Kenneth Gibson MSP has criticised Tory and Lib Dem MSPs after they voted against extending Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) to children who are 5-years-old and whose parents wish to defer entry to school.
At this morning’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee, members were asked to deliberate and vote on extending childcare provision to allow parents of children whose 5th birthday falls between 01 August and 31 December to request that they can defer a year and still receive 1,140 hours of paid childcare.
Such a change will mean a funding boost for free ELC of £33 to 82.5 million each year, depending on demand, once the scheme has been fully rolled out by 01 August 2023. Crucially, it will help thousands of parents who feel their child is not quite ready to begin school.
The change was opposed by Tory MSPs Jamie Greene and Oliver Mundell and Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart.
Kenneth, who backed the measure, said:
“Once again, the Tories are failing Scotland’s children and parents and, as usual, the Lib Dems backed them.
“This welcome ELC extension will provide much-needed support for parents whose children are not quite ready to make the step to primary school.
“Two of my children were born in August and September and if the chance to delay their school entry had been available, we would have jumped at it.
“I am pleased that SNP members supported this amendment to the Provision of Early Learning and Childcare (Specified Children) Order 2014, ensuring tens of millions of pounds of additional ELC investment and that children across Scotland have a seamless transition into education.”