I have heard people talking about 1140 hours - what is it?
By August 2020 the Scottish Government is committed to increasing the funded entitlement to Early Learning & Childcare for all 3-4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds from 600 hours a year to 1140 hours a year. This will enable more choice and flexibility in the way these funded hours can be accessed and taken up. Research has shown that high quality early learning & childcare support children's early learning and development. As well as this, assists with parent and carer employment arrangements or can help with opportunities to return to work, or undertake training or study.
When will it be happening in East Lothian?
We have been working across a number of areas and settings to trial our provision for East Lothian. This means that 1140 hours is already being offered in some parts of the county. Areas where a trial is in place will continue to operate the expanded hours. All other settings will come on board from August 2020.
When the additional hours are phased in, they will be permanently available and continue through to statutory implementation. However, in some instances there may be a few changes in response to parental feedback, places or staffing requirements but the expectation is that the majority will remain the same. I.e. changes to times or moving from an extended day to an asymmetric model. Any changes to models will be managed in a timely manner with consideration of staffing and partner arrangements already in place.
What hours will be available in your nurseries?
From the start, our trials have been under constant review taking account of learning from local trials and information gained through parent and management/staff feedback sessions. We have now agreed that our local authority nurseries will offer one of two models from August 2020:
38 week (term-time only) asymmetric model - 30 hours over 4.5 days
Children will attend Monday - Thursday 08.45-15.15 and 08.30-12.30 on Fridays. Lunch will be provided in the school dining room with a grab bag/ packed lunch on Fridays. A morning-only session is available as an alternative to the extended day
48 week (beyond term-time) model - 23 hours and 45 minutes over 5 days
Children will attend either a morning or an afternoon session lasting 4 hours 45 minutes. Morning sessions will run from 08.00-12.45 and afternoon sessions from 13.00-17.45 - there will be a 15 minute break between both sessions.
In the morning session, children will receive breakfast and a snack, while afternoon children will receive a snack and light tea. Lunch will not be provided at either session.
These two models will only operate in our own council settings. Funded providers, which could include childminders, private day nurseries and community playgroups, will often offer greater choice and flexibility within their business model. You can also access a 'blended model' meaning funded hours can be taken up across two providers - such as a childminder and a local authority nursery. Parents will need to consider their own needs and which provider can best meet these.
Can the hours offered be changed?
For both models the operational times are set and cannot be altered by schools; staff can't ask you to collect your children ahead of the session close. However, you can choose to pick up your child at an earlier time, which is agreed by the school as part of the model.
For example, within the 38 week term-time model the session will run from 08.45 - 15.15 Monday to Thursday. The school may specify a flexible pick-up time of 3pm for those parents who wish to have their child leave before the end of the session.
Can I choose which model suits my family best?
Each setting will only offer one of the two models described above. As nursery does not operate in catchment you can still choose the model that suits you best from other local authority or funded providers within your area. We can help direct you to the options within your area. Providers in the private and voluntary sector will continue to offer a variety of flexible models that offer options for parents either as sole provision or as a blended service.
It is important to remember that the entitlement is to the 'hours' and not to a particular pattern of attendance or a place at a specific provider.
What benefits will a 48-week model offer families?
It's widely accepted that an extended week model is complex, however, it is the only option available to support children to have access to their entitled hours where demand outstrips supply. It can also prove a useful model for some parents throughout traditional holiday periods.
Do I have to take part?
You can take up as much or as little of the hours you wish, within the model framework. Feedback from families who are accessing the increased hours is positive and highlights many benefits. Reporting positive developments in their child's social skills, confidence and language and described their children as settled, happy and making new friends.
I am concerned that this is too long a day for my child and they may require a nap?
This is often a concern for parents regarding this change but it isn't uncommon for 3-5 year olds not to require a nap. We know that typically children in preschool years usually need less sleep during the day but there are a variety of reasons which may affect this such as their sleep routine at home and during the night.
Feedback from some parents from the trials is that sleep routines have improved, with children going to bed at an appropriate time and resulting in 10-12 hours of sleep. Practitioners report that it's the way in which play happens which generally changes, often less frenetic and energetic and more quiet and measured.
Whilst some children may need access to some quiet time or restful play experiences particularly after lunch, others will be more energised and be eager to play outside. Practitioners in the settings are skilful in recognising and meeting the individual needs of children in their care and responding to these in the best way for that child. This will be reflected in a peaceful environment or cosy corner where children will naturally gravitate towards when they need some quiet or nap time and observed by staff during this time, which is the same as what will happen currently to meet the needs of individual children who may require this.
What happens between now and August 2020?
Settings due to introduce 1140 hours from January 2020 will continue with their current arrangements until one of the standard models described above are introduced in August 2020. Headteachers will be working in partnership with local authority colleagues to support the workforce and service transition process and to provide you with updates as we move to the beginning of the new statutory offer.
As previously outlined, if you are already in an area offering an 1140hours trial there will be no change to your current model. Any changes to timings or number of weeks will take place from August 2020 and you will be kept informed on this process.
What can I do?
Speak with your provider about how they are preparing for the expansion and discuss how you could use the additional hours. If your child isn't yet eligible, consider how this may benefit you in the future and the type of model which will meet your needs best.
Register for a place as soon as your child is two year old. See the section 'Registering your child for EL&C. This will help also us with future place planning.