Early Learning and Childcare - National Learning Event

Early Learning and Childcare - National Learning Event

SCMA recently attended the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), National Learning Event at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow. Organised by the Scottish Government, the aim of the event was to support the ELC expansion plan that is aimed at giving all of our children in Scotland the best possible start in life.  It brought together a range of stakeholders involved in the current ELC expansion programme including representatives from local authorities, and private and third sectors organisations.

The Scottish Government organised the event to:

  • Share learning from the trials events held across the country. 
  • Bring together colleagues who are planning for the expansion of early learning and childcare to 1140 hours to exchange learning and make connections. 
  • Share information about recent developments. 
  • Provide an opportunity to contribute to development of the national programme and policy.

The day commenced with an Opening Address by Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Childcare and Early Years. The Minister welcomed delegates and emphasised the commitment of the Scottish Government to ELC, stating that is was only through truly collaborative work that high quality ELC can be achieved for Scotland’s children.

Catherine Agnew, Chief Inspector at the Care Inspectorate then took to the stage to deliver a presentation on the new Health and Social Care Standards and Outcomes Based Inspection.  ‘Moving from compliance to collaboration to support good outcomes’ was the key message of the presentation, with collaborative relationships including the regulator identifying quality, supporting improvement, and enforcing action only if needed.

Morning and Afternoon Breakout Sessions formed a large part of the day, which concluded with a short question and answer session.  Joining the panel for these questions was our Chief Executive, Maggie Simpson.  

During the whole day there was strong participation and representation of SCMA and we also delivered a Working in Meaningful Partnership, childminders and local authorities session in partnership with Stirling Council and childminder, Caroline Stuart.  The session provided the perfect opportunity for childminders to share their experiences with local authorities, giving consideration to what good practice looks like and what opportunities exist to further develop relationships as Scotland moves towards the national roll-out of 1140 hours by 2020.  It showcased the relationship that SCMA has developed with Stirling Council who has made the decision to contract the delivery of funded ELC with SCMA rather than individual childminders. Having one contract in place with SCMA rather than a detailed procurement process with individual childminders delivers best value for Stirling Council.  The presentation highlighted that Simplicity and Quality Assurance are the keys to the whole process with SCMA managing:

  • The tracking of hours.
  • Auditing of spend.
  • Payment Process.
  • Training and upskilling (in partnership with Stirling).
  • Monitoring of childminders to ensure they are compliant and meet set standards.

The session concluded with key points to consider which included:

  • Keep it simple (process for childminders, staff and families).
  • Keep it transparent (everyone receives same communications at same time and is aware of what is happening).
  • Keep it flexible (a model that allows families total flexibility while still having a strong commercial focus for LA).
  • Keep it live – (under continual review, quality assurance and improvement).

Several SCMA members of staff attended the event and contributed to a range of discussions on early learning and childcare.  The workshop sessions included:

  • Session 1 – 1140 expansion: minimum framework and local authority consultation
    Presented by Carol Sibbald, Scottish Government
  • Session 2 – The Service Model for 2020
    Presented by Laura Caven, COSLA and Andrew Richmond, Scotland Excel
  • Session 3 – Improving uptake of the 2 year old entitlement: work with the Children and Young Person Improvement Collaborative
    Presented by Joanna Mackenzie, Scottish Government, Julie Wild, Scottish Government and Amanda Cronin, Scottish Government
  • Session 4 - Development and Delivery of the Workforce Delivery Plan and Clackmannanshire Council’s approach to Modern Apprenticeships and Redeployment 
    Presented by Kathryn Chishom, Scottish Government, Jane Rough and Kirsteen Campbell, Clackmannanshire Council
  • Session 5 - Outdoor Learning – alternative models for delivering 1140 hours
    Presented by Kate Smith, Scottish Government, Mairi Ferris, Inspiring Scotland, Sheena Lock, Angus Council and Tracey Shaw, Edinburgh City Council
  • Session 6 - Working in meaningful partnership 2 - Childminders and local authorities 
    Presented by Judy Edwards, Stirling Council, Lisa MacKay, SCMA and Caroline Stuart, Childminder
  • Session 7 – ELC Reference Design – A Place to Grow 
    Presented by Alastair Young, Scottish Futures Trust, Jonathan McQuillan, Anderson Bell Christie, Kevin Cooper, Norr and Kennedy, Andrew Kennedy, East Ayrshire Council
  • Session 8 - Embedding Quality in Expansion Planning 
    Presented by Liz Levy, Scottish Government, Aileen Valenti, South Ayrshire Council and Janice Collins, East Renfrewshire Council