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Government failing on childcare

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The Scottish Government has been criticised after admitting it is failing to reach childcare provision targets.
Publication Date: 
29 Sep 2019
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Forecasts show 8,707 two-year-olds will be taking up their entitlement to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) by April 2021. That represents around 60% of the estimated eligible population, while in England it is already 70%.

The figures were revealed during a range of parliamentary questions submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, with the party's education spokeswoman now calling on the Scottish Government to "double down" on its efforts.

The paty's Beatrice Wishart said: "All of these shortfalls are jeopardising our ability to make real progress in closing the poverty-related attainment gap. High-quality childcare provision is essential to giving all young people the best start in life.

"The minister for childcare should be royally embarrassed that this flagship policy is being so poorly mismanaged it won't even bring us up to speed with the rest of the UK by 2021.

"We are years into this policy so the problems it's having identifying which two-year-olds are eligible for free childcare should have been prioritised long ago. The Scottish Government has made a promise to parents.

"They need to face up to the situation they are in and double down on recruitment efforts if they're going to make that reality."

The questions also revealed that the Scottish Government's August 2018 target to recruit 435 additional graduates to nurseries in the most deprived areas is still being missed, with only 92% of these positions having been filled more than a year later.

Childminders are set to get free training from the Scottish Government, in the lead up to the 2020 childcare deadline.

Announced by children's minister Maree Todd, the new scheme will offer nine different online training modules to the 5,000 childminders working in Scotland.

The move is part of a drive to increase the amount of funded childcare from 600 hours to 1,140 hours for three and four-year-old children, as well as eligible two-year-olds by August next year.

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Entered Date: 
2 Oct 2019
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