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Consultation Questions

1. How do we ensure children are fully supported at the transition stages throughout their early-learner journey? What support should be provided to ensure that the ELC workforce and teachers have the skills, knowledge and capacity to support transitions?

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The Common Weal: ‘An Equal Start’ Report Argued; ‘The transition from childcare to primary school should also be integrated into the early years curriculum. Smoothing the transition can be very important for the confidence of children in what can otherwise be traumatic if there is not a degree of continuity. There should also be flexibility around the starting point of school that takes into account the wishes of children and parents. In particular, a ground swell of support is emerging for moving the school starting age to seven (Palmer, 2016.) The Scottish Government should set up a committee to review the pros and cons of this structural change and make recommendations for the way forward.’ Dunlop (2002) highlighted an example in Scotland where children were invited to the primary school they would soon be attending on four weekly visits. The visiting children carried out activities alongside the children currently attending the primary school to grow accustomed to the environment. Strong links between primary schools and childcare centres can therefore help this process, as well as policy links in developing primary school and early years curriculum. Recent research at the University of Edinburgh (McNair, 2016) has also highlighted a lack of children’s involvement in processes of transition, parental exclusion from decision making on deferred entry and a lack of continuity concerning flexible/child-led curriculum. Principle component analysis (Fiesta, 2014) regarding the successful transition of disabled children indicated that parents believed the key factors to be that organisations: adopted a child-inclusive ethos; enabled children’s autonomy and participation; ensured parents were involved in transition decisions; and made sure that collaborative planning took place at the earliest opportunity and was regularly evaluated. In addition to these factors, professionals suggested that experience of working through issues of transition, organisational values/characteristics and post and pre-qualification training were also important factors. Transition research (Davis et al 2014) highlights the importance of community-based democratic practise in early learning and care centres. It helps to connect our ideas for reform of the early learning and care sector to our recommendation for wider reforms concerning democracy and social justice in local communities. The shift to a universal service should produce structures that are flexible, promote local decision making, and enable local professionals to effectively collaborate with local people to meet their needs when they arise.’ The FIESTA EU research project carried out quantitative and qualitative research with children and parents, education, health and social work professionals from 8 EU member states (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, The Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the UK). The FIESTA EU research project argued: We need to ensure that children and parents take an active role in planning and leading participatory transition processes that attend to children’s rights. Yet almost two thirds of disabled children were not involved in planning about transition. The FIESTA Best Practice report argued that deficit model approaches based on the concept that the professional knows best, prevent processes of transition from being based on the aspirations, views and ideas of parents and children. The ‘professional expert’ model also prevents collaboration between different professionals and a shift in power relations in local settings (e.g. that enable disabled children to adopt leadership roles). It illustrated that professionals connect Best Practice on transition to issues of rights, equity and flexible pedagogy and that transition is not a linear process but rather is holistic and requires a collaborative approach. It also demonstrated a need for increased training on transition. In particular it recommended that participants discuss the implications of different conceptual approaches and recognise where they inhibit or support collaborative planning. In relation to Best Practice around structures of inclusion, integration and transition. The FIESTA project demonstrated the need to have accessible structures (including accessible equipment, staffing schedules, training), and to have flexible local and national policies. It concluded that Best Practice involved early planning, local dialogue, and flexible pedagogy and once again confirmed the view that transition is not linear but is a holistic process. It argued that parents and children should receive tailored rather than generic documentations and that they can be active participants in designing, planning, reviewing and implementing adaptations that aim to promote transition. The FIESTA project highlighted the important role of the key professional coordinator who helps families negotiate their way through local systems, promotes parent/child choice and enables resources to be moved quickly to respond to issues that arise from planning meetings. Children who participated in the FIESTA project identified positive transition with ‘equal opportunities’, accessible buildings and being able to participate in as full a range of activities as possible. The FIESTA best practice report concluded by suggesting that more focussed professional training is required on how to develop a flexible curriculum, within the context of recognising that some professionals are prevented by national policies from developing flexible local solutions. It also stressed the importance of participation and involvement, suggesting there were problems with professional led transition and contrasted it with parent partnership and child led /peer support transition. It concluded, there was a need for holistic professional collaboration, clear avenues of communication, supportive policies on information sharing, shared goals, timely evaluation, strong relationships, whole community support and contemporary training for professional staff on best participatory practice. The FIESTA report produced a set of recommendations for School Leaders and Policy Makers, for School Teachers, other out of school agencies, for professionals, families and children and concluded by advocating that process of transition adopt the following key Best Practices: 1. Formal Transition Framework Develop a formal transition framework which is flexible to the individual needs of children with additional support requirements and adaptable based on national policies. A framework that details pre‐transition preparations and post transition evaluation to ensure successful transition and meaningful inclusion. 2. Holistic Approach Recognise the educational, psychological, social and cultural contexts of a child with additional support requirements and their families which will provide a holistic approach to learning and remove barriers for learning. 3. Participation Ensure children with additional support requirements and their parents are involved and are at the centre of all decisions that affect them. 4. Tailor Made Facilitate children with additional support requirements through bespoke approaches and pedagogy tailored to their individual requirements. 5. Information Provide relevant, up to date, timely information to children with additional needs and their parents in an accessible manner. 6. Key Worker Formalise a key working system (point of contact) for children with additional support requirements and their parents to support them throughout the transition process. The key worker is an essential role for all professionals to liaise with and communicate with ensuring a clear pathway of communication for all. Other research into transition comes to similar findings: Dr Lynn McNair’s research at the University of Edinburgh (McNair 2016) illustrated that the voices of children and their parents were not routinely included in transition policy formation, resulting in them being excluded from the process. This was particularly notable with reference to children’s age and school starting times. School starting age, it emerged, was fundamental to transition (Crinic & Lamberty, 1994). With some children accepting that when they were five years old they would go to school, it was their rite of passage (Vizedom & Caffe, 2010), while other children expressed they would appreciate more say in when they started school. This is important, as children were verbally articulate on why they wanted or did not want to go to school – the reasons they gave were rational and logical (Tisdall, Davis & Prout, 2006; Tisdall, Davis & Gallagher, 2009). This suggested that children proactively made decisions about their preferences in going to school. In connection with this, McNair’s analysis showed that policy-makers made assumptions about what children could do at a specific age and subsequently children were homogenised (Sher, 2013). McNair’s research particularly focused in particular upon the deferral systems in place and the formal written applications made by parents to the local authority. One of the main objectives of the deferral system, in the local authority McNair studied was to reduce deferrals in the forthcoming year. She discovered a flaw in the system from a children’s rights perspective: policy-makers and those in authority (people unknown to the child) made life-changing decisions to suit the system not the child. This illustrated a clear example of power exercised over children and parents as an increasing number of requests were arbitrarily refused annually. Further, it emerged that transition policies in early years settings and schools, although well intended, were not enacted. It is important to note that this lack of enactment was not due, in any respect, to the professionals involved. McNair’s analysis found that professionals were unable to do all that was asked of them because of pressures on their time and that some parents who applied for something out with normal regulatory practices, such as a request for a later school start, found themselves oppressed by the system (being made to feel they were asking too much and having their world views denied). As a result, parental requests were frequently overlooked, quashed or ignored by authoritative decision-makers. Deferral requests were passed hierarchically within the system to people unknown to the children and parents and subsequently rejected. As argued by Davis and Smith (2012), children and their parents should be fully involved in participatory assessment, planning and service delivery. The consequences of rejected deferrals were highly significant to the children and the families, but of no consequence to the decision-makers, who argued ‘that each child’s needs can now be delivered in school’. McNair’s data suggested that there was room for more flexible approaches, especially in relation to how policy was interpreted and enacted. McNair found that a lack of flexibility did not take into consideration the differences and diversity of children. Early years professionals (e.g. childhood practitioners) and school teachers voiced frustration with the inflexible system and demonstrated a desire to change inflexible practices that was ignored by children’s service managers within the system. Some argued that children were too young to start school but they also felt that oppressive and hierarchical practices in local authorities prevented democratic and participatory change. Whilst she identified a yearning for change, McNair concluded that any movement on starting age and flexibility of provisions would have to coincide with better development on honesty and trust concerning transition processes in local authorities. McNair also highlighted differences in practice between early years settings and the early years of primary school. Though arguing that no adult used power in malevolent ways, McNair highlighted that a subset of classroom techniques such as, surveillance, normalisation, exclusion, classification, distribution, individualisation, totalisation and regulation were utilised by school teachers to control children in ways that were contrary to ideas of children’s rights, ran against notions of productive, dialogic and child-led pedagogy and were extremely contradictory to the creative and participatory aspects of A Curriculum for Excellence. Even approaches which claim to help children such as golden time were used in ways that children identified as unfair. McNair found that teachers regularly and systematically exercised power over children, regulating time, occupation of space, choice of clothing, meal times and even methods of social interaction. In short, the children learned to fit into the linear systems of the school rather than the school adapting to the diverse and complex identities of the children. McNair highlighted that previous studies (carried out a decade ago) had also identified contradictions between early years pedagogy and controlling school environments and voiced disappointment that little had changed in that time. In particular, Dunlop’s work highlights the the Early Level 3-6 f Curriculum for Excellence as essential tool. She argues that if all sectors involved were truly working in the spirit of this curriculum then transition to school would be much less of an issue – this means developing common knowledge, respecting the different professional contributions and facilitating relational agency. McNair found baseline testing to be an extremely negative form of control where children were tested and labelled for what they could not do rather than greeted by new teachers in strength-based, anti-discriminatory and supportive ways. McNair concluded, in keeping with other studies, that baseline testing, which takes place a few short weeks after the children arrive – is in place to meet the needs of the educative system and not necessarily the children (Jeffrey & Woods, 2003). McNair found that, (in contradiction to best inclusive practice) children were grouped, segregated and separated according to the results of the tests. She concluded that schools are not neutral educational sites and that baseline testing means that status markers, hierarchies and privileges relating to literacy and numeracy were conferred to those deemed as ‘good’ - whilst other children become demotivated. Time pressures meant that teachers could not read the transition reports that took up so much of early years practitioners time to compile and adopted their own methods of demarcation, segregation and stigmatisation. This resulted in children who were self-led learners in the early years setting being shaped into certain ways of thinking, being and doing depending on the vagaries of the teachers personality. McNair identified no opportunity for children to bring different perspectives into the classroom and for these to be a source of dialogic pedagogy. As way of solution McNair calls for open-ended education where children are encouraged to resist hierarchical agendas. She stated, ‘I am inclined to wonder what the classroom would look like if dialogic pedagogy existed and children participated in the making of those rules, and even if the word ‘rules’ could be exchanged for ‘values’’. Teachers were not totally compliant with local authority rigid transition approaches, indeed they illustrated that they were reflexive and willing to change. They desired freedom to be more creative, specifically in areas of curriculum and assessment. The teachers congregated in secret assemblies, such as primary heads meetings, to discuss the lack of freedom they had with matters affecting their school, such as areas of assessment. This lack of freedom manifested itself into reactions of opposition such as making the council ‘wait’ for baseline information. Similarly, McNair found that children chose when to follow and when not to follow instruction. In this way, the mechanisms the teachers used sometimes failed to achieve their purpose (Cassidy, 2005) but often rebellion by children came at a punitive cost. Interestingly, resistance did not necessarily always lead to conflict, instead the children found creative ways to limit power. Mc Nair argued children had grasped the art of political disguise, as they moved between being compliant and being free. The children illustrated an experimental spirit in going against teachers’ orders, changing behaviours outside surveillance. Professionals and parents were sometimes won over, or colluded with, children’s resistance. Some children and parents did turn to resistance in order to decrease the authority the school had over them (White, 2014). For example, some parents and professionals challenged the way the CfE (2004) was executed, arguing that the pedagogy was formulaic. The children in McNair’s study illustrated an understanding of how pedagogy impacted on their experiences and subsequently found ways to thwart or reformulate adult authority (Tallant, 2015). The conclusion from the two studies (McNair 2016 and FIESTA) and the report (Common Weal ‘An Equal Start’) above is that it is possible to develop a combination of child led and parental led transition but professionals need to be supported with flexible structures not oppressive top down systems – professionals need to be freed up from the need to comply with rigid base-line testing and focus on issues of participation, rights and creativity. Similarly a Common Weal Policy Lab on early years with a range of participants carried out at the University of Edinburgh found that participants in the policy lab drew from research in the field to promote the idea that while evaluation for change in early learning and care services is important, top-down performance indicators and standardised testing are an anathema to contemporary ideas concerning creativity and innovation in childhood. They argued that top-down processes can lead to poor work cultures, hierarchies and bullying, all of which block creative learning and form an environment not fit for children (or adults). Attendees at the Common Weal policy lab also highlighted, among other issues, the need for: • Greater media and political recognition of the huge efforts made over the last decade to improve the quality of provision for children • A change in rigid age bands restricting the interaction of children of different ages in early years and out of school provision • Greater use of outdoor spaces for play and creative learning • A starting age of seven for schooling and greater flexibility surrounding the age children transition from early years to school settings • A need for gender balance regarding the numbers of men in the sector • Creative learning approaches that blur the boundaries between pre-school, school and out-of-school to ensure that children’s development is not harmed by rigid forms of learning and childcare • More integrated and community-based working to streamline processes for parents and children • De-politicisation of early learning and childcare and greater cross-party consensus at Holyrood Recent student led research at the University of Strathclyde has argued for a child-centred approach to transition. Thomson’s (2016) research found that • Continuity is not necessarily about curriculum but is about relationships between parents, children and staff. • Often, in Scottish schools, transition programmes are planned without consultation with the children, families or early years’ educators • The concept of school readiness may prevent professionals from starting from the child • Rather than posing the question are children ready for school? We should ask are schools ready for children? • Children use their existing knowledge concerning play, academic skills, identity, friendships and ‘rules’ to estimate what transition to school will be like • Children transitioning from local authority provisions have different views about transition than children transitioning from private sector providers (particularly in relation to placing emphasis on the academic context of transition, imaginative play, identity issues around getting older and creative/artistic activities) • Parents also placed different emphasis on transition depending on the setting their child attended. Parents highlighting potential problems with changes in pedagogy, that schooling involved discipline and that their children would need to find new friends. • Early years practitioners tended to place an emphasis on the need for family involvement in transition, the need for children to gain familiarity with settings and the need for children to build relationships during transition (though private sector professionals also emphasized the need for children to learn self-control, structure and routine) • Early years teachers (qualified teachers who work between ELC and School) emphasised the need for children to be able to gain familiarity with settings, to feel safe/secure and for holistic information on children (and their abilities) to be transferred across settings. The early years’ teachers also felt that the schools need to be more aware of the child-centred nursery environment that the child has come from. • School Teachers tended to emphasise the need for children to be school ready and have self-help skills/independence such as opening snacks, zipping coats (although they also emphasised the need for buddy systems and for children to develop friendships) Thomson’s (2016) concluded that the different actors involved on transition processes placed different levels of importance on different aspects of transition but that a key difference was that teachers placed emphasis on classroom management approaches where as other adults were concerned with the health and wellbeing aspects of transition. She summed this health, well-being and education connection up by stating: ‘Children aspire to maintain existing and build new friendships, to extend their learning in an enjoyable context which supports their autonomy, and for their prior learning to be recognised and valued when making the transition to school. Families aspire for their children to have positive educational outcomes, to be happy and successful at school, to have friends and to be respected as individuals. Families also want to contribute to their children’s education through the development of trusting, respectful and reciprocal relationships.’ (Thomson 2016 p70). Thomson concluded that teachers lacked an understanding of the importance of child-centred and play based learning environments. Her work suggests that in so doing, teachers fail to fully engage with the perspectives of the other actors involved in transition processes.

