Easing cost of living pressures
30 Jun 2022 11:30 AM
More families benefiting from childcare savings.
A growing number of families are accessing funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) across Scotland.
The latest figures show that 121,101 children were in funded ELC places at the end of April 2022 – an increase of 9,527 since January 2022.
The entitlement to funded ELC increased to 1,140 hours in August last year, saving families up to £4,900 annually for each eligible child.
The ELC workforce also continues to increase, up 357 since January 2022, with 18,421 (FTE) staff now working in the sector. This marks a rise of 8,845 since 2016/17.
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said:
“It is clear funded ELC is making a real difference to families – particularly at a time when so many are struggling with the rising cost of living.
“Crucially, high quality ELC also helps to provide children with skills and confidence to carry into school education, and is a cornerstone for closing the poverty-related attainment gap.
“It’s also encouraging to see the workforce continue to grow and I’d like to thank everyone working in the sector for their continued hard work and dedication.”
Councillor Tony Buchanan, COSLA Children and Young People's spokesperson said:
“I’m pleased that today’s figures confirm that over 121,000 children are accessing additional funded early learning and childcare hours from Scotland’s Councils and their partners. The increased availability of funded early learning and childcare is allowing children more time to play and learn, and more opportunities for parents and carers to work, study or volunteer, as well as significant financial savings for families.
“I particularly welcome that there has been a 15% increase in the number of eligible two-year-olds accessing increased hours between April 2021 and April 2022, as we know this will provide support for children and families who will benefit most.”
The figures are set out in the Improvement Service's May 2022 Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Delivery Progress Report.
Legislation came into effect on 1 August 2021 to make the expanded offer of 1,140 hours available across Scotland.
The offer is available to all three and four-year-olds and two-year-olds who need it most.