf. We have a template letter you can use to write to your MSP which is available to download from the Membership Dashboard.