Attendees and apologies
- Aileen Campbell (Chair – items 5 and 6), Minister for Children and Young People
- Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland
- Lesley Brown, Education Scotland
- Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland
- Davina Coupar, West College Scotland
- Valerie Gale, CALA
- Lesley Gibb, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland
- Neil Mathers, Save the Children
- Gerry McLaughlin, NHS Health Scotland
- Fiona McQueen, Scottish Government’s Chief Nursing Officer
- Ann McSorley for Anna Fowlie, Scottish Social Services Council
- Kevin Mitchell, Care Inspectorate
- Robert Nicol, CoSLA
- Satwat Rehman, One Parent Families Scotland
- Bruce Robertson, ELC Strategic Evidence Group
- Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
- Maggie Simpson, Scottish Childminding Association
- Christine Stephen, Stirling University
- Julie Wild, National Parent Forum of Scotland
- Purnima Tanuku, National Day Nurseries Association Scotland
- Sam Anson (acting chair – items 1-4), Scottish Government
- Katherine Tierney, Scottish Government
- Jeff Maguire (minutes), Scottish Government
- Manuel Proemel, Scottish Government
- Irene Audain, Scottish Out of School Care Network
- Anna Fowlie, Scottish Social Services Council
- Julia Unwin, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- Ann Henderson, Scottish Trades Union Congress
Items and actions
Item 1 - Welcome and introductions
Sam Anson welcomed everyone on the Minister’s behalf, explaining that she had been delayed due to unforeseen issues.
He said that the principal topic for discussion today would be the expansion to 1140 hours by 2020, and our planning for this - oversight of which will be a key area of the Forum’s interest going forward. Sam invited round-table introductions given that there were some new faces around the table.
Item 2 - Minutes of last meeting and review of actions
The minute of the previous meeting was approved without revisions. Sam then ran through the action points, all of which had been actioned or were in train. Action 5 on developing a new framework for out of school care was remitted to the next meeting given SOSCN’s apologies. Sam also stated that as well as undertaking discussions to find a suitable representative from employers organisations/business, an offer had been made to SOLACE to join the Forum to help to join up wider SG and LG partnership working.
Post meeting addendum: Angela Leitch (East Lothian and SOLACE’s strategic lead on Children and Young People) has agreed to join the Forum.
Item 3 - Remit of the ELC Strategic Forum – Terms of Reference (paper 2/2)
Sam introduced this item by saying that the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) was developed from the overview and remit paper (1/1), and the discussion of this, at the first meeting. Differences of opinion will be inevitable around the table, with the Forum encouraged to acknowledge these, surface any tensions as soon as possible and then aim to resolve them collectively in an open and frank manner. A brief description of the remits of the other groups involved in governance – the Strategic Evidence Group; 1140 Hours Project Board; and the Workforce & Quality Group - was given.
Main points made in ensuing discussion:
- there was a discussion about how much detail the Forum would be given. Sam confirmed that the Forum would not project manage the work as such, and not be accountable for its success, but would have a strong advisory function. The financial review announced recently would be project managed by SG analytical services under a small steering group
- the Forum needs to keep a focus on targeted provision for the most disadvantaged, not just universal provision. This was a key point which emerged from the Summit
- it was agreed that it would be useful to establish a sub-group to flesh out what we mean by the 5 objectives contained within the Forum’s remit, and specifically points 1 and 3 pertaining to a strategic approach for a holistic ELC and OOSC system. A number of members offered to be part of this work. Bruce Robertson offered to facilitate this work – including through co-opting the Strategic Evidence Group which he chairs. A cross section of interests should be involved in the sub-group
- forum members agreed to review the Forum’s impact in 18 months
Sam concluded this item by stating that it would be important to keep the ToR fluid as the Forum progressed.
Action 1 – Sub-group to be convened by Bruce Robertson to produce a paper to develop our collective thinking around the approach to ELC and OOSC (including leading a workshop-type session at a forthcoming Forum meeting). The intended outcome of this work will be a shared strategy and common understanding around our terminology and remit.
Item 4 - 1140 hours’ work plan (Paper 2 / 3)
Sam referred everyone to paper 2 / 3, which overlapped with National Summit outcomes (Paper 2/4 – next item). He briefly described the benefits of structuring the work plan into sub-projects, principally in terms of making the work seem more manageable, then talked members through the key areas of interest for the 5 sub-projects (Evidence, Policy Vision, Project Management, Infrastructure Delivery and Workforce Delivery). He also highlighted the importance of looking at inter-dependencies within the workplan, which Annex A of the paper attempts to capture.
Main points made in ensuing discussion:
- forward planning for workforce was crucial, linking with the colleges and third sector bodies. Consideration of different delivery models was important, for example Gaelic provision. It would be useful to have some input on workforce developments at future meetings
- other interdependencies out with our immediate concerns are also important – Curriculum for Excellence/the Senior Phase, Health and Social Care, career options and pathways etc were all important areas which impacted on our area.
- re: ELC workforce, it is important to target others as well as school leavers e.g. adult returners etc, and consider diversity issues. Important to build on the more flexible provision now being offered by colleges etc, and the range of qualifications now available. Key role of CPD too.
- communications efforts need to aim to improve parents’ understanding of the sector. Links with SDS’s careers guidance work should be made. The NPFS would be happy to help with communications work, as would Save the Children in terms of reaching more disadvantaged parents/carers.
