7. Scotland's curricula, guidance frameworks and registration processes
In this section, consideration is given to current guidance and curricula frameworks towards which the ELC workforce and the OSC workforce is working. The professional standards and registration process across both workforces are then outlined and discussed, together with key issues and challenges.
7.1. ELC and OSC frameworks supporting practice
Scotland has produced a number of important practice guidance frameworks for ELC and OSC in Scotland. These have included School's Out: Framework for the Development of Out-of-School Care (Scottish Executive, 2003), Pre-Birth to Three (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010) and the Early Level (ages 3-6) of Curriculum for Excellence 3-18 (Education Scotland, 2015b) and, more recently, Building The Ambition (Scottish Government, 2014a), which was designed to build on earlier frameworks, support the policy direction of ELC as contained in the Children and Young People Act (Scotland) 2014, and give further information and practical guidance on the experiences and interactions necessary to support children's development from birth until entry to school.
The School's Out Framework (2003) for the development of OSC is not like the other frameworks included in this section which typically concentrate on ensuring high quality practice within early years settings and look specifically at aspects of the curriculum/activities and the adult's role in supporting learning and development. In terms of guidance for good practice, it includes case studies and children and young people's views on what they believe good OSC settings provide. It also considers OSC across Scotland, celebrating what was there at the time and promoting high quality settings as supporting children and families. Finally, it identifies needs and future directions: in particular, it points towards the need to ensure that vulnerable high quality OSC settings are supported to stay open, and it recognises the need for more settings suitable for older children (from 11 to 14 years), as well as the need for more settings suitable for supporting children in need and with additional support needs. While more up-to-date information is available ( e.g. Scottish Out of School Care Network, 2013; and The Play Strategy, Scottish Government, 2013) a document looking specifically at quality practices in OSC might be useful to support Scotland's vision.
9) Further develop the evidence base of high quality practice relating to the OSC workforce within Scotland, including the production of an up-to-date version of the Schools Out (2003) Framework, which offers further guidance on effective practice.
Pre-Birth to Three, Positive Outcomes for Children and Families (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010) is based on four principles of practice: the rights of the child; relationships; responsive care; and respect. This evidence-based framework gives practitioners guidance on aspects of practice such as the role of the adult, attachments, transitions; observation assessment and planning; partnership working; health and wellbeing; literacy and numeracy; environments and play. It is supported by web-based information designed to illustrate and support high quality practice with babies and young children. It is designed to link to, and underpin, the early level of the Curriculum for Excellence.
The guidance for the early level of the Curriculum for Excellence spans from three years until the end of primary 1 - the first year of school. It is designed in this way to promote continuity and progression of learning across ELC and the school sector. This framework promotes: the importance of active experiential learning; a holistic approach to learning; smooth transitions; and learning through play. Both the Pre-Birth to Three, Positive Outcomes for Children and Families and the early level Curriculum for Excellence frameworks would provide an excellent foundation for young children's learning and development if they were implemented as intended.
Building the Ambition (Scottish Government, 2014a) gives insight into the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, unpicking and explaining Scotland's vision and some of the new terminology and service directions. It explains recent key changes in policy and legislation, outlines recent research, and shares and defines important aspects of practice - including what is meant by play, attachment, pedagogy and quality. It also supports practice and pedagogy through its descriptions of the key developmental characteristics of babies, toddlers and young children - and the experiences, adults and environments that would support them. It looks particularly at experiences, adult roles and environments in relation to play and learning - and across the developmental areas of 1) wellbeing, 2) communication and 3) curiosity, inquiry and creativity.
7.2. Using policy to build understanding, a united identity and support professionalisation
Before moving away from discussions regarding current guidance frameworks within Scotland, it is important to discuss the term ELC. The change in terminology and introduction of the unique term ELC reflects the commitment in Scotland to changing and improving both attitudes towards ELC, and the conditions under which it operates. Building the Ambition (Scottish Government, 2014a) outlined the rationale for the new term ELC.
