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 affected by deferral issues, 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. As at Sep 2019, it has almost 1700 members.



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 inequities 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.



We got confirmation yesterday that Scottish Labour have chosen for the parliament to discuss automatic funding of a further year of nursery for all children with a legal right to defer tomorrow – Wed afternoon 2nd Oct 2019 (link to motion wording on the Scottish Parliament website:https://bb.parliament.scot/…)! Each party gets to choose debate topics a few times a year and Iain Gray, Labour’s Education Spokesperson, has chosen this one in support of the Give Them Time campaign.

The debate will lead to a vote to show the strength of support for such a move amongst MSPs and indicate the will of parliament to the Scottish Government. The Government doesn’t need to act upon it but it lays on the pressure.

We therefore need as many MSPs as possible to attend the debate from 2pm tomorrow (Wed 2nd Oct) and stay on and vote at 5pm.

Please email your constituency MSP and all 7 of your regional MSPs today (enter your postcode here to get their contact details: https://www.writetothem.com). Use your own words if possible to explain why the matter is so important to you or if you’re short of time, copy and paste the message below and sign your name at the end. MSPs prefer authentic, individualised messages but we appreciate this might not be possible in this timescale.

Thank you for your continued support.



Good afternoon,


I am writing to you as one of my MSPs to ask you to attend the debate on the Give Them Time campaign tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd October, from 2pm and to stay and vote in favour of the motion at 5pm: https://bb.parliament.scot/…

I firmly believe that all children legally deferring p1 start should be automatically entitled to a further year of funded early learning and childcare as their parents and not councils are best placed to decide if they will benefit from this extra time before starting formal education. The current system of automatic funding for January and February borns is unfair as mid-August to December born children have the same legal right to defer their p1 start yet are entitled to almost a full year’s less nursery funding. This age discrimination and the postcode funding lottery across the country must end.

Please attend the debate and vote to support the motion.

Kind regards




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. Our battle for equality of access to nursery funding continues.



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.






“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


“Upstart Scotland heartily supports the Give Them Time campaign. All parents wishing to defer their children’s entry to formal schooling should be supported to do so by their local authorities. Scotland’s extraordinarily early school starting age has always disadvantaged many children and – due to lifestyle changes over recent decades – the need to focus on health, well-being and outdoor play during early childhood
grows greater every year. Until Upstart achieves our aim of a relationship-centred, play based kindergarten stage for all three- to seven-year-olds, it’s vital that parents’ right to defer school entry is upheld.”

Sue Palmer, Chair of Upstart Scotland