Date lodged: 29 August 2018
To ask the Scottish Government how it supports childcare for newborns to two-year-olds, and whether it plans to extend free childcare provision to this age range.
Answered by: Maree Todd 6 September 2018
We are working closely with local authorities to extend the current entitlement to funded early learning and childcare to 1140 hours per year for all three and four year olds and for eligible two year olds from August 2020. We have no plans to extend the eligible age range.
Local authorities have discretion to offer funded or subsidised early learning and childcare over and above the funded entitlement, and we are aware that some authorities do offer places for newborn to 2 year olds.
We are currently trialling a deposit guarantee scheme to help support families with the upfront costs associated with accessing childcare for younger children. The trial scheme remains open to eligible families in Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow and Edinburgh until 31 December 2018.
Early learning and childcare is just one part of a wider package of support for working families, which includes support for family friendly workplaces and initiatives to support parents returning to employment.