Funding for Falkirk parents who delay their child's entry to P1

All families in Falkirk who defer entry to primary one for their child next year will automatically receive an extra year of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) thanks to a new pilot project.

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 4:57 pm

Currently, it is up to councils whether to fund ELC for children born between August and December who defer entry to primary one, while children with a birth date in January or February who defer school entry are automatically entitled to another year of funded ELC.

However, this pilot project will allow all parents who choose to defer their child’s entry into P1 to receive a year of free ELC.

It is hoped the project will give some idea of the number of parents who will decide to take up the offer of a further year of funded ELC when it becomes a universal right throughout the country from August 2023.

Funding for a year of free early learning will be available for those parents who decide to keep their child from going up to primary one
Funding for a year of free early learning will be available for those parents who decide to keep their child from going up to primary one

Scottish Government funding of nearly £3 million is being provided for Falkirk Council and local authorities in Angus, Argyll and Bute, Scottish Borders and Shetland Island to make the pilot project a reality.

Scottish children’s minister Maree Todd said: “From August 2023, all families will be able to access a further year of funded quality ELC if they want their child to defer entry to primary school.

“This will ensure that all children who defer have an equal right to funded ELC if their parent or carer feels it is in their best interests. These pilots will allow us to better understand the likely uptake of the extra year of funded childcare and help local authorities plan accordingly.

“Any families considering deferral, including those in non-pilot local authorities, should contact their local authority and visit the Parent Club website to find out more.”

Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA spokesperson for children and young people, added: “We are pleased to have agreed with the Scottish Government the phased implementation of funded ELC places for children who defer their entry into primary one.

“Learning from the pilots, starting next year, will be key to planning for the full rol lout by August 2023. As we work at pace towards the revised date for the introduction of the 1140 hours ELC expansion next August, local government remains committed to ensuring that families can access high quality, flexible ELC.”