New date for funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) expansion announced

New date for funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) expansion announced
All eligible children will benefit from at least 1140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) from August 2021, the Minister for Children and Young People has announced.

The expansion of funded ELC, originally intended for August 2020, was paused in April to give local authorities the flexibility to focus on responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The new date for August 2021 has now been agreed with the local authority umbrella group, COSLA.

Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, said: “I’m very pleased that we now have a new date for the full implementation of expanded ELC, and that children will benefit from more high-quality funded childcare.

“We took the difficult decision in August to pause the statutory roll-out to allow local authorities to focus on responding to the pandemic and providing critical childcare, which was crucial to supporting key workers.

“The pandemic has had an obvious impact on construction and recruitment plans across the country, however local authorities have worked exceptionally hard and continued to make good progress in very challenging circumstances, and the majority of children receiving funded ELC are already receiving 1140 hours.

“We were always clear that the suspension of the statutory duty on local authorities to provide 1140 hours was a pause, not a stop. We will continue to work with partners over the coming months to deliver this transformational policy that will benefit families across the country.”

From August 2021, as part of the expansion of ELC, the Scottish Government will also introduce a new ‘Funding Follows the Child’ approach, which will allow parents to choose their childcare from a range of high quality ELC providers, including childminders. 

All parents and carers are entitled to flexible Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) that meets the needs of their children and family circumstances.

If you’re a parent, or know of a parent, who could benefit from a childminding service delivering funded ELC to better meet their needs but isn’t available as an option in your local area, please raise this issue with your local council, councillors and MSP. 

We have a handy template letter designed to help you write to your local councillor or MSP. Download the template letter to request childminding be included in your funded ELC entitlement.

Find information on funded ELC for childminders and parents at