1. Minister's Foreword By Maree Todd Minister For Children And Young People
Our vision for school age childcare is a rights based, dynamic offer for all children and young people which supports choice and growth, enabling families and communities to reach their full potential.
I know that learning for children doesn't begin and end in the school classroom. For school age children the experiences that help them to develop and flourish include those which happen round about the school day – in the friendships they develop, in the interests that are sparked by access to a new activity and in the supportive and trusted relationships they form with the many inspirational practitioners who provide our school age childcare and activity services.
I also understand the vital support that our school age childcare services deliver for the parents, carers and families by providing safe, nurturing environments for their children to enjoy while they access work and study, enabling them to provide for their families and meet their full potential.
2020 was a very difficult and challenging year for many children and families. We know that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are ongoing and will be felt for many years to come. The restrictions felt across society have highlighted the importance of social contact for all our children. Our Getting It Right For Every Child approach has been a crucial foundation in our response to the pandemic, and must continue as we move into recovery. School age childcare services have a central role to play in supporting children as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and I know that investment in high quality provision is essential in supporting children and young people through the next recovery phase.
The critical childcare provided for many keyworker children has shone a spotlight on the importance of childcare in enabling our critical national infrastructures to continue to function. However, we know that there continue to be barriers for many to accessing childcare under normal circumstances.
Through the consultation on our "Draft Framework for Out of School Care" in 2019, children, parents and carers, and those working in the childcare sector told us about challenges with the affordability, accessibility and flexibility of childcare provision for school age children, particularly for families on the lowest incomes.
That draft framework laid the groundwork for developing an exciting and ambitious new policy for school age childcare in Scotland and work continues to evolve that policy. This progress report captures what we've learned over the last year since our consultation and sets out the steps we're taking to move closer to our vision in light of the challenges which we all now face.
I want to thank all school age childcare providers for their hard work and dedication throughout the pandemic. I look forward to continuing to work towards a new school age childcare policy framework which delivers for Scotland's children and young people, for their families, and for those working to deliver these vital services.
Minister for Children and Young People