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Early Learning and Childcare Directorate

We ensure that children, families and their communities are enabled to reach their full potential through access to high quality and nurturing early learning and all-age childcare experiences. 


We are responsible for:

  • delivery of the 1,140 hours expansion of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) from August 2021, providing support to local authorities to unlock delivery and creating the conditions to ensure the benefits of the expansion for children, parents and families are realised
  • ensuring parents and carers are able to make informed choices about early learning and childcare for their children, by removing barriers to access and by helping parents and carers to be aware of their child’s entitlement and the choices available to them
  • working with skills bodies and employers to support pathways into childcare careers and retention of highly skilled individuals, developing training and leadership development routes through from induction to career-long professional learning
  • promoting partnership working between the public and private childcare sector, and engaging with the sector to support their sustainability in delivering high-quality childcare within the national framework: Funding follows the child
  • supporting the ELC sector to deliver a high quality ELC experience for children, including scrutiny of ELC settings, quality improvement, health and wellbeing in ELC, ELC environments and implementation of the early level of Curriculum for Excellence
  • developing an early education offer for one-year-olds from low income households
  • building a system of wraparound childcare for school-age children. School age childcare includes breakfast clubs, after school clubs, holiday clubs and organised children’s activities which provide childcare options for families
  • developing policies to increase and improve all children's access to the outdoors as a fundamental part of their early learning and childcare and school-age childcare experience
  • supporting the childcare sector to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, developing evidence-based public health guidance and supporting its implementation
  • supporting family wellbeing through childcare, including targeted childcare-based policies for disadvantaged children and families

Who we are

Cabinet Secretary and Ministers