Thousands of children already benefiting from additional hours.
More than 46,000 children across Scotland are already benefiting from extra hours of high quality early learning and childcare almost a year before the full roll out of 1,140 funded hours of care for every eligible child.
By August next year children will be eligible for more funded hours of early learning and childcare than ever before and families will have more choice over how they access those hours.
New figures show that one third of three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds are already accessing more than the minimum 600 hours to which they are currently entitled.
The figures also reveal:
- 214 nurseries have been built, extended or refurbished since March 2018
- the number of three to five-year-olds receiving more than 600 hours is 6.6% ahead of forecast
- capacity for 1,140 hours in local authority nurseries is 2.8% ahead of forecast
- the private sector will make a larger contribution than previously forecast, up 4% to 26%
- overall, all indicators are broadly in line with or ahead of the forecast national position, albeit with significant variability at a local level
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Children’s Minister Maree Todd celebrated the positive impact expansion is already having during a visit to Sauchie Nursery in Alloa where they met new recruits to the sector and children receiving 1,140 hours of childcare.
The First Minister said:
“From August 2020 all three and four-year-olds across Scotland, and around one-quarter of two-year-olds, will benefit from the most generous early learning and childcare offer in the UK.
“High quality learning and care in the early years is the foundation from which every child can develop and reach their full potential and it also makes a key contribution to closing the attainment gap.
“Our ambitious £2 billion programme will give children access to almost twice as many funded hours annually, worth up to £4,500 per child every year. It will also give parents and carers more flexibility to explore work, education or training opportunities.
“With less than one year to go many local authorities are making good progress with more than a third of eligible children now accessing expanded childcare and nearly half of additional staff needed in post. That’s major progress but we know the next ten months will see a big effort from everyone to make sure we deliver on time in August. We are confident but we do not underestimate the hard work ahead.”
Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:
“These figures highlight the hugely positive impact of this SNP Government’s focus on Early Years learning and care.”
“With an ambitious £2bn programme, this Scottish Government supporting families and growing the future potential of our nation; visible in these welcoming statistics today showing over 210 nurseries and 46,000 children benefiting across Scotland.”
“These results are incredibly encouraging as this provision continues to roll out, and deliver on our ambition to support every child to reach their potential.”