Currently, as part of the 2014 Children & Young People (Scotland) Act, the annual entitlement to free Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) provision is 600 hours for all three and four-year-olds, and for eligible two-year-olds. We are now moving towards almost doubling the level of entitlement of ELC provision to 1140 hours per year by the year 2020.
Free ELC has two main policy aims:
- to improve outcomes for children
- to support parents into employment.
Early Learning and Childcare provision within Stirling will provide families with a greater choice across different provider types.
This will include:
- local authority nurseries,
- private, voluntary and independent (PVI) nurseries and partner childminders.
Early Learning and Childcare provision within all these categories will be increased to meet the requirements of the early year's expansion and greater flexibility will be offered to families in terms of extended opening for longer days and more weeks in nearly all local authority nurseries.
Local Authority Nurseries
We have 30 local authority nurseries within the Stirling Council area. These are based with either a primary school campus or within a community. Details of all local authority nursery operating models are contained in the Delivery Plan for the Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare.
Private, Voluntary & Independent Nurseries
Most private, voluntary and independent nurseries are open all year round and cater for children age 0-5 years. Usual opening hours are between 8 am and 6 pm although some open earlier and later than this. Some also offer out of school care provision.
Funded childminders provide opportunities for care, education and play in their own homes for both children under 5 years and for school-aged children.
A number of childminders are now in partnership with us. A flexible service is usually provided all year round.