Early learning and childcare expansion

From August 2020, the Scottish Government will fund 1140 hours of early learning and childcare (ELC) for all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds.

All nurseries, playgroups and childminders providing funded places will be required to meet specific criteria as part of the new National Standard, including achieving good or better Care Inspectorate quality evaluation. They will also be required to carry out continuous professional development.

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that funded entitlement is available for all eligible children in their area. 

Care Inspectorate ELC improvement programme

The Scottish Government has funded an improvement programme, which will be delivered by the Care Inspectorate, to support early learning and childcare settings who offer funded places and are not currently meeting the quality criteria in the National Standard.

The aim of the improvement programme is to support funded settings to make the improvements they need to meet the National Standard quality criteria.  

Selected providers and staff will be invited to participate in learning events and will work with the programme to make improvements. In addition to the learning sessions, the programme will include learning networks, some individual improvement support for providers and settings and develop good practice resources.

The programme will work with local authorities to support the improvement of early learning and childcare settings within their authority area.

Further information about the early learning and childcare improvement programme will be shared when it becomes available.

Information for parents/carers

Parents or carers can enrol their children for funded early learning and childcare.

Families should visit the Parent Club website to find out how to enrol for funded early learning and childcare places in their area.

Local authorities have individual application processes and deadlines. The Parent Club website will link to your local authority for more information.

For more information you can contact the improvement team on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related information

Early learning and childcare expansion (gov.scot)

Scottish Government news article 10 January 2020

Parent Club

ELC National Standard

Twitter - #ELCExpansion or #ELCImprove