Good news for parents of young children in Stirling! Childminders in Stirling will be able to offer free childcare places to 3 and 4-years-olds, as well as eligible 2-year-olds as part of an innovative new partnership.
The trial partnership will see Stirling Council and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) team up to deliver additional options for free childcare from today (8th January).
Currently, all 3 and 4-year-olds, along with some 2-year-olds, are offered 600 hours of childcare per year. They can choose to claim this care from local authority nurseries and private partner nurseries – but not childminders.
The new childminder partnership, the largest of its kind in Scotland, will give families the flexible option to instead choose childminders for their free childcare, either for the entire 600 hours or as a split placement option.
Over forty childminders across Stirling have signed up to the partnership through the SCMA – more than any other local authority in Scotland.
Education Convenor Susan McGill said, “We are delighted to be teaming up with the Scottish Childminding Association and giving local parents access to over 40 childminders across the city. It’s so important that families are given as many options as possible so that they can find childcare works both for parents and their children. Adding childminders as an option for free childcare is just one of the ways Stirling Council is working to make sure parents across the Stirling area have access to a wide range of quality early years provision that is both flexible and affordable. Not only are we offering new ways for families to secure the childcare they need, but by partnering with the SCMA, we are allowing local childminders access to crucial funding and to stay in business.”
The initiative is part of Stirling Council plans to meet Scottish Government’s commitment to the expansion of early years childcare by 2020. This will see an increase in funded hours for all 3 and 4-year-olds and eligible 2-years-olds from the current 600 hours per year to 1140 hours by 2020.
The partner childminders attended an Induction evening at Raploch Campus with Stirling Council and hosted by the SCMA on 13 December 2017.
Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of Scottish Childminding Association said, “This is an exciting opportunity and we are looking forward to working with Stirling Council. The partnership will bring childminders into the mix of funded childcare options available to families. Childminders provide high-quality Early Learning and Childcare in a ‘home from home’ setting and many parents value this.”
The childminder partnership starts on 8th January 2018.