2. What support is required to ensure that the ELC workforce have the skills, knowledge and capacity to deliver high quality provision for two year olds? How can the ELC sector best meet the specific learning, developmental and environmental needs of two year olds? What approach should be taken on the transition for these children when they turn three?

Comments
Dunlop argues that course leadership and teaching contributions for early childhood need to be strengthened in all Scottish Universities and FE Colleges; that the status afforded early childhood needs to improve; and that we need to develop a different understanding of the significance of early years experience for what the child is and can be in the future. She identifies key learning issues for professionals as concerning: • Family grouping • Respect for the huge capacity of two year olds as meaning makers • Following the lead of the child • Blended models (back to transitions) • Not institutionalizing She suggests that there needs to be substantial focus on appropriate experiences – understanding that the same environment can serve children of many ages and the key to making this work is the quality of the staff. Professionals need to balance experience, knowledge and practice in ways that recognise the importance of a range of theories e.g. understanding the relationship between development and learning and balancing knowledge of development with socio-cultural approaches, learning in a community, ensuring parents are part of that community and support for children’s self-regulation. The SSSC ‘Taking The First Steps’ research indicated that professionals in this sector have a wide range of qualifications, knowledge and experience. However – the 0-3 curriculum is looking dated and could be based on greater understanding of rights, anti-discriminatory practice, creative pedagogy, out-door learning, social justice and inclusion/disability. Professionals need concrete case studies of how to work in contemporary ways. Similarly, we need to move beyond notions of age and stage that are very dated. The Common Weal ‘A Book of Ideas’ sketched out some clear pointers and exciting ideas for the early learning and childcare sector leading up to the May 2016 Holyrood election, including: universalising the sector into a National Child Care Company, investing in new facilities through a National Investment Bank and using local town planning to create a new generation of state-of-the-art learning centres. The book argues for innovative ‘participatory learning’ environments that utilise Scotland’s contemporary cultural contexts as a source of inspiration for learning. In so doing, it chimes with views we have encountered at recent events in the field. e.g. the Common Weal policy lab on early learning and childcare that brought together a diverse group of children, professionals, academics and parents to discuss the way forward in the sector. Young children who took part in the Common Weal Early Learning and Childcare lab highlighted the need for participatory working in the sector that understood the difference between adults perspectives and children’s perspectives: “It’s important that they (professionals) know what the baby or the child’s mind-set is because people have different mind-sets and different realities and stuff, so they have to know that. “Also, adults don’t always know what they are doing.” “They know stuff [that] we don’t know because we’re growing up and we’re just learning – they’re also learning – they know about them and we know about us.” Just as adult service users have first-hand experience of how a service can be improved, children know better than anyone that they must be central to how we evolve the early learning and childcare sector. UNISON claimed in June that recommendations for a 15-year process of change in the early learning and childcare sector has not been nearly radical enough. We need radical visions, and, crucially, the Commonweal Book provides these, when connecting early learning and childcare to multiple and wide ranging political issues such as: increased wages, collective ownership of land, use of public space, regeneration of high streets and housing renewal. Indeed, the sector has been on a decade-long journey from when a major strike highlighted the need for better pay and conditions. During this time the OECD ‘Starting Strong’ research has highlighted the need for a community-based and integrated approach to childcare. Recent research (Martine 2013) has also argued that various Scottish governments have overlooked the connection between early learning and childcare settings and their wider community, as well as the need for well-designed, socio-culturally sensitive and participatory learning environments. If children of all ages were involved in participatory learning that breaks down professional boundaries between schools, early learning centres and out of school clubs, while at the same time, citizens were incentivised to be more involved in their communities – what would Scotland begin to look like? Such will depend on us reaching the conclusion that we should no longer allow the incomes of families and the upbringing of children to be decided by a system that, in part, exploits people for profitability. The Scottish Childminding association are keen to collaborate with the Scottish Government concerning the role of childminding for the period covering maternity leave to 3 years of age – if we moved to a national structure with flexible local democracy you could see how childminders could be allied to community-based early learning centres to ensure maximum opportunities for flexibility for parents – the huge resources about to go into buildings should not mean under 3s being cooped up in buildings all day, we need greater vision, creativity and radical implementation to ensure that parents can access flexible services that involve a mix of professionals (all with similar training) and mix of spaces/places. The Scottish Childminding Association should not have been put in the position where they have to advise childminders how to force local authorities to contract them (SCMA 2016). Similarly, the SCMA already support the provision of community childminding services: SCMA’s Community Childminding Service provides intervention for families at a time of crisis. The desired outcome is to prevent circumstances deteriorating and avoid a more substantial intervention being required. Families are referred for a variety of reasons from children with behavioural difficulties to a parent’s mental illness (SCMA 2015). These services should be built upon to provide flexible multi-professional and community based resources for parents that contracted through local authorities, local not for profit partnerships and local cooperatives. SCMA should be provided with a specific training budget to support the extension of this provision. Knowledge of how to work with two year olds is currently in the system by having local child care partnerships develop into collaborative local resources for parents and children – and learning centres for professionals – professionals from all sectors could come to training to develop their understanding of earlier age groups. Currently there are exclusive and segregated networks for different types of professionals e.g. teachers in a local authority often snobbishly exclude childhood practitioners and private sector teachers from their learning networks and meetings – this has to stop. Public sector employees must begin to break down the public, voluntary and private boundaries as we gradually move to a more universal system. Davis and Hughes 2005 demonstrated that child minders were keen to do training if their logistical problems could be sorted out and it was founded for them.

3. How can the qualification routes and career paths that are open to early learning and childcare practitioners be developed to ensure that the ELC sector is seen as an attractive long-term career route?

