Fair Funding for our Kids Research shows nine out of ten parents who want to change their working situation say the main barrier is lack of appropriate childcare.
And more than two-fifths of parents are dissatisfied with their childcare arrangements. The findings are revealed in a new report based on a survey of over 400 parents.
Parents of children aged 3 or 4 are entitled to 600 hours of free childcare per year. And the Scottish Government says its early learning and childcare policy should “support parents to work, train or study, especially those who need help with finding sustainable employment.”
But half of parents who were unhappy with their childcare arrangements said it was because the hours available were too short or did not suit their working arrangements.
This is largely because most councils only offer free childcare hours in slots of 3 hours 10 minutes during term time only, with no option for parents to buy extra hours for the rest of the day: an unusable system for many working families. Research by the Fair Funding campaign in 2016 found that half of all nursery places in Scotland were for half days only.
The report, Beyond the Half Day Place, also reveals fifteen per cent of parents are receiving no free hours at all for their 3 or 4 year old. This follows a 2015 Care Inspectorate report which found a third of 3-4 year olds were not receiving their funded place.
The Scottish Government plans to increase the entitlement to 1140 hours by 2020, and has published a blueprint setting out how it will achieve this by providing more flexible childcare. But campaigners point out today’s nursery age children will be at school by 2020, and are demanding immediate action.
Today we reveal that most councils are not following Scottish Government guidance on cross-boundary funding of free childcare places.
Our new report based on FOIs shows just four Scottish councils have reciprocal agreements with every other local authority to fund childcare for children from other areas. Yet Scottish Government guidance says that all councils should have such agreements.
This affects parents who live in one local authority area but need their children to go to nursery in another: usually because they cannot get home from work in time to pick their children up before nursery closes.
We’re calling on the Scottish Government and COSLA to create a national agreement on cross-boundary funding.
The full findings of today’s report are:
- Three non-island councils have no reciprocal agreements with other councils to fund nursery places
- Three councils have reciprocal agreements with just one other council
- Twenty-two councils had reciprocal agreements with at least one other council
- Four councils had reciprocal agreements with every other council
- Almost two-thirds of councils who responded pay for funded places in arrears: making it harder for poorer parents to access their place, since they must pay upfront
Two-thirds of nursery places in Scotland are half-day only, Fair Funding for our Kids has revealed.
And nine out of ten council places are only offered for half days, making them almost unusable for most working parents. These and other findings are in our new report, based on Freedom of Information requests submitted to every local authority in Scotland. You can also check out every FOI response we received, to see what your local authority told us.
Thousands of families in Scotland are unable to access their legal entitlement to 600 hours free early learning and childcare for 3 to 5 year olds.
We are acting to find out where this is happening and why.
Help us change things for the better. Join our campaign for fair funding!
The Fair Funding campaign group.
A straightforward guide to the key issues.
If you are a parent or carer of a toddler, read on.
Families share stories of their unfair childcare funding experiences.
Steps you can take to improve the situation.
Media coverage of the campaign and childcare issues.
Information about our flagship campaign in Glasgow.
Easy, one-click poll: is your child getting their nursery funding?
NEWS – 11th May 2016 Campaign Toolkit One in five children is missing out on their free nursery place, because of inflexible hours and a system that just isn’t set up for working parents. But still the Government claims to have delivered 600 hours of free childcare for every three and four year old. With the…