Early Learning and Childcare Expansion – 1140 hours
The Scottish Government have made a commitment to increase the annual entitlement of funded Early Learning & Childcare (ELC) for all 3-4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds from 600 hours a year to 1140 hours a year. This will give parents more choice and flexibility in the way they can access these hours.
The expansion means that all 3 and 4 year olds, and eligible 2 year olds, from the first intake after their qualifying birthday until they are due to start school, will receive almost double the hours of ELC. This is equivalent to ELC hours rising from 600 hours per annum, to 1140 per annum. The expansion is a positive step for families in Scotland and clear recognition of the difference the sector makes to children and families.
1140 hours was due to be introduced across all settings (local authority nurseries and funded providers) from August 2020. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has advised that local authorities are no longer legally obliged to deliver 1140 hours of funded ELC from August 2020. We are awaiting further information from the Scottish Government on its updated timescales about the 1140 expansion in December 2020.
Fife Council, however, is already operating 1140 hours in many ELC settings.
What Will Be Available?
There will be a number of different ways for families to access their 1140 hours entitlement, these will include:
- Term time in a Fife Council nursery
- Across the whole year in a Fife Council nursery
- In a private nursery that is in partnership with Fife Council
- At a playgroup that is in partnership with Fife Council
- With a child minder who is in partnership with Fife Council
It will be possible to share hours between different Early Learning & Childcare providers.
Applications for Fife Council nurseries for 3 and 4-year olds must be received by 31st January each year in order to be included in the process which allocates places for the following academic year.
Late applications received on or after 31st January will not be considered until after the full allocation process has taken place for this age group.
Applications for private nurseries, playgroups, and childminders in partnership with Fife Council should be made directly with individual establishments and services.