Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Support for early years and childcare professionals

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What is this?

Here you will find information and links from partner organisations intended to provide:

Support for your health and wellbeing

  1. Early Years Scotland
  2. Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)
  3. Scottish Childminding Association

Support for the health and wellbeing of learners

  1. SOSCN (Scottish Out of School Care Network)
  2. Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Professional learning opportunities and resources to support recovery

  1. Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate

Who is this for?

All early years and childcare professionals.

Support for your health and wellbeing

1. Early Years Scotland

Early Years Scotland is committed to providing the very best start in life for every child in Scotland. It is the leading national third sector organisation for children pre-birth to 5. Early Years Scotland’s remit is broad, but with a strong focus on the professionals and families who care for the youngest members of our community.

Education Workforce Support

Early Years Scotland has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government in the creation of a resource dedicated to individuals who work in the Early Learning and Childcare Sector. Working in childcare can be the most rewarding job but can also be challenging. Covid-19 has impacted lives in ways we could not have foreseen, and with this comes challenges for both personal and professional wellbeing. In recognition of this, Early Years Scotland has launched an online hub dedicated to the ELC Sector.

The Hub is full of practical ideas and resources to support wellbeing. It also provides opportunities to connect with colleagues from across the country, at a time that works for you. Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People has shared her thoughts on this exciting new resource: 'It’s vital, now more than ever that we take the time to ensure we’re looking after ourselves. I’d encourage you all to visit the ELC Wellbeing Hub and take advantage of the resources and advice it provides.' For more information email info@earlyyearsscotland.org 

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2. Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)

The SSSC are the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland. Its work means the people of Scotland can count on social services being provided by a trusted, skilled and confident workforce.  The SSSC protect the public by registering social service workers, setting standards for their practice, conduct, training and education and by supporting their professional development. By doing this, SSSC increases the protection of people who use services. Where people fall below the standards of practice and conduct SSSC can investigate and take action. The SSSC:

  • publish the national codes of practice for people working in social services and their employers;
  • register people working in social services and make sure they adhere to the SSSC Codes of Practice;
  • promote and regulate the learning and development of the social service workforce
  • are the national lead for workforce development and planning for social services in Scotland;
  • the SSSC are the official statistics provider for the social services sector;
  • the SSSC Register was set up under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 to regulate social service workers and to promote their education and training.

Education Workforce Support:

  • Use the SSSC website to find the latest information on what the SSSC are doing to support employers and learners.
  • The SSSC have developed a number of resources to support post registration training and learning for the ELC workforce and wider children’s services sector. They can be accessed through the SSSC Learning Zone.
  • ‘Open Badges’ have been developed to support the workforce, the use of which has increased since lockdown as staff continue their professional learning. For more information visit SSSC

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3. Scottish Childminding Association

The Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) is the national voice of childminding in Scotland. SCMA is a national Third Sector and membership organisation that promotes childminding as a quality childcare service.
Working on behalf of its 4,000 childminder members, SCMA helps to improve the wellbeing and outcomes for Scotland’s children and aims to influence policy to ensure that it is informed by the experiences of childminding. SCMA provides a wide range of support and professional services for members including training and events as well as delivering local services.

Education Workforce Support:

During COVID-19, childminders were able to remain open in order to deliver critical childcare. This amounted to a total of 700-1,000 settings open during the pandemic. Many services also closed, due to individual circumstances such as shielding, health risks etc. SCMA received an extremely high volume of contact and requests for support from our members, both open and closed, during this time. SCMA has worked to be responsive and supportive throughout the pandemic, to ensure that our childminding settings can recover and continue to offer high quality childcare going forward. Examples of the work undertaken to provide support for Health and Wellbeing as well as ongoing CPL opportunities can be seen as follows:

  • Extended the hours of the helpline and opened additional phone lines for support.
  • Developed a dedicated area of the website relating to COVID-19 for childminders, including the latest updates, useful links, guidance and FAQs. FAQs have been used by members, local authorities and other stakeholders with positive feedback on their current and detailed guidance.
  • Regular video updates from the SCMA CEO, following key Scottish Government announcements to help digest the information and how it relates to childminding.
  • Created a series of e-Bulletins to support childminder’s professional growth and health and wellbeing during this challenging time.
  • Offered free e-Learning to all SCMA members to help continued learning and development.
  • Established a Childminding Workforce Support Fund to support childminders experiencing financial hardship.
  • Provided a voice for childminders to represent views at the very highest levels.
  • For more information visit Childmining

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Support for the health and wellbeing of learners

1. SOSCN (Scottish Out of School Care Network)

SOSCN is the national infrastructure umbrella organisation providing support, mentoring, training, information and resources to all childcare services in Scotland, which provide childcare, play and learning opportunities for school-age children.

Education Workforce Support:

  • To support the out of school care workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic response period, SOSCN has created a document summarising existing online learning resources for children and adults. This includes information about a free online Physical Activity Wellbeing module which was developed by SOSCN in partnership with CALA, which has been well-received by the sector.
  • SOSCN will consider the development of tailored online resources for the out of school care sector going forward, on the basis of any needs identified by the sector.
  • There are also a number of pages on the SOSCN website which signpost to sources of support to practitioners at the present time: General information around COVID-19; Play; Wellbeing; Publications library on various topics.

2. Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing (CYPMH)

CYPMH: A Professional Learning Resource For All School Staff - This resource takes a whole school approach centred around prevention and early intervention to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for everyone in the school community. It aims to provide school staff with knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing in schools and a range of opportunities to learn about experiences and advice from practitioners and young people.

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Professional learning opportunities and resources to support recovery

1. Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate

Education workforce support:

In October 2017, the Scottish Government published a Quality Action Plan to underpin the expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC) in Scotland. The Action Plan set out a range of actions to support continued professional learning in ELC, including the development of a suite of online modules to support continued professional learning in ELC, and the establishment of a new online directory of CPL where practitioners could easily access a range of courses. Several online modules have been produced since the Action Plan was published, working with partners, as set out below:

  • STEM – Staff skills, knowledge & confidence in delivering learning in STEM subjects, and
  • Language & Literacy – Supporting the development & progression of children’s early language & literacy.
  • ASN - Building confidence in identifying & responding to additional support needs.

These free online courses are accessible as virtual and distance models, providing flexible and affordable learning for all practitioners. They aim to support learning through the use of forums, interactive video clips, podcasts, online quizzes and live webinars. The courses can be accessed through The Care Inspectorate Hub: Directory of Continuous Professional Learning for Early Learning and Childcare, and are signposted to via the SSSC website and Knowledge Hubs.

Further modules on ‘Supporting parents to further engage in their children’s development’, and ‘Social factors which may impact on learning outcomes’ will also launch soon.

The ELC Directorate has worked with partners to develop guidance documents for the sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period. These can be accessed as part of the wider suite of guidance Scottish Government has developed as part of its response to the pandemic. Non-statutory guidance for early learning and childcare providers in the local authority, private and third sectors to support a safe reopening of these settings in during Phase 3 was published on 15 June.

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