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How good is our early learning and childcare?

Extract from ‘How good is our early learning and childcare? – February 2016’

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Self-evaluation for self-improvement has been a feature of improving the early years sector of Scottish education for our youngest children in Scotland for many years. As members of the early learning and childcare sector, we have used our previous self-evaluation frameworks as a tool to help in the process of self-evaluation for settings to improve their quality and aim for excellence. We have become very familiar with the use of quality indicators, which has been a key feature to influence our practice for the benefit of children’s outcomes.

This new framework, ‘How good is our early learning and childcare’ (HGIOELC), seeks to build on this positive response but at the same time take a fresh look at the developing needs and reflect the changes and increased provision of the ELC sector today. For the first time, this framework will only be published as a digital resource on the new National Improvement Hub. This gives Education Scotland the opportunity to offer truly interactive digital resources for our future improvement frameworks and tools that can be developed and updated flexibly.

In April 2014, The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act was introduced with a renewed focus on children from birth to starting school. This focus highlighted the importance of ELC for the future of individual children, their families and practitioners in the varying types of settings throughout Scotland. Recent changes in approach and policy direction have been the conduit for change to our existing self- evaluation materials. HGIOELC takes account of the continuous aspiration to make Scotland the best place to grow up, and embraces the diversity and type of provision across the country.

HGIOELC takes account of childminders, all private, voluntary and local authority settings. It is therefore for all practitioners working with children from birth to starting school. It complements the newly published How good is our school? (4th edition), for primary and secondary schools, and underpins the approach to self-evaluation to drive forward improvement work across Scotland. It takes full account of recent policy initiatives such as, National Practice Guidance on Early Learning and Childcare: Building the Ambition, Pre-birth to Three, Getting it right for every child and Curriculum for Excellence.