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Further rate increase for early years funded providers

Posted on 10 May 2024

North Ayrshire Council is to further increase the hourly rate paid to funded providers of early learning and childcare.

In February, Cabinet agreed to a £215,000 additional investment to help support the delivery of a high-quality early years experience for all children.

This increased the rate from £5.76 for all eligible 2-5 year olds to £6.05 for eligible 3-5 year olds and £6.33 for eligible two-year-olds.

Subsequent to the Cabinet decision, confirmation was received from the Scottish Government that the Council would receive an additional £394,000 which will further increase the rates for 2024-25 to £6.51 for eligible 3-5 year olds and £6.81 for eligible two-year old children.

The move further supports the expansion of early learning and childcare across North Ayrshire which is allowing youngsters to get the best possible start in life as well as enabling funded ELC workers in private and third sector services to be paid at least £12 per hour.

Since August 2021, all three and four-year-old children and eligible two-year-old children have been entitled to 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare each year.

To deliver this across Scotland, Councils work with both Council-run services and local partner providers in the private and not-for-profit sectors, including childminders, to ensure there is sufficient capacity to deliver 1,140 hours to all eligible families.

North Ayrshire Council currently works with 15 funded provider nurseries and 66 childminders to deliver Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to families across the authority. The Council pays an hourly (sustainable) rate for up to a maximum of 1140 hours per annum for each child in their care.

In addition to the hourly rate paid to providers, funded providers receive an additional payment of £3 per meal (or the provision of a meal through the North Ayrshire Council School Meals Service). Childminders receive £2.50 for each meal provided.

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, Cabinet Member for Education and Young People, said: “In addition to our own early years centres, our funded providers are crucial in helping to ensure our young people get the best start in life.

“We are delighted that the additional funding will help support the continued development of early learning and childcare right throughout North Ayrshire.”