beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Research Publication

Financial review of early learning and childcare in Scotland: the current landscape

Published: 27 Sep 2016
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Research
ISBN:
9781786524867

Information on the early learning and childcare system in Scotland, with a focus on provision of the funded entitlement.

70 page PDF

1.1MB

70 page PDF

1.1MB

Contents
Financial review of early learning and childcare in Scotland: the current landscape
Children

70 page PDF

1.1MB

Children

This chapter lays out the available information on child registrations in funded and unfunded ELC settings. The data underlying this chapter are published by the Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Government.

Some of the key points include:

  • For both funded and unfunded ELC, there were around 28,000 registrations of two year olds, 116,000 registrations of three and four year olds across all ELC service providers (including childminders) in term 1 of academic year 2014/15.
  • For funded ELC, there were registrations for around 4,300 two year olds and 87,300 three and four year olds at the beginning of academic year 2015/16.
  • While almost all eligible three and four year olds are registered for the funded entitlement (97 per cent), a significantly smaller proportion of eligible two year olds are registered (around 7 per cent of the two year old population).

Registrations

As at December 2014, looking across both funded and non-funded provision, there were 28,330 (48 per cent of the population) registrations of two year olds, 54,350 (89 per cent) registrations of three year olds and 61,800 (around 100 per cent [3] ) four year olds registrations across all ELC service providers (including childminders). Excluding childminders, there were 23,660 (40 per cent) two year old registrations, 50,160 (82 per cent) three year old registrations and 57,790 (99 per cent) four year old registrations. [4]

Figure 1: Share of registrations by setting type

Figure 1: Share of registrations by setting type

Source: Care Inspectorate Childcare statistics 2014

Table 2: Number of child registrations by age

Total Under 1 year old 1 year old 2 year old 3 year old 4 year old
Active services by type:
Childminding 32,500 860 3,840 4,660 4,190 4,010
Children / family centre 9,110 260 940 1,950 2,630 2,540
Crèche 2,610 120 270 370 450 400
Holiday play scheme 1,650 30 30 40 70 80
Nursery 135,240 2,300 12,220 18,200 43,350 52,450
of which: providing add. services 29,390 570 2,900 4,860 7,670 8,090
of which: no add. services 105,850 1,740 9,320 13,340 35,680 44,360
Out of school care 38,460 0 20 30 60 640
of which: providing add. services 29,500 0 20 30 60 530
of which: providing no add. services 8,970 0 0 0 0 110
Playgroup 7,470 0 60 2,760 3,240 1,210
Other services 2,800 40 120 320 360 470
Total 229,840 3,610 17,500 28,330 54,350 61,800
Total excl. childminding 197,340 2,750 13,650 23,660 50,160 57,790

Source: Care Inspectorate Childcare statistics 2014

The vast majority of two, three and four year olds in ELC are registered with nurseries (around 80 per cent). There is likely to be some overlap of children who are registered with more than one provider (estimated at around 2 per cent).

Figure 2: Two, three and four year olds registered with an ELC provider (incl. those who do not provide funded ELC)

Figure 2: Two, three and four year olds registered with an ELC provider (incl. those who do not provide funded ELC)

Source: Care Inspectorate Childcare statistics 2014

Eligibility for funded ELC

Currently, all three and four year olds are entitled to 600 hours of funded child care per annum ( i.e. approx. 16 hours per week over 38 weeks). The offer commences the term after the child's third birthday. [5] Therefore, fewer children will be in their ante-preschool year during census week in term 1 of the academic year [6] and hence registrations for children in their ante-preschool year during census week will be around half the number expected to have registered by term 3 (April-June).

By the end of the last academic year, around 59,500 3 year olds and 61,200 4 year olds are eligible for funded ELC.

Two year olds are eligible to receive the funded entitlement if at least one parent receives either [7]

  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-based)
  • Child Tax Credit only (up to an income of £16,105)
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (up to an income of £6,420)
  • Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit

Annex B sets out the eligibility criteria for the above benefits.

Furthermore, two year olds are eligible if they are looked After or under Kinship Care Order/Guardianship.

To arrive at an estimate for the number of eligible two year olds, data from HMRC and DWP can be used. HMRC hold information on claimants of tax credits. DWP hold information on all other benefits.

Data from DWP and HMRC suggest that around 15,200 two year olds qualify for funded ELC via JSA, ESA, IS, CTC, WTC& CTC, and around a further 650 qualify as a result of being Looked After, under KCO or Guardianship or falling under the wider out of work benefits criteria. In addtition, around 100 two year olds qualify under the Immigration and Asylum Act. In total, 16,000 two year olds qualify for funded ELC. At an estimated population of around 58,000 two year olds in 2015, this equates to around 27 per cent of the population. [8] , [9]

Table 3: Estimated number of two year olds by benefit criterion

Benefit type Number of two year olds
IS 8,000
JSA (adj. income-based) 900
ESA (adj. income-based) 1,100
PC/ SD/ IB 150
CTC only 2,400
WTC & CTC 2,800
LAC/ KCO/Guardianship 500
Immigration & Asylum Act 100
Total 15,950

Source: DWP and HMRC benefit claimant data 2015

The following paragraphs set out how many two year olds are eligible under each individual qualifying criterion.

