Aberdeen parents and carers can apply for places in local authority nurseries for their young children from today (Monday 27 January).
The applications process kicks off Aberdeen City Council’s expansion of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) for all three and four-year-olds – and eligible two-year-olds – from the current 600 hours to 1140 hours.
The Council’s commitment to offering high quality, flexible learning includes a range of new ELC sites being built across the city, among which will be an outdoor learning centre in Duthie Park and Hazlehead Park.
Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “By offering more funded hours and options, parents and families will have more flexibility and more choice in choosing the hours and nursery that suits them.
“Our commitment to the expansion means that by August 2020, all eligible children will have access to high quality learning experiences in the best settings while parents returning to work or further education will feel supported by this enhanced offering.
“Above all however, this about our children’s development through, play, exploring and learning …and having fun!”
From August 2020, parents will have the option of accessing funded ELC hours from a variety of providers and settings including council run and private nurseries, childminders, playgroups and outdoor learning.
The biggest change, however, will be the way in which parents and carers can use their funded hours with the options of full and part time days, school term time, up to – depending on the provider – 50 weeks per year and split placements using a combination of more than one provider.
Aberdeen City Council’s flexible delivery models will include:
- Full day provision. For example: 9am-3pm term time or 8am-6pm (for 2.5 days) 46 weeks a year
- Half day provision – A long morning or afternoon
- Blended provision – a combination of local authority and funded provider / childminder provision
The funded entitlement can be taken in full in a funded provider setting (private nursery), where longer hours are required and, in a pattern, to suit the needs of the family.
Children will be entitled to 1140 hours of ELC in the school term following their third birthday while children in their immediate pre-school year are entitled to an entire year.
Children who are turning three are entitled to an ELC place for the following number of terms if their birthday fall within the following dates:
- Term 1: August to December
- Term 2: January to March
- Term 3: April to July
Some two-year-olds will also be eligible for 1140 hours of funded ELC from the term after their second birthday until the term after their birthday when they are entitled to universal ELC. This will apply if their family or carer is in receipt of one of the following benefits and allowances:
- Income support
- Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
- Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
- State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit and income less than £16,105
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and income is under £7,320
- Support under Part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal Credit and household take-home pay is £610 or less.
Or if the child is age two or over and is or, since they turned two, has been (in terms of legal status):
- Looked After by a local council
- The subject of a Kinship Care Order; or
- The subject of a Guardianship Order; or
- Has a care experienced parent.
As of Monday 27 January, parents will be able to apply for Council-run ELC nurseries from the Aberdeen City Council website or by obtaining the application form from schools. Parents wishing to access provision from a funded provider such as an independent nursery, playgroup or childminder should contact the provider directly.
All funded providers meet the National Standard and deliver high quality learning and childcare.
Each setting will offer a different model of provision and all parents/carers are encouraged to check with their providers and look at the options in their area. The Family Information Service website contains comprehensive and up to date information of all ELC Providers: childminders, private nursery settings and playgroups.
Parents/carers wishing to take up the blended provision option should contact their preferred provider at the time of application to see if they can be accommodated. Parents should indicate on the application form how they wish to split their funded hours.