Early learning and childcare: increase to 1140 hours

A basic guide to the new arrangements in Angus.

There has been an increase in the number of funded hours of early learning and childcare (ELC) parents and carers can access since August 2020.

Background

In 2014, Scottish Government announced an increase in the number of hours of ELC that it would fund, from 600 hours to up to 1140 hours a year from August 2020.

This increase in hours also comes with a commitment that the learning and care will be of a high quality, and will offer flexibility and choice for you as parents and carers.

You now have much more choice about where and when you can access your child’s increased ELC entitlement. Your provider must:

  • meet the high standards expected of all funded providers
  • have a space available
  • be willing to enter into a contract with the local authority for funded ELC provision

We are responsible for deciding whether a provider in Angus meets the required standard, and for managing all of the contracts and funding.


Why does my child need early learning and childcare?

There is a lot of evidence that in addition to all the love, fun and learning children enjoy at home, going to a safe, nurturing environment out of the home can offer children more opportunities to socialise, develop verbal skills and discover that learning is fun.

It also helps parents to balance their own needs to work, look after other family members, or simply recharge their own batteries!


Does my child qualify?

All children aged three or four can access funded early learning and childcare in Angus from the beginning of the term after their third birthday.

Some two-year-old children will also be eligible if they meet one of the criteria set by Scottish Government


Providers

Angus Council works closely with many local nurseries, playgroups and childminders. We have also expanded our own nurseries and built two new ELC centres in Carnoustie and Forfar. You can access your entitlement from any ELC provider and you can mix up the providers too, as long as they all meet the criteria set out above. They don’t even need to be in Angus.

View a list of providers in contract with Angus Council.


Options

When considering what works best for you and your family, you first need to consider what option of ELC works best for you.

In Angus, there are four main options for accessing your child’s funded entitlement. Please note that Angus Council can only provide ELC for the first three options. You can access the fourth option from private nurseries, playgroups and childminders.

Option 1

190 set days at 6 hours per day  (30 hours per typical week, term time)

(Example opening times 08:45-14:45) This is probably the most familiar, term time option currently used by most nurseries and is similar to primary school terms. Places offering this option will close during school holidays and on in-service days.

Option 2

152 set days at 7.5 hours per day (30 hours per typical week, term time)  

(Example opening times 08:30-16:00) This is similar to Option 1 but offers more hours each day of the week over term time, which may fit better with parents’ and carers’ working hours. Places offering this option will open for four days each term time week and will be closed on the other day, as well as closing during school holidays and on in-service days.

Option 3

228 set days at 5 hours per day (25 hours per typical week)  

(Example opening times 08:00-13:00 and 13:00-18:00) This is a new option in nurseries that will open for longer hours every day and are only closed to children for two weeks over the Christmas/ New Year period, three weeks in July/August, and a further three public holidays and five in-service days. This option offers ELC over 46.6 weeks of the year at 25 hours a week.

Option 4

250 set days at approx. 4.5 hours per day, or other flexible arrangements

Most private nurseries and childminders offer ELC over 50 weeks of the year at an average of 22.8 hours per week, and may also offer other flexible options. Playgroups may also be able to offer you more flexibility than you would find in an Angus Council setting where this model will not be available. If you would like to access this model or something more flexible, you will need to discuss this with a private nursery, playgroup or childminder.

Four options, more flexibility

It may be that none of these options exactly meets your family’s needs. For example, you may need to use more hours on some days of the week and on other days you will use fewer hours, or no hours at all. You may also want to consider using “shared care”, where your child receives ELC from more than one provider. There are many different ways you may be able to arrange your ELC. Let’s look at some examples of how parents and carers can use their funded places to access the best options for them and their child.
 

Mum Karen, 32, works part time three days a week

Using a shared care model over term time only, Karen sends her son to three sessions at a playgroup (18 hours per week) and three more sessions with the local childminder her son has known from birth (12 hours per week). Karen likes that her son gets some larger nursery experience but also has a homely environment while Karen is at work. In this example Karen is using her funded entitlement over three days, and can spend quality time with her son at the end of the week when she’s not at work. 

