New Report – An Equal Start: A plan for equality in early learning and care in Scotland


Report makes case for government funded early learning and care being run entirely through public provision with all childcare centres open Monday-Friday 8-6pm

COMMON WEAL has published a major new report on early learning and care in Scotland, detailing a plan for the future of childcare that will transform Scotland for families.

The report is the first fully costed proposal for how the Scottish Government could deliver on its ambitious target of 30 hours of free childcare every week for every 3-4 year old and vulnerable 2 year old by 2020.

The report, executive summary and ‘Policy Lab’ Annex (which helped inform and inspire the report) can be read here.


The Sunday Herald has carried a very positive editorial on the report, arguing that “the Government should listen”.

The six authors of the report include academics and professionals from the early learning and care field, and John Davis, professor of childhood inclusion at the University of Edinburgh, told The Sunday Herald that the report “for the first time” proposed a solution that could provide answers for parents, children and early years professionals.

“This report for the first time charts out a pathway to a universal early learning and childcare service that will meet parents’ requirements, provide excellent creative learning opportunities for children and reward staff for the tremendous effort they have put into raising standards,” Davis stated.

Lynn McNair, who has over 30 years experience work in early years and is a author on the report, said she thought the proposals matched Scotland’s ambition for early learning and care.

“The transformational changes put forward in this report will support the necessary pedagogical leadership and practice required to fulfil the Scottish Government’s ambitious desire for Scotland to be the best place for children to grow up. We cannot do this with what we currently have,” she said.

Ben Wray, Head of Policy and Research at Common Weal, outlined some of the key benefits of the proposal: “We propose establishing a National Childcare Service to deliver all 30 free hours in Scotland through public provision.

“The service would have standardised opening and closing times in all centres across the country so parents are confident they can access all day care.

“There would be uniform pay scales and conditions for staff based on a clear principle of employing fully qualified childhood practitioners.

“A national early years curriculum would be developed to make sure that all young children get the best education possible regardless of their background.

“Our plan is fully costed and fits within the Scottish Government’s planned spending envelope on childcare by 2020.”

Click here for the full report.