We are pleased to publish our new quality framework for daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare. This framework is one of the final frameworks published by the Care Inspectorate for registered care services across Scotland.

This has been developed after extensive consultation with services and partner organisations across the sector. This included testing the framework across a range of settings as part of our inspection methodology. Feedback from the sector during the consultation and testing period was very positive and this final version has been updated to reflect the feedback we received. There is also an emphasis on children’s rights and, in particular, direct references to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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. It can also support services to 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 assist improvement, where required.

We will use this framework instead of the previous approach where we inspected against quality themes. 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. Although the framework is available to download now - to enable you to become familiar with its contents - we will not use it on our inspections until June 2022. We will keep the sector informed of any changes in our approach if this becomes necessary.

When using the framework at inspections, we will select a small number of core quality indicators to inspect against. It is likely that we will inspect:

1.1 Nurturing care and support

1.3 Play and learning

3.1 Quality assurance and improvement are led well

4.1 Staff skills, knowledge, and values.

Education reform and next steps

Following the report by the Independent Advisor on Education Reform ‘Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education’, the Care Inspectorate notes the recommendation, put forward by Professor Muir, to create a shared inspection framework for early learning and childcare settings. The Care Inspectorate welcomes the recommendation that we and the new independent inspectorate for education should develop one shared inspection framework to reduce duplication across the sector and we will work in partnership towards this.

In the meantime, this publication reflects national policy and best practice which can contribute to the development of a shared framework. We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with Scottish Government, other inspectorates, partner organisations and the sector to work on the shared framework in the future.

We are excited to share this framework with you and look forward to seeing how this is used across the early learning and childcare sector to enhance the quality of care, play and learning provided to our children in Scotland.