Schools, early learning and children

Early Learning and childcare update (4 August)

Due to COVID-19, the Scottish Government has paused the requirement for councils to provide 1140 hours of early learning and childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds, due to start in August 2020.

1140 hours commitment

This means that councils only have to provide 600 hours. Midlothian Council remains committed to delivering 1140 hours per year of early learning and childcare (ELC) to all entitled children as soon as possible. The Covid-19 lockdown on the building and construction sector meant that building and extension work at some of our settings has been delayed and we cannot offer 1140 hours everywhere straight away.

Childminders

Childminders were able to reopen from Wednesday 3 June 2020 if they wished to do so. Parents can access the full 1140 funded hours at childminders or, from 10 August, blend the hours with another setting.

Fully outdoor childcare providers

Fully outdoor childcare providers were able to reopen from Wednesday 3 June 2020 if they wished to do so. Vogrie Outdoor ELC setting is currently open providing an all year service and has 1140 hour places available now.

Early Learning and Childcare Settings

From 15 July ELC settings were able to reopen if they wished to do so.

From 10 August the Scottish Government guidance childcare settings must follow will ease, meaning more places and hours can be offered. This reflects progress made in suppressing coronavirus in Scotland since the previous guidance was produced.

The Scottish Government guidance will enable us to deliver:

  • 1140 hours per year of ELC from around 80% of our settings
  • A maximum of 886 hours per year (three and half days per week) of ELC from all our remaining settings. Parents will have the option of a blended placement to take the offer to 1140 hours. Blended placements can be taken with funded providers: childminders and private and third sector partners and Vogrie ELC.
  • Our funded providers and child-minders will be funded to deliver 1140 hours.

Phased reopening from 12 August

Our current plans are for all local authority settings to re-open from Wednesday 12 August 2020. Children will return on a phased basis over the first few weeks to ensure a well-supported transition back to Early Learning and Childcare. If your child is due to return to or start at a setting between August and December the setting will contact you in due course to confirm the offer of a place based on these plans, and with details of the transition phase.

Please remember that settings were planning for an offer of 600 hours based on the original guidance and all settings will now need to review their offer in light of the updated guidance.

We appreciate the understanding that parents have shown throughout these challenging and difficult times and we look forward to being able to re-open our settings in August 2020, in line with Scottish Government requirements.

Parent Club

The Scottish Government's parenting website, Parent Club is launching a new campaign to support parents and carers with the return to school and ELC. This includes information about the new guidelines as well as advice and support about settling in, managing mental health, and more. It also has information about the 1140 hours expansion and the entitlement to funded ELC.