THE MINISTER for Children and Young People visited a professional childminder in Stirling last week to highlight the importance of childminders.

Maree Todd visited Caroline Stuart’s childminding setting in Stirling last Wednesday, February 19 ahead of the delivery of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) funded hours.   

The minister’s visit helped shine a light on the childcare options available to parents and families in advance of August 2020 when families in Scotland will be able to access almost double the current funded hours from 600 to 1140 hours per year for all three and four-year olds and some two-year-olds.

Maree Todd said: “We want to ensure our children can access the unique, nurturing childcare in a home-from-home environment, full of creative play, outdoor activities and learning that childminders offer.

“That is why we are working to help parents and carers make informed decisions about where to access their child’s funded early learning and childcare.”

The expansion of ELC means that families are entitled to around 30 hours a week funded childcare, if used during school term-time, or around 22 hours a week if using it year-round.  It can be accessed via nurseries, childminders, or playgroups – or a mix of these.

Graeme McAlister, Scottish Childminding Association chief executive, said: “Professional childminding is a very high-quality childcare option.

“It’s consistently one of the highest rated forms of childcare in Scotland by provider type, with 92% of childminders achieving ‘good’ or above across all quality ratings during inspection.”