Section 48: Mandatory amount of early learning and childcare to be offered
Education authorities are required to make 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare available for eligible children in each year and a pro rata amount for each part of a year.
79. Under section 47(1) of the 2014 Act, an education authority must ensure that the statutory amount of funded early learning and childcare entitlement is made available for each eligible child belonging to its area.
80. Section 48 of the 2014 Act provides the statutory entitlement as 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare in each year and a pro-rata amount for each part of a year of which a child is eligible. The starting point for the year is in-line with the 'school year', which means a period of 12 months commencing on 1st August of any year.
81. The legislation refers to the 'mandatory amount of early learning and childcare', however to avoid confusion this is referred to as the funded early learning and child entitlement in this guidance. This is to make clear that this is an entitlement for children but that it is not compulsory for parents to take up all, or any, of their child's funded early learning and childcare entitlement. Education authorities should make this clear in their own communication to parents on the funded early learning and childcare entitlement.
82. Section 48(2) of the 2014 Act enables Scottish Ministers to change the amount of the funded early learning and childcare entitlement. Such an order would be subject to the affirmative procedure by virtue of section 99(2) of the 2014 Act and, as set out under Section 48(3) of the 2014 Act, can make different provision for different types of eligible children, for example, different number of hours for children of different ages.