Most of the above benefits are mutually exclusive. Recipients on JSA are usually ineligible for ESA and vice versa, and to receive IS, one cannot be in receipt of JSA or ESA. To be eligible for WTC, one has to work more than 16 hours which implies ineligibility for JSA, ESA and IS. Recipients on PC have to be of State Pension age which means they are ineligible for JSA, ESA and IS. Parents who receive any of the out-of-work benefits are likely to be eligible for CTC as well. [10] Hence, the number of children qualifying via the CTC only criterion excludes those children who are also eligible via any of the other criteria.

Universal Credit ( UC)

With the introduction of Universal Credit, IS, JSA, ESA, WTC & CTC, and CTC are going to become obsolete as eligibility criteria since they will be replaced by Universal Credit. While the corresponding income threshold is not yet determined, the threshold is supposed to maintain the current volumes of eligibility.

Looked After children ( LAC), Kinship Care Order ( KCO)/Guardianship

The proportion of children who are subject to a LAC order or under KCO/Guardianship is estimated to lie at around 3 per cent of the population. [11] This means, as at 2015, there are around 1,700 two year olds who are LAC or under KCO/Guardianship. However, we expect around 70 per cent of these children to qualify under the criteria above already. Hence, only 500 additional two year olds are estimated to qualify as a result of being LAC/under KCO/Guardianship.

Children in need

As per the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 local authorities are under a statutory duty to provide appropriate services which may ELC to children in need. A child is defined to be 'in need' if

  • he or she is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development unless the local authority provides services for him or her
  • the child's health or development is likely significantly to be impaired, unless additional services are provided
  • the child is disabled or he or she is affected adversely by the disability of any other person in his or her family.

It is mainly two year olds for whom eligibility to funded ELC via the in-need-status is relevant, [12] as the entitlement becomes universal when they turn three. However, children in need of all ages may get additional hours beyond the 600 hours if deemed appropriate.

While in-need status itself does not necessarily entitle children to the 600 hours of funded ELC, it is expected that the overwhelming majority of children in need would also qualify under the criteria outlined above.

Total number of children entitled to 600 hours funded ELC

Summing up, the number of two, three and four year olds eligible for ELC under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act at the time of the 2015 census is estimated at around 100,000. By term 3 (April-June) we would expect this figure to rise to around 136,000.

Identification of eligible children

Education authorities are not under a duty to identify those children and families who are eligible for the 600 hours ELC entitlement. Parents or carers who wish to use the entitlement for their child need to apply for a place for their child. As the entitlement is not compulsory, and depends upon parents or carers taking up a place for their child, local authorities, health visitors and local job centres plus, aim to promote the entitlement at a local level, complemented by national information campaigns.

Local job centre plus can verify a parent or carer in receipt of: IS, JSA, ESA, IC or SDA, PC or UC (based on an award letter they receive; this changes when any circumstances change). Parents or carers receive an annual award letter from HMRC confirming level of income and receipt of CTC or WTC& CTC. Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 can be confirmed through social work.

Uptake of funded early learning and childcare

As at December 2015, around 97,000 children were registered for funded ELC. [13] Of those, 72,100 (74 per cent) took up their offer at early years settings run by the local authority. The number of registered two, three (ante-preschool year) and four year olds (preschool year) was 91,600 at the time of the census, with an additional 4,500 children deferring entry into primary school while remaining eligible for funded ELC and around 1,200 children under two who qualify via in-need criteria. [14] , [15] Note that children registered to receive local authority funded ELC at more than one centre may be counted more than once, potentially leading to a small overestimate of the true uptake.

Table 4: 2, 3 and 4 year olds registered at services offering funded ELC

Centre type Under 2 year olds 2 year olds 3 year olds (Ante-preschool year) 4 year olds (Preschool year) Deferred Total
Local Authority 938 3,494 20,489 43,711 3,502 72,134
Partnership - other 21 177 1,752 2,239 211 4,400
Partnership - private 264 650 7,692 11,377 745 20,728
Total 1,223 4,321 29,933 57,327 4,458 97,262

Source: Scottish Government Early learning and childcare statistics 2015

In December 2015, uptake of funded ELC was at 99 per cent and 95 per cent respectively for children in their ante-preschool (recorded as three year olds) and preschool year (recorded as four year olds). Uptake was considerably lower for two year olds at around 7 per cent of the total two year old population, although only a subset of two year olds are eligible. [16] Overall uptake by two year olds was recorded to be lower in 2015 than in 2014, although this may be due to improvements to data collection.

