Aberdeen City Council submits plans for enhanced Early Learning and Childcare to Scottish Government

Aberdeen City Council’s Education and Children’s Services committee has approved a draft proposed plan on how it will meet Scottish Government plans to extend early learning and childcare entitlements. The draft plan will be submitted to Holyrood by 29 September for consideration.

The draft plan was devised following consultation events for parents across the city last year.

The Scottish Government’s proposal is to increase the current 600 hours to 1140 hours of flexible provision by Aberdeen City Council for all three and four year olds, and the 15% of two year olds currently catered for. This will include the offer being extended to 27% of two year olds whose parents are on benefits or are being looked after.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to secure flexible childcare provision for two, three and four year olds. The government programme aims to extend childcare services to school age children by 2020.

Councillor John Wheeler, Convener of Education and Children’s Services, said: ““We are committed to reducing inequalities and enhancing outcomes for children, That is why, having consulted extensively with parents, our draft proposal aims to offer up to 50 weeks a year of early learning and childcare provision in tandem with our partners and local childminders.

“We aim to do this via a phased approach, which will, in the first instance, address the needs of children in care or in deprived areas before rolling out more widely.”

£1.035 million (capital) has been provided to Aberdeen City Council in 2017/2018 with an additional £725,000 to cover revenue costs for the first year. Levels of future revenue and capital funding from The Scottish Government will be determined following submission of the council’s Delivery Plan.

Councillor Wheeler added: “The Education and Children Services teams are working with our Finance staff to ensure that our submission to the Scottish Government on the potential costs required for the expanded provision is sufficiently robust.”