The Scottish Government has announced that the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) offer is saving the families of over 83,200 children considerable money, with a year on year increase in the number of children accessing the funding.
With around £5,000 being saved per eligible child, the number of families taking the full offer of 1,140 hours has risen from this time last year. Without the ELC, this would usually cost the families approximately £5,000 per eligible child.
At the beginning of September, a total of 93,902 between the ages of two and five were benefitting from funded ELC, with 89% (83,237) were benefitting from the full offer of 1,140 hours.
Clare Haughey, Children’s Minister, said:
“Scotland is the only part of the UK to offer 1,140 hours a year of funded early leaning and childcare to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.
“This offer saves families a significant amount of money, which is particularly important at a time when so many are struggling with cost of living pressures. It also supports parents into work, training or study.
High-quality ELC benefits children, too, by enriching their early years and giving them the confidence and skills they need to prepare them for school.
“We intend to expand our childcare offer even further, including building a future system of school age childcare and a new early learning and childcare offer for one and two-year olds, starting with those who need it most.”
COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson, Councillor Tony Buchanan, added:
“I’m pleased that today’s figures confirm that nearly 94,000 two to five-year-old children are accessing funded Early Learning and Childcare delivered by Scotland’s Councils and their partners, which represents a 3% increase on the position a year ago.
“A greater proportion of children are accessing the full 1,140 hour entitlement, compared with April this year. The increased availability of funded ELC is allowing children more time to play and learn, and more opportunities for parents and carers to work, study or volunteer, as well as significant financial savings for families at a time when this is so desperately needed.”