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Leadership of Early Learning

This is an Education Scotland leadership programme.

The Leadership of Early Learning programme supports headteachers in developing their ability and confidence to lead learning from the early years setting into the school setting. It will be most beneficial for those headteachers who have identified this as an area for professional development.

Programme structure

The course content explores the following key themes:

  • How children learn and develop and the pedagogical practice that supports this
  • How families facilitate children’s development and effective support for families
  • Approaches to GIRFEC
  • How to identify effective practice
  • Transitions into the setting from home and across early level learning

The taught days will explore:

  • Unpacking values and beliefs in early years education
  • Quality environments for early learning
  • Impact of leadership on practice

The content for the course has been cocreated by colleagues in Education Scotland, experienced headteachers and lecturers from the Masters in Early Years Pedagogy programmes at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Strathclyde.

What are the benefits?

Programme participants are able to engage in professional learning and reflect on their current early years context. 

They will experience a supportive learning environment aimed at increasing confidence by:

  • exploring the current policy context through the contribution of key speakers
  • engaging in critical reflection about their leadership of early years in their setting
  • working collaboratively with peers to share ideas and establish a collegial network.




Who is it for?

Headteachers of Scottish primary schools with an early learning and childcare setting.

Duration and key dates

Participants engage in learning at three development days, in February, March and May.

Participants are invited to complete professional reading tasks and engage in reflective journaling between sessions. Collaborative working across the group of participants is also encouraged.

Funding and costs

As the Professional Learning and Leadership Team is currently funded to develop a suite of programmes, participation in the programme is free of charge, however there is no funding for cover. A small fund for travel expenses is available only for participants from Eilean Siar, Shetland and Orkney, in order to attend the three sessions.

Applying for the programme and further information

Applications for the Leadership of Early Learning programme are currently closed. The programme will start again in the spring term. Interested headteachers should apply through their local authority early learning coordinator.

Applicants will be asked to outline their leadership experience in early years and their expectations of the programme.

For further information about this programme, or for an informal discussion with a Lead Specialist, contact us at edspll@educationscotland.gov.scot.