Extra funded hours since 2007 worth up to £707 per year for each child.

Thousands of parents and carers across Falkirk district will start gaining from extra hours of free early learning and childcare over the next week.

The Scottish Government has committed at least £280 million over the next two years to expand annual funded provision for 3- and 4-year-olds to 600 hours (almost 16 hours a week) and to extend this to the 27 per cent most disadvantaged 2-year-olds, reaching around 15 per cent of them in the first year.

In welcoming this Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said

“This is indeed welcome news for both parents and carers. The Scottish Government is committed to improving and increasing high-quality, flexible early learning and childcare that is accessible and affordable for all children and families, and which matches the best in Europe.

“The Scottish Government have now expanded funded provision for 3- and 4-year-olds by 45 per cent since 2007 – an increase worth up to £707 a year per child – and are extending this entitlement to thousands of our most disadvantaged two-year-olds.

“It is less than six months since I voted for these plans, thousands of children throughout Falkirk district will start receiving the extra hours this week.

“The legislation also requires local authorities to consult with groups of parents at least once every two years on patterns of provision that would best meet their needs. This should introduce a greater level of flexibility and choice for families which I know they will welcome”.