This included: first, the idea of removing the artificial dichotomy between education and care; 'most staff working with young children would not see themselves as purely offering "pre-school education" without offering "childcare" and vice versa' (p9); second, the removal of the practice of seeing education as provided only for a short period within full day care or sessions longer than two and a half hours to ensure 'the same high quality interactions and experiences throughout the sessions' (p9); third, the removal of the historical link with the term pre-school education and the view that this refers only to the year before the child enters primary school; fourth, to extend the term 'childcare' so that it no longer equated purely with dealing with physical needs such as washing, feeding, nurturing.
ELC is, therefore, a much broader term which suggests that learning and childcare are indivisible and should be seamless. Problems around the understanding of what constitutes early education and care are not exclusive to Scotland, indeed it mirrors the journeys of many other European countries (see OECD, 2006) which have chosen to use the term Early Childhood Education and Care ( ECEC).
The term ELC workforce signifies a move away from some of the older terms such as 'minding', 'nursing' and 'care' which suggest a one way relationship between adult and child. Interestingly, in their responses to the second call for evidence on the consultation hub, many childminders commented on how they were perceived by the general public and felt that their name could be misleading. A large number (21/25) felt that they were not recognised for the quality or professionalism of the service they provided. Only 4/25 alluded to any recent changes in attitudes towards them, and they suggested that such changes were due to the hard work of services such as SCMA, the Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Government.
Over half of the childminders, however, used the term 'babysitter', or a variant thereof, to describe the way that the general public perceived their role. A few suggested that an appropriate alternative name for them might be 'early childhood educators', but none included the term ELC in their hub responses. Similarly, the OSC workforce still appeared to see themselves as separate from, and different to, their early years colleagues. They also suggested that their professionalism was not recognised by the general public. A slightly different and more optimistic view was found among the staff working within early years centre provision, where several felt there had been a recent shift in understanding by the parents/carers with whom they worked. They attributed this to the qualifications they had achieved, with the BA Childhood Practice being cited by many. Clearly this term is part of a new language for Scotland, and Scotland is still in a transitional stage and will need time for it to embed.
Defining and discussing ELC is important, as the myth that anyone can care for children and support their learning and development needs dispelling. Such discussion could support a move away from the historically inaccurate view of young children's learning being solely the responsibility of their parents/carers and seen merely as the natural 'work' of their mothers/carers (see research literature). This misunderstanding of the vital role that highly qualified experienced and knowledgeable ELC and OSC practitioners can play in supporting and extending children's learning and development, and closing the gap of disadvantage, is not necessarily confined to the general public. While they were in the minority, a few childminders and OSC workers did not necessarily recognise or value their contribution to children's learning and development. See below:
' OSC is neither educational nor a Social Work environment striving towards outcomes. It is simply a place where children are safe and should be able to switch off from the pressures of the day and have fun.' ( OSC practitioner's response to the second call for evidence)
While others recognized the fundamental differences between an OSC environment and a school or early years centre, they also recognised that children can and do learn in safe unpressurised environments while they are having fun, and saw this as an important part of their role.
Generally, a number of practitioners and stakeholder institutions suggested thatthere should be greater understanding of the valuable impact ELC and OSC could have:
'Further work is required to communicate the pivotal role of the Early Years workforce and the impact that early education "in the round" has on the life chances of young people. There is a requirement to educate further the full range of stakeholders regarding the contribution made by Early Years staff to the health, wellbeing, learning and life chances of the future nation' ( GTCS response to the first call for evidence).
10) Further discussion at a national level of, and strategic professional development around, the term ELC to support the understanding of the importance of highly qualified, knowledgeable and effective ELC and OSC practitioners.
