Date lodged: 8 March 2017
To ask the Scottish Government in light of the report, Drivers and Barriers to uptake of Early Learning and Childcare amongst 2 year olds, which it commissioned, what its position is on reports that (a) there remains uncertainty regarding the exact figures relating to the uptake of the free early learning entitlement, (b) uptake is lower than expected and (c) parents remain unaware of this free entitlement.
Answered by: Mark McDonald 22 March 2017
All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at:http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx
On the data, the figures reported by the Scottish Government on the uptake of early learning and childcare entitlement are based on the number of registrations. These figures are quality assured and agreed with each local authority. We would expect the number of registrations reported by local authorities and the Scottish Government to be the same for a given point in time. The accuracy of the uptake figures can be affected by double counting of children with split placements, the difficulty of reporting on children who access their entitlement in a different local authority to where they live, and any inaccuracies in the population projections on which uptake calculations are based. We have a project in place to transform the data collection for this sector which will address the majority of these issues. Uptake figures based on this more comprehensive data should be available in summer 2019.
We welcome the recommendations provided by the research. Ensuring more eligible two year olds take up their entitlement is a key priority as these children and families stand to benefit most from funded early learning and childcare. As outlined in my answer to S5W-07914 on 22 March 2017, I will set out further actions which the government will take to promote uptake of this entitlement in our response to the consultation "A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland".