National Standard for funded ELC: An Update

National Standard for funded ELC: An Update
The Scottish Government is currently setting out the National Standard, which will be a quality criteria for all services providing funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) across Scotland.

This National Standard will ensure families across Scotland can expect a consistent, high-quality, approach to ELC provision, reflecting national policy priorities.

A draft version of the National Standard criteria has already been published by the Scottish Government, and SCMA featured this in the summer 2018 issue of our Childminding magazine. As this is a draft, it is yet to be finalised and the final version is expected to be available during November.

What does this mean?

Childminders who provide funded ELC places in partnership with local authorities will have to meet the criteria set out in the National Standard - which is still subject to change and yet to be finalised. 

In addition, some local authorities may want to make additions to this criteria, asking their ELC partner providers to meet additional or more specific conditions, and this would be a decision for each individual council to make at their discretion.

We know this is an uncertain time for childminders - and the entire ELC sector as a whole. Many details are unconfirmed and so many decisions are yet to be made. However, we hope that the Scottish Government will confirm the National Standard later this month and local authorities will finalise their decisions soon.  

Amongst the range of criteria, one area outlined in the draft standard has caused some concern.   What the consultation document said was: “From the implementation of the full roll-out of 1140 hours, childminders delivering the funded entitlement must be qualified to SCQF Level 7 or, if they are still within their first five years of delivering the funded hours, be working towards achieving this qualification”.

The Complete Childminding Learning Pathway – a Work Based Award is available from SCMA, which is a qualification that is credit rated at SCQF Level 7 and tailored specifically for childminding practice. Some childminders though may prefer to work towards other SCQF Level 7 qualifications or some may already hold them.

Designed in partnership with SQA, the Complete Childminding Learning Pathway – a Work Based Award is a qualification that provides you with choice and flexibility, and has also been mapped to the SVQIII by SQA, which means that that the credit you gain whilst completing the Work Based Award can be applied to the SVQIII, if a childminder opts to work towards it in the future.

Still unsure? Give our friendly Learn with SCMA team a call to discuss your options, what might be best for you and whether the Work Based Award is right for you.

Read about the draft National Standard 

Read more about the Complete Childminding Learning Pathway – a Work Based Award

SCMA has been actively involved in the development of the National Standard for ELC providers, ensuring that the criteria is open, consistent and proportionate for childminders.  

Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of SCMA, said: “Scottish Government want to ensure that childminding is included as a key service in the delivery of funded Early Learning and Childcare. We want to make sure the quality criteria that make up the National Standard are things that childminding services are already achieving or can work towards as we get closer to 2020.

“We know the quality of care childminders provide is graded the same or – in many cases – better that all other care services, and this high-quality, flexible care must be recognised. However, the criteria must be proportionate and realistic, and it must not change the nature of childminding.”

SCMA has always maintained its primary focus to be improving outcomes for children, and for many of our youngest children a small home-based service like a high-quality childminding setting is best.