Comments
There is currently a single qualifications framework that leads to the childhood practice qualification this must be supported and maintained any change in the current journeys of travel could lead to industrial action by Unison. The Common Weal ‘An Equal Start’ Report put forward a number of arguments concerning staff qualifications we have quoted them here: ‘The Scottish qualifications system for early years is complex, with a variety of qualification types awarded by universities, colleges and in the workplace. However, there is a single qualifications framework in the sector, and BA Childhood Practice providers have signed up to an agreed allocation of credits for each pre-entry qualification. It will be important when developing staff teams to ensure that the managers and practitioners have appropriate qualifications in early years/management and that staff as a whole have suitable early years-focused qualifications. The Siraj and Kingston Review (2015) argued that “the term practitioner should be reviewed as in a lay person’s view it is unlikely to be associated with someone who is professional or a leading expert in their sector”. The Scottish Government rejected this suggestion arguing that the BA Childhood Practice was now a respected and well known qualification: “The Scottish Government supports the use of the term ‘practitioner’ for those working within the early learning and childcare sector: this is widely understood and accepted as describing those working within the sector, and links to registration with the SSSC.” The SSSC ‘Taking The First Steps’ research indicated that those in the Early Learning and Care sector who criticised the Childhood Practice qualification had little understanding what the qualification entailed and their position was likely to be built on personal prejudice rather than sound data. The Education Scotland ‘Making a Difference’ report (2012) highlighted the effective practise of many childhood practitioners and the importance of teachers having an additional post-graduate qualification or CPD specific to early learning. The Education Scotland report also raised questions about the effectiveness of teachers who do not have experience of early years. Childhood practitioners have raised concerns about the use of non-early years-trained teachers in settings where they work. The Scottish Government has highlighted the benefits of having a mix of professionals supporting early years settings. Our conclusion is that there has to be greater clarity about the role of teachers in early years settings and that this clarity must differentiate between: 1) The early years manager (who should have qualifications that involves management and early years, e.g. the BA Childhood Practice or a head teacher qualification, plus post-graduate training in early years). 2) The early years professional (who should have a childhood practice qualification or equivalent e.g. a post-graduate early years teaching qualification). 3) A teacher (a teacher without management training, may not have appropriate qualifications or experience concerning early years, will only have a general teaching qualification and may have little experience of working in early years e.g. a few weeks experience carried out during their initial teaching qualification placements). In the longer term, the aim should be for all mangers of early years services to be qualified to masters level and to have taken the same postgraduate qualification. Headline figures such as, “17.8 per cent of childcare centres have no access to a GTCS registered teacher” (Scottish Government, 2014b), hide a more complex picture. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review has encouraged us to argue that teachers who do not have experience of early years should not be managing early years services, nor leading day-to-day provision, and should only be involved in early years services where they are providing additional (not core) support based on their specific expertise as teachers e.g. support for issues such as transition, inclusion, emergent literacy, etc. Childhood practitioners have been trained to manage early years settings, general GTC teachers (who lack early years and management qualifications) have not. Where both professionals are working in the same early years setting, it should be assumed that the professional with the most management qualifications and experience (e.g. the childhood practitioner) will take the lead in supervising the professional who has less management qualifications and experience (e.g. the GTC Teacher who lacks early years and management qualifications.) In particular, it is never appropriate for head teachers to move a failing or struggling teacher from the upper school to a nursery class/school on the misperception that early years classes are somehow a ‘soft touch’ or ‘easier’. This type of management is inadequate because it fails to address the support needs of the teacher at the point they occur, forces leadership roles on professionals who do not have early years experience, and simply compounds the stress on the teacher who is moved to an environment he/ she does not properly understand. This mismanagement creates huge tensions where the re-location involves the struggling teacher becoming a line manager to more experienced and knowledgeable professionals who have the BA Childhood Practice qualification. It also wastes public money as struggling teachers contribute little to the setting. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review and Scottish Government response has led to funding being identified to ensure that primary head teachers who manage a nursery class can gain training in early years – this training should also be made available to teachers who currently work in early years but only have a general teaching qualification. Such initiatives will ensure that primary head teachers become similar to the Childhood Practitioner in that they will have both management and early years qualifications. At practitioner level, this requirement will address the inequity of all other members of staff having to have an early years practice qualification (minimum HNC/SVQ3.) There are three major differences between the Childhood Practice qualification and the general teaching qualification. The Childhood Practice qualification includes: practise in more than one type of location not simply schooling (e.g. early years centre, early schooling P1/2 class and out of school provision); it involves at least a year of early years-focused work-based learning concurrent with the qualification (in most cases 3-5 years); and it involves at least 60 credits of management training. Some commentators have argued that the four-year general teaching qualification is somehow superior to the BA Childhood Practice because it is an honours degree (SCQF level 10). There is no scientific basis for this argument. Indeed, in the past many one-year PGDE and PGCE qualifications for teachers were set at SCQF level 9. Scottish Government (2009) research indicated there was no discernible difference over time between teachers who had one year qualifications and those who had taken a four year honours degree. Similarly, Some BA Childhood Practice programmes include courses at level 10 (e.g. the University of Edinburgh Programme includes 120 credits at level 10), yet the SSSC ‘Taking The First Steps’ research indicated broad and statistically significant similarities in the way that different BA Childhood Practice programs impacted on students. In response to the Siraj & Kingston (2015). Review, the Scottish Government stated that it does not differentiate between teachers and childhood practitioners: “The Scottish Government has committed to ensuring there will be an additional degree qualified staff member, whether that is a teacher or a Childhood practitioner, in nurseries in the most economically deprived areas, from 2018.” The key issue is whether the professional has taken an early years qualification and whether, following OECD recommendations, we want to ensure that all such professionals register with the one professional body. We are of the view that, in future, any new teacher who wishes to work at practitioner or manager level in early years should be required to register with the SSSC and demonstrate appropriate early years training or qualifications. Overtime, this will mean that all early years professionals are registered with the one professional body and all practitioners have appropriate early years qualifications. Currently, professionals who have social work or community education qualifications have to take additional early years qualifications and be registered with the SSSC. In Scotland which is focused on equity and social justice; childhood practitioners, teachers, social workers, nurses (NMC) and community educators should not be treated differently. It is particularly inequitable that nurses (NMC) and community educators have to change professional bodies but teachers do not. In the meantime, the GTC should ensure that teachers who currently work in early years, and do not have appropriate early years qualifications, should be given a re-registration condition that they should take appropriate training. Sweden changed the name of their childcare from ‘family day care’ to ‘pedagogical care’ and moved it from the Health & Social Affairs department to Education as a signal of their focus on the importance of early years for children’s development (OECD, 1999), and as the first stage in lifelong learning. The Scottish Government has consistently chosen not to refer to early years professionals as pedagogues and very rarely uses the term in their documentation. Our conclusion is that research should be carried out with childhood practitioners and early years teachers to identify whether there is potential for a new term to be adopted. A single agreed term and single professional grouping would indeed be a radical outcome compared to the status quo. Similarly, the last ten years have resulted in a huge shift in the quality and qualifications in early years and care services in Scotland which has been led by the SSSC. We recognise the tremendous efforts of the Early Learning and Care workforce over the last ten years to gain knew qualifications, engage with ideas concerning creative pedagogy and meet the succession of policy initiatives developed by various governments and ministers. Many providers currently provide high quality early learning and care services but we need to ensure that all provision across the sector delivers excellent quality learning environments for all children and families. The Scottish Government continues to recognise the SSSC as the key leadership body in the field. The shift to a fully registered workforce has been supported by various Ministers for Children and Young People who have all been able to gain the respect of the early learning and care workforce. The movement of early learning and care into the education ministry in Sweden was met with criticism that it led to the ‘schoolification’ of early years (Cohen, B, Moss, P, Petrie, P, and Wallace, J, 2004). This occurred because managers who did not have experience, knowledge and qualifications in early learning and care took over the running of services. Moving early years to a ministry focused on schooling Scotland would most likely encounter similar problems to the Swedish system. Similarly, the Minister for Children and Young People has been able to connect early learning and care to wider social welfare and child law systems through the ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ initiative and ‘The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014’. Scotland has had a greater focus on integrated working in children’s services than other countries, and our unique experience in this field should also be taken into account when considering the issue of which ministry is the most appropriate place to locate Early Learning and Care. As the Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review pointed out, there are “clear links” between the professional development of staff, qualifications and quality in childcare. Generally, the Review found that the higher the education level of staff, the higher the quality of provision, and, the higher the relevance of qualifications to early years, the higher the quality of provision (although not the only indicator, group size and child: staff ratio being important too.) The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review warned against “historically inaccurate” interpretations of childcare work that view the “skills required by practitioners/teachers as merely common sense and that mothers could teach young children equally as well, or that play is simply the work of children and the adults (mostly women) need only to provide resources for play and supervise children’s experiences.” In contrast to these historical stereotypes, the National Childcare Service needs to have appropriate and flexible management structures that ensure services are responsive to the aspirations and expressed wishes of children and parents. By ensuring that early learning and care continues to have its own identity and by strengthening this identity in the public eye, stronger relationships could be built with local communities to ensure participatory management, planning and review of local centres. Yet, the Commission for Childcare Reform indicated there were gaps in parent’s understandings of what high quality centres looked like. The work currently taking place to clarify the inspection criteria, quality indicators and outcome measures for early learning and care must, when completed, be disseminated in straight forward ways to parents and children. Examples exist of projects that have sought to develop parent’s understanding of early year learning, but local authorities and early learning and childcare centres should be encouraged to further develop events, projects and processes that support parent’s to gain knowledge and understanding of what counts as excellent practise. The Taking the First steps report highlighted the ability of childhood practitioners to meet the OECD Starting Strong recommendations that early years professionals have relevant degrees and are capable of participatory and community-based working. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review argued that with the expansion of provision, a key opportunity exists to emphasise the professional nature of the workforce, to connect the profession with community planning partnerships and to link practice to initiatives such as the early years collaborative. We now have a degree-led profession that includes 1,200 professional leaders/managers who have the new Childhood Practice qualifications. 89 per cent of the 30,000 registered workers now have the appropriate qualification for their level e.g. HNC/SVQ3 and the other 11 per cent are studying to achieve their qualifications. Unison should be encouraged to work with other unions and qualification providers to set up a National College of Childhood Practice to ensure proper representation of the workforce in national negotiation, develop a national strategy for advertising the changes that will take place in the profession and promote recognition of the professional status of the job role. With another 10,780 staff needed for moving to 30 free hours, there is a clear need for a rapid increase in the number of available training places in the early learning and care sector. The Siraj Review recommended a “15 year vision and development plan for workforce reform” aimed at increasing the size and quality of the workforce and this is the timeline we will propose. Our view is that children should have a right to professionals who have degree level qualifications commensurate with the BA Childhood Practice and that we should value equally Childhood practitioners and teachers, social workers and community educators (who have put the time into taking early years qualifications). Our aim is to have 50 per cent of staff with a degree level Childhood Practice qualification or equivalent by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2030. In the year 2005-06, only 55 per cent of the workforce had the relevant qualification. So, there has been a 34 per cent (soon to be 45 per cent) uplift in qualifications in the sector in nine years. However, most of these qualifications are not at degree level. Since 2008, 1,200 mangers have completed the childhood practice degree and there are around 1,200 staff with teaching qualifications. That means that around 7,300 staff don’t currently have degrees and there will be a need to train 7,000 new staff to degree level. Hence, we need to ensure we have the capacity in the higher education system to deliver 14,300 degrees within 15 years. Our target is for half of the degree-level qualifications to be delivered by 2020 and the other half to be achieved in the following 10 years up to 2030, at which point we hope all childhood professionals and managers are fully qualified. There are currently twelve qualification providers and we estimate they would require an additional 150 PhD level qualified staff to provide the new qualification. We would also have an assumption that any professional who is appointed to a post in a local authority or the National Childcare Service that is involved in management and/or development of the sector, will be required to have a Masters degree in Childhood Practice, early learning or equivalent. Finally in respect of qualification requirements, our professional development aims also involve us seeking to have all early learning centres managers qualified to Masters level by 2030. This ambitious aim would ensure that professionals were suitably qualified at every level of the early learning sector. There is no good reason why fully qualified childhood practitioners and managers in early years should not be paid the same as those in the teaching profession, since both require degree-level qualifications and similar hours of employment. We therefore propose that Childhood practitioners and early years managers earn teacher and chartered teacher level salaries (£26,895 and £36,870 in year one respectively) while childhood practitioners at HND level should immediately go up to probationary year teacher level starting salary (£22,416). This qualification-based pay-scale will incentivise the acquisition of degree level qualifications across the sector. This rapid transition to a sector with fully qualified staff will require careful collaboration with the higher education sector to ensure the volume of new early learning and care degrees can be met. In Part 2 we proposed a special fund running to 2020 that would cover the development costs (the cost of tuition fees) for those seeking the relevant qualifications, and for the extra PhD level staff required to carry out the training. This would be worth £9000 per student and would take the pressure off the higher education sector to meet the rapid increase in volume. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review proposed increasing the number and variety of graduate degrees designed for practitioners, arguing: “Every strong profession has a good initial graduate route/s. This should not threaten the work-based Childhood Practice degree programme or discourage further and higher educational institutions from offering their initial degree programmes to work-based practitioners through more creative, flexible delivery options.” We would echo these proposals, and argue that as well as offering conversion and upskilling courses for current primary school teachers, social workers, and community educators, we should enable a dramatic increase in innovative Childhood Practice programmes and their equivalent, particularly at post-graduate level. The QAAS Standard For Childhood practice has recently been reviewed (SSSC, 2015) and should form the basis for any new qualifications in the field. Currently, the SSSC approve courses in this field and it should continue to ensure that under-graduate and postgraduate programme providers design programmes that: meet the same rigorous standards; that are of equal quality; and that emphasise the new early years curriculum. The curriculum will be developed over the next few years in a collaborative process involving children, parents, policy makers and early years professionals. The last ten years have seen an impressive shift in Scotland to where early learning and care is now a degree-managed profession. We advocate a shift to a position where 100 per cent of professionals have the Childhood Practice qualification or equivalent. To ensure the highest excellence, we believe that we also have to ensure that we move to a position where 100 per cent of managers have Masters qualifications (or equivalent). A Masters-led early learning profession where all managers have qualifications that exceed the initial qualification achieved by practitioners, will greatly enhance the reputation of the sector. Such a change may be daunting for those professionals who have just spent six or seven years (part-time) securing their BA Childhood Practice. However, the evidence is clear that for the highest standards to be maintained, initial qualifications have to be supported with post-graduate continual professional development. These should also be available to the professionals who inspect early learning services; all inspectors have taken the registration of care award, but this does not have specific content on early learning. It is inequitable that the people who inspect services can sometimes have a lower qualification level than the professionals they inspect. This situation must be addressed as quickly as is possible and in the longer-term early learning inspectors should be required to have a Masters level qualification in early learning and care. One of the first acts of a National Childcare Service should be to carry out a consultation to establish the timelines and staging posts for achieving a masters-led profession and to generate the terminology that will separate postgraduate initial qualifications and post-graduate advanced qualifications in Childhood Practice. We have suggested a 2030 timeline; however, the sector should be encouraged to consider innovative ways to make the necessary changes at a swifter speed. All of these radical changes to the early years curriculum and staff qualifications can only be delivered by a national strategy with powers to make changes statutory on all childcare provision. This is why a National Childcare Service is essential if standards are to be raised and strategies are to be consistently enacted throughout Scotland.’

4. How can we increase the diversity of the ELC workforce, in particular increasing the gender balance in the sector?

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Approaches such as Men in Childcare have patently failed – there is a lack of clear leadership on this issue in the sector. Evidence form other studies into nursing and teaching demonstrate that when the pay increases more men can be involved – equally we have to change the culture of ‘child protection’ in Scotland so that men are not fearful of entering the procession. There needs to be a national recruitment campaign and in particular early years needs to be represented as a skilled, creative and innovative work role. Of course all research demonstrates that when the pay increase in a Sector then you get increases in men seeing that sector as a viable career. See also SSSC report – Taking The First Steps and comments below on staff understandings of diversity. Another issue is the amount of hours worked by working fathers and mothers, if the Scottish Government was able to reduce the average working week parents would be able to use the free hours to volunteer at their local nursery (and, later on, schools for that matter).

5. How can payment of the Living Wage and wider Fair Work practices be encouraged across the ELC sector?

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The Scottish Government report entitled ‘Financial review of early learning and childcare in Scotland: the current landscape’ drew attention to the scale of poverty wages in the early learning and care sector. The report estimated that “around 80 per cent of practitioners and 50 per cent of supervisors in partner settings [private and voluntary sector] are paid less than the Living Wage (£8.25 an hour).”This government report managed successfully to put concrete figures on the huge disparity between the private and public sector. The Scottish Government should be congratulated for exposing this issue in such a clear and measured way. The report confirms the findings of the Common Weal ‘An Equal Start’ report which stated: “The average annual full-time salary cost of managers is estimated at around £58,000 for managers in a local authority setting and £23,000 in a partner provider setting. Average salary costs for practitioners in local authority settings is estimated at £28,000 and £15,000 (£17,000 for senior practitioners) in partner provider settings…. … On average, for an early years practitioner, the public sector spends two thirds more than the voluntary and 80 per cent more than the private sector on staff-related costs (wages, pensions etc.).” The Scottish Government report indicates that somewhere between 10000 and 13000 early learning and care professionals experience inequality of wages. The professionals in this sector are mainly working class women. Why, when both settings are funded by local authorities, should working class women in the private sector earn less for doing the same job as their public sector counterparts? Early years workers, who have been campaigning for equal pay for over 10 years, get very hacked off when politicians put forward sentences about addressing pay – but do not table polices to improve pay. They have heard empty mood music from politicians for too long. The disturbing messages in the government report were about middle-class public sector professionals getting paid thousands of pounds more than their private sector counterparts. We need a radical, immediate and speedy response to remove early learning professionals from the scourge of poverty wages. The government’s report estimates local authorities paid partner providers £79 million in the financial year 2014/15. This gives the government leverage – they should use this leverage to produce a more radical set of changes to address pay issues in the sector. The Scottish Parliament should ensure that in order to receive tax payers money, all early years providers should immediately be required to become living wage employers (partner providers who are eligible to receive Scottish Government funding should not offer poverty wages). Then, we need to do three things that are set out in the Common Weal’s ‘An Equal Start’ plan: • We need to increase quality, creativity and wages in the early learning sector; • We need to publish national pay scales for any organisation receiving funding for early learning from the government; • And, we need to produce a national framework for delivering a high-quality childcare service uniformly throughout Scotland (let us hope the ‘blueprint’ does the job required). The Scottish Government suggest that 20,000 new workers are required in the sector. What is the point of expanding the numbers of workers in the work-place if we subject them to poverty wages? We need to ensure that a well-paid, universal, integrated, creative, outdoors and multi-professional service becomes available to support learning and care for early years and primary aged children. This service needs to include childminders and after school club professionals, to ensure that problems with child care between the end of maternity cover and the start of free early years provision are addressed and that the problems of early learning and care are not replicated when these children grow up and need to access out of school provision. The Common Weal publication: ‘A Book of Ideas’ advocates very clearly for a creative and outdoors early years service and argues that with the capital funding that is available for new early learning centres we could develop run down high-streets and communities into creative, collaborative and inter-generational spaces ( Bella Caledonia Report by John Davis and Jamie Mann for more info on the Common Weal’s suggestion). Such a service needs to include appropriately paid workers. Early years professionals provide a very valuable service to families and the vast majority of provision is rated as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ by inspectors. So, when we pay professionals in private and voluntary early learning services poverty wages for producing ‘good’ or ‘very good’ services we do a huge disservice to the tremendous efforts they have made to improve provisions. We do them a disservice that ignores that in the last ten years these professionals have done a great deal to upscale their knowledge, practice and qualifications (from 50% of professionals qualified ten years ago to almost 100% qualified now). We also do a disservice to their children, their sons and daughters, who grow up experiencing inequality because their mothers are paid poverty wages. These children have every right to ask how local authorities provide private companies with 79 million pounds a year but don’t ask those companies to pay their mothers a living wage. The Common Weal – An Equal Start Report stated: ‘Tackling The Key Issues Any advancement in early learning and childcare must address the key concerns of professionals in the sector: status, qualifications and pay. Currently, leaders and managers require the Childhood Practice degree-level qualification to register with the Scottish Social Services council, however, some professionals use the degree to move onto promoted positions in other children’s services. This movement occurs because of pay and status differences between the public and private services – a National Childcare Company could resolve these issues by responding to recent suggestions from the sector. For example, our policy lab called for not-for-profit organisations, nationally recognised pay scales (equitable to teaching, social work, etc.) and greater respect from other professions. Over time, the knowledge of the 30,000 workers in the sector (in day care and out-of-school) and the 5,000 child-minders, could be significantly increased. In addition, the Scottish government estimated during the referendum that another 35,000 jobs could be produced if we moved to a fully funded system of early learning and childcare. However, such a change would require cross-party consensus to ensure that we can identify the substantial investment that is essential if we are to grow the sector, improve settings and develop new and innovative ways of working. The Common Weal book argues that the fragmented nature of the sector hides a glaring fact about the economics of childcare in Scotland: “Sweden spends 1.1 per cent of GDP on childcare… and delivers universally excellent state-run nurseries from the end of parental leave to the start of school, with the average child: staff ratio being 5.3 children to every worker.” Scotland currently spends the same proportion of GDP on Early Childhood Education and Care – an awful lot of money to get a poorer level of service than Sweden. Moreover, these statistics raise serious questions about where the profits end up in the Scottish system. So, can we envisage a movement towards increased pay rates, intergenerational community-based learning and supporting community members of all ages to make up the early learning and childcare sector? In Part 3 we look at the targets for staff qualifications in the National Childcare Service, setting a target of 50 per cent of all staff fully qualified (to degree level) by the time of the launch of the service in 2020 and 100 per cent by 2030. The pay of staff would be based on reaching full qualifications, with fully qualified staff being paid teacher salary levels in year one and HND qualified staff being paid probationary year teacher salary. Our cost estimates are therefore based on meeting these targets by 2020…. …….we look at the targets for staff qualifications in the National Childcare Service, setting a target of 50 per cent of all staff fully qualified (to degree level) by the time of the launch of the service in 2020 and 100 per cent by 2030. The pay of staff would be based on reaching full qualifications, with fully qualified staff being paid teacher salary levels in year one and HND qualified staff being paid probationary year teacher salary. Our cost estimates are therefore based on meeting these targets by 2020.’ See the ‘An Equal Start’ report for specific figures but we would envisage the degree professional starting on circa 26k and the manager 36K with incentives for managers to gain increased pay should they take a masters. The key point is there should be national pay scales and the private sector should not be enabled to pay poverty wages.

