Every child attending a funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) session will receive a healthy meal at each session, the SNP Government has announced.
A major new SNP Government scheme, developed in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, will also ensure access to outdoor play sessions for all children, regardless of where they live and will enable providers to pay all childcare workers delivering the funded sessions at least the real Living Wage.
The scheme will be introduced from August 2020 and will be ‘provider neutral,’ giving parents choice over where they choose to access funded hours of childcare for their children.
Local authorities will receive additional annual revenue funding of £567 million in 2021-22 to support the expansion in entitlement to 1,140 hours of free childcare per year from August 2020, almost double current provision and triple the 412 inherited by the SNP in 2007.
Councils will also receive total capital funding of £476 million to support the expansion of premises required by increasing free ELC provision from 2017-18 to 2020-21 inclusive.
Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP said:
“This is a unique opportunity to transform the way we deliver early learning and childcare, which is why we are using the National Standard to ensure no child in ELC goes hungry or misses out on the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play.
“Families were already going to receive an increased number of funded ELC hours by August 2020. Our new Funding Follows the Child approach and National Standard will build on this further, ensuring that high quality and choice remain at the heart of the expansion to 1,140 hours.”
This package also includes funding to enable providers to pay all childcare workers delivering the funded entitlement at least the real Living Wage.
The new scheme – called Funding Follows the Child - will be underpinned by a new National Standard that all funded ELC providers, regardless of whether they are in the public, private or third sector will be required to meet so parents can be confident, whichever setting they choose, their child will receive a high quality experience.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Funding Follows the Child gives parents and carers the choice to access their child’s funded entitlement from any provider that meets the National Standard, has a place available and is willing to enter a contract with the local authority.
“It is available to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds. Currently, 600 funded hours are provided per year. As promised in the SNP Manifesto, this will increase to 1,140 hours by 2020.
“The SNP strongly believes that by ensuring all children in Scotland have equal opportunities through support and nurture from a very early age, we can achieve significant benefits to children’s development and their ability to live happy, fulfilling lives.”
For further information on Funding Follows the Child, click here.