Parents Scott and Leanne, both 27, need a mixed package to fit in with work and studies

Scott and Leanne send their son Liam to an Angus Council nursery for two long days at the start of the week (20 hours), when Scott is working and Leanne is at college. The nursery is handy because it’s close to Scott’s work and he can pick Liam up on his way home. Liam then goes to a private nursery closer to home on a third day (5 hours), because this lets Leanne study at home before picking Liam up at lunchtime. Scott and Leanne feel that this gives Liam a wide circle of friends to play and learn with, fits well with their own schedules, and still allows them to spend plenty of time with Liam over the course of the week

Anne, 51, full time carer for her granddaughter and part time carer for her own mother

Anne has to help look after her mother two mornings a week, all year round, so she needs to use some of her ELC during school holiday periods. Anne sends her granddaughter to an Angus Council nursery operating Option 3 for five hours in the morning, so she can make sure her mum is settled for the day ahead. Anne likes that her granddaughter can have messy times and outdoor play while she is busy in the mornings, and that she can continue to support her own mother even during school holiday times.

Dad Iain, 35, works full time  

Iain needs the most provision of all as he works full time, all year round. Iain’s daughter goes to a private nursery near Iain’s work from 8am and he picks her up after work at around 6pm. This means that Iain uses his entitlement more quickly (10 hours a day), so his weekly entitlement is used up in just over two days. He chooses to purchase additional ELC directly from the nursery to cover the rest of the week. Iain is happy that his daughter spends time in the same environment every day where she can get to know her carers while he works.

These are just some examples and do not represent every possible arrangement of your funded sessions. You can choose an Angus Council place, a private nursery, a playgroup or a childminder, or a combination of these providers, to find the option that works best for you. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a place in an Angus Council nursery and it doesn’t even have to be within Angus!

Once you’ve decided what works best for your family, you should first make contact with your chosen provider(s) to discuss the options available in more detail before applying for places.


Meals and snacks

Children attending funded ELC sessions will also be entitled to a free meal.

This might not be a hot meal - it could be cereal and milk with a separate drink, or a sandwich with milk to drink, depending on the time of day and the facilities available in your chosen setting. However, you can be sure that it will be nutritious, healthy and safe. Where possible, we’ll even get children involved in preparing food as part of their learning.    

In Angus, we’ll also provide at least one free snack per funded session, because we know that small tummies don’t last long between refills!

You can ask exactly what food your child will receive and discuss any special dietary requirements your child may have with your chosen setting. 

If you prefer you can send your child with a packed lunch or other food. Just make sure you tell staff that this is what you are doing.

Angus Council settings

If your child is attending for up to 6 hours (as in Option 1), they will get a free morning snack and lunch. If your child is attending for up to 7.5 hours (as in Option 2), they will get a morning snack, lunch and another afternoon snack, all free. In Option 3, children attending the 8am to 1pm session will get a free breakfast and snack. Children attending the 1pm to 6pm session will get a free lunch and snack. We will not provide any evening meals.  

Private nurseries, playgroups or childminders

If a child is attending a funded session at a private nursery, playgroup or childminder, you can discuss meals and snacks directly with them. As with Angus Council settings, the free meals and snacks provided will depend on the hours your child is there.   

Using more than one provider

If using more than one provider works best for you and your child, we will work with all the providers of your child’s ELC to make sure they receive the right number of meals and snacks every day.  


Making your ELC choice

There is a lot to consider when making your choices about ELC. Some of the important things to think about are:

  • how many weeks a year do you want ELC for your child?
  • how many hours a week (and when) do you want ELC for your child?  Remember that you can have either the same hours each day, or longer hours over fewer days of the week
  • how many providers do you want to use? If one provider can’t offer the option you need, you can use a maximum of two different settings over the course of a week, or three if one is a childminder. This is to ensure that your child receives high quality care with people that they can get to know well

When you can answer these questions, you are ready to speak to your chosen setting(s) to explore your options in more detail.

If your child has significant additional support needs, their place within an ELC setting will be discussed, with your consent, at a multi-agency meeting. 

Session lengths  

The longest ELC session you can have in Angus is 10 hours and the shortest is one hour. You can use a maximum of 30 funded hours per week, and you must spread your child’s funded ELC over at least 39 weeks of the year, during term time. This is to make sure that your hours are spread evenly over the year.