6. What actions should be taken to support increased access to outdoor learning, exercise and play?

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Shaking-Up Structures The Common Weal ‘Book of Ideas’ balances top-down and local-led suggestions when dealing with the practical reality of how we can move from a fragmented to a universal system. Other ideas the book advocates, such as a shorter working week, greater workplace democracy, or a citizen’s income, might enable more men and women of all ages to have greater time and energy to creatively engage as volunteers with community and outdoor participatory learning processes. The Common Weal ‘An Equal Start’ report calls for the development of a free National Childcare Service by 2021. It also argues for a greater focus on high-quality outdoor play and a National Childcare Company to professionalise child development and create more well-paid jobs – an issue that particularly impacts on the women who make up the majority of the workforce. Early Years curriculum and pedagogy: The Common Weal: ‘An Equal Start’ Report argued, in relation to Early Years curriculum and pedagogy: The key issues concerning quality early learning and care provision centre on whether the setting: is child focused (responsive to the views and emotions of parents and children); uses a flexible creative curriculum; has access to the outdoors; and is under-pinned by a focus on learning (rather than money). That is, both Growing Up in Scotland, and OECD research (2001) tells us that a creative pedagogy, a culture of listening and a caring/supportive environment has the most impact on children’s future outcomes. Firstly, over the last ten years various initiatives have sought to shift thinking in the field from being about child ‘day care’ to being about learning. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review once again emphasised the fact that childcare should not only be about providing a safe space for young children, but should be a learning experience. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review sought to promote the use of the term early learning and care’ to cover the sector. The Scottish government officially introduced the term ‘Early Learning and Care’ through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to convey that nurture and learning are indivisible in the early years. In their response to the Siraj Review, the Scottish Government indicated that “the national practice guidance ‘Building the Ambition’ (2014f) had also set out a clear definition of ‘early learning and childcare’ for practitioners working with babies, toddlers and young children.” The Scottish Government also suggested that Education Scotland will promote understanding of this shift in terminology and emphasis when developing future self-assessment frameworks. These frameworks will connect three key policy initiatives: ‘Building the Ambition’, ‘Pre-Birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland’s Children and Families’ and ‘A Curriculum for Excellence.’ Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) has researched the cognitive development of young children and found major inequalities based on income and parent educational level that can have a significant effect on children for the rest of their lives. However, they also found that “activities do have an influence on children’s cognitive development and that they can moderate – though by no means eradicate – the effect of socio-demographic disadvantage.” In particular, the GUS research points to the importance of creative early years activities. Hence, the promotion of creative and innovative pedagogy, curriculum and activities in early learning and childcare centres should therefore be of the upmost importance in pursuit of the goal of an equal start for everyone in life. The Swedish model and the Te Whāriki initiative promote creative and environmentally-based concepts of learning. They focus on the development of cognitive skills and non-academic styles of learning. This focus should be emphasised in the new curriculum by further promoting learning through play, music and other creative arts and further developing professional understanding of the necessity for a healthy diet, energetic lifestyle, physical exercise and outdoor activity. Childcare centres need to practise what they preach in the curriculum, hence, they should be encouraging children to eat fresh and healthy food as early as possible. Sweden has very strict guidelines on the need for food to be nutritious (Crawley, 2006). In this respect food procurement should be looked at so that nutrition is prioritised over cost, and it should be part of the early years provision that children are entitled to fresh, healthy food. The Scottish Government need to finance the building of new early years centres that are located within settings that promote outdoor play. The common weal ‘Book of Ideas’ emphasized the need to produce state of the art community-based resources that connected the need for early years centres to the need to regenerate rural communities and town centres. A once in a life time opportunity exists to set up national structures of support and funding to enable community owned, social enterprise and cooperative organisations to develop community run provision. Gilbertson’s research (2016) particularly highlighted this issue – she suggested that 90% of professionals and parents emphasised the sociability impact of early years on their children. Yet, she also found that whilst 85% of parents focussed their child’s, desire to, interest in, or activity in, play (as the key aspect of early years provision) only 20% of practitioners did so. Gilbertson found parents focussed on several key issues: • variety and focus in stimulating planned experiences; • warm and inviting safe spaces which are attractive and well organized; • friendly, fun, healthy and nurturing environment; • good communication between home and ELC; • and approachable, and caring staff who provide individual attention Gilbertson (2013) found that the impact of the length of time spent in early years settings on young children varied and that some felt they benefited from all day provision where has others did not enjoy all day provision. She concluded there was a need to striking a balance between the time spent on engaging and fun experiences where children can explore and create together in early years provision and the time spent out of early years provision where they could engage in beneficial experiences out-with ELC environment. She also suggested we needed to take more account of the fact parents felt that putting their children into early years meant they were missing their children, and feeling neglectful at missing out on their child’s early development/mile stones due to work constraints. Gilbertson (2013) highlighted the importance of continued dialogue to determine a model that works for families, that allowed time for parents to provide interesting and exciting home learning opportunities, and enabled the extension of learning from early learning centres to ensure children’s experiences are as rich and purposeful as possible. Dunlop (2017 a,b,c,d) argued that there needs to be far greater understanding of transitions as a process not an event, of why transitions may be challenging, but a shift in mindset to see transitions as a tools for change. She highlighted the need for policy and practice to consider family engagement, professional beliefs and practices and children’s learning journeys (and the learning journeys of all concerned). She argued Children’s Agency, parental participation and educator collaboration (including shared pedagogy) are prime elements of any transitions framework. She concluded that the new Scottish Child and Family Transitions Position Statement that was generated through the Transitions Seminar Series (2016) provides an appropriate set of values and actions for all involved in transitions into parenthood, pre-birth, and on to the early years of primary school. The pillars of this statement are: Aspirations, experience, opportunity, entitlement, participation. Similarly, Martin (2013) question assumptions made by policy makers, service planners and providers that their aspirations for early childhood are shared by professionals, parents and children. Martin critiqued the fact that policy makers consistently and abstractly use words such as holistic, integration, partnership and collaboration to describe the ways they wish early years practitioners to engage with children and families. She found that the four key issues for parents were • Children’s experiences in the home and the impact of work on family life • Children’s experiences in in the community and a child’s ability to participate • Children being able to live independent lives with peers and the ability to take risks • Concerns with the inner life of the child and the impact of commercialism on their self-image. Martin (2013) conclude that there was a measure of shared aspiration for young children between participants regarding the importance of building family and community based experiences. However, there were also wide differences in expectations relating to existing capacities of families and communities to support young children. In particular, there was a lack of recognition in the government’s policy framework of the considerable pressures experienced by families and communities from wider economic and social forces driven by a neo-liberal marketised economy. Martin (2013) argued that economic inequality led to gaps and mismatches between policy objectives relating to family and community strength and the lived experiences of children, families and communities in Scotland. She identifed that such mismatches impacted significantly on the ways in which services were organised and the ways in which practitioners understood their roles and responsibilities. She found that some professional responses can be based in an assumed power and authority emanating from a restricted sense of professional identity. As such, they may act in a detrimental way on the development of collaborative, strengths based relationships between staff and parents and children. In so doing, Martin (2013) exposed the policy, practice and experience divides relating to creating strength and resilience in young children and their families in Scotland. Any new blue-print has to ensure a balance of child aspirations, parent aspirations, professional aspirations and policy aspirations are achieved. Any approach to play needs to take account of the Scottish Out of School Care Networks research and reports. For example, SOSCN (2015) found that whilst HNCs provided good coverage you could access some BACP programmes with a suitable number of credits (e.g. from SVQs) at the required levels without having done anything about play (in the tight playwork sense) and with out a sound grounding in theory or the wider child development aspects of learning through play. E.g. the Playwork NOS does not cover play in terms of learning and development and this requires SVQ course providers to bring ‘play and development’ into courses themselves. In reality such gaps in knowledge may be picked up in terms of covering their actual roles - e.g. an OSC worker with no play at all in their mix of qualifications to date would be guided to at least a unit covering it during or prior to taking the BACP but this should be addressed much earlier in the NOS and in vocational qualifications having compulsory units. SOSCN’s report advised SkillsActive to update the NOS to include a lot more about children's development through play and much more on UNCRC rights. SOSCN’s report demonstrated that the huge divide between "play" and "education" need not exist, as, especially in Scotland, where we already acknowledge in ELC that play is the conduit to learning in every sense. They argued that any approach should balance the need for ‘free play’ and ‘risky play’ with approaches that also value the provision of creative, sensitive scaffolding support in terms of transition they also recommended that teachers qualifications include adequate input in how children learn through play and play techniques.

