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SSSC Registration of Early Education and Childcare Workforce Briefing




Briefing on SSSC Registration of Early Education and Childcare Workforce

Proposed qualifications requirements for the registration of workers who form part of the second phase of registration Early Education and Child Care

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is a non-departmental public body established by the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.

The SSSC began its work on 1 October 2001. It has a remit covering Scotland and also works closely with the General Social Care Council, The Northern Ireland Social Care Council and the Care Council for Wales.


Part 3 of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 established the Scottish Social Services Council. The Act also requires the SSSC to promote high standards of conduct and practice among social service workers and high standards in their training. This will be achieved through:

  • Establishing registers of key groups of workers
  • Publishing Codes of Practice for social service workers and their employers
  • Regulating the education and training of the workforce
  • Undertaking the functions of the former National Training Organisation. These include workforce planning, qualifications and standards development.
Proposed qualifications requirements

The SSSC will set qualifications criteria as part of the eligibility criteria for entry to the register. The proposed qualifications criteria for social service workers in Phase One of registration were developed following extensive work with the predecessor body CCETSW/TOPSS in Scotland and consultation with colleagues in other Councils in the UK.

A similar exercise is now being carried out for Phase Two.

The SSSC has taken note of the views of existing bodies with interest in the sector and these will inform the final decisions taken about qualifications required to register with the SSSC.

The SSSC and the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Care Commission) work closely together to ensure employers and workers understand their responsibilities in relation to the Codes of Practice. These include responsibilities for providing and using appropriate supervision, training and staff development opportunities.

In Scotland the categories of workers that will be registered in Phase Two of registration have been set by the Scottish Executive.

They are all workers in early education and childcare; all workers with adults in residential care.

This paper concentrates on the qualifications for early education and child care workers. A separate paper is available which focuses on workers in adult residential care services.


Qualifications play an important role in ensuring the delivery of quality services and outcomes for those who use early education and childcare services.

In developing the proposed qualifications framework for early education and child care workers, the Council will take account of the diverse nature of work in this sector. It is evident that a range of terminology is used to describe the same or broadly similar jobs. We also have people with different job titles doing the same job. Some of these have separate supervisory or management responsibilities.

Qualifications and fitness to practice

The SSSC will take account in its consultation, of all the functions that workers are required to carry out in early education and child care, to ensure that children's and families' needs are met effectively and consistently.

A range of qualifications are currently used in this sector. More details of these can be obtained from us at www.sssc.uk.com or by telephoning Lorraine Gray on 01382 207101.

At the time of consultation, a new Higher National Certificate for Early Education and Childcare is being written. Early Years Care and Education Occupational Standards are to be revised in the near future.

Play work occupational standards have recently been revised at level II and work is ongoing at level III.


The Council proposes to use the following principles to determine the qualifications required by registrants to register with the SSSC:

  1. Integration of practice and learning
  2. Recognition within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
  3. Importance of underpinning knowledge and a value base that is consistent with the Code of Practice for Social Service Workers.

The scope of the early education and childcare workforce

People employed in early education and child care have a number of different job titles.

Listed below are the most commonly used job titles.

The SSSC is aware there may be other titles in the sector which are less commonly used.


Sure Start worker

Crèche worker

Nursery Nurse


Nursery Assistant

Play worker

Child Care and Education Worker

Play work assistant

(Nursery) Room Supervisor

Play work supervisor

Nursery Manager

Playgroup worker

Out of School Care worker

Playgroup assistant

Support for Learning Assistant (nursery)

Playgroup supervisor

Assistant Project Manager

After school care assistant

Project Manager

Wraparound care assistant


Consultation questions on the qualifications criteria

Views are sought on the following:

1a. Are the principles set out on Page 4 appropriate to the needs of the Early Education and Child Care workforce? (please tick)

Yes X


Don't know


1b. Please comment on your answer.

UNISON accepts the principles to determine the qualifications required by registrants to register with the SSSC.

It is essential that practical experience is linked with learning and knowledge, and that where appropriate management training is given.


2a. It is important that we define the scope of the workforce by obtaining an accurate picture of the range of job titles used within the sector.

Do the job titles on Page 4 fully describe the range of job titles used within the sector? (please tick)


No X - there are additional jobs as detailed below

Don't Know

2b. What other job titles should be included?

