The campaign for a further year of nursery funding for ALL children legally deferring primary one start in Scotland.

cropped-gtt2.jpgGive Them Time is a grassroots movement which evolved in summer 2018 from parents across Scotland sharing their own, often difficult, experiences of applying for a further year of nursery funding for their child.



If you are interested in/affected by deferral, you may want to join the Deferral Support Scotland Facebook group. It was set up in May 2018, initially for parents but now early years’ staff too, to help them find out about the law on deferral, the policy in their local authority and to give them the opportunity to discuss related issues. It now has more than 2500 members.




Following the update below of 14/11/19, yesterday we got sight of this North Lanarkshire Council document which will be discussed and voted on this Monday 24th Feburary entitled, “PROPOSED REVISION OF THE POLICY ON DISCRETIONARY DEFERRAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR CHILDREN ENTERING PRIMARY SCHOOL, 24/02/2020“.

The Campaign’s full response can be seen below in the email that was sent to all North Lanarkshire Councillors this afternoon as well as in the relevant attachments. Let’s hope it’s given the consideration it deserves by those who have a vote before Monday.

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Give Them Time response to North Lanarkshire Council Report, February 2020

Appendix 1 – NLC Paper for 24.2.20 with GTT Comments Inline

Appendix 2 – GTT Summer-2019-FoIs

Appendix 3 – Articles Etc on Potential Benefits of Deferral




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One of our members stumbled across this article in The Press and Journal this morning which seems to state that Highland Council will now be offering an automatic entitlement to a further year at nursery for ALL children with a legal right to defer (any child not age 5 by the school starting date in Scotland) whose parents/carers choose to defer them. We have sent the email below to Highland Council this morning to clarify this. We will update here when we receive a response.

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We are utterly appalled, disgusted and despondent having been so thoroughly let down by North Lanarkshire Council’s Education and Families Committee on Tuesday.

We have been advised that section 4.2 of this report (https://mars.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/eg…/images/att92723.pdf) was approved at NLC’s Education and Families Committee on 12th Nov. The penultimate paragraph in section 2.4 states that, “Until a full and concise appraisal of affordability implementing new arrangements, the current deferred entry policy and the admissions policy will remain in place”. In short this means that the motion which was agreed unanimously by all 70+ councillors at NLC’s full council meeting on 20th June 2019 (to grant automatic continued nursery funding for all children legally deferring their p1 start from 2020 to 2021 and beyond) has been revoked. To be 100% clear, this is a complete u-turn before it has even been put into practice.

We do not understand how this can be possible as part of a democratic process. How can a policy be reversed before it has even had a chance to be implemented?

Even as recently as 2/10/19, Councillor Allan Stubbs who brought the motion to NLC’s full council meeting on 20/6/19 was talking about the policy change he contributed to in NLC on Twitter: https://twitter.com/allanstubbs/status/1179436984470777856…

So many parents in North Lanarkshire have been let down by this. All of our hard work seems to have been for nothing. We are considering what course of action to take in response to this despicable move.



One year ago today the Give Them Time campaign was officially launched. We’ve made progress but this article about us in the Ferret today highlights the persisting inequalities and that our battle continues. #thrivenotcope #givethemtime



The Scottish Government has pledged to bring forward legislation to ensure all four-year-old children deferring their entry to school are automatically entitled to an additional year’s nursery funding.

The announcement marks a huge victory for the Give Them Time campaign and follows on from a Scottish Parliament vote in favour of changing the law.

We will maintain pressure on the Government to set out its timescale for the legal change and call on them to agree interim measures for all children who need to defer within the coming year.



Today councillors in East Renfrewshire voted 9 – 8 against a motion at the full council meeting which proposed moving to an automatic nursery funding model for mid-Aug to 31 Dec born children legally deferring p1 start. We are bitterly disappointed but we will not stop battling for equality of access to nursery funding .



Today councillors in North Lanarkshire voted unanimously to automatically fund a further year of nursery for all children deferring p1 start in a major victory for the Give Them Time campaign.

In line with the existing entitlement for Jan and Feb born children, this guaranteed additional year of funding allows parents deferring a mid-August to 31st December born child to make the decision to defer without the fear of losing their nursery place and/or having to finance it themselves.

North Lanarkshire is Scotland’s fourth largest local authority and if they can pledge this funding in the current economic climate then it is surely something all councils should be doing?

The decision is welcome news, but the campaign will be keeping up the pressure until every local authority in Scotland funds nursery places for all deferred children.

Please support the Give Them Time campaign on the Deferral Support Scotland Facebook group. 



Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson, Iain Gray, referenced the campaign whilst questioning the Scottish Government about the disparities in access to funding for parents choosing to defer their children.

Mr Gray highlighted the “national policy contradiction” between parents’s legal right to defer their children and also their entitlement to funded childcare for three and four-year-old children.

You can read more here at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/government-accused-of-failing-to-close-free-childcare-loophole-1-4932330



Today our motion will be debated in the Scottish Parliament finally giving a voice to the many parents across the country with experience of the deferral funding process.  Below some parents outline why they are supporting our campaign.

You can follow the debate here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-48091273



The motion in support of the campaign’s aims will be debated in the Scottish parliament on Wed 1st May at 5pm. 73 MSPs (of the 101 who are able to) have signed the motion but we need to get them to attend the debate. Please edit and email this template letter to all of your MSPs (one constituency and seven regional) to ask them to attend. Their email addresses follow the format of name.surname.msp@parliament.scot. To find out who yours are, enter your postcode at this link: https://www.parliament.scot/mspfinder/index.html

If you would like to attend, please email for tickets: givethemtime.scotland@gmail.com


The campaign was featured on BBC Scotland’s flagship news and current affairs programme The Nine. Watch here from 33:45



MSPs Fulton MacGregor and Iain Gray asked John Swinney (Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills) questions about the Give Them Time campaign in parliament today. Watch here from 14:21:07 – 14:24:25.





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“Play Scotland supports the aims of the Give Them Time Campaign regarding child-centred decision making about deferrals. It is essential that all parents have accurate information so they can make informed choices based on the age and stage of their child’s development. Decisions about deferrals need to be based on the best interests of the child and applied in a consistent and equitable manner across Scotland.  We need the right building blocks in place to ensure children can benefit from the provision that best suits their needs and best supports their play-based learning.”

Marguerite Hunter-Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland


“Connect fully supports the ‘Give Them Time’ campaign for deferral for children who need it. A child-centred and child-led education system must put children’s needs first. We’re aware that in some areas, parents are not advised of children’s rights to deferral. Worse still, deliberately obstructive practices and misleading information are used to discourage parents from applying for deferral for their child and exercising their rights. Processes for applying can be complicated, bureaucratic and slow. Families have a right to clear information and to fair, open procedures for applying for deferral. They are also entitled to know what their legal rights are.”


Eileen Prior, Executive Director of parents’ organisation, Connect