Early learning and childcare

Increase in number of children receiving additional funded hours.

Almost 50,000 children are already benefiting from an expansion of funded early learning and childcare.

From August 2020, the amount of funded learning and care for three and four-year-olds, and eligible two-year-olds, is being nearly doubled from 600 hours a year to 1,140 hours.

New figures show that more than one in three children are now getting extra early learning ahead of next summer, allowing parents and carers more flexibility to work or study.

The figures also show that 273 infrastructure projects have been completed since March 2018, comprising new builds, extensions and refurbishments.

The latest figures were published following a meeting of the Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Programme Joint Delivery Board, jointly chaired by Children’s Minister Maree Todd and COSLA Children and Young People’s Spokesperson Stephen McCabe.

Ms Todd said:

“We want Scotland to be the best country in the world to grow up in and I am very pleased that more than a third of children are already benefitting from the expanded entitlement. This means children can learn in a stimulating environment while giving parents more flexibility to return to work, learning or training.

“While there is a lot of work to do over the next nine months to ensure that all eligible children can access their increased entitlement from August, the figures released show that we are well on our way to delivering and broadly in line with council forecasts.

“Local authorities and their partners, including private and third sector providers and childminders, are working extremely hard to ensure we have everything in place to realise this transformational policy.”

Councillor Stephen McCabe said:

“Local government is committed to delivering the best outcomes for our children and young people, and believe that almost doubling the number of funded early learning and childcare hours from August 2020 will have a transformative effect on Scotland’s families.

“I am delighted to see that almost 50,000 children have already benefited from additional hours, which will give children new opportunities to play and learn, and give parents the opportunity to return to work, take up training or just have more flexibility in their childcare arrangements.”


Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Delivery Progress Report

This information is compiled from data provided by local authorities up to the end of September 2019.

All three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds in Scotland are currently entitled to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare hours. More information about the expansion to 1,140 hours from August 2020.

At the end of September 2019, the total number of children reported to be receiving more than 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare was 49,213.

This equates to 30 hours a week during term time, or 22 hours a week throughout the year.


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