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What have we learned so far?
Feedback from ELC providers

The Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) services in this summary provide registered childcare for children aged 0-5, although some services don’t take children younger than 2. All of these providers provide funded ELC. All services are regulated and inspected by the Care Inspectorate.The CHANGE team has spoken to every ELC provider in the project area. In many cases we have developed strong working relationships with providers and continue to engage on a regular basis. 

Key points are:

Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare

The impact of the expansion of ELC was the biggest issue reported by services providing pre-5 childcare.

The majority of private and third sector services told us that there were challenges around the retention of staff. This was linked to the high level of recruitment by the local authority for the expansion of ELC.

Some private nurseries had seen managers leave to go and work in a local authority nursery in a practitioner-level post for an increased salary.

Some local authority nurseries were early adopters of providing 1,140 hours of funded ELC. The CHANGE evaluation shows this is having a positive impact on families in the area.

Premises and capacity

All nurseries in the CHANGE area have sole use of their space and benefit from being able to decorate their play areas as well as using the space outside of operating times for parents’ meetings or staff training.

There are not enough places in local authority nurseries in the CHANGE project area and many services have significant waiting lists.

Third sector and private nurseries are usually able to offer a place to families immediately, although these usually cost more. Some services felt they were used as a stop gap while parents waited for a place at a local authority nursery.


Engagement with families highlighted the complexities of finding and applying for childcare. Some providers told us that they issued handbooks and flyers to parents, but some services lacked the time and resources to do this. Parents say that accessible information could ease the difficulties in looking for childcare.

Business planning

There has been discussion on whether the current funded rate being provided by the local authority will be sufficient to allow private and third sector nurseries to deliver funded ELC.

An example of business planning by an ELC partnership provider in preparation for the expansion in August 2020 was a 15% increase in the price of a half-day place for children who were not eligible for funded ELC.

One provider stated that being a Real Living Wage employer meant they were better prepared to deliver funded ELC. This is a mandatory requirement in the new National Standard.

One local service receives support from its host organisation, a housing association. This reduces the burden on the management team and the costs of administering payroll and other human resources tasks.


The information in this learning summary was drawn from the following sources.

Engagement with providers. CHANGE has developed strong working relationships with childcare providers across the project area. Staff regularly meet with providers directly and attend all local childcare forums and to hear about issues currently affecting services in North East Glasgow.

North East Glasgow Childcare Forum. Members of the CHANGE team have attended the North East Glasgow Childcare Forum on a regular basis. This has provided an opportunity to engage directly with ELC providers based in the CHANGE area and in neighbouring communities.

Carbon Footprints Case Study. CHANGE undertook a case study of a nursery and out of school care service that was established by a housing association.

Scottish Government ELC Updates. Children in Scotland (the lead CHANGE partner) is represented on the Scottish Government’s strategic forum for ELC. The team keeps abreast of national policy developments while working with local providers.

The Cost of Childcare, CHANGE Project Area December 2018. An in-depth analysis of what families might need to pay to use childcare in the CHANGE area. This paper also contains some discussion the impacts that the cost of childcare has on families and providers.