Delivering for Scotland #65: Childcare
The SNP in Government is committed to giving every child the best start in life with free, quality education that inspires and enables everyone to reach their potential.
Since the SNP came to power, nursery entitlement has increased by 45% for 3, 4 and vulnerable 2 year olds – saving families up to £2,500 per child per year.
The SNP Scottish Government previously committed to fully funding our transformative expansion of early learning and childcare entitlement to 1,140 by 2020, which will save families over £4,500 per child per year.
— The SNP (@theSNP) February 22, 2018
However, when the extent of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear the Scottish Government took the decision to suspend the universal statutory duty on local authorities to provide 1,140 hours from August. A definitive date will be agreed with local authorities by the end of this year.
Nursery education is all about giving children the best start in life. That’s why quality is so important. Increasing the number of teachers and graduates in nurseries is absolutely crucial to tackling the attainment gap right from the start of a child’s education.
Every nursery manager is already required to have a childcare degree, and now every nursery in our most deprived areas are required to have an additional qualified teacher or childcare graduate, helping children reach their full potential whatever their background.
We are also piloting a range of different childcare approaches to determine what works best for children and families, with a view to rolling out best practice around the country to improve the availability of high quality and flexible childcare.
Graeme reflecting on plans to commit £645 million to the expansion of early learning and childcare provision across Scotland:
This is a massive investment in childcare by the Scottish Government – funding that will save families across Angus South thousands of pounds with the near doubling of free provision.
To meet our ambitions for Scotland’s children and their families, the SNP will have more than doubled the spend on childcare by the end of this parliamentary term.
This will help ensure children in all of our communities get the best possible start in life, as well as increasing parents’ and carers’ freedom to pursue their own professional and educational opportunities.
Children’s Minister Maree Todd said:
Tens of thousands of children are already benefitting from high-quality early learning and childcare, and I’ve heard first-hand how it’s helped to boost their confidence and communication skills, and given them access to more opportunities such as outdoor learning.
I’ve also heard how it has made an enormous difference to families in terms of enabling mums and dads to get back into, or spend more time studying, working or training.
I would encourage all parents with eligible children to get in touch with their local authority to identify the funded option that is best for their child from the great choices available, and find out when to apply.
There is no cost to families who take up this offer so the 1,140 hours can save each family as much as £4,500, and we hope that this campaign will let as many families as possible know what they are entitled to.