Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Tom Freeman
25 June 2015
Childcare policies need 'radical overhaul'

Childcare policies need 'radical overhaul'

The Scottish and UK governments should work more closely to provide more flexible quality childcare, an independent commission set up by children’s groups and industry has urged.

Families should have access to 50 hours of free or subsidised childcare per week, throughout the year and not just in term time, the Commission for Childcare Reform said in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and UK Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

The current entitlement in Scotland is 600 hours of annual funded early learning and childcare, which local authorities mostly provide through state nursery schools in the education system.

But the report warns only 15 percent of local authorities in Scotland have enough childcare for parents who work full-time, compared with 43 percent in England.

The commission, led by Children in Scotland and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has published its final report which praises governments and local authorities for “acting in good faith” in their ambitions for childcare expansion.

“However, it is clear that some working parents are paying for some or all of the cost of the 600 hours that should be free at the point of delivery. We suspect the way the 600 hours of childcare is organised and paid for leads to inefficiencies in the use of public funds, as well as failing to meet the needs of many working parents,” it reads.

The report also advises there is a lack of robust and comprehensive data on childcare, which has made it difficult to agree a way forward.  It recommends the governments should work together to establish an account for each child through which all money to pay for childcare, both private and public, is channelled to providers.

The commission also recommends greater subsidies for families from deprived areas.

The commission chair Colin MacLean, former Director of Financial Strategy at the Scottish Government, said: “We will need exceptional leadership to break down the barriers to progress we often create for ourselves.”

“We should stop dealing with individual policy and funding issues in isolation. Instead we should define our vision for childcare and then create a coherent, integrated set of policies that work together to achieve that ambition.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe




Society & Welfare

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top