Childcare trials announced

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The Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, has announced the locations for the second round of early learning and childcare expansion trials.

The additional 11 locations are spread throughout the country, and also includes the Western Isles, they will test a variety of different delivery models including:

Making additional hours available through local childminders as part of a blended approach

Linking provision of ELC to local employability services aimed at helping parents to access employment, training or education

Co-locating ELC services and out of school care services

The total number of trials taking place to test out different delivery models is now 14.

They form part of the Scottish Government’s wider drive to increase the quality and flexibility of provision as work towards delivery of 1140 hours of early learning and childcare by 2020 continues.

Mr McDonald said: “We know the early years are a crucial time in every child’s life and evidence shows that access to high quality early learning and childcare (ELC) is key to improving attainment.

“By giving Scotland’s young people the best possible start in life we can ensure they develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential.

“I particularly welcome this pilot because it will involve a blend of different types of childcare. This is a more flexible model that we know parents want to see more of.

“Parents and carers also benefit from a high quality, flexible system of ELC as it helps to support routes in to work, training or further study which may not have previously been accessible.

“That is why this government is committed to almost doubling the free entitlement to 1140 hours per year by 2020, while delivering the flexibility that families need.

“By trialling different delivery models in partnership with local authorities we will be better able to understand what parents and children need and want.”

The trials are all due to start by summer 2017 and will be supported by over £827,000 Scottish Government funding.