7. How could accountability arrangements for early learning and childcare be improved?

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There is an argument that having a care commission inspect in a top down manner is counter-productive and that local relationships and supportive learning networks could be used much more effectively to monitor and develop quality. Resources could be transferred from the Care Inspectorate to local partnerships. There are currently too many layers of inspection and quality assurance which creates managers e.g. QIOs in local authorities on higher wages – when we need highly paid staff in the care and education setting. If we are to have a Care Inspectorate they need to move their focus from rigid top down telling off of centres to truly developmental, mentoring and supportive working. The Care inspectorate might claim their inspection process is currently developmental, however, not enough inspectors actually practice in this way – far too many inspectors focus on issues about sinks, toilets, line of sight etc rather than on the key quality issues that children and parents are interested in that relate to listening, care, love support, creative pedagogy, fun and outdoor learning. Care Inspectorate officers should have specific qualifications in early years and have taken units of the BACP like every other professional in the sector. This would enable professionals in centres and inspectors to sing from the same hymn sheet. Childhood practitioners, quality and self-empowerment As we go forward, we need to balance the development of quality indicators with the need to learn from research in the field. Moss and Dahlberg, (2008) suggested that while evaluation for change in early learning and care services is important, top-down performance indicators and standardised testing are an anathema to contemporary ideas concerning creativity and innovation in childhood. It should be recognised that rigid approaches are antithetical because top down processes can lead to poor work cultures, hierarchies and bullying, all of which prevent us from developing creative learning environments fit for children. The ‘Taking the First Steps’ report indicated that childhood practitioners had become adept at devolving power within their organisations and that they understood the benefits of anti-hierarchical practise that enables staff to be as immediately responsive as possible to the wishes of children and parents. Early learning and care has become a hot political issue. Professionals are subjected to unannounced inspections, participatory evaluation and external registration. Yet, they continue to see their role as collaboratively providing creative, supportive and thoughtful environments for children. The Siraj & Kingston (2015) Review was overly dominated by a literature review that was very academic in nature and highlighted the top-down criteria that could be used to assess quality. Siraj & Kingston (2015) assumed that Childhood practitioners were unaware of this literature. Childhood practitioners are only too aware of what it feels like to be constantly subjected to top-performance indicators. Moreover, they are also able to utilise their learning to critique top-down approaches using alternative research by other key researchers and professors in the field. In Part 3 of the ‘An Equal Start’ report we outlined our vision for devolved management and quality leadership that would self-empower Childhood practitioners to asses and develop quality at all levels of their organisations. We sought a continual process of improvement and development over time and a system to assess processes, rather than to ‘fix’ staff or children. Such a system will require participatory working to ensure quality is defined in partnership with parents and children and that provision is focussed on the aspirations and wishes of children, parents and local communities, rather than on external performance criteria set out by bureaucrats. We believe the ‘An Equal Start’ report has done something that other reviews and commissions in the field have not: made the case for an innovative and radical solution to the fragmented, haphazard and unequal nature of the childcare sector. We believe the ideas in this report go well beyond tinkering with existing structures and methods, and provide a comprehensive, costed strategy for achieving excellence in education-focused early learning and childcare provision. The move from 15 to 30 hours of free childcare is ambitious, but it won’t be a success without an ambitious programme of reform to match it. In respect to the structure of childcare provision, the terms and conditions of childcare staff, the unevenness of early years education and more besides, boldness is needed if we are to come up with solutions that will meet the Scottish Government’s ambition of making Scotland “the best place in the world to bring up children”. We believe our approach matches the seriousness which the Scottish Government takes improving early years: we don’t believe a fragmented sector with massive differentiation in cost, availability and quality throughout Scotland is good enough for our children. The boldness of the ‘An Equal Start’ plan is in its simplicity: A National Childcare Service with one publicly provided for place per centre; standardised opening and closing times in all centres across the country so parents are confident they can access all day care; uniform pay scales and conditions for staff based on a clear principle of employing qualified childhood practitioners. In a phrase, replacing a fundamentally unequal system with a fundamentally equal one. In societies that have high levels of equality, fairness and prosperity, early years learning and care is treated with the same seriousness as school education. Setting our ambitions any lower than this would be a dereliction of our responsibilities to future generations of Scots. Most would agree with that, but ambition means nothing without a plan for achieving it. We believe the first radical outlines of such a plan have been presented in this report. Specifically, an early years curriculum should not include any form of assessment and testing, and should not be overly formalised. The aim is not to attain a certain level of numeracy and literacy skills, but to build confidence and self-esteem. If a child is interested in something, they will make the conscious decision to learn about it. They should not be pressured into the accumulation of specific knowledge; the focus in early years should be on the needs of the individual within the context of the collective group, family and/or community. Secure people make for better learners. The evidence for the success of this approach in Sweden is overwhelming – they have the highest literacy and lowest illiteracy in the world (OECD, 2012), despite the fact that reading and writing is not pushed until the age of seven. Children have been taught to do things for themselves and early years is crucial to that process of self-led learning as it ‘builds a base’ in which literacy and numeracy skills can flourish. For childhood practitioners, the curriculum should not be overly-prescriptive – it is there to show what to do but not how to do it. Innovation and creativity of professionals should be encouraged, as long as it is based on a clear set of principles about what they are trying to achieve. This should include enabling children to self-empower, to problem solve, come to their own conclusions and work out their own solutions. The processes of early years learning should be assessed holistically by early years professionals and National Childcare Service managers, to ensure each child experiences consistent evolution, growth and development over time. Davis, J.M., & Smith, M (2012) explain that there are issues with the term quality: ‘Definitions included reliability (how consistently a thing is achieved), appropriateness (the extent to which a need is satisfied), and value (economic, social or political worth) (McIver 2002, Bank 1992, Dahlberg et. al, 2007). Writers differentiated between ideas of quality that were concerned with: conformance to standards, specification or purpose (technical approaches), reduction of cost/expense (value approaches) and those that adopted more inter-relational approaches that attempted to engage with service users perspectives (user approaches) (McIver 2002). It became apparent that statistical performance indicators were just one type of evaluation that shouldn’t be privileged over others. Writers contrasted summative (measurements) and formative (developmental) forms of evaluation and argued for example that there were many different things that could be evaluated including: cost/efficiency (resources in relation to gain/loss), outcome (whether anything changed), impact (the specific effect the initiative had), implementation (whether the initiative actually delivered to the intended audience or in the intended way), logic (the theory a process was based on), need (actual problems) or design (the planning/development/delivery process) (Rossi, Lipsey and Freeman 2004, Jones and Leverett, 2008). Overtime it became possible to differentiate between voluntary and imposed evaluations of quality (McIver 2002). The total quality management model was established as a voluntary on-going continuous learning process that focussed on customer satisfaction and delight (Morgan & Murgatroyd 1994, Wilding 1994). There were two main strands of this type of quality management: the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM also known as Business Excellence Model) (McIver 2002). The ISO 9000 encouraged companies to set up step-by step processes to identify: the goals they wanted to achieve (e.g. efficiency, better services, customer satisfaction, increased market share, improved communication, etc), what others expected of the organisations (e.g. customers, suppliers, service users, society, shareholders, employees, etc) and who would analyse the organisations current status (e.g. self assessment, external assessment, customer assessment) (ISO 2004). The ISO process aimed to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in relation to well defined organisational objectives including: better integration/alignment of planning for achievement, consistent organisational performance, more transparent and participatory operations, more effective use of resources, more prioritised initiatives and greater predictability of results (ISO 2004). Setting aside the tautological (repetitious) nature of these aims it is very difficult at first glance to see the ISO agenda as problematic, however, they tended to encounter a range of practical issues (including staff reacting to them being utilised in a top down manner Seddon 2008). In contrast to ISO, The EFQM model was a developing model that sought to integrate notions of leadership, change, innovation planning, governance and efficiency with contemporary ideas concerning sustainability, inclusion, diversity, creativity, flexibility, agility, and stakeholder involvement. Such approaches to quality management highlighted the need to include service users in processes that defined the way that quality should be measured (Dahlberg et. al, 2007). An effort was made to separate out technical and value definitions of quality that had more relevance for infrastructure projects and those approaches that were more useful for face-to-face services (McIver 2002). Face-to-face approaches to quality also drew from humanistic/systems ideas of management (discussed in Chapter 4) to promote quality with in the context of contemporary ideas of collaborative leadership, teamwork and continuous improvement (McIver 2002). Chapter 4 (traditional management) critiqued standardised and hierarchical approaches to service development, including the sorts of technical rational ideas that underpinned ISO and chapter 5 (contemporary management) called for collaborative approaches to service delivery that recognised the ability of children, families, communities and professionals. These chapters were particularly critical of the idea that leadership in multiprofessional settings should be left in the hands of individual managers. The EQFM model aimed to avoid such problems by creating excellence through enabling organisations to role model vision, inspiration, integrity and better managed processes. The EFQM model highlighted the need to nurture relationships and there was a much greater degree of self-assessment in EFQM than the ISO approach (McIver 2002). Self-assessment involved a RADAR (Results, Approach, Deployment, Assessment and Review) technique for defining what results organisations wanted to achieve, planning/designing/developing approaches that would deliver these results and deploying/assessing/refining these approaches. Total quality management referred to the set of RADAR inspired behaviours, activities and initiatives that sought to achieve excellence and delight stakeholders (EFQM 2011). Great emphasis was placed on the role of leaders to set culture, vision and goals (EFQM 2011). However, this also meant there remained a tendency for the approach to include an element of prescription (Seddon 2008). The consequence in the public sector of such approaches as the EFQM business excellence model was that below national level local authorities were required (in the name of continuous improvement) to carry out performance reviews, respond to national performance indicators, establish local performance processes, develop service plans and publish annual performance results (McIver 2002). These approaches have been heavily criticised in a similar way to top down management approaches for leading to much concentration on process and not enough development of staff knowledge and skills (Munroe 2011)…. …. At the same time as the concept of quality appeared an alternative discourse emerged which highlighted ideas of research, evidenced base working and collaborative development. Many authors highlighted the importance of research as a means of monitoring and evaluating practice (OECD 2006, Gasper 2010). It was suggested that evaluation could be carried out by a range of people (e.g. practitioners, independent researchers, other professionals, consultants, inspectors, peers) and could occur at different levels (e.g. governmental, local authority, agency/service, practitioner, and service user (Jones and Leverett, 2008). This gave a focus for multiprofessional initiatives that employed evaluators and independent researchers to carry out a range of duties including to evaluating whether an initiative worked, to work in an advisory role (e.g. to support service development) or to work on recommending new ways to do things (Jones and Leverett, 2008). Some authors criticised outsider evaluation arguing that multiprofessional practice that took a hands on approach to evaluation was more likely to be able to use the evaluation to improve practice and that many external researchers lacked reflexive capacities (Finer and Hundt 2000, Bruner 1996). Practitioner research (connected to processes of mentoring) that analysed theory and practice was highlighted as an important aspect of service development and as affording sound possibilities for learning (Gasper 2010). Rather than relying on outsiders, shying away from evaluation or feeling it was a daunting you were encouraged to take more of a hands on role in evaluation process (Bruner 1996). Specifically, multiprofessional working was encouraged to utilise research and evaluation to dismantle traditional forms of organisation/practice and reassemble them into new possibilities (Gasper 2010). Research/evaluation was perceived to offer strong support to the development of multiprofessional services because it held the potential to enable participants to unpack their different peoples understandings concerning team work, assessment, specialism, etc (Glenny and Roaf, 2008). It was argued that various actors experience/knowledge could form the basis for service evaluation if organisation did not solely rely on rational objective research (Lawler and Bilson 2010). Such writers promoted individual and group reflexive approaches (discussed in the previous chapter) as a way of stimulating evidence informed practice (Lawler and Bilson 2010). Catchy acronyms were developed including RIPE which encouraged us to make decisions that recognised the complex interplay between research/evaluation, ideological positions, political disputes and economic realities (Frost, 2005). This approach challenged attempts by proponents of evidence led practice and performance indicator notions of quality to impose uni-causal, static and rationalist ideas in public services (Frost 2005, Seddon 2008). Such approaches encouraged practitioners to examine disputes concerning the distribution of power and decision-making in public services and raised questions concerning how you should consider issues of evaluation and how able you were to question you own practices….‘ Davis and Smith (2012) highlights the key tension the Scottish Government faces at the moment – it needs to stop trying to count quality because children and parents experience quality as something deeper and more meaningful. The government promotes a creative curriculum but fails to understand that such a curriculum has difficulties coexisting with uni-causal, static and rationalist ideas. Rationalist counting of quality – leads to perverse incentives and a rigid reductionist curriculum. If the government wishes to truly enable a creative curriculum and pedagogy in early years it needs to move away from rationalist top down approaches and trust professionals, parents and children to locally establish relationships of quality provision. As Davis and Smith argued:, ‘Systemic and Social network research critiqued the use of performance indicators and deficit model approaches to the evaluation of staff in the public sector. The use of performance quality indicators created problems in the public sector because it was not possible to develop a fixed and universally applicable set of criteria for evaluating performance (Boyne 2002). It was found that definitions of quality depended on the nature of the service and the values/expectations of stakeholders (McIver 2002)… …. Total quality management has been found to be problematic in public services because of difficulties encountered when trying to identify the consumer and agree what to measure (Pollitt 1988, Dahlberg et. al, 2007). For example, it was found that in multiprofessional settings the customer included a variety of people such as parents, carers, local community members and local agency staff (McIver 2002). A range of interested parties (e.g. consumers, taxpayers, staff, and politicians) had to be involved in developing indicators and they employed a variety of contrasting criteria (e.g. quantity, speed of delivery, effectiveness) to judge performance (Boyne 2002). Different people’s quality criteria included issues of accessibility, effectiveness, acceptability, equity, responsiveness, reliability and openness (MCIver 2002)… …. The use of satisfaction surveys in multiprofessional services have been perceived to be problematic because the public sector is complex and based more on service relationships, partnerships, professionalism and the concept of the customer as a potential co-producer of services (McIver 2002)… … Critiques of quality indicator approaches have suggested that very often, service providers did not know what to measure (e.g. they created targets irrespective of organisational capability or service user need), managers mistakenly assumed that targets motivated people, services focussed too much on accountability related to bureaucratic process (e.g. budget issues) and work processes became more and more prescriptive (e.g. managers assumed that targets were essential and forced this perspective onto workers Seddon 2008)… … Evaluation is very much a complex process dependent on people’s subjective perspectives (Wilding 1994). A focus on one set of measurements can create unintended perverse incentives (Freeman, 2002, McIver 2002, Seddon 2008)… …. Seddon (2008) was scathing of performance management for similar reasons. He replaced the catchy acronyms of performance management with his own acronym DUMB (distorting, undermining, minister-inspired and blocking improvement). He cautioned that we should not allow plausible acronyms to fool us into believing that they involved a reliable method. Seddon (2003) criticised ISO 9000 for leading to a situation where managers assured quality rather than that services delivered what services users required. He criticised EFQM on the basis that its top down criteria was employed as a starting point for analysis rather than the what and why of the service. Seddon (2003) believed that EFQM wording put pressure on managers to lead with vision, establish standards, agree targets, etc in a way that emphasised hierarchy at the expense of seeing the organisation as a system that involves collaborative processes (Seddon 2003). We can see this problem with external evaluators who are commission for their expertise and can therefore assume they have an expert/hierarchical position to fulfil. The external evaluator who fails to develop participatory approaches becomes more of an inspector than a facilitator. It has been argued that such a role can create stress in organisations that are characterised by rules and hierarchy (Jones and Leverett 2008, Walshe and Shortell 2004). It has been argued that inspection approaches mostly have symbolic significance for service users and that it would be better for inspection processes to be base on self-assessment (in a similar way to the EFQM model) that stimulated dialogue between service user, providers and inspectors (Boyne et al 2001, Brady 2004, Jones and Leverett 2008). Similarly, it was argued that inspection process put too much emphasis on top down management/regulation of process that fail to listen to children, families and workers concerns regarding practice (Munroe 2011). We encourage you (in a similar way to chapter 3) to think about creating spaces for dialogue that recognise the complexity of public services and enable those involved to genuinely discuss difficult issues (Lawler and Bilson 2010). In particular, it has been argued that multiprofessional processes and practice in children and family services needs to be based more on feedback from service users and enable greater engagement with the rights, feelings and experiences of children and families (Munroe 2011) This raises the question about whether you feel able in your job to act on emotions, intuition, and feelings. It also brings into question the nature of your organisation for example, whether the culture of your organisations enables reflexive understanding of workers problems or is more concerned with apportioning blame (Lawler and Bilson 2010). It the last chapter we demonstrated the potential for multiprofessional services to utilise local forums, teams and processes to enable appreciative practice (Glenny and Roaf, 2008, Lawler and Bilson 2010). We suggested that multiprofessional settings should utilise the leadership capacity of all the participants. Whether based on ideas of quality or research, it was argued that evaluation processes should provide structured opportunities to bring together people to discuss, reflect on and debate particular services, problems or occurrences (Jones and Leverett, 2008). Contemporary approaches sought to embrace ideas from systems theory that focused on the needs of the customer, highlighted the continuous nature of change and perceived change to be the collective responsibility of all staff. These approaches tried to shift from deficit models (e.g. based on individual performance/problems) to those that focused on systems as culturally open, welcoming, questioning and learning spaces (Oakland 1993, Locock, 2001, McIver 2002). It was argued that rather than performance indicators, external evaluators and inspectors we needed to have better knowledge management systems that were created by workers and that collected, analysed and stored information about the types and frequency of demand that came from service users (Seddon 2008). In particular, multiprofessional managers were encouraged to examine how staff met demand, how much capacity the organisation had to respond to demand, how well (from the service users point of view) the organisation met demand and what major steps were needed to meet demand (e.g. did different service users require the organisation to do different things Seddon 2008). This systemic form of analysis emerged in writing on family support that suggested knowledge networks (involving children, parents, families and communities) should be developed to foster multiprofessional and integrated working (Dolan 2006b, Pinkerton 2006). In particular practitioners were encouraged to pose a series of questions including: • who the service user was (e.g. parents, young children, children, young people, older people community members) • what major activities were they seeking (home visits, play provision, schooling, youth services, parenting support, counselling, family therapy, residential care, transport etc) • what the purpose of the work was (development, protection, compensation, redistribution, etc) • what methods married with service user expectations (empathy, advocacy/self-advocacy, community development, peer support, etc), • what level of work was involved (e.g. open access, targeted single service support, targeted multi-agency intervention or acute intervention) • and which professionals were required to work with the service users (e.g. social worker, family worker, psychologist, community worker, youth worker, voluntary sector worker etc Pinkerton 2006). This led to the recommendation that practitioners/service providers evaluate themselves in collaboration with others on the basis of whether they had ensured that services were flexible, promoted engagement with the view of service users, enabled creativity, had drawn from a range of expertise (e.g. professional, service user, family members, friends, neighbours, community members, etc), recognised cultural diversity and promoted inclusion (Pinkerton 2006, Davis 2011). In chapter 5 (contemporary management) this approach was connected to notions of process, capacity, method, outcomes and meaning making (Pinkerton 2006, Dahlberg et. al, 2007). It was argued that the central approach to multiprofessional services should involve processes of meaning making that were interactive, enabled dialogue and involved sensitive listening that acknowledged the prejudices of the different people involved (Dahlberg et. al, 2007, Davis 2011). This approach encouraged evaluation to concentrate on analysing complex ideas/problems and different people’s views of the same service. It also encouraged joint analysis of every day problems, methods and decisions making processes (Dahlberg et. al, 2007, Davis 2011). The task of evaluation became to help the actors involved develop their critical capacities rather than judge how good or bad a service was (Dahlberg et. al, 2007). Similarly, the role of teaching and learning moved from teaching students objective realities to encouraging people (through supportive frameworks/networks) to expand their ability to think and therefore collaboratively find diverse solutions to the issues they encounter in their work places (Seddon 2008, Davis 2011). ’ The problem with current approaches to inspections in early years is that they lack a strong theoretical starting point and result in contradictory practice because some inspectors promote approaches which are contradictory to notions of creative, flexible and outdoor pedagogy. These inspectors demotivate staff and this situation comes about because many of the inspectors do not have the same training as staff and they adopt hierarchical practices that lead to conflict with providers rather than admit their own gaps in knowledge.

