Quality in Early Years

Key Issues and Contemporary debates in early childhood

Thursday 28th October 2010

Driving forward the quality of education is high on the priorities of both British and

Scottish Governments (SG) and this is equally true of early years’ provision.

Effective, high quality early years provisions are high on the political agenda and as a

result quality assurance is a key feature of all provisions.   There is a continual debate

however, surrounding the definition of quality and the procedures which need to be in

place to best achieve it.

The quality of provision in early years’ settings has increased over the years, so too

has the awareness and debate surrounding what constitutes quality.   Her Majesty’s

Inspectorate of Education (HMIe) (2009) points out the quality of education within

early years remains to be effective which is then mirrored in the experiences of

primary one.   SG asked the Organisation of Economic Co-operation Department to

investigate the quality of education frameworks within Scotland.   Their report

highlights the significance of early years within the education system; this innovation

arose from the standards in Scotland’s Act 2000 giving local authorities the

responsibility to provide pre-school provision for all three and four year olds

(OECD, 2007).   Early years’ environments are dynamic and vitally important and this

requires effective quality at all levels.   Among administrators and politicians there is a

shared belief that efficient and high quality early childhood care and education is

essential.   To ensure Scotland’s early years’ settings are delivering a quality, effective

service that meets the needs of all children and their families, HMIe and Care

Commission (CC) carry out rigorous inspections identifying key strengths,

indicating where improvement is needed and proposing recommendations for

improvement.   HMIe work in parallel with CC and...