Information

The Provision Of Early Learning And Childcare (Specified Children) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment (CRWIA) on children's rights and wellbeing relating to the entitlement to funded ELC in a deferred year.


Background

Policy Background

The overall objective of the Scottish Government's policy on funded early learning and childcare (ELC) is to provide high quality, flexible ELC that is accessible and affordable for all families.

In Scotland, all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds – those we believe will benefit most - have a statutory entitlement of up to 600 hours a year of funded ELC from the relevant start dates[3].

Some children are also eligible for an additional year of funded ELC when they defer their entry to Primary 1 (P1) for a year. All parents have the legal right to defer their child's entry to primary school if they are not yet five years old at the beginning of the school year. In the current system, the youngest children (those with a January or February birth date) are eligible for an additional year of funded ELC when their parent has exercised their statutory right to delay their child's school entry to P1 for a year.

Children who turn five years old between the August and December after the school commencement date can also be deferred, however, they do not have an automatic entitlement to funded ELC in that deferred year. Local authorities have discretion over a further year of funded ELC for these children. The Scottish Government expects local authorities to make the decision about additional funded ELC for these children, based on an assessment of wellbeing, as set out in the Early Learning and Childcare statutory guidance[4] that accompanied the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

The objective of The Provision of Early Learning and Childcare (Specified Children) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 is to entitle all children to funded ELC whose parents have decided to defer their entry to P1 for a year.

This means that children who turn five years old between the August and December after the school commencement date, are entitled to an additional year of funded ELC automatically when their parent defers their school entry for a year. This brings the entitlement for these children in line with the entitlement that already exists for deferred children who turn five years old in January or February. The aim of amending the eligibility criteria as currently drafted is to ensure that parents decisions on whether to defer their child's P1 entry can be based on the best interests of the child and not whether they automatically qualify for access to funded ELC.

Contact

Email: David.Taggart@gov.scot

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