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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-15874: Willie Rennie (North East Fife)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 12 April 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the publication of its paper, Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare Evaluation Report 2017, what progress it expects to achieve in increasing the number of settings that offer funded places (a) outwith school hours and (b) during the school holidays in each of the next three years.

Answered by: Maree Todd 10 May 2018

Under our new Funding Follows the Child approach, which will be introduced in 2020 as part of the national roll-out of the expanded early learning and childcare (ELC) entitlement to 1140 hours, local authorities will retain statutory responsibility for ensuring that the funded ELC entitlement is available to all eligible children in their area. As part of this local authorities are required to consult with representative groups of parents and carers in their local area to seek their views on how they should make ELC available.

All local authorities have developed expansion plans, which set out how they propose to deliver the expansion to 1140 hours by 2020. These expansion plans include details of how they intend to increase flexibility, including increased operating hours and year round provision, whilst ensuring the provision remains of a high quality. As these plans are implemented we expect to see further increases in the number of ELC settings operating outwith school hours, and year round.

Some families have already benefitted from participation in Scottish Government expansion trials, which have included a focus on innovative and flexible models of delivery, as well as from the early phasing of the expanded entitlement in some authorities. This includes access to more flexible provision outwith school hours and in school holidays. We expect this trend to continue to increase over the next 3 years as authorities prepare for 2020.