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Childcare consultation

Published: 2 Jan 2017 00:01

One week left to have your say.

Parents, carers, providers and all those with an interest in early years and childcare are being urged to respond to a Scottish Government consultation before it closes next week.

It seeks views on the wide range of policy options available to deliver the Scottish Government’s commitment to almost double free early learning and childcare to 1140 hours per year by 2020.

Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, said:

“We know the early years are a crucial time in every child’s life and evidence shows that access to high quality early learning and childcare (ELC) is key to improving attainment. By giving Scotland’s young people the best possible start in life we can ensure they develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential.

“Parents and carers also benefit from a high quality, flexible system of ELC as it helps to support routes in to work, training or further study which may not have previously been accessible.

“That is why the Scottish Government is committed to almost doubling the free ELC entitlement to 1140 hours per year by 2020.

“We are at a pivotal moment in developing the policy approach which will determine how the expansion is delivered, and I recently announced a number of trials to test new ways of providing childcare.

“At the same time, we are also formally consulting on the wide range of policy options available to us, for example whether childminders or organisations with a wider social remit, such as charities or social enterprises, have a greater role to play.

“There is one week left for people across Scotland to have their say on how our new ELC policy should be shaped, and I urge everyone with a view to respond to our consultation before it closes on 9 January.”

Background

The consultation, A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland, launched on 15th October and closes on 9th January 2017. It sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for a transformational change in early learning and childcare that is underpinned by the principles of quality, flexibility, accessibility and affordability.  The consultation seeks views on a wide range of policy choices that we face as we take forward the expansion. Those choices include:

  • How we ensure a high quality service while delivering greater flexibility in how parents can use their entitlement;
  • How can the system for accessing and registering for a place in ELC settings be improved;
  • How can we ensure equality of access for all children

You can respond to the consultation at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/creating-positive-futures/expansion-of-early-learning-and-childcare

Information on the ELC trials can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Young-People/early-years/ELCTrials/ELCTrials