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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Nurseries are subsidising free childcare

This opinion piece is almost 9 years old
 

Private and voluntary sector nurseries are offering a public service and that should be funded properly says Purnima Tanuku

Purnima Tanuku
Purnima Tanuku

While we all want to see as much support for parents to access good-quality childcare as possible, any extension to free childcare hours must be matched with funding reform to ensure the places can be delivered.

In too many cases nurseries are not even given the option to provide places as the local authority makes the decision where the money will go

National Day Nurseries Association Scotland’s annual survey showed nurseries have the capacity to provide more places but with the funding deficit between what is paid and the actual cost of the place now standing at more than £1,000 for each three and four-year-old each year, it is putting a real strain on nurseries’ viability.

On average nurseries in Scotland are receiving an hourly rate of £3.80 for three and four-year-olds, with an average loss of £1.72 an hour.

By providing the free places, private and voluntary sector nurseries are offering a public service and that should be recognised. In too many cases nurseries are not even given the option to provide places as the local authority makes the decision where the money will go.

This limits the amount of provision available and creates problems for parents who may not have a nursery offering funded places close by.

For nurseries that do offer places, it is critical funding intended for free places actually gets through to the frontline. The correct funding must be in place before any more free hours are rolled out.

Purnima Tanuku is chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association Scotland.

 

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