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New report shows expansion of funded childcare delivers for low income families

Posted 06.10.23 by Alice Hinds

More parents have been able to start work or progress their careers, improve overall health and wellbeing, and develop better relationships with their children thanks to a Scottish Government Fund to expand access to school age childcare, a new report has revealed

Introduced to test and run new models of school age childcare, the second phase of the Access to Childcare Fund saw eight childcare providers across Scotland receive a share of almost £600,000, helping 650 children from low income families access school age childcare.

Conducted independently by Ipsos Scotland, and released today (6 October), The Access to Childcare Fund Phase 2 Evaluation Report aimed to assess the benefits of the Fund, and the findings reveal a range of positive outcomes, including increased opportunities for children to develop social skills and strengthen relationships with both adults and peers, especially for those with additional support needs.

Minister for Children and Young People, Natalie Don said: “As we mark Challenge Poverty Week this report highlights the impact our support continues to make for children, young people and their families who are most in need, and how childcare providers can be key in supporting these families.

“Improving access to childcare not only brings wide ranging benefits for the children, it also helps parents to get back into work, engage in training or progress their careers. Quality childcare provision is both an anti-poverty and a pro-growth measure.

“This report follows our commitment in the Programme for Government to expand our childcare offering, and sets out the difference that funded school-age childcare can make to support families to enter and sustain employment.”

Currently, all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds are eligible to take up 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare in Scotland, and the evidence collected as part of the evaluation indicates that the Phase 2 projects met the aims to make childcare more accessible, affordable and flexible for parents and carers from low income families, as well as those most at risk of experiencing poverty.

Work is now underway with local authorities and other partners to expand national provision for families with two-year-olds, as well as targeted early delivery of all-age childcare for low income families.

Phase 2 of the Fund, which was managed by Children in Scotland and an expert advisory group, supported the following providers:

· Hame Fae Hame
· St Mirin’s Out of School Care
· The Indigo Childcare Group
· SHIP (Support, Help and Integration in Perthshire)
· SupERkids
· Clyde Gateway
· Stepping Stones for Families
· The Wee Childcare Company.

For more information, and to read the full report, click here to visit the Scottish Government website:

Click here for more about the Access to Childcare Fund:

A Scouts circular badge of the earth in blue and green, with a dark blue outline. In the middle the Scouts logo is in black, along with an icon of an outstretched hand. The background is two shades of green with a yellow banner through the centre

News: Scouts Scotland extends human rights learning badge

Posted 19.05.23 by Alice Hinds

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland and Scouts Scotland have announced new resources for younger children to learn about human rights, extending the Rights Challenge Badge to members as young as four.

Following the successful introduction of the badge to Cubs and Scouts groups in May 2022, around 10,000 Squirrels, aged four to five, and Beavers, aged six to eight, can now take part in a range of activities designed to help young people learn about their rights and the rights of others.

The newly adapted activities to gain the badge will include den-building to highlight the right to a safe, warm home, making green slime to think about what is “snot fair” in the local community, and creating a human rights shield to discuss what is important to each Squirrel and Beaver, and what rights they would defend.

Designed by Christopher, an 11-year-old Scout from Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, the badge features the international human rights dove logo soaring over Earth beside the Scouts’ Fleur de Lis symbol.

“I am excited to hear that the Rights Challenge Badge is going to be available to Squirrels and Beavers,” said Christopher. “It is really important that children learn about their rights as early as possible. When I completed the badge, my group made a 'clootie tree'.

We wrote down what we thought rights were about and we made them into leaves to create a tree. We also played a fun game trying to work out if the rights being called out were real or made up. I learnt a lot by completing the badge in my group. It was fun and really educational. I hope everyone who completes the activities enjoys them as much as I did."

Launching the badge, outgoing Children and Young People's Commissioner, Bruce Adamson said: “We are excited to launch the Rights Challenge Badge to Squirrels and Beavers. Children are never too young to learn about and claim their human rights and the activities within the badge will empower them with new skills and knowledge and help them to become true human rights defenders.

Cubs and Scouts have told us they are really enjoying doing the badge, and some Squirrels have tested the activities and they also had loads of fun. I can’t wait to see the youngest members of Scouting in Scotland gaining their Rights Challenge Badges.”

Click here for more information:

Children in Scotland to manage new Early Learning and Childcare Inclusion Fund

Children in Scotland will manage a new fund aimed at supporting early learning and childcare settings to meet the needs of children with additional support needs.

The Early Learning & Childcare Inclusion Fund will provide funding to early learning and childcare (ELC) settings to support children with additional support needs in Scotland access their funded entitlement.

It will fund staff working in ELC settings to receive appropriate training, and fund resources, equipment and adaptations.

Established by the Scottish Government, the Early Learning & Childcare Inclusion Fund will distribute up to £500,000 in total per annum over four years to selected Scottish registered providers.

The fund aims to:

  • Ensure early learning and childcare settings are more accessible for children with additional support needs (ASN) and disabilities
  • Ensure these settings can support children with ASN to access their funded ELC entitlement
  • Increase the number of ELC staff trained to support children with ASN and disabilities
  • Promote more inclusive learning experiences for children
  • Ensure better outcomes for children with ASN and disabilities
  • Support the wellbeing and development of children with additional support needs
  • Improve inclusive practice within the early learning and childcare sector.

Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted to be managing this fund which prioritises inclusion and accessibility for young children throughout Scotland and hope it will bring tangible benefits to children with additional support needs and their families.

“Ensuring that children with additional support needs are included and able to participate from the earliest stage is essential if we are to deliver the positive early experiences they deserve, strengthen workforce knowledge, and deepen understanding of inclusion in the education sector and beyond.”

Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said:

“It is vital that if we are to close the attainment gap we intervene as early as possible to ensure that all children are given the best possible start in life. We know that there are a number of barriers which can prevent children with additional support needs from fully accessing early learning and childcare. Core service provision for children with additional support needs is fully funded in the multi-year funding package recently agreed with COSLA. This new Inclusion Fund should be a welcome, additional source of funding to help practitioners to meet one-off requirements for training or equipment and strengthen inclusive practice in the provision of funded early learning and childcare.”

The fund will open to applications at noon on Thursday 31 May 2018.

Media contact: Chris Small  0131 313 8824



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