Accessing an additional year of funded ELC

From August 2021, Angus Council will be one of five local authorities offering additional funded early learning and childcare as part of a Scottish Government initiative prior to it becoming a universal right from August 2023.

Families who are resident in Angus and who defer their child’s entry to primary one will receive an additional year of funded ELC.

Previously, only children with a fifth birthday between January and February were automatically entitled to an additional year of funded ELC if entry to primary one was deferred.

However, from August 2021 children who are resident in Angus whose fifth birthday is between mid-August (the day after the school commencement date) and the end of February will be automatically entitled to an additional year of funded ELC.

The following information is intended to help you if you are considering whether your child should start primary one or defer entry to school.  You should also discuss your concerns with staff in your early learning and childcare setting at the earliest opportunity who can advise you further.


Can my child have an additional funded year of ELC?

Children who were born on or between 1 March 2016 and 11 August 2016

Children who are five before the start of the school session in August must start school in August.  Alternatively parents/carers can make arrangements to home educate their child.

Children who were born on or between 12 August 2016 and 28 February 2017

In Scotland, children usually start primary school in the year preceding or during which they have their 5th birthday.  This means that in primary 1 classes, children are usually aged between 4½ and 5½ years.  Where a child does not start school at the expected August start date for their year group, it is called deferred entry to primary school.

If your child’s 5th birthday falls between mid-August (the day after the school commencement date) and February 28th/29th you have a legal right to defer their entry into Primary 1 until the following August when they are nearer 6 years old.

Should you wish to defer your child’s entry to school, and are resident in Angus, your child will be funded for an additional year of early learning and childcare.  Every effort will be made for this to be accessed at the setting of your choice although this cannot be automatically guaranteed if you are requesting a change of setting for this additional year or are requesting a setting outwith Angus. 

It is important that you are well informed when you make this decision as children who defer entry to primary one remain entitled to leave school when they are 16.  Due to the later start date, this may be prior to the completion of SQA National Qualifications.


If I am considering applying for an additional year of funded early learning and childcare for my child, what should I do?

You should discuss your concerns with staff in your child’s early learning and childcare setting.  If an additional year of funded ELC is being considered, staff will meet with you, normally before the end of December, when a support plan for your child will be created.  In February, the support plan will be reviewed.  Informed by all the information shared at these meetings, if you then make the decision to apply for an additional year of funded ELC, you will complete an additional year of funded ELC application form, available from staff at your child’s early learning and childcare setting.

Will my child cope with primary one?

Primary schools are very well equipped to meet a wide range of needs – there is no such thing as being “ready for school” instead it is important that the school is “ready for the child”.  The sharing of information means that additional supports can be put in place at transition from ELC to primary one to ensure your child’s needs are met in a supportive learning context.  The staff at your child’s early learning and childcare setting will be happy to discuss these supports with you.  You can also approach the Head Teacher of your primary catchment school for information.

Could an additional year of funded ELC disadvantage my child?

It is important to consider your child’s school career from ELC to secondary school and beyond.  All young people can legally leave school in Scotland at age 16. If your child turns 16 between 1 March and 30 September they can leave school after 31 May of that year.  If they turn 16 between 1 October and the end of February then they can leave at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.

For those that defer the start of primary one, this may mean that your child could make the decision to leave secondary school prior to completing SQA National Qualifications.

My child is born between mid-August and 28th/29th February.  I am unsure whether he/she should start school in August 2021.

Most children in this age group are ready to, and do, start school, although they do not legally have to.  You may think it is in the best interests of your own child to defer their entry to school.  In these cases you don’t need to provide assessment information but you do have to make your request known.  Before you make your decision, you should discuss your concerns with staff at your child’s early learning and childcare setting.

If you choose to defer your child’s entry to primary and change your decision at a future date and apply for primary one your child may not be granted a place at the school of your choice.

Where should my child be placed for this additional year of funded ELC?

It is important, as part of the application process that careful consideration is given to the setting where the additional year of ELC should be completed. 

For example, please remember that the decision to grant an additional funded year of ELC, and of where this takes place, is not taken into account during the decision making process for primary one placing requests.  This means that, if you choose that your child should complete their additional year of ELC at a local authority early learning and childcare setting in a school that is not your primary catchment school this will not influence any further decisions about primary one applications.  That is, at a later date, if you wish to apply for a primary school place at a school that is not your child’s primary catchment school there is no guarantee that they will be able to attend this school.  Whether or not they have completed an additional year of ELC, where this has taken place and the reason for the granting of that place, will have no influence or bearing on the normal decision making processes for primary school placing request applications.  It is therefore important that this is carefully considered when an application for an additional year of funded ELC is completed.

My child is an Angus resident but attends an ELC setting in a local authority that is not Angus.  If I am considering applying for an additional year of funded ELC, what should I do?

You should discuss your concerns with staff in your child’s early learning and childcare setting at the earliest opportunity.  If you then make the decision to apply for an additional year of funded ELC, you will complete an additional year of funded ELC application form.  You must apply to the local authority in which you are resident.

As your child is resident in Angus, your child will be funded for an additional year of early learning and childcare and every effort will be made, through discussion with the other local authority, for this additional year of funded ELC to be accessed at the setting of your choice however, this cannot be automatically guaranteed. 

My child attends an Angus Council ELC setting and I am not an Angus resident.  If I am considering applying for an additional year of funded ELC, what should I do?

You should discuss your concerns with staff in your child’s early learning and childcare setting at the earliest opportunity and refer to your local authority’s deferred entry policy. You must apply to the local authority in which you are a resident for them to make the decision regarding the funding of an additional year of ELC.