We are campaigning for a more TRANSPARENT, CONSISTENT and CHILD-CENTRED approach to be taken by all Scottish local authorities when considering funding requests for an extra year of nursery for a child who has a legal right to be deferred.
- A national survey showed that an average of only 19% of parents knew about the legal right to defer Sep-Dec born children compared with 80% knowing that Jan and Feb born children can be deferred.
- Information on deferral rights can be difficult to find on local authorities’ websites.
- Many staff who advise parents on deferral do not know about the legal right to defer a mid-August to December born child.
- Communication to parents on this issue can be confusing/misleading.
- Ensure that policy and legal information regarding deferral rights are accurate and easily accessible on all councils’ websites and written in plain English.
- Train all staff involved in advising on deferral decisions (early years staff, primary head teachers etc) about the legal rights of parents and council policy/procedures for applying for continued nursery funding.
- Some local authorities are much more likely to fund a further year of nursery for a mid-Aug to Dec born child than others*
- Local authorities’ processes for dealing with such funding requests vary widely.*
- When a further year’s nursery funding request has been rejected, some councils allow parents to finance a child to remain in a local authority nursery while others do not.*
- These discrepancies create a postcode lottery.
* This data was gathered from responses to Freedom of Information requests sent to all local authorities.
- All children being deferred should have a further year of nursery automatically funded.
- Decisions are often made by panels consisting of people who do not know the child involved.
- The opinions and professional judgement of the people who know the child best (early years staff and parents) are often given little weight.
- Cognitive ability is often overemphasised above a holistic picture of the child’s development.
- Parents’ legal right to defer their child should be supported by an automatic entitlement to a further year of nursery funding.
Other Issues to Consider
- Often the cost to local authorities is a theoretical one. If a nursery is not operating at full capacity then there is no extra cost to the council to offer a child a place.
- When such a funding request is rejected, parents who can afford to pay for their child’s extra year at nursery often choose to do so as they believe it is in their child’s best interests. This compounds disadvantage in our society further and will only widen the attainment gap in the long run.
We want our children to thrive not just cope. Please support our campaign to give all children in Scotland an equal opportunity to succeed. Use our template letter to write to your local councillors to request this today: www.givethemtime.org/what-can-you-do/