Date lodged: 28 February 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve the flexibility of free child care hours for parents in work.
Answered by: Maree Todd 14 March 2019
We are expanding the statutory entitlement to funded early learning and childcare (ELC) for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds to 1140 hours a year from August 2020. Our multi-year funding package will see annual revenue investment in early learning and childcare reach around £990 million by 2022-22.
Our Funding Follows the Child approach will help increase choice and flexibility for parents and carers while ensuring children benefit from high quality provision. All ELC settings delivering the funded entitlement will have to meet our new National Standard from August 2020.
Local authorities are developing their plans for the expansion of ELC and phasing in their new offer, informed by consultation with families. This should see a range of delivery models including more local authority settings opening for longer hours, delivery through funded providers in the private and third sector, including childminders, and options that tie into the school day (or traditional morning/afternoon sessions).
This will build on previous investment to increase flexibility. For example, the Care Inspectorate report that flexibility has increased across the sector since 2014, including continued increases in the flexibility in opening times for daycare of children services.