1140 hours of early learning from 2020

From 2020, eligible 2 year-old children and all 3 and 4 year-old children in Scotland will be entitled to 1140 hours of funded, high quality early learning.

This could be in settings such as childminders and private or council nurseries.

Phasing in the new hours

We will phase in the expanded hours. The phasing will depend on government funding and policy priorities.

Learning communities

These are geographical, centred on our main population areas:

  • Dalkeith
  • Lasswade
  • Newbattle
  • Penicuik

The communities include all providers, including council, private and voluntary sector nurseries and childminders.

Your choices

All providers will have to meet a new national standard so your child will get the same level high quality early learning whether they attend a council nursery, childminder, private nursery or other setting. Your child will not have to go to the school nursery to get a place at the catchment school - they can go anywhere of your choosing as long as the provider meets the new national standard and has a place available.

Start and end times

We expect to have a limited amount of time for flexible drop-offs and pick-ups within the hours allocated.


We are committed to providing a free meal to children with a funded place from August 2020.

Funding follows the child

As all providers will offer the same high quality care, they will be what's known as 'provider neutral', meaning you can be confident about choosing a place for your child. You won't have to pay for any of the funded entitlement up front, including any deposit. Funded providers also can't charge top-up fees or ask families to buy extra hours to access the funded hours.

Current pilots

We are reviewing the pilots, which will go forward into phase 3. There may be some changes to how places are allocated, for example numbers and if your child is eligible.

Head teachers in the phase 2 and 3 pilots will report to parent/carers.


We are still working on the registration process and we'll be updating this page as soon as more details are available.

Our 1140 hours newsletters

We’ll keep you up-to-date with regular newsletters:

Survey results

In November and December 2017, we asked how you could best use the expanded hours. Here's what you told us.

Careers in childcare

Many more staff will be needed in nurseries and childminders. Would you consider a career in childcare?