8. What factors must be considered in delivering flexible ELC provision, while continuing to ensure a high quality service? To what extent could funded ELC support parents and carers with non-standard working hours, such as working shifts and weekends?

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The, ‘An Equal Start’ report discussed flexibility and availability. It promoted a 8-6pm Monday-Friday flexible childcare centres system. Yet, many parents have to commute long distances to work and 9-5 working hours are becoming less typical in the modern day work environment. The report argued that many childcare centres in Scotland are currently open until late in the evening and start early in the morning. The report suggested that in the long-run a transition to 7am-7pm childcare should begin as soon as a qualified childcare workforce in Scotland is of a size that could accommodate it: ‘There should also be an assessment about whether this includes flexible provision for parents who carry out night-shift work, while being mindful of avoiding the institutionalisation of childhood – as mentioned in Part 2, we concur with the Commission for Childcare Reform that 50 hours a week should be the maximum time that young children should be away from their parents. A final issue of availability is school holidays. Current plans for 30 hours a week amount to 1,140 per year – 38 weeks. Working parents therefore have to pay for childcare in the other 14 weeks of the year, the majority of which most will work, or find another alternative, such as help from family. As many local authority childcare centres are attached to primary schools, they are closed over school holidays and parents therefore need to move their children to a different, unfamiliar centre over the holiday period. This upheaval is not practical and expensive for the parent, and disruptive for the child. The National Childcare Service should carry out a feasibility study alongside workplace representatives and trade unions, looking into what would be required to achieve school holiday period childcare in all centres, while ensuring childcare workers themselves still retain their paid holiday leave and worker’s annual leave entitlement is equalised across the sector.’ A flexible system will only be achieved in the time required if we balance national leadership and support through a national service with local development of creative new centres that are locally run and managed.

9. How can we ensure fair and sustainable funding for all providers offering the ELC entitlement?

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We need to move to a universal service with a flexible supportive national structure to provide back office, salaries, contracting, maintenance etc and then enable social enterprises, cooperatives and existing local authority providers to grow the new provision. There is a need to gradually transitioning away from private sector to a universal service this should involve a balance of local cooperative, community led, social enterprise, voluntary and LA provision that comes under the umbrella of a national services. Early years services should not be run for ‘profit’ – no one should extract profit at the expense of young children’s learning. Each local area should be able to grow their own local provisions. Funding for buildings should not go directly to the private sector – in New Zealand the government funded the private sector and selfish providers simply waited out the ten year period then took their profit from their buildings. There is also evidence that the New Zealand Government was not able to keep tabs on whether all private providers waited out the ten years before taking their profit

10. What more can we do to promote and support the involvement of childminders in the entitlement to ELC? What are the barriers, if any, to becoming a childminder? How can we ensure quality while preserving the unique value of home-based care?

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See previous answer about childminders having access to local partnerships, training and support. Also we could enable local authorities, cooperatives and social enterprises to collaborate with childminders and employ childminders as a part of local provision (this happens in New Zealand). Childminders could be directly contracted to local partnerships, but receive mentoring, cpd and training through the Scottish Childminding Association. This would have to be negotiated as many will relish their freedom but if government money is going to fund them there should be a bit of give and take. There are not for profit providers in New Zealand who have balance of centre based and home based provision – childminders are directly employed by them (or are self-employed and are contracted to the organisation). Such a process could enable flexible support with freedom of choice for childminders and parents. An innovative after-school strategy: The early learning and care sector does not only cover early years. It also covers childminders (who have varying levels of qualifications) and out of school care professionals who work to enable positive experiences for children between school age and 16 years. Questions arise over how the Scottish Government is going to fund out of school care to ensure that problems of early years childcare are not simply shifted up the age range as children transition from early years services to primary and secondary school. Recent research (Martin, 2013) has argued that various Scottish Governments have overlooked the connection between early learning and childcare settings and their wider community. If we are to build a Scotland that seeks to be more equal and inclusive, we should recognise and further utilise the benefits of intergenerational collaboration within community spaces. We need to consider what after-school provision for children up to 16 would look like if it was truly outdoor-based and involved integrated collaboration. We also need to consider how to enable childminders to build strong supportive links with local early learning and out of school providers, gain access to local facilities, and develop approaches that maximise children’s learning in the environment. In short, we need an after-school strategy to work through the requirements of school-aged children and to connect changes in early years initiatives to innovation in out of school care. A strategy that connects the need for increased buildings and centres to collective ownership of land, use of public space, regeneration of high streets and housing renewal would indeed be radical. Unfortunately, none of these issues were considered during the recent reviews. Free, flexible, creative and outdoor-based childcare for all early years and school age children may be controversial, but it is our view that if children are enabled to experience excellent provision, it could revolutionise intergenerational relationships and the use of community spaces in Scotland, and ultimately lead to a more cohesive society. Another issue is the amount of hours worked by working fathers and mothers, if the Scottish Government was able to reduce the average working week - the opening hours issue could to some extent be addressed children would have more time with their parents etc. So this and other questions in this consultation may in fact be focussing on an early years solution when the early years solution needs to also be connected to a bigger solution if you connect this issue to other wider work-life balance policy issues.

11. How do we ensure that the voice of children and their families is heard as we plan this expansion?

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McNair (2016) argues that: listening to children dialogue is key to listening to children – she cites White (2016) who argues that: ‘Up until now dialogic pedagogy in the early years has received very little attention… …there is much to be gained from examining its treatment in these more traditional educational spaces’ (White, 2016:33)’. Children’s perspectives, both verbal and gestural, can be gathered by professionals who start from the perspective that there are views to be found and then find ways to communicate. Davis and Watson argued many years ago that professionals need to assume competence - children have continuously demonstrated that they were experts on their own lives who can give reliable testimonies on their experience, make suggestions about what could be done differently The literature on listening to children, in particular, has been influential and encourages us to design flexible ways of working with children’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas (MacNaughton, 2003; White, 2011. 2016) and use ‘ children’s own vocabulary and formation’ (Christensen, 2004: 171). According to Cairns (2011) listening can take many forms, from consultations to full participation. Cairns (2011) argues that listening to children demonstrates the first step in enacting their right to be heard. The second step is that what the children have to say is responded to by an action – through dialogue there is change (Cairns, 2011). For Cairns (2011), children should be engaging with adults and fully contributing, as meaning is never fixed and children have much to give (Wergerif, 2007). Davis et.al., (2014) writing on the Children and Young People’s (Scotland) Act (2014) say that it does not provide a robust statutory foundation for action by policy-makers with regards to listening to children. Cairns (2011), argues that all educational experiences should be characterised by the fundamental idea that dialogue should effect change. The Children and Young People’s Scotland Act (2014) is based upon the belief that a statutory foundation is required for Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC, 2008), children’s rights, early learning and childcare, and the care system (Sher, 2013). If this is so, then children’s should be heard, their views should be listened to and their ideas acted upon (or they should be encouraged to lead change processes). However, McNair found that children’s voices were, at times, drowned out by public agendas. This resulted in some parents claiming that policy-makers did not listen to their child. According to the Scottish Commissioner for Young Children this finding is not unusual. He says: ‘… children’s rights however are still too often ignored and their voices are lost and there is much more that can and must be done to ensure that Scotland is fully compliant with the UNCRC’ (The Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People, 2015:2). The UNCRC, which states nodal significance to listening to children, is not yet fully incorporated into Scottish law. What has emerged McNair’s study was that some of the local authority’s domestic policies – such as on behaviour, where inequitable, inconsistent and directly contravene the UNCRC. The children in McNair’s study made it clear that they thought disciplinary mechanisms were unfair and disproportionate. McNair found, in relation to transition, ‘children and parents who fought for a deferred placement did not believe they were listened to. There was no strategic or cohesive approach to deferrals being applied across the councils, with some parents claiming it was ‘a postcode lottery’. ‘ Blaisdell (2016) argues that it is possible to embed participation into early years practice and avoid children’s participation becoming a one-off or periodic exercise, that is merely a tokenistic or tick-box exercise. Her work examined approaches to participation in a early years centred based on Frobelian principles. In so doing, she argued that practitioners were often faced with uncertainty (e.g. Urban 2008): about their own practice, about their role in standing up for children’s participation, and about the consequences of working in participatory ways. She argued that children’s ‘ambiguous agency’ could create tensions for practitioners when situations such as play became challenging. She concluded that working in participatory ways was a constant learning journey for practitioners. Blaisdell (2016) highlighted early years practitioners’ resistance to ‘schoolified’ formal learning practices, to quality improvement inspection from professionals who do not understand creative, participatory and outdoor pedagogy and to constant surveillance, monitoring, and assessment of children’s development against a standardised ideal of what is ‘normal’. Blaisdell (2016) also highlighted tensions in Scottish early years policy where professionals are required to reconcile contradictory statements conquering child-centred pedagogy and risk. She suggests that notions of risk and development tend to focus on the future child at the expense of understand the child in the present (here and now) and that a key difference with practitioners who are involved in embedded participatory practice is that they do not intervene in adultist and controlling ways when children are involved in risky play: ‘At Castle Nursery, a key way that participation was ‘lived’ was that social hierarchies between adults and young children were lessened. Practitioners did not seem to think they knew best about what children should do during a day at nursery, instead supporting children to exercise agency through their play and create their own activities...... Children’s participation directly intersected with pedagogy at Castle Nursery. The pedagogical approach taken by practitioners was built on a foundation of children’s participation. Rather than plan predetermined lessons or activities, practitioners emphasised children’s learning through making connections with many different social actors: a pedagogy of relationships. Because practitioners believed that children learned best through their free-flow play experiences, the physical learning environment was a very important element of the pedagogical approach. Practitioners cultivated the physical learning environment at Castle Nursery with great care, stocking the playrooms and garden spaces with rich, open-ended materials for children to encounter and explore. Wild Wood, the nursery’s Forest School site, was also conceptualised by practitioners as a rich learning environment. Children’s own contributions to the physical learning environment were welcomed and encouraged. Practitioners were open to children bringing in toys, costumes, and other items from home and incorporating those items ‘in the mix’ with the more practitioner-planned elements of the learning environment.’ (Blaisdell 2016: 167 - 169) Blaisdell concluded that practitioners themselves learned and developed through these processes and that both children and practitioners were framed as learners in the setting she studied. This type of approach encourages us to avoid seeing the early years professional as an all knowing expert and puts them in the place of partner in the learning process – other studies quoted earlier suggested that school teachers find this shift in power particularly difficult. Davis 2011 and Davis and Hancock 2007 set up a need for greater improvements in the way that early years centres engage, listen to and communicate with children and families from Black and minority ethic backgrounds. ‘Staff expressed a need for more recruitment of black and minority ethnic staff in the sector and raised concerns about the status of black and minority ethnic staff; the recognition of their qualifications e.g. if gained abroad; and their career choices and opportunities for promotion. Increasing the number of minority ethnic staff was seen by black and minority ethnic parents to provide positive role models for their children and their interpreting skills were believed to support effective communication. Davis and Hancock (2007) concluded that service providers should be encouraged to routinely use professional and trained interpreters. There was a clear need to increase opportunities for responsive interpreting (telephone interpreting), particularly to enable conflict resolution. Systems for accessing interpreters of different spoken language varieties (e.g. Arabic) needed to be reviewed. It was also concluded that translated advice and documentation made available to black and minority ethnic parents needed to be reviewed to make sure it was appropriate, accessible and available in alternative formats (e.g. generic nursery booklet, information on nature of learning within the early years curriculum). Though parents did not discuss EAL (English as an additional language) support, staff emphasised the challenge of providing additional language support for children new to English, especially recent arrivals from the new European Union accession states. Staff wanted more EAL support. Parents felt that nurseries provided an ideal environment for their children to acquire ‘English’ through interaction and developing new friendships. However, they also expressed a desire to retain their home language (which raised issues concerning staff abilities to support the children’s bi-lingualism). Parents considered communication to be generally good albeit not enough. The parents tended to be happy with organised, formal meetings but they reported that they would like more time to talk to staff about day-to-day matters. Parents were generally sympathetic to staff whom they felt were under pressure and therefore unavailable to discuss individual needs (Davis and Hancock, 2007).

12. How can we ensure equality of access for all children? What barriers do children with disabilities and additional support needs currently face in accessing early learning and childcare? What further action is required to address these barriers?