Some other responses to the hub and discussions suggested that some of the key stakeholders, for example, some primary head teachers, were also not aware of the value of ELC and also possibly did not understand what effective ELC practice should look like. On occasion, this led to them mistakenly imposing formal and didactic approaches to the teaching and learning of their youngest children within their schools. This is especially concerning where primary schools have nursery classes, but is relevant to all primary schools as they all include primary 1 classes.
Further, staff working within ELC in some primary schools were not afforded the same opportunities of promotion or career progression as the other staff. While this did appear to be a genuine issue, it is worth noting that there were also exceptions where Head Teachers celebrated the work of their nursery staff, and the teachers working in ELC were promoted, for example to depute roles, in the hope that the pedagogy and practice within early years would spread across the school.
'Teachers or Head Teachers with a responsibility for early years, need to have the experience of working in this holistic way, with the child at the centre to ensure that their practice is appropriate for early years settings. The early years need to be managed by someone with the direct experience of good practice in the classroom within the early years. This has a huge impact on all staff working within an establishment, and the depth of knowledge needed to develop the practice.' (Head Teacher response to first call)
11) Design and deliver compulsory training for primary head teachers on why ELC is important for Scotland's future, what effective early years pedagogy and practice looks like, and how this sets the foundations for future learning for Curriculum for Excellence.
7.3. The ELC and OSC workforces
Consideration of the international literature shows that there is some confusion generally over terminology when discussing the adults who care for children other than their parents/main carers. There are both informal and formal childcare arrangements which parents/main carers use to support them into work and/or for respite or to allow them to pursue leisure activities. The term ELC was coined as a way of supporting the professionalisation of the formal workforce and forging a group identity (Scottish Government, 2014b). The term ELC includes all of the adults working within local authority settings, nursery schools and classes as well as third sector settings. The last National Review of the Early Years and Childcare Workforce (Scottish Executive, 2006), defined the ELC workforce as those working in early learning and childcare, out of school and play work and childminders (they did not include qualified early years teachers in their Review but they did recognise them as part of the workforce). This section of the report will consider these members of the workforce and the processes of registration (including the professional standards they need to achieve) which allow them to work within their respective workplaces.
7.4. Registration with SSSC
In Scotland, there has been recognition in recent years of the importance of standardising and establishing a clear career, including having a registration process with associated qualifications and training pathways, for ELC and OSC workers. In particular, this has led to the establishment of a regulatory body which could oversee and support the workforce. The Scottish Social Services Council ( SSSC) was created in 2001 under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 by the Scottish Executive with a remit of protecting service users, raising standards, and strengthening and supporting the professionalisation of the workforce. They work towards the following principles:
- Promote high standards of conduct and practice among social service workers and their education and training
- Maintain a register of social workers, social service workers and social work students
- Remove people from the SSSC register
- Approve a variety of courses for people who wish to work in the social services sector
- Provide grants and allowances for social service workers' training
SSSC produces the Code of Practice for Social Service workers and employers. The Code of Practice was developed together with their relevant partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They opened their register of Social Service Workers (Register) in 2003 which now includes the following:
- Social work students
- Care Inspectorate officers
- Workers in residential child care services
- Managers in adult day care services
- Workers in care homes services for adults
- Workers in day care of children's services
- Workers in school hostels, residential special schools and independent boarding schools
- Workers in housing support service
- Workers in care at home services ( SSSC, 2014)
Currently, over 189,000 people are working in the social service sector - with 88,000 registered. As the list above details, this includes people working in social work, social care and a number of different settings, including those working in care home services for adults, children and young people; those working with adults, children and young people in their own communities; and those working in out of school clubs or early years settings such as nurseries. ELC and OSC workers are registered under the section: workers in day care of children's services, which currently includes around 30,000 people and excludes qualified teachers (see section on qualified teachers) and childminders (see section on Care Inspectorate). Childminders are individually registered with, and inspected by, the Care Inspectorate and not the SSSC. They are seen, however, as an important part of the ELC workforce and were included in the National Review of the Early Years and Childcare Workforce (Scottish Executive, 2006), the results of which had far reaching effects on policy in Scotland.
