1140 Hours of Free Childcare in Scotland

  12th January 2020

Registration in Scotland has now opened in some local authorities for the new, fully funded, 1140 hours of free childcare coming into effect in August 2020. We provide a breakdown of how this will be delivered and what it will mean for families throughout the country.

Who is entitled to the free childcare hours?

From August 2020, all 3 and 4-year olds in Scotland will be entitled to 1140 hours of free childcare, an increase from the currently available 600 hours.

2-year-olds will also be eligible for the full 1140 hours if they meet the criteria set out by the Scottish Government (see below for more information on the criteria).

The additional hours will be free at the point of access. Parents are advised to contact their local authority for more detailed information about when their child can start accessing the free additional hours.

How do I apply for the new hours?

Each local authority has its own application process and timings. You’re advised to get in touch with your local authority as soon as possible from now for the 2020/21 intake to ensure that your child receives their entitled number of free hours.

How will the new hours be delivered?

There is a range of ways that early years providers will deliver the increased hours. These will include:- Settings extending their opening hours or the number of weeks of the year they’re operating for;

- Children attending nursery for half a day and a Forest School for the second half;

- Children attending a nursery in the morning and a childminder in the afternoon;

- Full attendance with a childminder if the childminder is working in partnership with the council.

While this may provide more flexibility and choice for parents, it’s also possible that it will create confusion and a lack of choice. Individual childcare settings are not obliged to provide the free additional hours, and those who choose to do so can split the numbers up into specifically designed places, which may or may not suit the needs of families.

How should I choose a provider so I can benefit from the increased hours?

There are two ways that you are best to start in order to take advantage of the increased 1140 hours. We’ve detailed these below:

- Locate a nursery that you would like your child to attend and then get in touch with the nursery. You need to ask if they are a funded provider and what options are available for your child.

- Contact your local authority to find out if they have details on which providers are currently offering the hours and on what session patterns.

Do I have to use all of the 1140 hours?

You may prefer not to use all of the additional hours and some settings will be able to cater for this. However, in areas where there is a high demand for the 1140 hours, you will be unable to reduce them.

Can I pay for hours over and above the 1140 hours?

Additional hours will depend on the space available at your chosen provider. You may be able to pay for extra hours but priority will first be given to providing the free 1140 hours for all children.

Is my 2-year old eligible for the 1140 hours?

Your 2-year old may be eligible if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

- Income Support or Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance;

- Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance;

- Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance;

- State Pension Credit;

- Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit with an annual household income of £16,105 or less;

- Both of Maximum Child Tax Credit and Maximum Working Tax Credit with an annual household income of £6,420 or less;

- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999;

- Universal Credit.

Your 2-year old may also be eligible if your child is:

- A Looked After Child;

- Under a kinship care order;

- Living with a parent-appointed guardian.

Posted in categories: Nursery News, Parenting, Play and Learning, Scotland