Our plan to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up

Nicola Sturgeon has set out the Scottish Government’s plan for the year ahead. Our plan will support families across the country to give every child the best start in life.

Here’s how.

Giving every child the best start

  • The Baby Box will continue to be available to every child born in Scotland, providing essential items for those earliest stages in life.
  • We are investing in 750 new, extended or refurbished nurseries as part of our drive to almost double the provision of early learning and childcare by August 2020 for all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds.
  • We will deliver 430 new school, college and university counsellors as part of a new package to help support the wellbeing of children, young people and adults and prevent mental ill-health.
  • We will develop a stronger network of care and support for the 1 in 5 new mothers – around 11,000 a year – who experience mental health problems during and after pregnancy.
  • We will step up action to deliver our ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

A good education for all

  • We will continue to invest £179 million in a dedicated fund to raise attainment, with most funding going direct to schools.
  • We will deliver new national guidance to give headteachers more control of the important decisions on curriculum, staffing and budgets that are fundamental to the performance of their schools.
  • We will commit £10 million in this academic year to enhance the practical support and expertise that is available to teachers through the Regional Improvement Collaboratives and Education Scotland.
  • We will implement our Parental Engagement Plan, including a pilot and roll out of a new national survey of parents and carers.
  • By the end of academic year 2019-20, every local council will be offered training for teachers in mental health first aid.
  • We will invest over £20 million in a new package of support for students at college or university, including increasing bursaries for care experienced students to £8,100; increasing bursaries for the lowest income families; and increasing the repayment threshold for student loans.
  • We will provide £33 million for local authorities to help improve the educational outcomes of care experienced young people.

Supporting family incomes

  • We will deliver Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payments by Christmas – six months ahead of schedule. The Grant will put more money into the pockets of families on lower incomes – £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any further children.
  • We will introduce two further payments of the Best Start Grant, £250 for each child at key points in their early years, around the time of starting nursery and school – by summer 2019.
  • This year we will begin work on a £12 million intensive parental employment support programme.
  • We will invest an extra £5 million over the next three years to support around 2,000 women to return to work after career breaks.

Fairness for everyone

  • We will enshrine children’s rights by incorporating the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into law.
  • We will continue to tackle child poverty by implementing our Child Poverty Delivery Plan, backed up by the £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
  • We will provide an additional £2 million of funding to help tackle the rise in households having to rely on food banks.
  • We will increase access to affordable credit, including for care-experienced young people, by investing £1 million in the Affordable Credit Fund, to tackle the cost of living for low income households.

A fairer justice system for children, young people and families

  • We will expand our successful approach to youth justice to include care experienced young people up to the age of 26.
  • We will progress legislation through Parliament to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12.
  • A package of measures to further strengthen Scottish Government’s work to tackle all forms of violence against women and children will be introduced.