Independent survey shows benefits to children and families.
The vast majority of parents using Scottish Government-funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) are satisfied with its quality, according to new research.
In an independent survey with more than 8,000 respondents, 97% of parents and carers with a three to five-year-old said they had accessed funded ELC places since August 2021 – and of those, 97% were satisfied with the quality of provision.
A total of 88% of those with a three to five-year-old were satisfied that they could use their funded ELC hours in a way that meets their family’s needs.
The main reasons parents and carers said they used ELC were to benefit their child’s development, confidence, independence and learning.
Survey respondents also valued the opportunities that funded ELC gave them to work, look for employment or to undertake education and training. Others reported that it alleviated stress and meant they had more time for themselves and their families.
Across Scotland, all three and four-year-olds and two-year-olds who need it most can access up to 1,140 hours of funded ELC a year. If families paid for the 1,140 hours themselves, it would cost them around £5,000 per eligible child per year.
In 2023-24, the Scottish Government will invest around £1 billion through local government in funding for the 1,140 hours offer.
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said:
“I am really encouraged to see such a high level of satisfaction among parents with the quality of the funded Early Learning and Childcare they have received.
“Scotland is the only part of the UK where all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds can access up to 1,140 hours of funded ELC a year. As this independent survey demonstrates, funded high-quality ELC brings a range of benefits to families, including helping children’s educational development and supporting parents’ ability to work and find employment.”
COSLA Children and Young People spokesperson Councillor Tony Buchanan said:
“I welcome the publication of this report, which provides valuable insights into parents’ use of, and views on, Early Learning and Childcare provision in Scotland. The findings clearly show the significant impact that the increased entitlement to 1,140 hours of funded ELC is having, and indicate high levels of satisfaction and positive experiences amongst those parents who responded to the survey, including in relation to flexibility, accessibility, and quality of provision.
“Local Government is committed to continuing to work with our partners to ensure that funded ELC provision works for parents, carers, and children, including considering how remaining challenges might be addressed.”
The survey asked parents and carers about their experiences of ELC for children not yet at school. Responses to the survey were collected in April and May 2022. A total of 8,181 responses were received.
Latest figures from the Improvement Service delivery statistics show that a total of 93,902 children aged two to five were accessing funded ELC at the start of September 2022.
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