Revisions made to Early Learning and Childcare Allocation Policy
At the recent meeting of Cabinet, it was agreed that revisions would be made to the Council’s Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Allocation Policy and that statutory starting dates for eligibility of funded early learning and child care places for three year olds will be introduced for applications for the 2024/ 25 academic year, which starts in August 2024.
The changes, which have been introduced to ensure fair access to provision, mean that funded ELC for eligible two year olds and three year olds will start in the term after the child’s second or third birthday, within our early childhood centres and funded ELC providers, including childminders on the Council’s Flexible Framework delivering1140 hours, and cross-boundary places.
For three year olds born between 1 March and 31 August, they will become eligible for their funded place in August (those born in August will be eligible after their birthday); for three year olds born between 1 September and 31 December, they will become eligible for the funded place in January and for those born between 1 January and the last day of February, they will become eligible for their funded place in the summer term (March/ April).
Councillor Elaine Cowan, the Council’s Spokesperson for Education, and Children and Young People said: “Early learning and childcare is a cornerstone for closing the poverty related attainment gap between our most and least advantaged children. The increase in funded hours reduces the costs of early learning and childcare and promotes choice and flexibility for parents and carers.
“By implementing the statutory starting dates for funded ELC for places for the academic year 2024-25 onwards, we will be ensuring fair access to funded ELC places for eligible 2 year olds and 3 year olds. Also the recent extension of entitlement of funded ELC for four year olds, means that all three year olds now have the opportunity to access two years of funded ELC if their parent or carer choses to defer their primary one start date by a year.”