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In order to avoid the increase in childcare provision leading to the institutionalisation of early childhood, Scotland should follow the Swedish model and the Te Whāriki initiative in New Zealand which both see a well-designed national early years curriculum, that associates learning with the environment, as the most important part of their pre-school system. The Te Whāriki initiative (1996) built an early years curriculum that also valued traditional indigenous culture. Recent discussions in New Zealand have centred on how this can also support the full range of diverse cultures that children possess (there is also criticism from Maori early years researchers that part b of the original policy has been watered down and the indigenous, nature/environment/language based nature of the curriculum has not fully been carried through). Hence, a new Scottish early years curriculum should balance the need to value historical Scottish cultures with the need to recognise the diverse cultures that children from a variety of backgrounds possess. The recent reviews (Siraj, Kingston, 2015, Commission for Childcare Reform, 2015) in seeking to create universal solutions, have tended to treat parents as if they are one type. They make little mention of the experiences of ethnic minority or LGBT families who, for example, may experience discrimination in early learning centres by rarely being invited to take part in social events, seldom being asked to carry out leadership tasks (e.g. during outings), or never being requested to take management roles on parent committees (see also Davis, J. M. (2011) Chapter 4 Integrated Children’s Services and Ethnicity in Davis, J M integrated Children’s Services. Sage. London). The SSSC ‘Taking the First Steps’ research findings demonstrated that professionals who possess the BA Childhood Practice degree, believe the qualification has made them more knowledgeable concerning issues of anti-discrimination, rights and social justice. However, it also indicated that such professionals are less experienced at utilising this knowledge in practise. As a country that promotes anti-discriminatory practise – consideration should be given to how existing anti-discriminatory approaches should be improved and promoted within a new early years curriculum and an ‘early learning and care national curriculum and review group’ should be set up to make recommendations on how to update the curriculum covering 0-7 years of age. Similarly, Davis 2011 argued for an approach to early years based on anti-discrimination rather than lukewarm multi-culturalism: ‘In the UK, there is a tendency for early years approaches to race and ethnicity to focus on ‘educating’ parents and children about racism and how to deal with racist incidents (e.g. Rixon, 2008; Siraj-Blatchford, 2010). These approaches give very useful advice; for example, to ensure you make parents aware of your policies, develop topic work around the theme of difference, work restoratively with both the children who make offensive remarks and those who experience the remarks (Siraj-Blatchford, 2010). However, the Canadian examples suggest that we should avoid creating a false division between parents within a local setting and that by adopting culturally sensitive and strengths based approaches from the start all parents and children should be made to feel central to developments within early years provision. Davis and Hancock (2007) found that many parents aspired to be involved more in their nurseries. Such approaches have been developed in the UK where underlying values have been put at the centre of discussions. In these cases it has not been assumed that different people view collaborative practices as meaning the same thing. The local community has been viewed as heterogeneous and individual relationships have been connected to concepts of community responsibility (Broadhead et al., 2008; Glenny and Roaf, 2008). Such approaches attempt to intervene as early as possible in children’s lives, to broaden out those who experience services and to avoid approaches that involve service rationing (Aldgate and Tunstill, 1995; Glenny and Roaf, 2008; McGhee and Waterhouse, 2002; Tisdall, 1997; Walker, 2008). Sheffield’s Children Centre is identified as a practical example of such provision (Broadhead et al., 2008). The centre has attempted to reconcile different often conflicting views concerning cultural diversity in the local community, developed training/employment opportunities for local parents as providers of services, inspired cross mentoring between young and old community members, developed joint media projects with the local media school, and engineered practical community projects that cross national boundaries (Broadhead et al., 2008). Within such community based approaches parents are found to define high quality children’s services workers (in keeping with the Canadian example) as people who are caring, warm and good listeners (Glenny and Roaf, 2008). In Chapter 2 we saw that many writers in the UK suggested that such integrated services require strong relationships to be built with both parents and children (Glenny and Roaf, 2008). The involvement of service users such as children and families in integrated service development was promoted by a number of authors (Foley, 2008; Leathard, 2003b). However, these writers also indicate that there can be problems with such approaches, for example some parents have problems working with more confident parents. These processes can also, be injurious if parents are assumed to have cultural capacity and therefore they need to be underpinned by long-term processes of community capacity building (Jones and Leverett, 2008). In Ireland, Dolan (2008) encourages communities to recognise the resources that immigrants bring with them and to utilise their values, skills and knowledge within processes of community development. This approach, moves away from viewing immigrants in a deficit way as a drain on scarce resources and encourages us to recognise that all community members, whatever their difference, have something to offer to strengths based children and family services. ‘ In relation to disabled children: The Scottish government are currently failing in their duty to the UNCRC and UNCRPD to ensure that disabled children have equal access to education and are enabled to reach their full potential. A Children in Scotland report 2011 identified a lack of accessible provision as have more recent reports that audit the availability of childcare. ‘There is insufficient knowledge in local authorities about whether there are sufficient services available for children with additional support for learning needs and disabilities. Parents of these children echo the lack of information and accessibility of provision expressed by respondents to Children in Scotland’s survey. Responding to a Capability Scotland survey in 2010, 48% of parents said they were not offered a choice of service for their child. Asked if there were services in their area they would like to use but were unable to, 20% didn’t know and 27% thought this was true.’ Key workers and GIRFEC structures should ensure mutli-agency planning from the earliest possible stage for the inclusion of disabled children (see also earlier answer on transition). The FIESTA research project developed a planning resource: http://www.enableireland.ie/sites/default/files/publication/Final_MTRP_2014.pdf This planning resources sees the barriers to inclusion as including a lack of material resources, poor communication between professionals, a lack of inclusion of child and parent voice, a lack of accessible buildings, a lack of anti-discrimination knowledge and practice, a lack of strong supportive relationships etc. The Scottish Government must ensure that all architects, local authority managers etc who are employed to design and enable the new early years provision have carried out disability equality training and have training related to early years pedagogy and design. Equally new CPD training course should developed to ensure all service managers gain advanced understanding of inclusion and accessibility issues. We can not waste the opportunity that we now have to produce state of the art centres.

13. How can we support higher take-up rates amongst eligible two year olds, and other groups less likely to access entitlement?

Comments
The problem here is that local authorities do not have access to health data bases so cannot identify easily eligible 2 year olds – the named person should become the early year provider within a universal service so that early years providers can identify at an early stage the eligible 2 year olds.

14. How can more social enterprises, and third sector providers, be encouraged to enter the early learning and childcare sector?

Comments
See previous answer on the structures of a national service with local, participatory and democratic collaborative partnerships. There is a real danger that money is frittered away to the private sector and a once in a life time – we asked Soal a community social enterprise company to sketch out an alternative where money is put into community partnerships – they estimate a social enterprise partnership approach could provide community profit share for 300+ nurseries nationally in Scotland of £72m p.a (see appendix A). We do not require neo-liberal solutions that take money from the public sector and provide excess profit to the private sector we require a thoughtful solution that supports the best of Scotland’s community spirit.

15. How can the governance arrangements support more community-led ELC provision particularly in remote and rural areas?

Comments
The key is to provide a National Universal service and structure that streamlines and helps plan the change process – yet – enable local solutions that bring together private, voluntary and public into new relationships which involve local planning and democracy. Private providers currently claim the do not make profits – hence they should have little objection to being brought into local social enterprises or cooperatives. This shift provides the SNP government with a one off opportunity to provide the world with a concrete alternative to exploitative neo-liberal economic models. The labour government used PPI to build schools – this tragic approach enable money to travel out of Scotland and failed to generate jobs and skills in Scotland. The SNP government has an opportunity to show the other political parties what can be achieved when Scotland develops local collaborative not for profit enterprises. The common weal ‘An Equal Start’ report argued: in relation to Management structure: The ‘Taking The First Steps’ report (SSSC, 2014) connected improved outcomes for children, flexible pedagogy and creative curriculum with devolved leadership and management within community-focused early years services that involved all staff taking responsibility for issues of quality. By strategically locating centres in local communities, the National Childcare Service would seek to ensure that community level participation and decision making was central to the early learning and childcare management process. The local authority would still support local processes of recruitment, administration and planning in coordination with local childcare partnership boards. Each local area would begin from different starting points and it would be important to enable local and regional flexibility so that the National Childcare Service could focus on responding as quickly as possible to local needs. The National Childcare Service (in collaboration with SSSC, Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland) and the Project Board (discussed in Part 1) would work collectively to ensure national standards, quality indicators, outcomes and evaluation, supported local service, development and We believe this plan to create a National Childcare Service (which we would recommend officially calling ‘National Early Learning and Care Service’) is the only way of ensuring that the increase to 30 hours delivers: A National Childcare Service is the only vehicle that could seriously cope with planning this expansion. The Common Weal A Equal Start Report Argues: ‘Second, the childcare sector will be restructured into a National Childcare Service, with all 30 hours provided through public provision and a common set of standards for quality, availability, affordability, flexibility and staffing. This transition would take place over the four years from 2016- 2020. The intention would be to make childcare institutionally akin to school education, which is run by local government but with statutory national standards and framework in place for overall governance of the sector. In this circumstance, there would be no competition for places and provision would uniformly be provided on the basis of meeting the needs of the child, not profitability. Re-structuring of early learning and care provision will be complex. The tripartite (public, private and voluntary) nature of current provision will encounter obstacles, such as, how to encourage the transitioning of private companies into a universal service. Yet, it will also provide opportunities regarding how to enable community governance of new local centres. Partnership Buy-Outs The offer of buy-outs to partnership childcare centres would not be compulsory – childcare centres could reject the offer, but their funding for the 30 free hours would be reviewed, and if it did not meet the new criteria of the National Childcare Service (outlined below), it would be taken away. Partnerships accepting the offer would have all staff kept on, and would be re-graded and re-trained accordingly, with a substantial improvement in pay for managers and childhood practitioners. We believe this to be an attractive proposition for the majority of staff working in partnership childcare centres. For childcare workers, it offers the prospect of improved terms and conditions. As well as giving managers/owners a lump sum from the buy-out, it offers the prospect of increased security and relief from the stress that many small businesses in the childcare sector have to deal with; e.g. constant change and the need to fill up places from year to year. For parents, they will no longer have to worry about inconsistencies in the quality of childcare provision between different centres, and will be able to send their child to one centre for the whole day. Many centres currently only open for half-days, forcing parents to move their children between different centres. While Common Weal’s general approach is to always support the success of small businesses, we believe that early years learning and care, like school education and healthcare, is of such fundamental importance to a child’s development it should not be treated as a business, and therefore should be publicly provided for. B) National Childcare Service A National Childcare Service, which would be established in 2020 and would be responsible for the high-quality delivery of 30 free hours of childcare per week in Scotland, is affordable within the planned budget for the sector over the next five years. Costs The Scottish Government has said that by 2019/20, revenue spending on childcare in Scotland will rise from £439 million in 2014/15 to £880 million (Scottish Government, 2015b). The major cost for the National Childcare Service will be the salaries of childhood practitioners and childcare managers.’ ’

16. How can the broader system for promoting, accessing, and registering for a place in an ELC setting be improved? Please give examples of any innovative and accessible systems currently in place?

Comments
The major problem at the moment is lack of coordination between health services (which are not coterminous with local authority boundaries) and early years services which are specific to each local authority area. The biggest mistake was making the health professional the named person in early years they are not sufficiently located in local authority services to do this job. If this role was given to 52 weeks of the year local family support teams/early years professionals (who are very good at multi-agency services assessment, planning and delivery) innovative approaches could be centred around them.

17. Do parents and carers face any barriers in accessing support with the costs of ELC provision (beyond the funded entitlement)? What more can we do to ensure additional hours are affordable?

Comments
We know this is the case and a voucher system is not the solution. In the USA voucher systems have been accused of forcing education institutions to compete between each other, of resulting in segregation of affluent and less affluent children (affluent, white, middle and upper class parents have more choices in the way they can use and top up vouchers) and of creating divisions between consumers (parents) and educational staff (because the relationship becomes about consumer choice and not about learning). The Scottish Government have the opportunity to create state of the art facilities that enable all Scotland’s children to be educated together in their local community based provisions. There is a danger that vouchers will promote a segregated form of provisions as more affluent parents use them to get into private schools at the earliest possible opportunity. Early years education should not be a tradeable market place. The government’s recent report and the various Family and Childcare Trust reports show problems with the ability to access early years provision but the solution is not vouchers the solution is a universal system.

18. How can ELC providers, particularly private and third sector providers, be encouraged to extend capacity?

Comments
The Common Weal – ‘An Equal Start’ Report stated: ‘We have outlined why the current architecture of childcare provision is in no position to meet the challenge of the increased capacity, funding and quality that will be required to move to 30 hours of free childcare provision by 2020. In Part 2 we aim to provide a plan for what needs to be done to change this situation. This plan is split into two parts: First, the infrastructure and skills development needed to get the sector prepared for 1,140 hours per year will require a big injection of capital investment which we estimate to be over £800m. The £441m per year of increased revenue spending (to £880m) on childcare is needed for the increased wages and maintenance of the expanded childcare service, therefore, money for the capital investment will have to come from elsewhere. We propose a number of ways the Scottish Government could achieve a quick transition in the childcare sector to get it up to capacity. Second, the childcare sector will be restructured into a National Childcare Service, with all 30 hours provided through public provision and a common set of standards for quality, availability, affordability, flexibility and staffing. This transition would take place over the four years from 2016- 2020. The intention would be to make childcare institutionally akin to school education, which is run by local government but with statutory national standards and framework in place for overall governance of the sector. In this circumstance, there would be no competition for places and provision would uniformly be provided on the basis of meeting the needs of the child, not profitability. Re-structuring of early learning and care provision will be complex. The tripartite (public, private and voluntary) nature of current provision will encounter obstacles, such as, how to encourage the transitioning of private companies into a universal service. Yet, it will also provide opportunities regarding how to enable community governance of new local centres. The two-part approach outlined below – a specific plan to carry out the rapid investment needed in the sector, and a National Childcare Service to ensure effective delivery - is, we believe, the simplest and most effective way to address the obstacles and take advantage of the opportunities in transitioning to 1,140 hours. A) Infrastructure and skills investment In Part 1 we outlined the increase in capacity needed to prepare the childcare sector for moving from 15 to 30 free hours: 45,000 new places, 1,125 new childcare centres and 9,000 new staff. The Scottish Government has four years to deliver the rapid infrastructure and skills investment needed to achieve this. There are three major tasks: 1) Assess Demand: Conduct a full-scale audit of childcare capacity across Scotland so that the investment in new childcare centres and new staff can be efficient and precise in meeting need, as well as taking account of regional inequities, the needs of rural communities and the requirements of disabled children (who should have equitable access to early learning and childcare provision). 2) Capital Investment: Finance and run the building of the new childcare centres to a high standard, and offer buyouts to existing partnership providers (voluntary/private) to become part of the new National Childcare Service. 3) Skill-up Professionals: Ensure there are enough trained staff for the new hours needed, through subsidising training for childhood practitioners and those who want to become childcare practitioners’. A model needs to be found that enables transition to a flexible community based – creative and well-designed universal service – it would be appropriate to have a mix of cooperatives, social enterprises and local authority provision under local participatory democratic structures. It would not be appropriate to give money to the private sector which they will subsequently gain profit from at the cost of the tax payer and a voucher scheme is a particularly inappropriate and inefficient idea – the growth of the private sector in New Zealand has been met with resentment and resulted in a reduction in pay, quality and qualifications see the work of Lynda Mitchell, Sally Peters, Anne smith etc.

