Early years organisations sign up to updated partnership principles for expansion of childcare in Scotland

Kathy Oxtoby
Tuesday, March 30, 2021

NDNA and COSLA agree updated early learning and childcare partnership principles to support working relationships between local authorities and partner providers.

Childcare providers in Scotland will be working closely with local authorities according to new principles.
Childcare providers in Scotland will be working closely with local authorities according to new principles.

Principles of partnership working in early learning and childcare have been updated and agreed by National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Scotland and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

These principles are aimed at supporting effective working between private and voluntary nurseries and local authorities across Scotland for the benefit of all children and families taking up childcare places, NDNA and COSLA said.

A set of partnership principles were initially agreed between the two organisations in September 2018 for the expansion of childcare, to support positive working relationships between local authorities and partner providers.

Meeting the rights and needs of children
Originally intended for August 2020, the expansion was paused last April to give local authorities the flexibility to focus on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Scottish Government aims to reintroduce the statutory obligation to deliver the 1140 hour expansion of funded ELC from August 2021.

Updating the principles ‘will ensure all parties work together to meet the rights and needs of the children’, NDNA and COSLA said. 

All local authorities, along with COSLA and early years organisations NDNA Scotland, Care and Learning Alliance, Early Years Scotland and Scottish Childminding Association, have now signed up to the following principles of partnership working:

  • Clear guidance in relation to expectations on both sides of the partnership
  • There should be a recognition of views and needs of all parties, with the needs of children and young people at the very centre of childcare delivery
  • There is a recognition that all parties are committed to funding following the child and the provider neutral model where any provision as long as it is of high quality is of equal importance
  • There should be transparency in terms of decision making by both local authorities and providers which impact on service delivery
  • The local democratic processes covering accountability for decisions around early learning and childcare provision will be clearly set out
  • All employers providing the funded entitlement on childcare will meet the latest version of the national standard requirements  
  • Regular meetings between local authority and funded providers with clear actions agreed where appropriate
  • Local authorities and funded providers identify a key contact person for partnership matters. Any changes to this should be communicated in a timely manner
  • Local authorities and funded providers should develop an agreement on the provision of training and sharing good practice to support the delivery of high quality childcare in their area
  • Mutual respect for the skills, knowledge and expertise held by all parties. 

The principle of ‘Funding following the child’ will also be ‘at the heart of the early learning and childcare expansion’ from August 2021, when the National Standard will become law, NDNA and COSLA said.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Scotland, said: ‘We are delighted that all organisations have now signed up to these principles as this should make delivery of childcare run more smoothly for the benefit of the children and their families.

‘This year has been a very challenging one for everyone involved in caring for and educating our youngest children. It has been great to see some really positive examples of everyone pulling together. However, where challenges come up we want to see everyone working together to resolve them. These principles aim to help strengthen the positive relationships between all partners delivering early learning funded childcare.’

 

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