Realising the Ambition - Being Me: National Practice Guidance for Early Years in Scotland

Vicky Crichton, Jean Carwood-Edwards, Janine Ryan, James McTaggart, Janice Collins, Mary Pat MacConnell, Lesley Wallace, Catherine Diamond, Deirdre Grogan, Jenny Carey, Liz MacAulay, Nicky Shaw, Catriona Gill, Kathleen Johnston

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Since 2013 there has been a determined focus by the Scottish Government
to work towards realising the ambition for Scotland to be the best place for
children to grow up in and learn. Changes to the Children and Young People
(Scotland) Act 2014, have resulted in our youngest children, particularly
those from birth to starting school, being at the heart of significant new
developments. In 2014 Scottish Government started to increase the number
of hours of funded provision to 600 hours for 3 and 4 year olds and some
two year olds. The national practice guidance, “Building the Ambition” was
commissioned at this time to complement the new policy developments
and to support practitioners. The further expansion of funded Early Learning
and Childcare (ELC) to 1140 hours per year for all 3 and 4 year olds, and for
around a quarter of 2 year olds will be available from August 2020.
This expansion to 1140 hours seeks not only to extend funded places, but to
also improve the quality of our ELC provision across Scotland. We know that
the earliest years of life are crucial for every child. Evidence tells us that, if our
early learning and childcare offer is to help children fulfil their potential and
contribute to closing the poverty related gap in children’s outcomes, it has to
be high quality.

To support the expansion it was decided to refresh the original Building the
Ambition, incorporating and updating relevant aspects of the Pre-Birth to
Three guidance and extending across the child’s learning journey into the
early years of primary school.

This new guidance, Realising the Ambition: Being Me, reflects the original
principles and philosophy of Building the Ambition and complements the
current policy direction of ELC and early primary education. It aspires to
support practitioners in delivering what babies and young children need most
and how we can most effectively deliver this in Scotland to give children the
best start in life.

The practice guidance aims to support anyone who works with and for babies
and young children across all areas of Scotland. It has been designed to:
build confidence and capability of those who work with children and
families from pre-birth to starting school and beyond; make links between practice, theory and policy guidance to reinforce aspects of high quality provision and the critical role practitioners play; clarify some aspects of current practice and provide a reference which practitioners can easily use;
support improvement and quality by encouraging discussion, self reflection and questioning about relevant practice in each setting, and; provide advice on achieving the highest quality of ELC and early primary provision that will enable young children to experience and to play their own part in Scotland being the best place in the world to grow up.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLivingston
Number of pages116
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • early years
  • education policy
  • Scotland
  • childhood curriculum
  • pedagogical leadership
  • play
  • literacy
  • numeracy
  • ELC


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