United-Kingdom-Scotland:Early Childhood Education and Care

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Overview United Kingdom (Scotland)

Contents

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Historical Development

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Political and Economic Situation

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation and Governance

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Lifelong Learning Strategy

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of Private Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:National Qualifications Framework

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Funding in Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Higher Education Funding

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Adult Education and Training Funding

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Early Childhood Education and Care

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Assessment in Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of General and Vocational Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Teaching and Learning in General and Vocational Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Assessment in General and Vocational Upper Secondary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Types of Higher Education Institutions

United-Kingdom-Scotland:First Cycle Programmes

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Bachelor

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Short-Cycle Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Second Cycle Programmes

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Distribution of Responsibilities

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Main Providers

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Main Types of Provision

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Teachers and Education Staff

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Management and Other Education Staff

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Management Staff for Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Quality Assurance

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Educational Support and Guidance

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Mobility and Internationalisation

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Mobility in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

United-Kingdom-Scotland:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

United-Kingdom-Scotland:National Reforms in School Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

United-Kingdom-Scotland:National Reforms in Higher Education

United-Kingdom-Scotland:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

United-Kingdom-Scotland:European Perspective

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Legislation

United-Kingdom-Scotland:Glossary

The Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000 gives local authorities a duty to provide a free, part-time early learning and childcare place for all 3- and 4-year olds whose parents wish it. This legislation came into effect in April 2002.

The Children and Young People Act 2014 increased the flexibility and amount of free early learning and childcare from 475 to 600 hours per year for all 3 and 4 year olds. It also extends the entitlement to 2 year olds who are looked after or under a kinship care order.

 

Aims of early learning and childcare

Curriculum for Excellence is the main guidance to providers on the delivery of early learning and childcare. It promotes a coherent and inclusive curriculum from age 3 to 18 wherever learning is taking place, whether in pre-school centres, schools, colleges or other settings. The early level of Curriculum for Excellence encompasses both pre-school and Primary 1.

Building the Curriculum 2, published in 2007, provides guidance on how to ensure that all children in pre-school and primary school settings experience stimulating, effective learning in ways that are appropriate to their needs to enable them to develop their capacities as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

It treats both pre-school education and the early part of primary school as “early education” and seeks to promote similar kinds of learning in both settings. It argues that active learning is crucial as the means by which children develop vital skills and knowledge and a positive attitude to learning. Active learning engages and challenges children’s thinking using real-life and imaginary situations. It takes full advantage of the opportunities for learning presented by:

  • spontaneous play
  • planned, purposeful play
  • investigating and exploring
  • events and life experiences
  • focused learning and teaching, supported when necessary through sensitive intervention to support or extend learning.

Care in the pre-school setting

There is a growing appreciation that education and care in the pre-school setting are interlinked. As a result, services that have traditionally been thought of as providers of care are now recognised as also playing a role in educating young children. The Children and Young People Act 2014 introduces a new concept of 'early learning and childcare': the term seeks to remove an artificial divide between pre-school for 3 - 4 year olds and childcare for 0 – 3 year olds; or pre-school and wrap around care for 3 and 4 year olds, whereby pre-school is the educational element delivered in short blocks tied to a certain number of hours in a day topped up by childcare or wrap around care which can be seen as less important to learning.

 

Local authority provision

Local authorities provide early learning and childcare through their education departments in a range of settings such as:

  • Nursery classes within primary schools
  • Nursery schools
  • Children’s centres

Pre-school education provision in a primary school will usually have places for up to 20 children at one time. It is possible for a large primary school to have more than one pre-school education class. Most pre-school education centres outwith primary schools have places for 40-60 children at any one time, although in some parts of Scotland there are larger units.

The number of children provided for is increased by having children attend for only part of a day. Practice varies from authority to authority but it is common for most children to attend either in the morning or the afternoon. Children with priority needs, however, may well attend for the whole day.

Occasionally, in special cases, children may attend local authority pre-school classes beyond the statutory school starting age. Whether younger children or those deferring entry to primary school are accepted into a pre-school establishment may depend on a number of factors, such as family circumstances, the aims of the establishment and the availability of a place. Priority may be given to children who are referred by the social work department, the psychological service or the health services.

The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 requires local authorities to promote social welfare and enables them to provide, through their social work departments - accommodation, material resources and finance (grants or loans) for work with the under-5s. By this Act, the local authority social work departments are empowered to set up day nurseries. These cater for children across the whole pre-school age group but provide pre-school education for the older children. Priority for admission may be given to the children of single parents, especially if the parent is required to go to work, children who have been neglected or abused, and children from families whose difficulties may be eased by the day nursery placement. This is often an all-day provision.

 

Voluntary and private sector provision

Through the development of Childcare Partnerships, local authorities commission private and voluntary pre-school centres to provide early learning and childcare. The Scottish Government encourages such partnerships wherever this helps meet parents’ and children’s needs and offers value for money. All local authorities are now contracting with partners in addition to their own provision.

Many local authorities also encourage pre-school playgroups and provide support for them, often in conjunction with the Scottish Pre-school Play Association (SPPA) or the Care and Learning Alliance (CALA). These playgroups are run by parents, who in many cases pay a trained play leader to take charge of the group. Sometimes groups are run by volunteers from the community. Playgroups belonging to the SPPA have an agreed code of practice and the organisation provides training for those working with pre-school children who wish to have it.

The private sector also offers all-day care and education, often to the children of working parents. There are also a number of pre-school education centres attached to independent (private) schools. Some industrial and commercial firms, as well as major national and local government offices, offer day-care facilities for the children of employees.

 

Staffing of early learning and childcare

Since the repeal of the Schools Code in 2002, local authorities are no longer required by statute to have a trained teacher in their nursery schools or classes. However, the Scottish Government made a commitment in 2007, within its Concordat with local government, to ensure that every pre-school child has access to a teacher registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). The Scottish Government published guidance in May 2009 for pre-school providers on the implementation of this commitment, which made clear that, where it was not possible to employ a teacher in a pre-school centre on a full-time basis, other methods of deployment such as part-time or peripatetic models should be considered. The Scottish Government has also provided funding to the Universities of Stirling and Aberdeen to develop the early years content of initial teacher education.

Many groups of social service workers are required to register with the Scottish Social Services Council if they are not already registered with another regulatory body. This includes residential childcare service workers and day care of children service workers.

Leadership in this sector is also being supported through new awards in Childhood Practice for lead practitioners and managers. The Scottish benchmark statement for development of these awards by universities and other providers, the Standard for Childhood Practice, was published in October 2007. This specifies that the awards will be work-based and at level 9 on the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (see 2.5 National Qualifications Framework). Programmes to deliver them are now available in the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, Strathclyde, the University of the Highlands and Islands, the University of the West of Scotland and the Open University.

 

Legislative references

Children and Young People Act 2014 (Act of the Scottish Parliament) : 2014, asp8.

Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (Act of Parliament) : 1968, c.49.

Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act 2000 (Act of the Scottish Parliament) : 2000, asp6.