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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-17190: Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 11 June 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting the childcare sector.

Answered by: Maree Todd 21 June 2018

The Scottish Government is working with partners to take forward a comprehensive programme of action to support the childcare sector and to deliver our ambitious commitment to almost double funded early learning and childcare entitlement to 1140 hours by August 2020.

We reached a ‘landmark agreement’ with COSLA Leaders on 27 April on a multi-year revenue and capital package which will fully fund the expansion in funded entitlement to 1140 hours. This agreement will see annual revenue investment increase by £567 million on 2016-17 levels by 2021-22, whilst £467 million of capital funding will be provided over four years.

This “real partnership working” is further evidenced by our joint consultation with COSLA, launched 29 March, which sets out the details of the National Standard for providing funded early learning and childcare (ELC) that will underpin the new Funding Follows the Child model that will be introduced in 2020.

We are working closely with the sector on the development of this new model, and we are currently running a series of provider engagement events across Scotland to support the joint consultation.

Payment of a sustainable rate to providers is a key aspect of our new Funding Follows the Child approach. The multi-year package agreed with COSLA includes funding to pay sustainable rates to providers in the private and third sectors, which reflect the cost of delivery, and which will enable all childcare workers delivering the funded entitlement to be paid at least the Scottish Living Wage from 2020.

On 1 April 2018 we introduced a new 100% rate relief for private properties wholly or mainly used as day nurseries. The relief will remove the burden of rates from up to an estimated 500 businesses to support an inclusive workforce whilst benefitting the economy as a whole.

We are also working with partners to support the expansion of the early year’s workforce. In October 2017 we launched the first phase of our recruitment marketing campaign, targeted at school leavers; with the second phase, to attract career-changers and parental returners to ELC, launching last month.

We are working with the Scottish Funding Council to offer over 1,500 additional places on a one-year HNC course in 2018-19 and over 400 additional places at graduate level. We will continue to invest in increased college places and training provision in 2019 and 2020. In addition Skills Development Scotland are increasing the number of modern apprenticeships in ELC by 10 per cent year-on-year up to 2020.

In addition, over the last year we have:

  • published a widely welcomed ELC Quality Action Plan in October 2017, which will act as a driver for improving children's outcomes through the expansion;
  • worked with the Care Inspectorate to produce Your Childminding Journey, an online learning and development resource for both prospective and registered childminders;
  • taken forward plans to implement our commitment to provide an additional graduate in nurseries in Scotland's most deprived communities from August 2018, which will see an extra 435 graduates working directly with children;
  • our new £2 million ELC inclusion fund opened for its first round of applications on 31 May. This fund, which is open to providers across all sectors, will provide an additional source of funding to support specialist training, equipment and adaptions to enable staff to support children with additional support needs or disabilities;
  • published Space to Grow, a new good practice design guide for ELC, which promotes innovative design for both indoor and outdoor space, and;

? announced over £860,000 funding for Inspiring Scotland to encourage and support greater use of outdoor learning in ELC, including working with eight local authorities to deliver outdoor learning opportunities as part of the expansion of early learning and childcare and producing a 'how to' guide for practitioners, with practical advice on how to access outdoor spaces.