The National Review of the Early Years and Childcare Workforce (Scottish Executive, 2006) recommended the implementation of a roles and responsibilities framework for all early years staff (except teachers and childminders) and OSC workers. This framework identified three levels of worker and their associated roles within their setting: support worker, practitioner and lead practitioner/manager of service. Each of these roles and levels were linked to the registration processes conducted by Scottish Social Services Council ( SSSC).
'Support workers are workers who have delegated responsibility for providing care and support to children.
'Practitioners are workers who identify and meet the care, support and learning needs of children and contribute to the development and quality assurance of informal learning activities and/or curriculum. They may also be responsible for the supervision of other workers.
'Managers/lead practitioners are workers who hold responsibilities for the overall development, management and quality assurance of service provision including the supervision of staff and the management of resources.' (Donnelley, 2009 p42)
The defined roles were generic across the early years and OSC workforces, each with accompanying knowledge and skills which would be developed through the appropriate set of qualifications. These roles were then aligned to the The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ( SCQF), which is explored in more detail in the section considering qualifications. Workers at each level are expected to gain the appropriate qualifications or be working towards them in order to satisfy registration. So support workers are expected to achieve a qualification at SCQF Level 6 ( SVQ2); practitioners are expected to achieve appropriate qualifications at SCQF Level 7 ( SVQ3/ HNC); and managers/lead practitioners at SCQF Level 9 (an ordinary degree or work-based equivalent).
The SSSC also undertakes the functions of the Sector Skills Council, Skills for Care and Development, which includes workforce planning and development with employers for other groups of workers, including childminders. This national body has an important role in ensuring the regulation, training and education of the early years workforce and seeks to promote continued education and training. Given that SSSC has this important role in the training and education of childminders, it seems unusual that they do not register them.
7.5. The Standard for Childhood Practice
The Scottish subject benchmark statement, The Standard for Childhood Practice (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 2007) outlined the skills, knowledge etc. identified as being vital for the manager/lead practitioner role, when working with children aged birth to 16 years in a wide age range of different settings. It was designed to act as a benchmark for the qualifications that were subsequently developed within higher education and that would entitle a practitioner to register as a manager/lead practitioner with SSSC.
As a result, it needed to reflect a large number of different standards:
- The National Occupational Standards for Children's Care, Learning and Development
- The National Occupational Standards for Playwork
- The Roles and Responsibilities Framework developed as part of the National Review of the Early Years and Childcare Workforce in Scotland
- The Early Years Professional National Standards of the Children's Workforce Development Council
- The National Care Standards for Early Education and Childcare up to the age of 16 of the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care
- The National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 2007, p4)
In addition, the Standard for Childhood Practice sat within a policy context and was linked to other strategic developments across the Scottish Government including National Priorities in Education; A Curriculum for Excellence; A Smart, Successful Scotland; Closing the Opportunity Gap; and C hoosing our Future: Scotland's Sustainable Development Strategy.
The Standard for Childhood Practice followed a similar pattern to the professional standards developed for teachers and social workers, and comprised a set of attributes and capabilities divided into the three elements of: Professional Values and Personal Commitment; Personal Knowledge and Understanding; and Professional Skills and Abilities. Then, within each of these, there were expected features which clarified and illustrated aspects of the learner's performance that the programme/qualification should be designed to achieve. The Standard for Childhood Practice was necessarily generic in its approach and coverage due to the age range and diversity of settings for which it was designed.
In the National Review of the Early Years and Childcare Workforce, there was discussion around developing a 'pedagogue' role, someone who may be able to work with children and adults across a range of settings including in the early years and with school aged children. Such a person would be able to 'work with the whole child with the emphasis on living beside children and working through situations and relationships, recognising that learning and care are inseparable. Their work is based around children's upbringing; how children develop their identity and relationships as part of their community and wider society' (Scottish Executive, 2006, p50).
While this may support collaboration, understanding of differing roles across the children and young people sector, and the retention of qualified staff, it is interesting to note that the practitioners appeared to identify strongly with what they perceived as their own workforces (Out of School Care, childminders and early years practitioners) in the Review. While there were many common skills identified as important for them, they also identified their own particular expertise, challenges and needs (see section on qualifications).
Analysis of the Standard for Childhood Practice suggests that the values and commitment aspects of the Standard would be appropriate for all caring professions; and the emphasis on children and young people's rights, including the importance of giving them a voice, the collaborative working, the depth of reflection and the skills of evaluation would no doubt be valuable for all sectors working with children and young people. In addition, the Standard contains elements identified within the National Care Standards for Early Education and Childcare up to the age of 16 of the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Donnelley, 2009) and drawn from the discourse on effective early years pedagogy in the research literature (see the section What does the Scottish and International Research literature reveal about supporting young children's learning? and OECD, 2012; Scottish Government 2014c).
Those features of process quality and effective pedagogy which research suggests will have a direct impact on children's learning outcomes, and which support practitioners in engaging children in meaningful activities that could promote their conceptual understanding in language, early literacy, early numeracy and early science and exploration and constructing positive adult-child relationships, are also present. The Standard for Childhood Practice is extensive and covers both generic and specific aspects (including 24 main elements, each with between four and eight expected features). While this is a strength, the sheer number of attributes and capabilities may lead some people to focus on some elements more than others (see the section Current degree level qualifications).
The Standard for Childhood Practice was designed specifically to inform qualifications at SCQF Level 9 and degree level practitioners. It is, however, also the Standard that all providers of qualifications within ELC and OSC look towards to ensure that their qualifications are fit for purpose. Earlier qualifications need to evidence how they map into the Standard for Childhood Practice if they are to be acknowledged as prior learning credit for the BA Childhood Practice/ PDA Level 9. It would therefore be useful to give some additional guidance, standards or benchmarks which are specifically suited to earlier levels of qualifications.
Early Years Scotland suggested while discussing the Standard for Childhood Practice 'Early Years Scotland considers this (benchmark) model to be effective and would suggest that a similar approach is taken to identifying and agreeing a benchmark statement for Level 7. This would clearly need to be developed in line with the national occupational standards ( NOS)' (Early Years Scotland response to the first call for evidence).
12) SSSC, in collaboration with associate bodies and other stakeholders, to develop standards for/guidance on the core skills, attributes, dispositions and knowledge that would be appropriate for 'practitioner' and 'support worker' roles within the ELC and OSC workforces to achieve.
7.6. Registration with Care Inspectorate
While childminders were included within the 2006 review, discussed above, and the roles and linked qualifications were deemed to be appropriate for them to follow, there was also recognition of their unique position. Childminders are often the sole worker in their setting and, as such, may take on all the roles (manager/lead practitioner, practitioner and support worker) at some point. It is also perhaps more difficult for them to attend training and education and to study for qualifications as sole workers. They were, therefore, not required to gain the qualifications allied to the roles for registration purposes or to register with SSSC.
Currently, childminders are registered with the Care Inspectorate and are inspected by the Care Inspectorate using an inspection process adapted from those used for other ELC and OSC settings. As such, childminders do not have any requirements to undertake qualifications in order to register, and are not even required to undertake a short initial training - as is typically the case in other countries ( OECD, 2012). Interestingly, reduced requirements for childminders are a problem for many countries ( OECD, 2012). This anomaly across ELC and OSC within Scotland may lead to some fragmentation of the workforce and to a more diverse workforce in terms of quality.
The need for change is recognised by the childminders themselves, and by SCMA and their members, who advocate making induction or pre-registration training a requirement for registration. This current lack of training could be a particular concern in Scotland as choice of childcare is limited mostly to childminders in more rural areas, with very few OSC settings. Also, the demand for childminders is likely to increase when entitlements to childcare are increased, with childminders more likely to offer services to the youngest and most vulnerable children in Scotland.