Table 5: Uptake of early learning and childcare by local authority as at December 2015

2 year olds % of 2 year old population 3 + 4 year olds % of 3 & 4s eligible deferred entry % of eligible for deferral Total
Aberdeen City 36 1% 3,284 90% 163 14% 3,483
Aberdeenshire 69 2% 4,538 93% 304 18% 4,911
Angus 84 7% 1,667 92% 125 20% 1,876
Argyll & Bute 49 6% 1,285 103% 65 16% 1,399
Clackmannanshire 42 7% 880 103% 19 7% 941
Dumfries & Galloway 84 6% 2,234 98% 131 17% 2,449
Dundee City 217 12% 2,468 100% 144 19% 2,829
East Ayrshire 124 9% 2,071 101% 47 7% 2,242
East Dunbartonshire 59 6% 1,644 94% 90 17% 1,793
East Lothian 53 4% 1,802 95% 122 20% 1,977
East Renfrewshire 62 6% 1,596 92% 62 11% 1,720
City of Edinburgh 383 7% 7,830 95% 485 19% 8,698
Eilean Siar 15 6% 402 106% 25 19% 442
Falkirk 109 6% 2,768 100% 110 12% 2,987
Fife 456 11% 6,321 98% 227 11% 7,004
Glasgow City 393 5% 9,206 89% 404 13% 10,003
Highland 49 2% 3,900 105% 316 26% 4,265
Inverclyde 152 19% 1,098 88% 60 14% 1,310
Midlothian 65 6% 1,678 103% 96 18% 1,839
Moray 31 3% 1,529 100% 111 22% 1,671
North Ayrshire 218 15% 2,244 100% 50 7% 2,512
North Lanarkshire 315 8% 5,881 97% 160 8% 6,356
Orkney Islands 16 8% 320 96% 50 47% 386
Perth & Kinross 108 8% 2,168 95% 208 28% 2,484
Renfrewshire 361 19% 2,858 99% 167 18% 3,386
Scottish Borders 84 7% 1,773 102% 81 14% 1,938
Shetland Islands - 0% 427 101% 44 31% 471
South Ayrshire 65 6% 1,693 98% 97 17% 1,855
South Lanarkshire 363 10% 5,398 101% 204 12% 5,965
Stirling 82 9% 1,535 114% 52 12% 1,669
West Dunbartonshire 134 13% 1,619 102% 64 13% 1,817
West Lothian 43 2% 3,143 92% 175 16% 3,361
SCOTLAND 4,321 7% 87,260 97% 4,458 15% 96,039

Source: Scottish Government Early learning and childcare statistics 2015

Time spent in formal childcare

Data from the Understanding Society survey, [17] conducted by the University of Essex, suggest in 2015, two, three and four year olds in Scotland spent on average 17.09, 16.65 and 21.00 hours per week in childcare (funded and unfunded), respectively. [18]

These results are supported by Growing Up in Scotland data which shows the average number of hours spent in childcare for 3 year olds is estimated at 16.19 hours post CYP Act (14.56 hours pre-Act).

Table 6: Hours spent in formal childcare by age group

Age 2 years 3 years 4 years
Average hours per week spent in ELC 17.09 16.65 21
Annualised hours (38 weeks) 649.42 632.7 798

Source: Understanding Society Wave 4

Looked after children ( LAC)

Under the provisions of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, looked after children are defined as those in the care of their Local Authority. The majority will fall into the two categories of looked after at home and looked after away from home.

A child (or young person) is defined as 'looked after at home' if he or she has been through the Children's Hearings system and is subject to a Supervision Requirement (regular contact with social services) with no condition of residence. In this case the child continues to live in their regular place of residence (generally the family home).

A child is 'looked after away from home' if she or he has been through the Children's Hearings system and is either

  • subject to a Supervision Requirement with a condition of residence
  • subject to an order made or authorisation or warrant granted by virtue of Chapter 2, 3 or 4 of Part II of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995
  • being provided with accommodation under Section 25 (a voluntary agreement)
  • or is placed by a local authority which has made a permanence order under Section 80 of the Adoption and Children Act 2007. In these cases the child is cared for away from their normal place of residence, by foster or kinship carers, prospective adopters, in residential care homes, residential schools or secure units.

Table 7 shows the number of looked after children aged 1-4 over time. [19]

Table 7: Number of LAC over time by age

2012 2013 2014 2015 % of 2015 total LAC as % of population
Children 3,001 2,919 2,823 2,712 18% 1.1%

Source: Scottish Government Children's social work statistics 2014-15, additional tables

Most looked after children have become 'looked after' for care and protection reasons. Some will have experienced neglect or mental, physical or emotional abuse. Some parents are unable to look after their children because of their own substance misuse or poor parenting skills.

Children with complex disabilities sometimes need to be looked after in specialist residential schools. Similarly, vulnerable, unaccompanied minors seeking asylum and young people who have been illegally trafficked into the UK may also become looked after to ensure their wellbeing.


Contact