Buying more hours

If you need more ELC than is funded, you can buy additional hours or sessions from most private nurseries, playgroups or childminders, subject to availability of places. You cannot currently buy additional hours or sessions from Angus Council settings.

Remember that buying additional hours is optional. Settings must not charge for additional hours to allow you to get your funded entitlement at that setting. For example, if you are entitled to five hours a day, you should not have to pay for an additional two hours to make up a full day. If this happens, please tell us. 

Using fewer hours

You don’t need to use all of your entitlement. ELC is not school and you do not have to access all the hours if it doesn’t suit you and your child. For example it may be that you wish to use only 18 of 30 hours in a week and this is agreed with your chosen setting. The setting may then be able to offer any remaining sessions to another parent or carer. 

Making changes

Changing the agreed attendance pattern in an Angus Council setting can only be done when the setting is admitting a new intake of children, and only if they can meet your new needs. Private nurseries, playgroups and childminders may be able to be more flexible. In Angus most settings will have new intakes four times a year in August, October, January and April.  

Pick-ups and drop-offs  

Most settings agree that it’s best for all the children if there are regular pick-up and drop-off times. This allows children to settle and for providers to plan activities throughout the day. You are of course able to pick up your child early if necessary, but we would prefer that this is done by prior arrangement wherever possible.  

You will not be able to bank any hours you have booked but don’t use. Funded providers have to plan their sessions well in advance and pay their staff a regular wage, so the amount paid to a funded provider will be based on the attendance patterns agreed at the beginning of the service. Funding cannot therefore be banked for later use when you have chosen to collect your child before the end of a funded session.

Catchment areas

Primary school catchment areas do not apply to early learning and childcare.

Catchment areas do still apply to primary school enrolments for admission to primary one onwards. 

ELC outside of Angus

You can choose to send your child to a place offering ELC outwith Angus, as long as the setting meets the National Standard, has a space available and is willing to enter into contract with the local authority in their area. We will make arrangements with the other local authority regarding your funding. 


Applying for ELC

All applications in Angus must be completed online.

More information about the process, including our admissions criteria and the exact dates of application windows.

High quality early learning and childcare

As we’ve said, ELC is about offering children more opportunities to socialise, build friendships and trust and experience lots of different kinds of learning through play. This will only happen if the ELC is of a high quality.

If you have any concerns about the quality of the ELC your child is receiving, you should first speak to staff at your chosen setting. If things don’t improve, or if you don’t feel you can discuss the issue with the setting directly, you should contact Angus Council. You can also contact the Care Inspectorate, which is responsible for the regulation and inspection of all care services in Scotland.  

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm, please call 999.


Options provided by Angus Council nurseries

Options provided by private nurseries, playgroups and childminders might be more flexible and you should contact your chosen setting for more information.

View a list of providers in contract with Angus Council.
 

Arbroath

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Arbirlot Y    
Carmyllie   Y  
Colliston Y    
Friockheim   Y  
Hayshead Y    
Inverbrothock     Y
Inverkeilor Y    
Ladyloan Y    
Muirfield Y    
St Thomas Y    
Timmergreens   Y  
Warddykes     Y

Brechin/Edzell

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Andover     Y
Edzell   Y  
Maisondieu Y    
Stracathro Y    

Carnoustie

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Burnside Y    
Carlogie Y    
Carnoustie ELCC Y   Y
Monikie   Y  
Woodlands Y    

Forfar

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Aberlemno Y    
Forfar ELCC Y   Y
Inverarity   Y  
Langlands Y    
Letham Y    
Strathmartine Y    
Strathmore Y    
Tealing Y    
Whitehills   Y  

Kirriemuir

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Airlie Y    
Cortachy   Y  
Glamis Y    
Isla Y    
Newtyle Y    
Northmuir     Y
Southmuir Y    
Tannadice   Y  

Monifieth

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Grange Y    
Mattocks   Y  
Murroes Y    
Seaview     Y

Montrose

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Borrowfield Y    
Ferryden   Y  
Lochside Y    
Rosemount   Y  
Southesk     Y
St Margarets Y    

Sidlaws

Nursery

Model 1

(190 days)

Model 2

(152 days)

Model 3

(228 days)

Auchterhouse   Y  
Birkhill Y    
Liff Y