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Expanding Early Learning and Childcare

The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the provision of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) from 600 to 1140 hours per year by 2020. This will support child development by providing high quality services and will support parents to return to work or study. Services will be flexible, accessible and affordable.

Aberdeen City Council welcomes the opportunity to expand services. We recognise how the expansion of ELC can reduce the poverty-related attainment gap and improve long term outcomes for children and families. We plan to transform service delivery by tailoring the ELC offer to local need. We will also be guided by local, national and international research on which approaches make the difference to long term outcomes.

The Council currently offers enough 600-hour places to meet demand, although provision varies across the city meaning that some families have issues accessing the services. There are gaps in provision in our three Priority Areas which are home to the highest proportion of pre-school children and the highest concentration of families living in poverty. The Priority Areas are Northfield, Tullos/Torry and Tillydrone/Seaton. We will prioritise these three areas in Phase 1 of our expansion in order to address the difficulty in accessing services for those most likely to benefit.

Responses to initial consultations have shown that patterns of accessing services vary significantly across the city. We will continue to work to understand the common factors and differences and be guided by these wherever possible. We will continue to communicate and engage with communities, other services across the Council, and partners.

It is likely we will offer two options to parents in 2020:

  • Accessing local and in some cases workplace ELC provision offering all 1140 hours in a fully flexible way over 50 weeks a year. Care is likely to be available from 8am to 6pm. You will be able to buy more hours if available.
  • Accessing ELC provision in shorter blocks. It will be possible to access all 1140 hours over a range of sessions running between 8am and 6pm. Community based provision such as crèches can be included in the 1140 hours. You will be able to buy more hours if available.

We may make changes to how these options are offered following trial periods.

For more information please contact:

  • Eleanor Sheppard
    Transformation and Improvement Manager
    Education and Children's Services
    Aberdeen City Council
    01224 522707
    esheppard@aberdeencity.gov.uk