CHANGE Weekly Bulletin 25th May
Early Learning and Childcare National Learning Event
The CHANGE team was in attendance at two national events related to Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) this week. The first of these was the ELC National Learning event on Tuesday 22nd May. This event brought together delegates from a range of stakeholders involved in the current ELC expansion programme. This included representatives from a number of local authorities along with those working in the private and third sectors.
The informative event was opened by Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd MSP who spoke about the Scottish Government’s aspirations for the expansion to 1,140 hours in 2020. Maintaining the quality of services will be at the heart of this and there is a desire to explore how outdoor learning can contribute.
Other speakers during the morning session included COSLA President, Councillor Alison Evison, who spoke about some of the potential challenges of the expansion. Councillor Evison highlighted the difficulties that all sectors have faced with recruitment and retention of staff before reiterating Maree Todd’s point about the role that outdoor learning will have in delivering quality ELC provision in future. CHANGE has also investigated the potential benefits of an outdoor-based approach to play and recently held some sessions with local families to explore what this might look like. You can read more about those sessions here.
The penultimate presentation of the morning was given by the Care Inspectorate’s Catherine Agnew, who detailed the new outcomes-based approach to inspection in daycare of children services. This is being described as moving from a compliance model to a collaborative model. Following this, we heard from Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland and Aileen McLean from the Scottish Government’s trials team, who gave an overview of the fourteen trials that have taken place to test some different approaches to delivering the extended 1,140 hours entitlement.
There was then an opportunity to take part in two breakout sessions, with these taking place either side of lunch. A varied choice of workshops was on offer and CHANGE was in attendance at one run by quality and improvement leads from South Ayrshire and East Renfrewshire local authorities. This focused on embedding quality in services during the expansion and featured fascinating presentations on how data can be used to support improvement and some adaptations that have been made to service operations during the trials phase. The second workshop attended by CHANGE was provided by Glasgow City Council and North Ayrshire Council and discussed in depth some service models centred on delivering a flexible service to families in line with the objectives set out in the 2020 blueprint.
A short question and answer session rounded off the day, with partnership arrangements between local authority and third and private sector nurseries being the main topic of discussion. Although there is still much work to be done, the overall impression that CHANGE took away from this event is that there is a vast volume of work being done at local and national level to ensure the implementation of the expanded entitlement will be a success.
Other meetings and events
CHANGE was also in attendance at the ELC Family Learning Summit on 23rd May and we will have a full recap of that event in next week’s bulletin. We also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with some local out of school care providers and were present at a meeting of the North East Glasgow Children and Young People’s Services Forum to hear directly from services about recent developments in the project area. We will be taking on board some of the issues raised at these meetings as we look to help develop services for children and families in Glasgow East.
Expansion evaluation and consultation
The Scottish Government has now published its evaluation of the ELC expansion delivery trials. This covers a wide range of findings, including learning from the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland visits and inspections along with discussion on what worked well and what didn’t in terms of delivering new models of flexibility and upscaled services. The evaluation document is available to read here.
There is still time to contribute to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the national standard that will underpin the delivery model for the expansion in 2020. This closes on 29th June and can be accessed here.
Contribute to CHANGE
We welcome and encourage input from anyone who has an interest in childcare or community wellbeing in Glasgow East. If you’d like to discuss this with a member of the CHANGE team please contact our Project Officer, Anthony O’Malley, firstname.lastname@example.org or our Policy and Participation Officer, Alison Hay, email@example.com. Both Anthony and Alison are based in Glasgow East at least four days per week and are happy to chat to anyone who feels they have something to contribute to the project.