OPFS welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving and increasing high quality, flexible early learning and childcare
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP made the following announcement on childcare funding at the SNP conference in October:
“By 2020, we will deliver 30 hours a week for every three and four year old and eligible two year old……And each month it will save families around £350 on the costs of childcare….Right now, we invest around £420 million a year…….I can announce today that by the end of this Parliament, that will double to £840 million a year.”
In response Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland said:
“I very much welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving and increasing high quality, flexible early learning and childcare which is accessible and affordable for all children and families.
There is overwhelming research that evidences the need for flexible childcare, and concludes that not having this available is a barrier to parents studying, entering and sustaining work. This move towards more subsidised childcare will not only serve to increase the wellbeing of both children and their families but will enable parents to consider employment, should they wish to do so.”
“This is a much needed investment though there are practical challenges in ensuring that every child has a funded place which we hope will be resolved. The expansion plan needs to be underpinned by a funding model which ensures the long-term sustainability of the system. Currently each local authority has a different rate for purchasing childcare places from partners, it is fundamental to the success of the expansion that the funding model must reflect the true cost of delivering quality and flexibility. We hope local authorities will take a joined up approach that ensures fairness and equality. The funding allocations will have a direct impact on the quality and flexibility of provision, without this, attracting, training and retaining quality staff to care for children will be an ever increasing challenge.
I believe that here is a real opportunity for Scotland to deliver on the idea of a ‘provider neutral’ system and develop a system where the funding follows the child, giving parents more choice, and more flexibility. To ensure that quality, flexibility, affordability Early Learning and Childcare stays at the forefront, OPFS have initiated a National Flexible Childcare Advisory Group to commence in November, to inform this process.”