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Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland is changing

When will the Early Learning and Childcare hours increase?

The ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means that the Scottish Government and local authorities can’t guarantee the expanded funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) hours will be available everywhere from August 2020. Lots of planned work to prepare for August (like recruitment and building projects) can’t go ahead at the moment, and local authorities and other providers have been working hard to provide critical childcare.

The full expansion to 1140 hours will still happen, but at a later date.

In the meantime, some local authorities may already have capacity to deliver some expanded places. This is both in their own nurseries and family centres and through contracts with local private and third sector nurseries, playgroups and childminders. However, this may be restricted initially due to measures being put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

If your child should be attending ELC in August 2020, you’ll be wondering what this means for you. Local authorities are working hard to see what places will be available and to update you as soon as possible. For information about the reopening of ELC settings, please have a look at our FAQ.

What are my childcare options?

Our page on childcare explains your options at the moment.

Frequently asked questions

Why aren’t funded hours increasing to 1140 as planned?

The ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic means that unfortunately the full increase of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) to 1140 hours a year won’t be available in August 2020. This is because local authorities have been busy meeting the critical childcare needs of keyworkers, and because other things like recruitment and building projects won’t be able to go ahead at the moment.

The full increase to 1140 hours will still take place, but at a later date.

We know that most local authorities already had capacity to deliver increased hours for some of their children. It might be that some local authorities are able to offer some extra hours, depending on the impact of any measures they are putting in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

When will funded hours be increasing to 1140?

We can’t yet say when the hours will be increasing, but it won’t be this academic year (August 2020-June 2021). The Scottish Government and local authorities will be working closely to understand the impact of COVID-19 and work out when they can implement the expanded hours.

In the meantime, local authorities will be working out what they are able to offer and sharing updated plans with parents as soon as possible.

Will my setting still offer 1140 hours?

It’s likely that local authorities will be able to offer some expanded places when ELC settings reopen fully. It is too early to say where these places will be. Local authorities will be sharing this information as soon as possible.

My child received a 1140 place last year – will they still get it next year?

It’s likely that local authorities will be able to offer some expanded places when ELC settings reopen fully. But it’s too early to say where these places will be or how they will be allocated. Local authorities will be sharing this information as soon as possible.
 

When will ELC settings reopen?

All registered ELC providers have been allowed to open from 15 July, if they chose to do so. We don’t expect all settings to open straight away, and term-time settings are likely to open with schools from 11 August. Our section on schools and ELC reopening has more information.