Janice and Pauline are Lead Officers in Early Learning and Childcare and are tasked with managing the expansion of funded early learning and childcare from 600 hours to 1140 hours.
1140 hours applies to all 3-4 years olds and eligible 2 year olds, and comes into force in August 2020. Janice and Pauline have been working to phase this in across East Lothian ahead of this date.
“It’s working in partnership, so a lot of it’s about building relationships and good faith”
With one year to go, Janice and Pauline are busy supporting the phasing for the expansion, which will benefit children, parents, and those developing careers in Early Learning and Childcare. Day to day they work with private day nurseries, childminders, community playgroups and local authority nurseries, as Pauline says, “preparing them to be there to provide the extended hours.” They also work with colleagues across the council in teams like estates, planning facilities management and finance, in preparation for the expansion.
“It’s working in partnership, so a lot of it’s about building relationships and good faith,” Janice explains. “Underlying that is the quality of the delivery and experience, for children as well as our workforce and partners. It’s the variety that certainly attracts me to the role.” Pauline agrees, “I think every day’s different, very much so.”
Having years of experience in the field helps – Pauline has worked for East Lothian Council since 2003 in different roles all related to early learning and childcare, and worked on the expansion of hours from 475 to 600 in 2014. Janice joined the team in January 2018, specifically to work on the 1140 expansion. Before this she oversaw 1140 trials at Scottish Borders Council and, like Pauline, has more than 20 years of experience working in early years childcare and play.
Pauline said, “Having a broad knowledge base certainly does give a greater understanding when people are speaking to you, you can understand where they’re coming from.” Janice agrees, “I’ve seen all the policy implementations and changes specifically around early learning and childcare. I think between us we’ve got a good combined knowledge.”
The pair work well together. “It isn’t a standard role, but it’s good to have two of us because I think we bounce things off each other, and we both tend to come to it from different angles so we get a good all-round view,” Janice explains.
Another good thing about the job is meeting different people, from Scottish Government representatives and council colleagues to early learning and childcare providers and parents, to get their views on what 1140 hours should look like. Janice said, “It’s a challenge, not just for us, but for our partners too. We acknowledge that, but it’s about working together to achieve that common goal.”