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More families accessing funded childcare places amid cost-of-living crisis

The entitlement to funded early learning and childcare increased to 1,140 hours in August last year (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The entitlement to funded early learning and childcare increased to 1,140 hours in August last year (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Funded early learning and childcare (ELC) is being accessed by more families in Scotland as cost-of-living pressures mount.

The latest figures show that 121,101 children were in funded ELC places at the end of April this year.

That number indicates an increase of 9,527 since January.

The ELC workforce has also seen a growth in numbers, with 357 members of staff joining since January to bring the total to 18,421.

This marks a rise of 8,845 people working in the sector since 2016/17.

The entitlement to funded ELC has stood at 1,140 hours since August 2021, saving families up to £4,900 per year for each eligible child.

Children’s minister Clare Haughey said: “It is clear funded ELC is making a real difference to families – particularly at a time when so many are struggling with the rising cost of living.

“Crucially, high-quality ELC also helps to provide children with skills and confidence to carry into school education, and is a cornerstone for closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

“It’s also encouraging to see the workforce continue to grow and I’d like to thank everyone working in the sector for their continued hard work and dedication.”

Councillor Tony Buchanan, Cosla’s spokesperson for children and young people, added: “I’m pleased that today’s figures confirm that over 121,000 children are accessing additional funded early learning and childcare hours from Scotland’s councils and their partners.

“The increased availability of funded early learning and childcare is allowing children more time to play and learn, and more opportunities for parents and carers to work, study or volunteer, as well as significant financial savings for families.”

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