In childminders' responses to the second call for evidence on the government hub, concern was raised about the importance of initial training. There were a considerable number of childminders, especially amongst those who had qualifications themselves or who were studying for them, who suggested that adequate training was important for high quality services. In addition, several suggested that pre-registration training should be compulsory and cover all aspects of the work. They felt this would support commitment to, and an understanding of, the role as well as supporting high standards. Interestingly, SCMA report that those childminders who attended induction training are also more likely to attend follow-on training in the future.
Further, several childminders suggested that they would welcome the opportunity to register with SSSC, as they felt this would support their professionalism and give some recognition for the qualifications they had undertaken. See below:
'Childminders who have achieved SVQ 2/3 or above being able to register with SSSC so that they are recognised as a valued member of the early years workforce therefore opening up pathways within early years.' (Childminder, response to the second call for evidence)
And although these childminders specifically talked about the wish to receive recognition from the Government, their sentiments were similar. See below:
'It would be wonderful if the good work we do could be recognised by the Government.' (Childminder, response to the first call for evidence)
'…would like to see government value the professionalism and the care and commitment given by childminders.' (Childminder, response to the second call for evidence)
This evidence suggests that further consideration of the unifying definition of the ELC profession and associated roles and responsibilities framework may be useful, to further promote the integration of the workforce and ensure the inclusion of all staff.
13) Make induction or pre-registration training a requirement for registration to provide a childminding service under the Public Services Reform Act.
14) Include childminders on the same register with the same conditions as the majority of the ELC workforce (i.e. with SSSC), particularly community childminders; those commissioned to deliver the funded hours of ELC; and those providing specialist high quality services, and invest in and build upon
7.7. Registration with the General Teaching Council ( GTCS)
The General Teaching Council Scotland ( GTCS) is the registration body for teachers in Scotland and was established in 1965 under the Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1965. It became independent in 2012 and was the first independent professional regulatory body for teachers. It sets the Guidelines for Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland ( GTCS, 2013), accredits all initial teacher education courses in Scotland and sets the standard for Provisional Registration ( GTCS, 2012). The GTCS also sets the standard for full registration ( GTCS, 2012) which is awarded to newly qualified teachers who have successfully completed a period of probation. Currently, every successful initial teacher education graduate is offered a guaranteed year of teaching in which to achieve the Standard for Full Registration ( GTCS, 2012).
7.8. The Standard for Provisional Registration ( SPR) and The Standard for Full Registration ( SFR)
The Standard for Provisional Registration ( SPR) is the Standard which every student successfully completing a programme of Initial Teacher Education in a university in Scotland must meet in order to function as a Probationer teacher. It is strongly influenced by the Scottish cultural and social policy context. Like the Standard for Childhood Practice, it is subdivided into Professional Knowledge and Understanding; Professional Skills and Abilities and Professional Values and Personal Commitment. It is underpinned by the values associated with the rights of the child, and with collaborative working with colleagues, other agencies and with various members of the community. It also promotes a strong commitment to career-long professional learning and reflective teaching. In addition, there is a strong focus on the curriculum, communication, assessment, planning and progression. These areas and themes are also found in the Standard for Full Registration ( SFR) for Teachers in Scotland.
Consideration of the SPR and SFR reveals that they cover similar ground to the Standard for Childhood Practice, but with a particular focus on aspects considered important to enhance children's learning and developments identified and discussed in the research literature. Across Scotland, however, there has been a move away from employing teachers in ELC on a full-time basis, and it is no longer enshrined in law that children who are not yet of mandatory school age need to have access to a teacher on a day-to-day basis. Given this move, it is important that the Scottish Government ensures this focus is still present within ELC settings (see section on Qualifications).
