Scottish Government know that the earliest years of life are crucial for every child, and the evidence tells them that if our early learning and childcare (ELC) offer is to help give children the best start in life and contribute to closing the poverty-related attainment gap, it has to be of a high quality.
Families can currently get up to 600 hours of funded ELC a year (around 16 hours a week in term time) if their child is 3 or 4 years old. Some 2 –year olds may also be eligible for the funded hours. Funded ELC is free to parents, and is funded by the Scottish Government.
From August 2020 the Scottish Government is increasing the number of funded hours to 1140 hours per year (around 30 hours a week in term time). The key aspiration for offering 1140 hours of funded ELC is to deliver the best possible outcomes for children. Therefore, only the best quality providers should be able to offer funded hours.
The Scottish Government and COSLA recently published Early Learning and Childcare Service Model for 2020: Consultation Paper which sets out the details of a new service model which will ensure that funded ELC is delivered in high quality settings.
Scottish Government are keen to hear from parents and have summarised the consultation document for us to help with this. You can read the condensed version below. You can send your views to ELCexpansionconsultation@gov.scot or respond to the online consultation ( you don’t have to answer all the questions!) at https://consult.gov.scot/children-and-families/service-model-for-2020/consultation/subpage.2016-07-07.1474135251/