What is A2C?

Our ‘Access to Childminding’ (A2C) project matches professional childminders with parents who are being supported into work, who are nearing the end of their studies but where childcare costs may prevent this; families being supported into work; or increasing their hours at work; families in-work poverty to provide flexible funded childcare for their school-age children.

A2C is funded by the Scottish Government’s Access to Childcare Fund, and forms part of a range of other funded school-aged childcare services across Scotland.

Through this project, we hope to achieve the following outcomes:

  • More parents moving into employment
  •  Increased household income for families
  •  Reduction in child poverty
  •  Families benefit from high quality, flexible childcare
  •  Increased business sustainability for childminders

Key Elements of Provision

  • Placements will be offered for up to 12-weeks, for 15-20 hours per week to enable both before and after school care to be accessed. This could be available during holiday periods as well as term time (childminders work all year round) and holiday cover would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • A full-time Childminding Development Officer (CDO) will co-ordinate the service; recruiting, training, and supporting childminders to deliver placements. The CDO will co-ordinate referrals, matching the needs of the family to childminders as appropriate. 
  • Childminders will be required to attend short virtual information sessions.
  • Payments to the childminder will be made by SCMA for an initial agreed period and then responsibility for payments will transfer to the parent.
  • The service is currently available across five local authority areas: City of Edinburgh; Dumfries and Galloway; Fife; Midlothian and North Lanarkshire.
  • The service will be promoted with both third sector and statutory partners as well as childminders to ensure suitable referrals are targeted and received. In addition, A2C service is targeted towards those organisations funded by the Parental Employability Support Fund.


Recruitment of Childminders

A2C offers a great opportunity to expand your service and enhance the future sustainability of your childminding business by introducing new families to your setting, some of whom may not have been considered, or been able to, use a childminder before. The expansion of the criteria for families may also mean that you currently have families using your service who will now quality for the A2C Service.

SCMA is currently recruiting childminders in the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Midlothian and North Lanarkshire to support childminding placements for the A2C service.

Criteria for A2C Childminders
To be considered for the project, childminders must meet the following criteria:

  • Be registered and active as a childminder with the Care Inspectorate.
  • Have achieved a minimum of Grade 4 for all areas at your last inspection, with no significant concerns highlighted within your last inspection report.
  •  Have Public Liability Insurance in place and ensure that there is adequate cover.
  •  Hold a current Baby and Child or Paediatric First Aid Training Certificate (within the last three years); or evidence of professional reading or an online course will be sufficient, until you are able to take a practical course.
  •  Hold a REHIS (or equivalent) approved Elementary Food Hygiene certificate and adhere to Safer Food, Better Business, if food is to be provided as part of the service.
  •  Have undertaken the SCMA Child Protection in a Childminding Setting training (available online) and be aware of local authority safeguarding procedures. Proof that you have completed a local authority child protection course would also be accepted.
  •  Be able to attend two virtual sessions with SCMA.  

PLEASE NOTE: This is a pilot scheme and there are only a limited number of funded placements available, so meeting the criteria will not lead to childminders automatically getting children placed.


Family Referrals

There are specific criteria for families who can be referred to and access the service:

  • Lone parents
  •  Families which include a child with Additional Support Needs
  •  Larger families (three or more children)
  •  Minority ethnic families
  •  Families where the mother or main carer is under 25 years of age

A2C is being promoted with both third sector and statutory partners to ensure suitable referrals are targeted and received. In addition, the A2C project is targeted towards those organisations funded by the Parental Employability Support Fund.

The A2C Service is now OPEN to referrals - download the A2C Referral Form here to find out more about what is required, and how to submit your referral application.    

For enquiries, please email a2c@childminding.org to contact the A2C team.

Strand One: Support for Employment; Low-Income Families Accessing Work, Retaining Employment or Completing a Course of Study

A2C provides temporary, funded childminding placements for school-aged children to:

  • Support the transition to employment where they may not currently be in a position to pay for childcare in the absence of wages and until they have transitioned from ‘unemployed’ to ‘employed’.  By providing access to childcare which is flexible around the timings of the working day (from early morning until early evening) and affordable in the future, parents can be supported to sustain employment and will be able to pay for the on-going costs going forward.
  • Support families and carers ‘in work’ poverty to retain employment.  This could mean parents receiving support for longer in the day, accessing breakfast time provision where they currently may not be able to afford this service or for an additional day or hours throughout the week.  It could also allow them to balance their budget, prevent them getting into debt (particularly around Christmas/New Year time) or improve their quality of life as a family, increasing their ability to manage their finances in relation to food and fuel whilst potentially allowing for some family outings or activities which their budget does not stretch to.
  • Those currently studying and going into work soon after, where a person’s circumstances have changed, and childcare costs mean that a parent/carer has to give up a course of study which is nearly completed, if a period of support would prevent them leaving the course and moving onto benefits.
  • Parents/carers will be supported with these transitions, and it is hoped that once the parent/carer starts to receive a regular income, they will be able to pay for the childcare costs themselves once the funded A2C provision comes to an end. 

The eligibility criteria for this service addresses the priority groups within ‘Every Child, Every Chance’ and includes:

  • Lone parents
  • Families which include a child with Additional Support Needs
  • Large families (three or more children)
  • Minority ethnic families
  • Families where the mother/main carer is under 25 years of age


Strand Two: School-Aged Childcare for Families who have children with Additional Support Needs 

  • Childminders are well equipped to provide support to children with Additional Support Needs (ASN). Settings have a low number of children, providing consistency, routine, and a tailored, individual approach to childcare and many have specific experience in caring for children with ASN. However, many parents are unaware of the benefits of childminding. The provision of out of school care for families experiencing ASN, particularly where these needs are complex and cannot be met in larger settings, can provide challenges in relation to sourcing nurturing, tailored and affordable childcare which best meets their needs.
  • By raising awareness of childminding and the flexible, quality childcare childminders can offer, parents would be supported to consider this option to meet the needs of their children and to support them in the balance between childcare and work.
  • For some referrals a period of respite for the family may be what is required giving time to families to consider what is next for them. Individual requirements can be discussed with the SCMA CDO.
  • By providing funded out of school care placements, parents would be able to access suitable school aged childcare with the intention that this would continue after the placements had finished, providing sustainability on an on-going basis.

Read A2C Frequently Asked Questions

Why Childminders?

Childminders are ideally placed to work closely with families to provide a flexible, high-quality family childcare experience in a home-based environment. Evidence has shown childminding can enhance a child’s learning, confidence and social development. 

Childminding has the lowest adult-to-child ratio of all childcare options, which means a childminder can tailor the support and care provided to meet the unique needs of individual children. The referral criteria for this service includes families with children with additional support needs, as well as larger families and lone parents.  The flexibility, smaller settings and broad age range of children who are included, will be a key benefit to families requiring support with school-aged childcare.


Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) has received funding from the Scottish Government’s Access to Childcare Fund, to facilitate our Access to Childminding (A2C) service.