Early learning and childcare 1140 hours expansion

The Scottish Government has set out plans to increase the number of funded early learning and childcare hours children across the country can access. 

At the moment, all three and four year olds, and some two year olds who meet specific criteria, receive 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare per year. Under the new plans, this will almost double to 1140 hours by August 2020.

This could mean 30 hours of funded childcare per week during term time or less spread across the year.

In order to make sure families across Aberdeenshire will be able to access the funded places in 2020, the council is carrying out a trial programme of expansion. This will gradually introduce additional hours across all areas.  

We want to make sure:

  • high quality learning experiences continue to be available for all young children
  • there is more flexibility and more affordable childcare options to support parents and carers wishing to access work, training or study
  • conveniently located, access for all remains a priority, including for those with additional needs

School nurseries as well as partners, including childminders, commissioned playgroups and private nursery settings, will all eventually be given the opportunity to provide these hours. All of our colleagues in childcare are being given support to introduce the additional hours. 


Laurence Findlay, Director of Education and Children's Services, talks about the expansion of early learning and childcare in Aberdeenshire.

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Childcare partners

View more detailed information for childcare partners including support available from the council.

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Parents and carers

Find out what the expansion plans mean for parents and carers.

Preparations for 2020

We have been working with settings across Aberdeenshire to get plans underway. Council as well as private settings have been considering the space they’ll need to fit everyone in, and we are also beginning to recruit more staff. Recruitment is being supported nationally with the ‘Shape their worlds. Shape your career.’ campaign. Locally, we are developing an apprenticeship scheme. The Early Learning and Childcare Academy website is a major milestone in the collaboration between Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils.