What is 1140 hours?
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 to 1140. 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?
It isn’t practical to wait until August 2020 to introduce the expansion of hours. Therefore the hours will be phased in over the coming months and years. This will be initially by introducing trials in a variety of geographical areas and locations as well as provision types. This allows a manageable phased approach to change by trialling systems and processes and models of hours. Planning for the expansion with our current and potential funded providers will enable a mixed market of provision to be available to meet the needs of local communities during the phasing period and when it becomes a statutory entitlement in 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 does it look like in East Lothian?
There will be a variety of ways in which the expansion of hours is available in Local Authority Nurseries. This will be dependent on the number of places which can be offered within the nursery rooms, registration requirements, what parents will use and staffing.
Whilst some models will mirror the school asymmetric week, others will offer extended days during either 38 or 50 weeks of the year or may offer a mix of both.
Funded providers, which will include Childminders, Private Day Nurseries and Community Playgroups will often offer greater choice and flexibility within their business model. Parents will need to consider their own needs and which provider can best meet these.
As part of the phasing children attending or taking up the extended hours over a lunch time period will also receive a lunch which is free of charge to the parents.
Is 1140 hours only available in local authority nursery settings currently?
Early trials were initially introduced within some local authority nursery settings. Currently we are working with our funded providers and childminders to enable the hours to be available with them. This can be solely with them as a single provider or within a “blended model” meaning the funded hours can be taken up across two providers. For example a Childminder and Local Authority Nursery or Private Day Nursery and Local Authority Nursery. These models are being phased in from January 2019 with some Local Authority nurseries and a small number of Funded providers and Childminders working together to test the systems and processes before extending to a wider number of providers and areas.
Are all nursery settings involved in the trials?
Some nursery settings currently do not have the space to offer the expansion of hours and there are a number of building and refurbishment projects to be completed first. There is also a local process to be completed prior to the extended hours becoming operational. This requires consultation with individual School Nursery Management and Staff, funded providers (new and existing) Parents and internal colleagues such as Trade Unions and Facilities Management to identify the best model for each. This will be carried out as each setting is phased in on an annual basis until the statutory entitlement date of August 2020.
How will I be involved?
Where a Local Authority Nursery or Funded Provider is participating in a trial and phasing you will be invited to attend a local information session. This is to find out more about the expansion of hours to 1140, potential models and ask for your views on this, any suggestions you may have on adapting the model and about your participation in the trial and what this means/looks like.
Can the places be limited to those within the school catchment area?
Although there is a statutory requirement for Local Authorities to make funded early learning and childcare available in their area, it is not a statutory requirement for children to attend, the way it is for those of statutory school age. Additionally, attending a Local Authority nursery does not guarantee a school place, these are two separate processes. Therefore there is not catchment area for nursery provision. When a Local Authority nursery is phased in the places are being managed through the central admissions process and accessible to those already within that process for that academic year. This enables staffing and resources to be put in place which meets the future planned needs of the service as well as work positively with our local funded partners and their business and staffing model to reduce any negative impact on their service and sustainability.
Do I have to take part?
You don’t have to take part in trial and you will have the option to stay with your 600 hours. You can take up as much or as little of the hours you wish, within the model framework. Currently this is a minimum of two and half hours and eight hours in any one day. 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. With the longer day offering good preparation for transition to P1 and eating lunch in a school environment.
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 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.