Scotland: Government pledges £3.8m to support childcare settings to stay open

Nicole Weinstein
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Financial support is being made available to help childcare providers to stay open for small numbers of children, Scottish Government announced today.

Education secretary John Swinney visiting Cowgate Under 5's in Edinburgh in 2018
Education secretary John Swinney visiting Cowgate Under 5's in Edinburgh in 2018

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today, education Secretary John Swinney announced an extra £3.8m for each four-week period of restrictions for daycare providers that are open for vulnerable children during the lockdown.

He said, ‘More childcare options exist during this lockdown. Childminders remain open and informal childcare is an option for some families. We have set out three categories of key workers in order to support local authorities to keep numbers to a minimum.

‘I am aware that remaining open for very small numbers of children creates pressure for some childcare providers and I can therefore confirm that we will make temporary financial support of up to £3.8m for each four-week period of restrictions to providers of daycare of children who are open during these restrictions. We will confirm these details shortly and are considering further support to childminders.’

Daycare providers, and childminders that are currently providing childcare to 12 or more children, are currently open only to key worker and vulnerable children in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has launched this temporary financial package to ‘help mitigate the reduction in income resulting from operating below capacity and ensure these settings can remain open’, it says.

It also confirmed that grants will be available to ‘all childcare settings who meet the eligibility criteria’, regardless of whether they deliver the funded early learning and childcare entitlement.

Updated Guidance on the daycare services for children in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, states, ‘Support will be provided through grants to services that are open to deliver childcare to key worker and vulnerable children during the temporary restrictions.'

This will include daycare of children’s services, childminding services who are caring for 12 or more children and out of school care providers.

To be eligible for the Fund settings need to be registered with the Care Inspectorate as being either:

  • a ‘day care of children’ and a ‘Private’ or ‘Voluntary or Not For Profit’ service; or
  • a ‘childminding service’ and currently caring for 12 or more children.

Providers will need to confirm that their service is open and operating for key worker and vulnerable children.  

The funding will be available for each four-week period that the temporary restrictions are in place.’

The Scottish Government also confirmed that they are working with the sector on the provision of ‘additional support’ for childminders who are most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Further details will be shared ‘as soon as possible’.

Jonathan Broadbery, NDNA Scotland’s head of polic,y said, 'We really welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition that nurseries open for key workers and vulnerable children are going above and beyond to keep everyone safe but that means their operating costs are higher than ever before.

'The funding the Deputy First Minister has announced today for the length of the lockdown is crucial as nurseries’ income has dropped substantially with very few children able to attend.

'NDNA Scotland has been talking regularly with the Scottish Government throughout the pandemic about the challenges our member nurseries are facing and their longer-term concerns which would be exacerbated without this additional financial support.

'We hope the grants are straightforward for businesses to apply for so they can begin to benefit from this help as soon as possible.

'We also know that our nurseries which are closed are still offering activities and support to their families from home in a number of creative ways so welcome the additional resources to the Parent Club Website.'

More information

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