- interdependencies with wider education developments e.g. the work on learner journeys and the National Improvement Framework, plus developments in inspection approaches, need to be factored into our planning.
Action 2 – SG ELC Team to provide short input at next meeting on workforce developments, in recognition of the complexity of this sub-project, with accompanying paper.
Item 5 - Key themes from the ELC National Summit (Paper 2 / 4)
The Minister arrived at this point and took over as chair. She referred everyone to Paper 2 / 4, which provides a summary of the key themes which emerged from the National Summit held on 25 Feb, and an accompanying initial SWOT analysis developed from the interactive workshop session at the Summit. She said that she had received good feedback from the event, and that participants had clearly got a lot out of the day. She invited comments on the paper, and how the Forum could take this learning forward.
Main points made in ensuing discussion:
- in terms of operational alignment across SG and LG, the Minister said that this was a broad area which could encompass areas such as use of childminders, flexibility and engaging with parents, quality, consistency and ensuring that the levels of investment being made reflect the priority given to this area and meet family needs
- the strength identified in the SWOT analysis regarding density of daycare provision, while generally true, may not apply to all parts of the country
- social enterprises could have a key role to play in delivery, although this appears to be underdeveloped at the moment
- both the lack of flexibility within LAs and inspection as a barrier were challenged, and the issue of universality versus targeted interventions was raised
- the experience of the child is crucial in all of this but was felt to be underplayed within the paper/SWOT analysis, as was parental engagement. Communications work with parents needs to start now and be sustained
- there is a danger that the speed of delivery will get in the way of a proper analysis and understanding of issues like optimum number of hours of ELC for children and what high quality environments look like. Maggie Simpson and Christine Stephen said that they would have a think about this, particularly in terms of a high quality experience for two-year-olds, and report back at the next meeting
- the trials will likely help identify good practice in terms of flexibility. It is important to share learning and reflect on when things go wrong as well as when they go well, and the reasons for this
- putting in place the necessary infrastructure to support EY leads within LAs was considered important, building on the positive spirit of the National Summit
- a robust evaluation of the impact of the policy will be an important part of the work going forward. The group were challenged to identify what we can do as a group now to inform policy development in advance of a post-implementation evaluation. Looking at the existing evidence around outcomes for two-year-olds e.g. GUS, Naomi Eisenstadt’s work etc was suggested as one area to explore in more detail
- the role of the inspectorates to add value and improve quality needs to be better understood – there is an ongoing ‘myth-busting’ challenge for ES and CI to address. It would be useful for the inspectorates to meet with ADES networks to help with this work, and address ongoing concerns at LA level around e.g. infrastructure expansion
- the Minister highlighted the importance of working with parent groups, and developing a dynamic dialogue which went beyond mere consultation and into proper co-design and co-production. Forum members’ key role in disseminating information and developments to members and networks etc was important, however more thought should be given on how to genuinely engage parents and others in the process. It was suggested that member organisations could keep an ‘issues log’ to highlight key areas of interest and/or concern. A list of communications channels from Forum members would also be useful
Action 3 – The Minister asked Forum members to think about how we can involve parents and young people in developing our work going forward, and be prepared to discuss this at the next meeting.
Action 4 – SG officials to work with Forum members to develop a list of communications channels from across Forum members e.g. Early Years Scotland’s magazines for practitioners and parents, which could feature an article from the Forum describing our role and why we are expanding ELC.
Action 5 - Maggie Simpson and Christine Stephen said that they would have a think about optimum number of hours of ELC for children, particularly in terms of a high quality, child-centred experience for two-year-olds, and report back at the next meeting.
Item 6 – AOB
The Minister provided a report of her meeting with Priti Patel MP, UK Minister for Employment, which occurred as a follow up to a Children in Scotland event in September at which both Ministers spoke. The meeting covered sharing information with parents on developments with the range of current and future childcare supports e.g. Tax Free Childcare; sharing data on two-year-olds; and Barnett Consequentials flowing from the Childcare Bill. A follow up meeting with Sam Gyimah, the UK Gov Minister for Childcare and Education, was suggested for after the election.
The Minister confirmed that the next meeting will take place after the election. The Minister thanked everyone for their constructive contributions and wished them a safe onward journey.
Summary of actions
- Sub-group to be convened by Bruce Robertson to produce a paper to develop our collective thinking around the approach to ELC and OOSC (including leading a workshop-type session at a forthcoming Forum meeting). The intended outcome of this work will be a shared strategy and common understanding around our terminology and remit. Bruce Robertson
- SG ELC Team to provide short input at next meeting on workforce developments, in recognition of the complexity of this sub-project, with accompanying paper. SG officials
- The Minister asked Forum members to think about how we can involve parents and young people in developing our work going forward, and be prepared to discuss this at the next meeting. Forum members
- SG officials to work with Forum members to develop a list of communications channels from across Forum members e.g. Early Years Scotland’s magazines for practitioners and parents, which could feature an article from the Forum describing our role and why we are expanding ELC. SG officials/Forum members
- Maggie Simpson and Christine Stephen said that they would have a think about optimum number of hours of ELC for children, particularly in terms of a high quality, child-centred experience for two-year-olds, and report back at the next meeting. Maggie Simpson and Christine Stephen
Telephone: 0131 244 5370
Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Programme