As discussed earlier, there is a recurrent theme within this Review and a real concern that the specific skills, attributes, dispositions and knowledge necessary to support and enhance children's learning and development within this age group birth-6 is being overlooked. Many responses and discussions have included the notion of re-focusing within ELC to early learning and development (see recommendation 8). It is therefore of concern that numbers of appropriately qualified and experienced teachers are reducing.
Several responses to the hub and discussions within the Review pointed to the reduction in teachers and offered some possible reasons.
'…the workforce includes a diminishing number of teachers, linked to the cost of teachers and the Scottish Government devolving responsibility for deciding whether children have teacher contact time to local authorities' (Early Years Network response to first call)
They also made connections to the inflexibility of working conditions which would become even more evident if the entitlements to ELC are increased - in line with the Scottish Government's pledge to significantly increase funded provision in future.
While discussing the reduction in teachers, the Early Years Network suggested this may be '…possibly because the 600 hours, no longer fits with teacher contracts.' (Early Years Network response to the hub second call)
And COSLA also noted the importance of flexibility:
' COSLA believes that to ensure those outcomes are achieved for all children, it is vital to have a suitably qualified mixed workforce. Moreover, we have always held the view that flexibility is vital and it is the responsibility of councils to decide the most appropriate mix of staff for early years settings and who to employ in order to achieve positive outcomes for children in their council areas.' ( COSLA initial response to the call for evidence)
They pointed to the importance of a suitably qualified mixed workforce which is also discussed in the research literature. With regards to the mixed workforce, one member of the Core Reference Group during the development of the Review, considered the unique and important role teachers play within ELC: 'if we lose the single professional that bridges pre-school and school (the GTCS registered teacher) we may find a separation of the early childhood sector from the school sector, and this is at a time when in Scotland we at last have a curriculum that spans the sectors… we have the potential for continuity and risk losing it. Transitions research shows the strengths of tightly coupled systems for improved child outcomes'.
There appears to be some tension here, as teachers' registration, pay and conditions are very different to other staff working within the ELC sector. On occasion, the Review discussed these tensions with teachers - and many of the responses to the hub also touched upon this debate. Existing teachers in the workforce were particularly concerned about their current and reducing numbers and status within ELC. Interestingly, some teachers appeared open to flexible working conditions, while others felt strongly that the national agreement was part of their professional teacher identity and entitlement.
However, discussion with relevant bodies and the teachers themselves made it clear that many teachers working in the Scottish educational system already have different terms and conditions to the majority of teachers.
An open debate here, including a discussion on the flexibility in working conditions, seems important if teachers are to remain working in ELC with daily contact with the children and families/carers.
15) Support and develop the role of appropriately qualified teachers working within ELC settings, moving their professional relationships with the rest of the ELC in positive directions. If the role of the teacher working face-to-face with children under 5 years is to continue, there will need to be additional agreements regarding flexibility of working conditions (so that they suit working conditions in settings which are not schools) and better career opportunities and progression.
Scottish Government to take the lead in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), and begin discussions and debate around teachers working in ELC.
While it does appear to be an anomaly for members of the same workforce to be registered by different bodies, especially when collaboration and the professionalisation of the workforce are considered, it reflects the different backgrounds of the staff and their training. Registration is closely linked to the professional standards of the role, and to other practical aspects such as pay and conditions of service. While, ideally, staff working together in ELC and OSC establishments should be brought together to promote collaboration and to provide a unified and flexible service for the children and families they serve this is not always possible or desirable.
The Review did not want to suggest a change that would disadvantage staff and a large part of the process was dedicated to listening to the staff themselves. This is why the suggestions for the two groups of staff whose registration processes are different to the majority of the workforce, who are registered with SSSC, are different. While childminders themselves called for a change, the teachers did not. In addition, it is clear that aspects of practice which cause concern, such as inflexibility in working conditions for qualified teachers, can be negotiated separately to registration. Whereas, registration with a large organisation, such as SSSC, who supports qualification development and champions the people registered with them - recognising their professionalism, lobbying for better pay and conditions and so on - could support childminders.