Each year, the template will contain a 'key question' which will focus on a particular element and action of the Strategy. In this first year, we asked local areas about the support offered to young pregnant women and young parents to stay in or re-engage in school.
Action 4.9  in the Strategy asks that local authorities have guidance in place that supports young people who become pregnant / young parents to remain or to re-engage with school. Such guidance should enable young people to remain in education, supporting aspiration and attainment, helping to create an equality of opportunity and choice for the future. As part of the implementation of the Strategy, we were interested to know which areas already had such guidance in place.
14 of the 32 local areas already have such guidance in place for schools. Those areas that currently do not have guidance were interested in seeing examples from other areas. We will facilitate the sharing of existing resources in order that areas can learn from each other, sharing good practice and reducing duplication.
Colleagues were invited to highlight any particular challenges that can prevent young woman remaining or returning to school because of a pregnancy. The responses were varied, but most consistently referenced was the challenge in accessing childcare for young women returning to school.
The Strategy already highlights the importance of flexible childcare as being "essential for young women to finish their education"  . The Scottish Government has committed to the expansion of free early learning and childcare ( ELC) to 1140 hours by 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and all eligible 2 year olds.
The expansion will provide greater flexibility for parents, through a greater choice of providers and patterns of provision – which will be of particular benefit for those young parents who require flexible childcare that enables them to remain in school or college. It will improve accessibility and affordability supporting young parents' opportunities for improved access to work, training or study.
However, many young mothers who return to school will not take a period of maternity leave and will return within a matter of weeks from delivery. These young women require flexible childcare for their babies which allows them to attend school as well as the reassurance that their baby is in a caring and safe environment.
Local authorities also have powers to enable ELC provision more widely. Some Authorities use these powers to support young parents with childminder / nursery places from a younger age. Therefore, over the next year of the Strategy implementation we will work with local areas to understand current provision for young parents and develop a picture of pre two childcare provision for young parents, sharing examples of good practice.
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