19. What funding model would best support our vision for high quality and flexible ELC provision, which is accessible and affordable for all?

Comments
The Common Weal: ‘An Equal Start’ paper argued: ‘1) Assess Demand: Conduct a full-scale audit of childcare capacity across Scotland so that the investment in new childcare centres and new staff can be efficient and precise in meeting need, as well as taking account of regional inequities, the needs of rural communities and the requirements of disabled children (who should have equitable access to early learning and childcare provision.) 2) Capital Investment: Finance and run the building of the new childcare centres to a high standard, and offer buyouts to existing partnership providers (voluntary/private) to become part of the new National Childcare Service. 3) Skill-up Professionals: Ensure there are enough trained staff for the new hours needed, through subsidising training for childhood practitioners and those who want to become childcare practitioners (discussed in detail in Part 3.) Delivering 1) is straight forward: a taskforce should be established to come up with accurate supply/demand data in every part of the country, and should work with local authorities and the inspection organisations in achieving this. The detail should be meticulous with a map produced of where new childcare centres should be built in each local authority area. For 2) and 3), the Scottish Government has various tools it can use to raise the capital for infrastructure investment and training. The Scottish Government’s capital budget is rising by five per cent in real terms, from £3bn to £3.2bn in 2019/20. A report by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) (2016) on the Scottish Government’s draft budget 2016/17 revealed that £1.1bn is available for the infrastructure capital budget. While a substantial sum of this is likely to be already allocated on the Scottish Government’s large infrastructure pipeline, the data shows a large degree of flexibility in how the capital budget is spent year on year. Therefore, the most straightforward way to carry out the infrastructure investment would be to pay for it directly mthrough reallocating sums from the capital budget. The Scottish Government could also borrow money from its capital borrowing budget, which is 10 per cent of its total capital budget (£300m rising to £320m by 2019/20). If the Scottish Government did not want to front load the funds for this and carry out the building of the childcare centres directly, it could establish a government-run Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). An SPV is created by another entity to carry out a specific task or set of tasks, and has its own governance system in place to do this. The benefit of this business model is that the government can raise capital from other means.6 Ideally, the lender would be a newly established Scottish National Investment Bank. 7, but even without this it would be possible to find multiple sources of lending and even issue bonds for private and pension financial investment in the project. One of the above menu of options is likely to be much more favourable than simply allocating an extra sum of money to local authorities to spend on infrastructure investment for childcare. As discussed in Part 1, local authorities face reduced budgets and rising debts, and therefore adding the burden of building new childcare centres will not be a reliable means of ensuring it happens to the extent and to the quality in which is required. Costs: After seeking expert advice8, we estimate the cost of infrastructure development for an average-sized high quality childcare centre (taking 40 children) including landscaping and outdoors play area to be £750,000 each, for 1,125 centres that would be £844m. While not all centres will have to be built (the Scottish Government is likely to reallocate use of existing publicly owned estate and purchase estate) the cost of partnership buy-outs (see below for more information) means that an overall estimate. Of costs for new publicly owned National Childcare Service centres of £800m is a good estimate. That’s equivalent to one-fourth of the total capital budget over one year, or one-sixteenth over the four financial years from 2016/17 to 2019/20 (capital costs are assessed on the period in which the asset is being constructed)…. ….. Expanding free childcare from 15 to 30 hours per week will significantly reduce childcare costs for parents, but for most in full-time work it will not eradicate them. On average, fulltime workers in Scotland work 38 hours per week. The rest of the cost of full-time childcare will have to be paid for by parents. In Part 4 we look at how affordability could be further improved so that eventually childcare is entirely free at the point of use for parents. For now, we need to understand what support is provided for by the UK benefits system, and therefore to what extent the parent-paid hours of childcare are subsidised, to assess affordability. Childcare vouchers are being replaced by a Tax Free Childcare Scheme, where working parents will be able to pay into a ‘childcare account’, which will be topped up by the UK Government. For every 80p parents pay into the account to cover childcare costs, 20p will be topped up by the government (with a cap of £2,000 per year). However, for those on low incomes, take up for this is likely to be low, as it means you cannot claim Working Tax Credit (which will by 2017 be rolled into Universal Credit). The Commission for Childcare Reform analysis found that only when receiving very low levels of Universal Credit will the Childcare Account be financially beneficial for parents. Two-thirds of working parents do not currently receive any financial support beyond the 600 hours per year free childcare, and therefore it will be these parents (mostly middle-income) who will benefit from the new Tax Free Childcare Scheme. Those who take up the Tax Free Childcare Scheme will essentially receive a 20 per cent reduction in total financial costs. Combined with the move from 15 to 30 free hours, this is significant especially for those with more than one child in childcare or after school care. A couple of examples will help to illustrate this: Tax free Child Care Scheme Parent Costs: Example 1: A household with one 3-year-old child using 40 hours of childcare per week (assuming a rate of £10 an hour) will cost L80 per week (£320 per month). Without the extra free hours or the Tax Free Childcare Scheme, the cost would have been L250 per week (£1000 per month). Example 2: A household with three children - a 1-yearold, a 4-year-old and a 10-year-old in an after school club. The 1 and 4-year-old are in 35 hours of childcare per week and the 10-year-old in 15 hours per week. Assuming £15 an hour for the 1-year-old, £10 an hour for the 4-year-old and £5 an hour for the 10-year-old, the cost will be L160 per week (£640 per month). Without the extra free hours or the Tax Free Childcare Scheme, the cost would have been L575 per week (£2,300 per month). We can conclude that for middle-income full-time parents, the extra hours and increased financial support with the Tax Free Childcare Scheme reduces childcare costs to about one-third of the what they were before the changes. However, for parents looking for 50 hours of childcare per week, the reduction in cost would be significantly less, especially if they have more than one child, as they would hit the cap of the £2,000 top-up per year. For low income parents, Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit both have a childcare element in defining how much can be claimed. To qualify, the parent must regularly use registered childcare. For the Working Tax Credit, the childcare element is calculated as 70 per cent of the total average costs of childcare, with a maximum of £122.50 per week for one child (£210 a week for two or more children). For the Universal Credit childcare element, as of 2016, it will be worth 85 per cent of total average childcare costs. It is impossible to come up with a precise account of the winners and losers from the roll out of Universal Credit as it is subject to change, but the number of people who receive Universal Credit as opposed to Working Tax Credit will fall slightly as Universal Credit is assessed on capital as well as income. Households that have over £16,000 capital – including savings, investments, property value etc. – will not be applicable. For those who will receive the childcare element of Universal Credit, we can say that on top of a doubling of free hours in Scotland, there will be a 15 per cent improvement in the financial support they receive. Taking the 15 extra hours and the 15 per cent improvement in financial support, the increase in childcare subsidy is highly significant - as much as an 80 per cent drop per month for parents with one 3-4-year old child. We will use the same examples as above, but this time for the childcare element of Universal Credit. Childcare costs of universal credit Example 1: A household with one 3-year-old child using 40 hours of childcare per week (assuming a rate of £10 an hour) will cost L15 per week (£60 per month). Without the increase in free hours or the extra 15 per cent in financial support, the cost would have been L75 per week (£300 per month). Example 2: A household with three children - a 1-yearold, a 4-year-old and a 10 year old in an after school club. The 1 and 4-year-old are in 35 hours of childcare per week and the 10-year-old 15 hours. Assuming £15 an hour for the 1-year-old, £10 an hour for the 4 year old and £5 an hour for the 10 year old the cost will be L30 per week (£120 a month). Without either the increase in free hours or the extra 15 per cent in financial support the cost would have been L97.50 per week (£390 per month.) We can conclude that for low-income full-time parents, the extra hours and the increased financial support from the childcare element of Universal Credit means childcare costs are somewhere between one-third to one-fifth the cost they were before the changes, depending on the number of children. However, this reduction is likely to be more like 50 per cent for parents looking for 50 hours of childcare per week, as 20 hours would have to be paid for by the parent. We should also set this within its proper context: overall, most in-work parents are likely to be worse off from Universal Credit than Working Tax Credit. A single mother of two working full-time on the minimum wage is set to be £2,981 worse off per year under Universal Credit (The Herald, 2016). Therefore although the childcare element of Universal Credit is set to be improved, the total amount is what really matters in terms of childcare affordability and that is set to drop. As discussed in Part 1, parents do not currently have a commonly held cost per hour for childcare, with prices varying wildly. A National Childcare Service would have a national price per hour for parent-paid hours across the different age groups. ‘

20. If it were possible for aspects of the entitlement to be phased in ahead the full roll out by 2020, how should this be implemented?

Comments
The Common Weal ‘An Equal Start’ report made these conclusion: Availability and flexibility The Commission for Childcare Reform argued that 50 hours per week should be made available for childcare so that fulltime parents could have all-day childcare, but that should be the maximum amount that young children should be away from their parents. We therefore propose that National Childcare Service centres all have uniform opening hours of 8-6pm Monday-Friday, which gives parents the option of 50 hours (paying after the first 30 hours), and some flexibility over how they use their free 30 hours. For example, for some parents, three days of 8am-6pm childcare will be appropriate, whereas for others, five days of 9am-3pm – school hours - will work. No child should have to be moved between childcare centres – for every place, there should be one centre that can provide all-day care, taking out the anxiety and inconvenience of availability and moving children between centres, which can be a feature of the current system. This is essential for full-time parents. Unless they can be confident of having all-day care, they can’t be sure that they will be able to work full-time hours. In many ways the hours are irrelevant from the point of view of full-time parents – they pay up front for all-day care and receive the free hours in three lump sums across the year, so it is the shift from half day to full day that matters to them. If a maximum of six hours per day is delivered, most full-time parents will not experience that as a fundamental change in the nature of childcare delivery in Scotland. The all-day care availability is paramount. In Part 4 we discuss how this flexibility could be further extended, but we believe this to be an important first step that is affordable and viable in the current context. As discussed above, building flexibility into the system will require extra staffing to deal with the increased opening hours. Hours worked vary widely across the childcare sector, as some local authorities just put on enough childcare for the 15 free hours, whereas some partnership centres can be open for over 50 hours a week. We believe no member of staff should be working more than 40 hours per week, meaning that at minimum if all centres are running for 50 hours per week, a 20 per cent increase in staffing is necessary. Of course not all staff will want to significantly increase their hours, and part-time arrangements should be accommodated for. All changes to staff working hours should only be implemented after thorough consultation and negotiation with the workforce and trade unions. With the aim of establishing childcare centres on a needs basis across Scotland so that every 3-4-year-old and ‘vulnerable’ 2-year-old has a place, a National Childcare Service can ensure that availability is no longer a problem for parents, flexibility is built into the system and competition for places is eradicated. In parts 1-3 we have focused on how to most effectively deliver the doubling of free hours of childcare for 3-4 year olds and ‘vulnerable’ 2 year olds. But this is far from the end of our ambitions for early learning and care. We believe the plan for a National Childcare Service outlined above provides scope for the future progress and evolution of the sector in Scotland. The following are just some of the areas that we would like to see progress in over the next 10-20 years. Towards free at the point of use childcare Eventually, the National Childcare Service should be entirely free at the point of use, like the National Health Service. The more comprehensive and universal the childcare service, the more it will be valued by society as a whole, and therefore the more taxpayers will see it as worth paying for as an essential part of human development. This will have to be a gradual process, but the trajectory should be steadily in this direction. Two major stages in this evolution could be: 1. The ‘Scotland’s Future’ white paper (2013c) made the case for 30 hours per week free childcare for all 1-4 year olds by the end of the second parliament of an independent Scotland, which would have been 2025. SPICe (2014) estimated that this would cost an additional £1.2bn, bringing total revenue costs to over £2bn. This would be a more than doubling of costs, as childcare is more expensive for 1 and 2 year olds. In the context of the No vote in the independence referendum, and the Scottish Government having a consistently reduced fixed budget year on year, the financial constraints in achieving this in the devolved context is something we are not blind to. However, making free childcare available from essentially the end of maternity leave to school years would be a major incentive for parents (especially women), to plan to stay in full-time work while raising a family. The knock on economic and fiscal impact over the long term, especially on income tax revenue (which is set to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament), could more than make up for short term costs. We would therefore like to see this ambitious target adhered to, despite the No vote in the referendum. If this is out of reach, then at least moving to free childcare for all 2 year olds by 2025 should be achievable. At all times, any increase in childcare must be combined with ensuring that the experience of children is enjoyable and meaningful. 2. As discussed in Part 2, the proposed changes at UK and Scottish level will make a sizeable reduction in childcare costs for low and middle-income parents, but we should not be complacent – in Sweden, childcare is entirely free, paid for through progressive taxation. Furthermore, unclaimed benefits in the UK can reach as much as one-third, and is higher for those in-work and those further up the income bracket. In 2012, over £7bn was not claimed in Working Tax Credits, including Child Tax Credits. There’s no reason to think that it will not be similar for Universal Credit and the Tax Free Childcare Scheme. As Danson, McAlpine, Spicker, and Sullivan (2012) argued, universal services are always preferable to means-tested ones. Once again, we are aware of the financial constraints, but the long-term aim should be to move to 50 hours per week of free childcare. ‘ The sooner we can achieve this shift with a mix of community based-professionals, settings and providers the better.

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