Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that it is unacceptable that the Scottish Government’s flagship childcare plans will not be rolled out until at least after the next school year.
This follows confirmation from West Dunbartonshire Council that it would be unable to meet the promised 1,140 hours of free early years education for three and four-year-olds and confirmation from the Scottish Government that the plan to implement the 1,140 hours would not be within the 2020/21 school year as previously planned.
The Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, issued a joint letter with COSLA to Directors of Education and local authorities’ early learning and childcare leads to say that a revised date for implementing the policy would be agreed between the government and councils.
Jackie Baillie has been contacted by a number of parents who are angry that West Dunbartonshire Council will now only provide 600 hours of childcare despite being promised 1,140 hours.
COSLA have said that providing the full 1,140 hours would not be possible with the current social distancing measures that are in place.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“It is unacceptable that, once again, parents have been left in the lurch due to the Scottish Government’s inability to stick to a plan.
“Parents in West Dunbartonshire have been planning for the future, making important commitments and promising employers that they would be able to work, on the assumption that their children have 1,140 hours of childcare guaranteed.
“Given everything that has happened with Covid-19, many parents will have accepted that 1,140 hours will not be delivered from August, but would reasonably assume it would happen at some point in 2020-21.
“This plan will mean an entire cohort of children will lose out on the increased learning they should have received through the expansion as originally timetabled.
“The Scottish Government should make the required resources available so that the 1,140 hours that it promised can be delivered as soon as possible.
“This failure is bad for children, bad for parents and bad for the economy.”