We published our quality framework for daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare in March 2022, informing the sector that we would use the framework in our inspections from 1 June 2022.  We want to take this opportunity to provide you with some additional materials to support understanding and use of the framework as a self-evaluation tool.

The framework focuses on children’s wellbeing and sets out the elements that will help us answer key questions about the impact care and learning is making to outcomes for children. The primary use of the framework is as a tool for self-evaluation to assist settings self-evaluate their own performance in delivering good care and learning for children. What influences good outcomes for children has not changed but we hope the way in which the framework is set out will reassure practitioners of how this will apply in their particular setting. This framework should support settings to showcase their strengths and identify improvement, where required.

You can read across the new key questions to the previous quality themes:

New key questions

Previous quality themes

1: How good is our care, play and learning?

Quality of care and support

2: How good is our setting?

Quality of environment

3: How good is our leadership?

Quality of management and leadership

4: How good is our staff team?

Quality of staffing

Our inspectors will use the framework to provide independent assurance about the quality of care, play and learning. In March 2022 we informed providers that when using the framework at inspections, we will select a small number of core quality indicators. We have taken account of what has been happening in some settings alongside recovery from the pandemic, imbedding of the expansion programme and staffing. We have therefore updated the list of core indicators and included deployment of staff.  The core quality indicators that will be evaluated at inspection will be:

1.1 Nurturing care and support

1.3 Play and learning

2.2 Children experience high quality facilities

3.1 Quality assurance and improvement are led well

4.3 Staff deployment

      *4.1 Staff skills, knowledge, and values. (For childminders without assistants)

Useful links

We also want to share some good practice examples of how the framework is supporting improvement in settings and inspectors will be keen to hear from you on inspection about the improvements you have made since the introduction of the framework.  We are excited to use the framework as our methodology will be transparent on how inspectors evaluate practice and supports settings deliver high quality play and learning experiences for children.  We look forward to seeing how the framework is used across the ELC sector to enhance the quality of care, play and learning provided to our children in Scotland. 

Pleased be assured when your inspector undertakes the first quality framework inspection of your setting, they will use the same approaches as previously used and at the beginning and throughout the inspection we will share information to ensure settings are fully informed and involved in the process.

Following the publication of Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education, including the recommendation, put forward by Professor Muir, to create a shared inspection framework for early learning and childcare settings, Scottish Government will undertake a consultation on approaches to scrutiny of early learning and childcare in the coming months. We are fully committed to working with the sector, other inspectorates and partner organisations to implement the findings of the consultation.

In the meantime this framework provides the sector with a framework that reflects national policy and best practice and will support settings moving forward and supporting good outcomes for children and their families.