Additional job titles should be included of:

Pre Five Worker Head of Establishment

Nursery Officer Depute Head of Establishment

First Assistant

3. What qualifications do you think should be expected for the following workers to be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council?

  • Frontline workers who have day to day contact with children and parents, attend to the care needs of the child and who may organise activities.

UNISON has real concerns about the simplistic division of workers for registration into "front line workers", "supervisors" "and managers". The work carried out in early education and childcare is complex, wide ranging and varies from the care and development of young babies to after school care.

There is considerable overlap between the roles, and different levels of "front line workers". For example, nursery nurses plan, observe, assess and monitor children's learning and development. They do not "assist" in this process, but use their professional judgement on progress made and intervention needed. Frontline workers also have some of the responsibilities outlined in the "supervisor" post, such as the supervision of students and other workers, and carrying out training.

Given the restrictions of the consultation document, UNISON believes that "frontline workers" should be expected to have achieved the following qualifications:

HNC plus the necessary units at NC level to meet the National Occupational Standards

SVQ Level 3

NNEB or equivalent

UNISON recognises that there will be some frontline workers, particularly in out of school care, who have not yet gained these qualifications.

However, given the time scales for registration workers have the opportunity to achieve the qualifications in time for the registration period.

UNISON is clear that childcare and pre school education staff should be supported by employers and the SSSC to achieve the qualification standards established.

  • Supervisors these workers may have additional responsibility for the supervision of other workers or students.


As noted above, UNISON is concerned at the simplistic divisions between workers.

However, we believe that supervisors would normally have the role of first line manager, requiring both academic and management skills.

Tasks carried out currently by senior posts ("supervisors")involve:

  • providing a role model for frontline workers
  • managing staff
  • formulating policy
  • taking overall responsibility of the unit/centre for a short period.

Supervisors should have achieved the qualifications detailed above for "frontline workers" together with some management experience and/or qualifications.

UNISON believes that supervisors should be working towards the Professional Development Award (PDA), although at this stage our position is that it would be too exclusive to enforce this qualification for registration purposes.


  • Managers who have an overall management responsibility for other workers, and a responsibility which might include such things as budgets, staff development and quality assurance.

Managers should have both academic and management qualifications and experiences.

Managers should have achieved SVQ level 4 or equivalent, and have participated in appropriate management training, which covers staff development and training, managing budgets and finances, and quality service provision.

Provision should also be made for depute managers, who deputise for the manager providing cover and support where appropriate.

Depute managers should be expected to achieve the same academic and management qualifications and training.


Please add any additional comments here.

As the trade union in Scotland representing the majority of nursery nurses UNISON is currently campaigning to improve the status, pay and career structure for these workers. The pre school education and child care sector has changed dramatically during the last few years, to cope with the growth in demand, and new strategies, regulations and policies.

UNISON welcomes greater regulation and improved structures for the sector, as a way to improve the quality of care and education, and to improve the status, professionalism and career development of workers in the sector.

As we've noted in our responses, we are concerned that the registration procedures do not reflect the varied and complex roles within this sector. We would prefer greater detail in the registration process, and the level of depute manager added to the process.

We are clear that all child care and pre school education workers should get the support and development they need - from employers, the Executive and the SSSC - to achieve registration, to develop their potential, and to deliver the best quality care and education in Scotland.

Name _______ Joe Di Paola __________________


Organisation ________ UNISON Scotland ____________

Address _________UNISON House, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX



Position held in organisation ___ Scottish Organiser _____________


Contact telephone _____ 0845 355 0845___________________

Email ________________ j.dipaola@unison.co.uk _______


Can you describe briefly the range of services your organisation provides?

UNISON Scotland is the largest trade union in the public sector in Scotland, representing 150,000 members. We are the major trade union in the pre school education and child care sector, representing workers carrying out the ranges of roles identified in this consultation.


Questionnaires should be returned by 4 October 2003 to:

Danielle Neeson, Scottish Social Services Council, Compass House,

11 Riverside Drive, DUNDEE, DD1 4NY

This version is also available and can be completed electronically from our website: www.sssc.uk.com.



Further Information

Contacts list:

Joe Di Paola


Dave Watson -


@ The P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Glasgow G26RX
Tel 0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572

Top of page

Further Information

Nursery Nurse campaign Pages

Contacts list:

Joe Di Paola

Dave Watson

@ The P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Glasgow G26RX
Tel 0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572