Opportunities all round as free childcare is extended

Free early learning and childcare services have been extended to two-year-old children in Scotland in households in receipt of certain benefits.
Free early learning and childcare services have been extended to two-year-old children in Scotland in households in receipt of certain benefits.

Parents, carers and childminders on Bute are being encouraged to look into the opportunities presented by the recent announcement of an extension of free early learning and childcare services.

The Scottish Government announced on July 20 that the entitlement to six hundred hours of annual funded early learning and childcare has been further extended to apply to two-year-olds from households in receipt of a range of benefits.

It will come into effect from August and adds to the entitlement for all three and four year olds.

Argyll and Bute Council is reminding parents and carers to apply to take up a place for their child, and inviting childminders to take the opportunity to extend their service as well as encouraging individuals to consider becoming a childminder.

The council’s policy lead for education and lifelong learning, Councillor Rory Colville, welcomed the news and emphasised the opportunities being created for childminders and prospective childminders as well as parents and carers.

He said: “The council is committed to providing the very best start for every child and this news is especially important for vulnerable and disadvantaged children who will benefit from this extra provision.

“Parents can make the most of this opportunity in building childcare into their lives, perhaps helping them take employment and training opportunities which will make a vital contribution to sustaining a thriving, diverse economy in Argyll and Bute.

“The increased number of hours provides the opportunity for passionate, patient and committed people who deliver childcare: people who understand how important it is to give the next generation the best start in life.

“Parents and carers should check now to find out if their child is eligible for funded early learning and childcare and register now so they can get their place in the autumn term.”

There are opportunities across Argyll and Bute for registered childminders who have at least one year’s experience and who have undertaken their first inspection and received a grade of good or above.

There are also opportunities for school leavers and people returning to work who may be interested in embarking on a career in childminding.

Argyll and Bute Council may be able to offer start-up grants of up to £500 to prospective childminders as a way of enabling them to embark on a new career.

For information, and to find out if your child is eligible contact Argyll and Bute Council’s early years service at earlyyears@argyll-bute.gov.uk or call (01369) 708503.