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Department for Education

Supporting our work in the Early Years

Research shows that many of our key skills and attitudes are formed in the early years of life.

Already, Scouts around the world are exploring how they can work with children at a younger age.

We believe that the earlier a child accesses non-formal education, the more positive the impact on their future development.

The Department for Education are generously funding an 18-month project to deliver 20 pilots across England, where we will explore and evaluate three new models to introduce the Scout programme to four and five year olds. These methods are as follows.

  1. Scout volunteer-led model

Using our existing framework, four and five year olds would join a new section (before Beaver Scouts) at an established Scout group. 16 children are supported by three adult volunteer Scout Leader, who meet once a week for an hour to deliver the Scout Early Years curriculum.

  1. Family model

The Scout Early Years curriculum is delivered by parents/carers within the community. Eight children are led by their parents/carers, who are coached, trained, or mentored to use the resources by a separate adult volunteer in the community.

  1. Partnership Delivery model

Using training/quality assurance processes, the Scouts Early Years curriculum will be delivered in different settings (local authorities, nurseries, pre-schools, community & faith).

Please note: Scout Groups do not have permission to start early years provision outside of these pilots. Unofficial provision is against our rules, could affect the results of the pilots and is not insured. The existing Squirrels programme, run under a Memorandum of Understanding with Scouts NI is not affected by the pilot schemes in Greater London.

News: Developing Scouts for young people under six

About Department for Education 

The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.

DfE is a ministerial department, supported by 17 agencies and public bodies. 

Interested in supporting the Scouts?

Contact the Trusts team to learn more about our partnerships with trusts and foundations, and to explore how your trust could support our work. We'd be delighted to hear from you.