Care Inspectorate publish a Review of Care Services for Early Learning and Childcare

Care Inspectorate publish a Review of Care Services for Early Learning and Childcare
The Care Inspectorate has today published their review of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) from 2014 to 2017 which recognises the hard work and dedication of everyone working with children and families across Scotland.

Childminders feature heavily in the ELC Review that highlights the significant level of change that has taken place within the sector alongside the launch of several policy commitments and legislation from the Scottish Government which guides the direction of ELC in Scotland. 

In the ELC Review the Care Inspectorate states its commitment to: “continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we support services to provide high quality ELC for all children, especially for children under three who are increasingly being registered in ELC settings. By promoting approaches based on effective practice, sharing the work of those who are already providing high-quality services and using current good practice guidance we will empower settings to achieve safe, high quality effective and compassionate care for all.”

Commenting on its publication, Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of SCMA said: “It is good to see the review has recognised outcome-focussed childminding inspections together with the high-quality of childminding services in Scotland.  

“Childminders have consistently continued to offer unique high-quality ELC services in a family setting, playing an important part in children’s development and learning at crucial stages in their lives. They offer continuity throughout a child’s life in a home-from-home environment, working to improve outcomes for children and families whilst helping to achieve the aim of Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up.”

The ELC Review also provides an insight into the future aspirations of the Care Inspectorate. There is recognition that the coming years will continue to present challenges with the continuing expansion of each child’s ELC entitlement as well as the introduction of the new Health and Social Care Standards.

The Care Inspectorate will continue to build on their role to empower services, think innovatively and strive for excellence for everyone in their care. They will consider how they can increase the positive impact they have on outcomes for children and families and plan strategically with partners to achieve this.

Read the review in full on the Care Inspectorate website, and we've provided a summary below. 

Key findings in relation to childminding captured in the ELC Review include:

- The number of ELC settings across Scotland has decreased since 2013 from 9,968 to 9,402 ELC settings including childminders. However, the number of ELC places has increased by 10,150. Whilst the number of children who can attend childminders has not increased, more places are now being offered in both school-aged childcare settings and nurseries. This is not good news for childminding as it means bigger nurseries are taking more children. It is noted in the ELC Review that there were 6,185 childminding services in December 2013 compared to 5,669 childminding services in December 2016 which means childminding services are decreasing and are continuing to do so.

- Changes to the Care Inspectorate methodology has included a specific inspection model tailored to childminding settings based on the impact the setting makes on the quality of experience for children using the SHANARRI wellbeing indicators and the introduction of shorter reports. There has also been changes to the frequency of inspection based on levels of risk and intelligence gathered. In general, more time has been spent observing children and engaging with providers about how they can improve the quality of their service to promote positive outcomes for children and families. In relations to childminding it is good to see recognition of outcome focussed childminding inspections within the ELC Review.   

- There is also good recognition of the quality of childminders within the ELC Review. Childminders continued to perform well in respect of the quality of their provision in most areas with 91.8% receiving an evaluation of good or above in 2016. 

- During the period of the ELC Review the Care Inspectorate implemented methodology changes that included introducing a measurement of the quality of management and leadership within childminding services in 2015. Previously, childminders received a grade for the quality of staffing and, therefore, the data for this theme is not comparable for the purposes of this review.  This means that the uniqueness of childminding is now reflected in the exceptionally high-quality of environment and care and support.

- Recognition of out-of-school care services provided by childminders is noted in the ELC Review.  Childminders have always provided this type of service to school-aged children which has become the second largest group of children registered in ELC in Scotland.

Read the review in full on the Care Inspectorate website.