Following the news that 139 applications for deferred entry Early Learning and Childcare funding have been rejected by local authorities this year, Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on the Scottish Government to reimburse parents who have been forced to self-fund an additional year of childcare because they exercised the right to defer their child starting primary school.
Following the campaign run by ‘Give them Time’, the Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd, made a commitment last month “to introduce legislation to entitle all children whose school start is deferred to access funded early learning and childcare in their deferred year”.
The figures published today, however, show that there are parents who have requested such funding for the current academic year and have been rejected.
Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:
“If the Scottish Government genuinely accepts that parents have the right to defer when they believe it is the best thing to do for their child, then it should consider how to cover the costs that parents are facing now.
“The Government’s commitment to legislation is welcome, but consultation cannot be used as a means to stall the policy, penalising well-meaning parents along the way.
"Parents currently exercising the legitimate right to defer their child starting primary school are telling us that it is costing them thousands of pounds. The Scottish Government should look at reimbursing them, in recognition that it is the outdated legislation which is forcing these parents to self-fund the entirety of their children's childcare.
“Parents know what is right for their child. Acting on that should not come with a bill.”