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This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

SP Two Columns

Current status

From 28 April 2008 to 31 March 2010, 715 pre-school centres were inspected. This represents 29% of all private, public and voluntary pre-schools open at September 2009. Of those inspected 92% were evaluated as satisfactory or better in all three of the quality indicators, 71% were evaluated as good or better and 27% were evaluated as very good or better. In 8% of pre-school centres the positive criteria were not met.

More on pre-school centres

National Indicator


Increase the proportion of pre-school centres receiving positive inspection reports

Increase the proportion of pre-school centres receiving positive inspection reports

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Why is this National Indicator important?

It is well-documented that good quality pre-school education enhances children's development. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) study has shown that high quality pre-school experiences lead to better intellectual and social/behavioural development and that disadvantaged children benefit significantly from good quality pre-school experiences. There are, however, significant differences between pre-school providers, and research shows that the quality of provision makes a significant difference to outcomes for children.

The indicator is derived from HM Inspector of Education's evaluations of improvements in performance in terms of the outcomes for children across the full range of achievement. This includes children's progress, the quality of children's learning experiences and how well their learning needs are met.

The integrated inspection programme of pre-school education centres, conducted by HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) and the Care Commission, evaluates the quality of provision in pre-school establishments. Inspection aims to support improvement in all early education centres and measures the quality of provision against the quality framework The Child at the Centre.

Inspection reports provide Scottish ministers with an overview of the standards in pre-school education across Scotland. They also provide local authorities, who deliver pre-school education in their own centres and commission places from partner providers, with a measure of the quality of pre-school provision in their area and help identify areas for support and improvement. Inspection reports also provide parents with an independent assessment of the quality of care and education in individual centres and complement the self-evaluation of providers as they seek to improve their performance.

What will influence this National Indicator?

The quality of leadership and staff is a key factor in determining the quality of pre-school provision. The ongoing process of raising the qualifications of the early years and childcare workforce, including the requirement that managers of centres be qualified to SCQF level 9 from 2011, is expected to have a positive impact on the quality of early education and childcare provision.

The HMIE report, The Key Role of Staff in Providing Quality Pre-School Education, showed that centres with teachers tended to receive higher evaluations than those without. We are committed to providing all pre-school children, in all types of provision, with access to a teacher - and this should have a beneficial impact on the quality of pre-school provision. Further factors influencing the quality of provision include: the level of quality improvement and curriculum support given to providers by local authorities; and the levels of funding available to providers to recruit and retain high quality staff.

What is the Government's role?

The Government and its agencies are responsible for setting the wider legal, regulatory and policy framework for pre-school education provision. This includes putting in place the statutory framework for pre-school education including setting the age that children are eligible for free provision and how many hours they are entitled to. It also includes the regulatory framework and other related legislation, for example on additional support for learning. The Scottish Government and its agencies have also issued standards and guidance for pre-school education providers such as the National Care Standards for Early Education and Childcare, The Child at the Centre (HMIE) and statutory guidance on pre-school education.

We work with partners in local government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) to progress aspects of policy development on pre-school education, such as the role of teachers in pre-school. We are also working alongside Learning and Teaching Scotland to develop the curriculum for early years through A Curriculum for Excellence.

Regulation and quality improvement are provided through the Care Commission and HMIE, while practice development is supported through Learning and Teaching Scotland. Working with the Scottish Social Services Council, we are progressing developments to increase qualifications in the wider non-teaching early education and childcare workforce.

How are we performing?

At present there is no representative trend information available for this indicator. The baseline data is still being collected. It is being built up from all the HMIE evaluations from pre-school centre inspections that were due to be inspected from April 2008 to March 2011. There has been some delay to the timing of some of these inspections but they are planned to be inspected as soon as possible and will complete the baseline when they are finalised.

Two years of data from the three year baseline is currently available. According to this, the percentage of pre-school centres that are receiving positive inspection reports is 92%. This figure has remained at a consistent level over the two years of data collected to date.

Percentage of pre-school centres receiving positive inspection reports

Percentage of pre-school centresTotal number of pre-school centres inspected
To March 201092%715
To March 200992%341

Source: Summary of Indicative Quality Indicators from HMIE Inspection, 2009 and 2010

1. All local authority run pre-school centres and all private, independent or voluntary pre-school centres in partnership with local authorities.

2. Refers to the date of the first day of the inspection.


A 'Performance Maintaining' arrow is suggested for this update as the percentage of pre-school centres that are receiving positive inspection reports has remained at a consistent level over the two years of data collected to date.

The threshold will be determined once the three-year baseline inspection cycle has been completed.

For more information see Scotland Performs Technical Note

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Who are our partners?

Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)

Care Commission

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIE)

Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS)

Local Authorities

Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)

Related Strategic Objectives



Wealthier and Fairer




Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected