Quality, choice and flexibility will be placed at the heart of Scotland’s childcare revolution under new funding proposals unveiled for consultation by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The First Minister announced that the consultation on the Scottish Government’s ambitious early learning and childcare expansion plans
includes proposals on new funding models to maximise the options available to parents.
The First Minister highlighted two proposals. The first would see funding follow the child, with parents or carers empowered to choose the provider that best meets their needs with funding provided by the local authority. The second would see the establishment of early learning and childcare accounts, with parents or carers given direct funding and allowed to purchase services with providers that offered them the best solution.
The consultation launched today and will seek views on the future direction and structure of the Early Learning and Childcare sector.
The First Minister said:
“Over this parliament, we will double the amount of state-funded early years education and childcare for all three and four year olds and for the most disadvantaged two year olds. And today I can announce a new phase in this childcare revolution.
“At present it is local authorities who decide what childcare places are offered to parents. Councils work hard to be flexible - but often the places offered to parents are not where and when they need them.
“So today we are launching a national parent consultation on how to do things differently. It proposes radical new approaches prioritising choice and flexibility.
“First, we will propose that parents can choose a nursery or childminder that best suits their needs and - as long as the provider meets agreed standards – ask the local authority to fund it. In other words, the funding will follow the child - not the other way round.
“Second, as suggested by Children in Scotland’s Childcare Commission, we will propose that parents can opt to receive funding in a childcare account and then use it to purchase a suitable place directly.
“Quality, choice, flexibility – these will be the watchwords of a policy to transform the working lives of families and the life chances of our children.”
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