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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-19861: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 12 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that 144 eligible two-year-olds and 89 eligible three and four-year-olds are receiving funded early learning and childcare with childminders, when 11,000 children are eligible.

Answered by: Maree Todd 26 November 2018

Childminders have an important role to play in delivering funded early learning and childcare, particularly for our younger children, and we are working with the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) and local authorities to increase the role of childminders in delivering children’s entitlement.

It is encouraging that the latest SCMA survey, published in September, indicated an increase in the role that childminders are playing in delivering the funded entitlement with:

  • The number of childminders approved to deliver funded ELC to eligible 2 year olds has increased from 453 in July 2017 to 639 in July 2018.
  • The number of childminders approved to deliver funded ELC to 3 and 4 year olds has increased from 49 in July 2017 to 119 in July 2018.
  • The number of childminders delivering funded ELC to eligible 2 year olds has increased from 114 in July 2017 to 144 in July 2018.
  • The number of childminders delivering funded ELC to children aged 3 and 4 years old has increased from 5 in July 2017 to 57 in July 2018.

The SCMA annual survey also indicates that 26 out of 32 local authorities now have childminders approved to deliver the funded entitlement. One of those authorities who were yet to approve childminders at the time of the survey, Falkirk, is now working closely with SCMA and have invited childminders to apply for partnership.

The introduction of our new Funding Follows the Child approach in 2020, which is ‘provider neutral’, will empower parents to choose from a range of high quality ELC providers, including childminders.

This approach will provide increased opportunities for childminders to deliver the funded entitlement. We have committed to holding a childminding summit with the SCMA and local authorities in early 2019, to identify actions to ensure parents understand the potential benefits of accessing all or part of their child’s ELC entitlement from a childminding service.