20,000 two year olds now eligible for free early learning and childcare

Around 20,000 two year olds are now eligible for funded early learning and childcare, parents and carers have been reminded to take up a place for their child.
The entitlement to 600 hours of annual funded early learning and childcare has been extended to two year olds from low income households. This comes into effect from August and adds to the entitlement for all three and four year olds and around 15 per cent of two year olds.George high street

Acting Minister for Children Fiona McLeod reminded parents of eligible children to register for their funded places as she met staff and children at Dens Nursery in Dundee.

Speaking on the announcement, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said, “Through my work in the Education and Culture Committee at Holyrood, I am all too aware of how vital is that we get it right during the early years of a child’s life. This is especially true for more vulnerable or disadvantaged children and I’m pleased they will be able to benefit from this extra provision.

“This is not simply about childcare; it is about ensuring all three and four year olds and those two year olds who would benefit the most, have access to high quality early learning and education in a nurturing environment. This will allow them to develop vital skills including literacy and numeracy from an early age.

“I’m encouraging all parents and carers to check if their child is eligible for funded early learning and childcare and register now so they can get their place in the autumn term. Our local council has been provided with the tools by the Scottish Government to make a dramatic difference in the early years of our children’s’ life’s and I will be watching closely to ensure these tools are used to their fullest.”

A public information campaign with advice for parents and carers on the eligibility criteria for funded early learning and childcare will begin next month.

The Scottish Government has committed £329 million to expand funded early learning and childcare for all three and four year olds and the 27% most disadvantaged 2-year-olds (around 20,000) to 600 hours from August 2014 over two years.

The Scottish Government has expanded funded hours by 45 per cent since 2007 – an increase worth up to £707 per child per year. They have set out our plans to go further by increasing provision from 16 hours a week to 30 hours a week by the end of the next parliament.

More information about eligibility criteria and local provision is available on the Scottish Families website: www.scottishfamilies.gov.uk