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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07418: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 22 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the remit of Early Years Scotland and council teams to oversee playgroups, what its response is to reports that they might not be held accountable for the quality of the (a) care and (b) education provided, and what the level of accountability is of (i) Early Years Scotland development workers and (ii) principle teachers.

Answered by: Mark McDonald 8 March 2017

As outlined in response to S5W-07417 on 8 March 2017, the Care Inspectorate has a statutory responsibility to inspect and regulate all registered providers of day care, including playgroups, against the ‘National Care Standards for Early Education and Childcare up to the age of 16’. However, each setting is ultimately responsible for ensuring they meet the requirements set out in the various guidance and legislation governing early learning and childcare.

Early Years Scotland provides support to early learning and childcare settings to ensure the highest quality provision for children. There are a number of strands to their work, including supporting their members, working in partnership with local authorities (including Aberdeenshire) and delivering services direct to children and families. All of their staff are fully qualified early years professionals. Early Years Scotland provides a wide variety of information and guidance and template policies that settings can use as a basis for developing their own specific, local policies. Early Years Scotland ‘Development Support Officers’ work across Scotland, working directly both with members and, where they are working in partnership with a local authority, non-members.

We are not aware of Principal Teachers being deployed in voluntary settings such as playgroups. However, anyone who is managing/providing an Early Learning and Childcare setting, is ultimately accountable for the care and education of the children in that setting.

There is a requirement for all childcare registered with the Care Inspectorate (including playgroups) to have an early years manager/lead practitioner. This manager can be shared with other services if the Care Inspectorate agrees to a peripatetic management arrangement.

It is a requirement of the SSSC that every manager/lead practitioner of a daycare of children service must be either:

  • Hold, or be working towards, a relevant degree level Childhood Practice award

  • Hold a qualification that allows registration with the General Teaching Council (Scotland) or other regulatory body.

Local authorities can secure delivery of the funded entitlement to early learning and childcare through other partner providers including playgroups. In this context, local authorities have a responsibility for securing improvement in the quality of school education which includes the early learning and childcare entitlement delivered through partner providers.

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