Early Learning and Childcare Expansion: Infrastructure and Business Models

This is the first in a series of two events that focus on the 2020 expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC). At this event we will focus on infrastructure challenges, difficulties around the Space to Grow initiative, and solutions for private and third sector providers to develop sustainable business models for covering unfunded hours.  

Innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges

“An ambitious and challenging transformation programme” – Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People

Delivering ELC expansion is key to achieving the Scottish Government’s primary priority of tackling the attainment gap. It is happening and it is positive, but we need to make it work in practice.

There are issues with developing the expanded infrastructure, with some local authorities seeking to work closely with the private sector, while others are only willing to invest in council-run nurseries.

This event is an opportunity for delegates to hear from expert speakers who will present innovative business models and interesting perspectives on developing the necessary infrastructure, inspiring you and provoking the conversations that matter. You will also have the chance to add your voice to the discussion in our interactive roundtable session as we examine how to deliver the ELC expansion.

Join us to learn from experts across the ELC sector as we consider how to deliver on this ambitious and challenging transformation programme.   

Why come to this event? 

  • Learn from outstanding experts from across the ELC sector
  • Your chance to question the people that matter
  • Join the conversation in an interactive roundtable discussion 
  • Meet other people involved in ELC and share innovative practice, including how to develop sustainable business models for covering unfunded hours

Who should attend?

  • Nursery managers/providers
  • Local authority professionals working with children and young people 
  • Elected representatives with an interest in education and children's services 
  • Academics interested in early years
  • Professionals interested in early learning and childcare

All delegates will be entered into a raffle to win a Community Playthings fire truck to take back to their early years setting. 










09:15 Registration and Refreshments

09:55 Welcome and Introduction by the Chair

Angela Haggerty, Journalist 

10:00 Session 1: Developing the ELC Infrastructure

  • Collaboration between public, private, and third sectors
  • The Space to Grow Initiative 
  • Deliverable timeframe? 

10:00 Involving Private and Voluntary Providers in the Delivery of the ELC Expansion

  • The need to involve private and voluntary providers
  • Partnership working
  • Sustainability of the sector

Jonathan Broadbery, Head of Policy and External Relations, National Day Nurseries Association

10:30 Quality Environments for Early Learners 

  • An overview over the development and scope of the ELC infrastructure programme
  • Reflections on the development of ELC reference designs for new facilities
  • Thoughts on ELC infrastructure options going forward

 Alastair Young, Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust

11:00 Space To Grow

Karen Quinn, Senior Inspector, Care Inspectorate 

11:30 Q&A 

11:40 Refreshments and Networking 

12:00 Session 2: Sustainable Business Models 

12:00 Thinking Differently To Meet The Early Years Expansion Challenge

  • A Fresh Approach; challenging traditional delivery models
  • The Flexible Childcare Services Model
  • 2020 and beyond; considering options for the future

Susan McGhee, Operations Director, One Parent Families Scotland; Flexible Childcare Services Scotland
Lesley Tait, Pilot Project Manager, One Parent Families Scotland

12:30 Q&A

12:40 Interactive Roundtable Discussion

Following on the expert presentation on developing sustainable business models, delegates will now lead the discussion on the key challenges and solutions to covering unfunded hours. 

13:10 Event sponsor: Community Playthings

13:20 Lunch and Networking

14:00 Session 3: Innovative Approaches from Across Scotland 

14:00 Creating the Conditions for Outdoor Early Learning & Childcare Through Collaboration

  • How the ELC expansion offers an opportunity to do things differently and how outdoor models can support the expansion!
  • The benefits of outdoor play based learning for children, staff and communities
  • The benefits of taking a neighbourhood approach to outdoor ELC 

 Mairi Ferris, Thrive Outdoors Team, Inspiring Scotland

14:30 75 Liters

  • Challenges Edinburgh’s perspective
  • Edinburgh’s approach
  • Innovation

Tracey Shaw, Early Years Manager, City of Edinburgh Council 
Robbie Crockatt, School Estate Planning Manager, City of Edinburgh Council 

15:00 Q&A

15:10 Chair’s Closing Remarks

Angela Haggerty, journalist 

15:15 Close of Event

*Agenda is subject to change

Our events are CPD Certified. This event is equivalent to 2 CPD point.
A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees.



Speaker callout

We are committed to bringing the latest policy information with engaging dialogue and practical case studies to make a real impact in the public sector. If you are a knowledge expert in your field or have an inspiring case study which would make an impact to Public Sector organisations, we would love to hear from you. Please email craig.kelly@holyrood.com with your name and contact details, linkedin profile and a summary of your project or area or expertise and we will be in touch.


NASUWT, 35 Young Street North Lane, Edinburgh EH2 4JD | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Reduced rate: 1 place £145 + VATpp (Voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Standard rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Private Sector rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635

25 April 2019
Central Edinburgh
United Kingdom



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