Expansion of early education and childcare
Investment in the earliest years of a child’s life is proven to have the biggest impact on that child’s future development. That’s why early education and childcare places are so important.
We will take forward Scottish Government plans to double provision for three and four-year-olds to 1140 hours by the end of the parliamentary term, and use our additional investment to increase flexibility for parents.
We will extend entitlement to all 2-year-olds and take new steps to give extra support to the most vulnerable families from an earlier age, working with health visitors. We will support nurseries to work with parents to improve their skills.
As we expand provision we expect to be able to offer additional access to a graduate-qualified professional, and free meals for all children.
As we invest to support the expansion of early learning we will:
- Incorporate the findings of the independent Commission for Childcare Reform which puts a priority on ensuring it is high quality, flexible and extends beyond the school day if parents need it to be ‘wraparound’;
- Make sure the new long-term plan addresses the immediate problems many parents have in getting access to their current entitlement for free provision;
- Give local authorities statutory responsibility for mapping the provision of childcare in their areas in order to give a clear picture to parents;
- Use our increased investment in colleges to help train more qualified staff.