Number of children in settings rises

Be the first to comment

While more children are attending early years and childcare settings in Scotland, the number of services has decreased overall.

istock-000038270806large

The Care Inspectorate figures reveal that the number of children attending nurseries has increased since 2010

The latest figures from the Care Inspectorate for 2014 show that since 2010, the number of children attending early learning and childcare services has steadily increased.

According to annual figures, as of November 2014, 229,840 pre-school children attended settings, up from 218,300 in 2010.

Children in the most deprived areas were more likely to attend a children or family centre, while those in the least deprived areas were more likely to use a childminder.

The Care Inspectorate, the equivalent to Ofsted in Scotland, believes the increase to the free hours for three- and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds - from 475 to 600 hours last year - is the main reason behind the rise in the number of children attending settings.

The figures also reveal a slight decline in the number of nurseries and childminders. There has been a gradual reduction in the number of early learning and childcare services in Scotland since 2008.

Between 2008 and 2014, the number of settings fell by 3.8 per cent. The biggest decline was to childminding services and playgroups.

Despite this, there has been an overall increase in the average number of places provided by settings. Places have increased by 1.8 per cent since 2012.

According to the figures, as of last year close to half (46 per cent) of all daycare services were being operated by local authorities and 29 per cent by private providers.

The majority of services (95 per cent) are judged as good, very good, or excellent.

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said, ‘These statistics give us an important overview of early learning and childcare in Scotland.

‘They show that although the total number of childcare services has reduced slightly, the number of children attending them has increased.’

She added, ‘We see examples of high-quality early learning and childcare services across the local authority, voluntary and private sectors in all parts of Scotland, with many services operating at the very highest levels of quality.’

Claire Schofield, director of membership, policy and communications at the National Day Nurseries Association, said, 'Private and voluntary nurseries are making a great contribution to high-quality early learning and childcare, providing places for 47 per cent of children who use nurseries. Quality is also high with 95 per cent of services judged to be good or better.
 
'While the choice for parents has improved slightly - the number of private nurseries offering funded places in partnership with their local authority has increased by two per cent to a total of 78 per cent of settings, NDNA still hears of too many cases where children have to move from a setting where they are settled because it is not funded to provide free places. With Government ambitions to offer 30 hours free childcare in Scotland, it is vital that every part of the sector – local authority, private and voluntary - is included in the provision of places so parents have the choice of flexible, high-quality childcare they need.' 

blog comments powered by Disqus