Early learning and childcare
Key achievements over last five years
The Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) expansion programme will expand the entitlement to funded ELC from 600 to 1,140 hours per year for all 3 and 4-year olds and for eligible 2-year olds from August 2020.
The expansion planning process was undertaken in a collaborative manner between the Scottish Government and local authorities. This enabled Scottish Ministers and COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) to reach agreement on a multi-year funding package for the ELC expansion programme.
The Scottish Government will provide local authorities with £476 million of capital funding to support the expansion, over four financial years from 2017-18 to 2020-21 inclusive.
The ELC expansion programme will comprise of over 900 capital projects including the refurbishment and/or extension of existing facilities, the provision of new standalone facilities as well as investing in outdoor ELC capacity. Together this will secure around 22,000 additional registered ELC space within the public sector.
The Scottish Futures Trust is supporting both the Scottish Government and local authorities with the infrastructure elements of the ELC expansion programme.
As at January 2021, a total of 588 early learning and childcare capital projects have been completed, delivering an additional 11,560 ELC spaces.
Progress in 2020-21
In 2020-21, 210 ELC projects with a value of £138.6 million are forecast to have been completed. These projects will deliver an additional 4,835 additional ELC spaces.
By 31 March 2021, it is forecast that a total 632 ELC projects with a value of £290 million will be completed since the start of the programme. This will bring the total number of additional spaces delivered to 13,416.
Activity going forward
285 further ELC projects are planned to complete thereafter. These projects are expected to have a combined value of £260.4 million and deliver an additional 7,866 ELC spaces.
To support the delivery of the expanded service from August 2021 it is estimated that 94% of all capital projects required from that date will have been completed with suitable transitional arrangements being put in place for the remaining projects required for August 2021.
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