Almost a billion pounds will be invested annually to fund the huge expansion of early learning and childcare, transforming the life chances of children in Scotland.
Following extensive engagement to reach a shared understanding of expansion costs, Scottish Ministers and Convention of Local Authorities (CoSLA) Leaders, have agreed a multi-year funding package.
By 2021-22, the SNP Government will invest an additional £567 million per year to ensure every child can access 1,140 hours of free and fully funded high quality early learning and childcare, bringing total annual public spending on early learning and childcare to £990 million.
In addition, the SNP Government will provide councils with total capital funding of £476 million over four years to support the refurbishment and addition of new buildings to house the children who will benefit from expanding childcare.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Expansion plans are now well underway and will be backed by almost £1 billion of annual public investment by 2021-22. I am delighted that agreement on funding was reached with local authorities in partnership with the SNP Government, reflecting the importance of this policy priority. This is great news for children and families across North Ayrshire and Scotland.
“Making sure that all children get the best possible start in life is a key priority for the SNP Government and the evidence makes clear that if early learning and childcare is to give children the best start in life and contribute to closing the poverty-related attainment gap, it has to be of high quality. That is why we are determined to get this right and ensure that the right amount of funding is in place.”
CoSLA’s Resources Spokesperson, Conservative Councillor Gail Macgregor added:
“This is a landmark agreement between the two spheres of government in Scotland. Local government is fully committed to early learning and childcare expansion to 1,140 hours and Scotland’s Council Leaders are fully behind the policy. We needed to get it right from the start, together with the level of funding. We have achieved this by working together.”
CoSLA’s Education Spokesperson, Labour Councillor Stephen McCabe added:
“My main objective is to ensure that every child in Scotland is offered the best possible start in life, today’s agreement sets us down this road. This is a bold deal between national and local government on a transformational policy that will benefit the young people of Scotland.”