The consultation on Out of School care is now live and open until the 6th of December 2019.
1. Minister's view
By Maree Todd, Minister For Children And Young People
The Scottish Government's vision is for Scotland to be the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up and learn.
The significant expansion of funded early learning and childcare from August 2020 provides a cornerstone to ensuring that every child has the best start in life. As we move to 2020, it is also important to recognise the vital role out of school care plays in providing essential childcare services for families and a wide range of experiences for children.
Available evidence points to the importance of out of school care for the whole family. Children can benefit from improved outcomes through opportunities for play and learning. Access to childcare can support parents to work, train or study with the knowledge that their children are being well cared for. These opportunities for parents can lead to increased earnings, which in turn helps to reduce levels of child poverty.
We also know that out of school care, including holiday childcare, has a vital role in addressing both economic and social exclusion. The evidence tells us that out of school care can provide improved outcomes for children from more disadvantaged backgrounds in particular.
Despite these benefits, we know that there are barriers that exist that are limiting the ability of families to access out of school care. For parents to be able to take advantage of work, training or study opportunities, childcare needs to be affordable, accessible and flexible to meet their needs. It is in this context that we committed to developing a strategic framework for after-school and holiday childcare over the course of this Parliament.
A new framework will focus on positive outcomes for those children who stand to benefit most from access to out of school care, and we know that this not only applies to primary age children but to older children too. This draft framework is the first step in that process, and is the product of extensive engagement with children, parents, out of school care providers and other experts in the sector. This is an exciting opportunity to create a new and ambitious policy for out of school care in Scotland.
As we continue these discussions, I want to ensure that everyone is able to play their part in developing a new framework that delivers for Scotland's children and young people. This draft framework lays the groundwork for that ongoing policy development and presents the stories and voices of those we have engaged with so far. I look forward to continuing this conversation as we set out our bold vision for out of school care to better meet the needs of children and families in Scotland.