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News

Minister names Scottish trial locations

The minister for childcare and early years in Scotland, Mark McDonald, revealed that Aberdeen, Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders are the first three locations for the Scottish government’s early learning and childcare expansion trials that start in January 2017.

The trials, which form part of the devolved executive’s drive to increase the flexibility, quality and quantity of provision, will test out a variety of models including extended days and cover over the holiday period, stay-and-play for two-year olds where parents are reluctant to leave their children, and improved access to outdoor learning.

“High quality early learning and childcare plays a vital role in narrowing the attainment gap,” said McDonald (pictured). “…We are also determined to deliver the flexibility that families need to make best use of high quality childcare. Right now, councils work hard to be flexible but we must all acknowledge that too often the system does not offer places where and when families need them. We are going to change that… by trialling different delivery models we will be better able to understand what parents and children need and want.”

The trials are supported by some £138,000 in Scottish government funding and feature ideas such as extended nursery settings in the capital with a nature kindergarten and a blended approach where children access a half-day within a nursery setting and are then transported to a woodland site to access additional hours.

January 2017