Early Years Practitioners


In East Ayrshire Council we have the Teacher Access Programme (TAP) team.  This peripatetic support team of teachers work closely with our early years settings to deliver high quality learning experiences.

In this clip Gwyneth shares some great pointers for engaging with the online learning that is available and suggests 5 easy steps for making sure it impacts on your practice.

Inspiring Scotland have produced a set of Practitioner Guides you may also enjoy reading:

A Practitioner’s Guide: Experiences – Inspiring Scotland

A Practitioner’s Guide: Spaces – Inspiring Scotland

A Practitioner’s Guide: Interactions – Inspiring Scotland

Guidance relating to professional development on outdoor play and learning for early learning and childcare professionals.

Early Learning and Childcare Practitioners (ELCP) are required as part of their Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration, to undertake a minimum of 12 hours Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) every year.

The key documents which guide practice in the early years in relation to outdoor play and learning are as follows:

  • Realising the Ambition: Being Me. Scottish Government
  • My World Outdoors. Care Inspectorate
  • Space to Grow. Care Inspectorate
  • Out to Play. Scottish Government
  • Going out There. Scottish Government, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education (SAPOE), Education Scotland and the Association of Directors of Education, with input from other partners including voluntary organisations and providers.
  • Early Learning and Childcare: Delivering High Quality Play and Learning Environments Outdoors practice note. Care Inspectorate.

In addition to these ‘Funding follows the child and the national standard for early learning and childcare providers: guidance for local authorities’ (August 2020) gives detail on the quality criteria for all services that provide funded early learning and childcare. The ‘Health and Social Care Standards: my support, my life’ (April 2018) describes the standard of care service users in Scotland should expect.

Guidance in both of these informs the delivery of outdoor play and learning in early learning and childcare and therefore will also influence the CPL undertaken by all professionals working in the sector.

  1. ‘Health and Social Care Standards: my support, my life’ (April 2018) http://www.newcarestandards.scot

The two standards that are most relevant are:

  • 1.25 I can choose to have an active life and participate in a range of recreational, social, creative, physical and learning activities every day, both indoors and outdoors.
  • 1.32 As a child I play outdoors every day and regularly explore a natural environment.
  1. ‘Funding follows the child and the national standard for early learning and childcare providers: guidance for local authorities’ (August 2020). Whilst the roll out of 1140 has been postponed, key aspects of the national standard remain relevant to practice. https://www.gov.scot/publications/funding-follows-child-national-standard-early-learning-childcare-providers-principles-practice/pages/4/
Criteria relevant to outdoor play and learning and CPL:

Criteria 1 – Staffing, Leadership and Management.

Sub-criteria 1.4 – All SSSC registered staff in the setting are achieving a minimum of 12 hours per year of Continuous Professional Learning.

Sub-criteria 1.5 – Staff new to delivering the funded entitlement within the last year are familiar with the content of the most up-to-date version of the national induction resource.

Criteria 2 – Development of children’s cognitive skills, health and wellbeing

Sub-criteria 2.2 – The setting must have a framework to support children’s learning that is informed by national guidance and is appropriate to support individual children’s development and learning focused on active learning through play.

Criteria 3 – Physical Environment 

Sub-criteria 3.2 – Children have daily access to outdoor play and they regularly experience outdoor play in a natural environment as part of their funded ELC offer.


SSSC Codes of Practice – Employers Criteria 3 states “As a social service employer, you must provide learning and development opportunities to enable social service workers to strengthen and develop their skills and knowledge”

The National Induction Resource.

National Induction states:

“In addition to staff qualifications, CPL is an essential component of ELC quality. Evidence suggests that good quality CPL helps ensure staff are aware of best practice and continually supported in the workplace. This reduces staff turnover and there is even some evidence that this can have a greater impact on quality than practitioners’ initial training and education.

The SSSC Code of Practice for Social Service Workers requires workers to take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills. The SSSC refer to CPL as Post Registration Training and Learning (PRTL).

During every 5 year registration period the SSSC requires practitioners to complete 60 hours or 10 days of PRTL.(see above). This must be a minimum of 12 hours each year. The amount of training and learning is in days and hours to show that the time does not have to be made up of full days of activity. For the purpose of PRTL one day equals six hours.

You will be able to record your PRTL through your MYSSSC webpage. While it is important that you tell the SSSC about any learning and development you have undertaken, it is equally important that you tell them what you have learned and how this has impacted on your work.

ELC settings have a statutory requirement to ensure that staff engage in appropriate training to undertake their role and this is something that the Care Inspectorate monitor in inspections. Your employers will therefore be able to advise you on relevant CPL for your role and of courses that should be available to you locally.”

The National Induction Resource has clear links to CPL requirements and to outdoor play and learning. Practitioners are recommended to focus formally on key aspects in the guide to developing skills and knowledge within the first 6 months of practice as follows:

Within the 4th month:

Reflective Question:

What do you think are the benefits of outdoor play and learning, for children and for staff? How do you feel about being outdoors with the children?

Within the 5th month:

Children need to and want to take risks when they play. How do you feel about enabling and encouraging children to take risks?

Link to guidance on this aspect.

High Quality Outdoor Learning and Residential Experiences

Below is a guide to providing high quality outdoor learning and residential experiences.  The document highlights the importance, impact and benefits of these experiences and how they can be achieved.

A Scottish guide to High Quality Outdoor Learning and Residential Experiences


You may also find reading the Case Studies useful and the other pages of Professional Development.


Report a Glow concern
Cookie policy  Privacy policy

Glow Blogs uses cookies to enhance your experience on our service. By using this service or closing this message you consent to our use of those cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy.