Our ambition is for Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up. To do that we’re supporting families to give their children the very best start in life.
1. Free, high quality childcare increased to 16 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to 2 year olds who are looked after, in kinship care or from low income households too. By 2020, we’ll hit 30 hours a week, doubling spending to £840 million per year.
2. The Scottish Government have announced that they will recruit 11,000 new staff into the childcare profession by 2020. This expansion will save families more than £4,500 per child, per year.
3. Every baby in Scotland is entitled to receive a Baby Box. Based on the Finnish model, the box includes essential items for a baby’s first weeks and months and aims to tackle deprivation, improve health and support parents. Since they were launched two months ago, 10,000 baby boxes have been delivered.
4. From Summer 2019 we will introduce a new Best Start Grant, to support families at key stages of their child’s life. Low income families will receive a one-off grant of £600 for the first child in low income families, £300 for subsequent children and two payments of £250 each during a child’s early years.
5. We continue to provide a healthy school meal for all children in primaries 1 to 3 – around 135,000 pupils – helping improve their health and ability to learn, and saving parents £320 per child per year.
And by 2021 we will provide free meals to all 2, 3 and 4 year olds who benefit from increased nursery provision.
6. We are recruiting an extra 500 health visitors by 2018 so that every child benefits from a health development check at 30 months.
7. We will introduce a national allowance for kinship and foster care families, so everyone receives the same amount to care for their children, no matter where they live in Scotland.