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Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare

Father & sons reading
Published: July 2019

This study assesses the expansion of government funded early learning and childcare

Aim

The Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare assesses the extent to which the expansion from 600 to 1140 hours of government funded early learning and childcare (ELC) for all children aged 3 to 5 and some eligible 2-year olds, improves outcomes for children and parents, particularly those who are at risk of disadvantage.

Methods

This is the second phase of the project and will run over several years using multiple samples, all with the overarching purpose of comparing outcomes for children experiencing 600 hours of government funded early learning and childcare (ELC) with those experiencing the expanded 1140 hours. The purpose of ELC expansion is twofold: firstly, to support children’s cognitive, social and emotional development, and secondly to support more parents into work, study or training.

The first phase involved collecting baseline data through a survey given to parents and keyworkers of 2-year-olds receiving 600 hours of ELC. These surveys collected information regarding, among other things, the child’s developmental progress, their health and general wellbeing and the impact of childcare on the parents’ economic activity. Observations of the ELC settings by the Care Inspectorate were linked to the survey responses given by keyworkers and parents.

In this second phase three groups of children will be sampled. These are the eligible 2-year olds that participated in the first phase who will be aged 3 at the time of data collection, a nationally representative sample of 3-year olds receiving statutory ELC, and a nationally representative sample of 4/5 year olds who have received 600 hours of state funded ELC and will be leaving ELC to start school in August 2019. Surveys of the children’s parents and keyworkers will collect information in the same areas (development, health & wellbeing etc.) as was collected in the first phase, and these findings will again be linked to observations of the ELC settings made by the Care Inspectorate. Data collected in this and future phases will enable comparisons to be made between outcomes for children and parents receiving the original 600 hours and the expanded 1140 hours of state-funded ELC.