The Scottish Government has announced that the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) offer is saving the families of more than 83,200 children big money, with a year on the rise in the number of children accessing the funding.
With around £5,000 saved per eligible child, the number of families taking up the full offer of 1,140 hours has increased from this time last year. Without the ELC, it would normally cost families around £5,000 per eligible child.
At the start of September, a total of 93,902 between the ages of two and five years old benefited from funded ELC, with 89% (83,237) benefiting from the full offer of 1,140 hours.
Clare Haughey, Minister for Children, said:
“Scotland is the only part of the UK that offers 1,140 hours a year of funded early childhood education and care 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 the cost of lifestyle pressures. It also supports parents in work, training or education.
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 aim to further expand our childcare offer, including the development of a future school-age childcare system and a new early learning and childcare offer for one and two-year-olds, starting with the people who need it most.”
COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson, Councilor Tony Buchanan added:
“I am delighted that today’s figures confirm that almost 94,000 two to five-year-old children are accessing funded Early Learning and Childcare delivered by Scotland’s Councils and their partners, representing a 3% increase in the position last year.
“A greater share of children are accessing the full 1,140 hours of entitlement, compared to April this year. The increased availability of funded ELC allows children more time to play and learn, and more opportunities for parents and caregivers to work, study or volunteer, as well substantial financial savings for families at this time are much needed.”