More Highland families will now receive an extra year’s nursery education funding if they choose to defer their child’s entry into primary school.
Highland councillors yesterday approved the move in line with Scottish Government guidance, committing to discussing each individual child’s needs with parents and agreeing at what point it would be best for their children to enter primary.
The guidance stems from the grassroots ‘Give Them Time’ campaign launched in October 2018, which demanded that local authorities ‘achieve a more transparent, consistent and child-centred approach’ to considering funding requests for an extra year of nursery for those children with a legal right to be deferred.
Hitherto the child’s entry to primary was dictated by their birth date, meaning some children missed out on the extra funding.
Children born in January or February were entitled to funding for an additional year of early learning provision, but those with birthdays between August and December 31, did not have the same entitlement.
Now children born between August and the end of February will have the same entitlement to extra nursery funding.
Parents and carers who want to apply for deferred entry of their child to a school in Highland will now be directed to the new guidance for information and direction on how to apply.
The council’s interim head of education Nicky Grant said: “Parents are best placed to know their young children’s needs and capabilities and we will work with them using the guidance to support them in their decisions.
“The guidance details an agreed process for parents and staff to follow when consideration is being given to a pupil being educated out with their peer group.
“Applications for deferred or early entry to school can sometimes be complex and contentious and the agreed guidance will help direct all those involved in young people’s education in the region.”