Welcome proposal for free holiday childcare

The most important aspect of this policy pledge by the First Minister, covered in the Herald article “Poorest primary school pupils to benefit from free childcare during school holidays” (16th October 2019) is the difference it will make to the lives of our most disadvantaged children. The article said, if re-elected, in the new Parliamentary term, her party proposes to provide free school holiday care for the 30% most disadvantaged primary school children; this will be an investment of millions of pounds.

Research has shown that it is the lowest income children who benefit the most from accessing the play, care and activities in good quality childcare for school age children, this includes improvement in literacy, numeracy and social skills. Children tell us they enjoy the fun and friendship, and opportunities for playing outside, as well as day trips in the holidays. Parents most of all want peace of mind knowing their children are being cared for, and yes, of course childcare helps them work or study, although that has to be year round, holiday care is the most expensive and out of reach so is a good place to start.

Holiday childcare can also ensure children get nutritious food and exercise for their health and wellbeing, help with the transition from nursery to school, and, if carefully integrated with existing professional out of school care and holiday services, help with the overall sustainability of childcare for children of school age, which supports all communities.

I strongly welcome this proposal and, just as we are doing with the development of a new policy Framework for Out of School Care in Scotland, we and the current sector, will do all we can to help make this a reality.

Irene Audain MBE
Chief Executive
Scottish Out of School Care Network

last updated: 17/10/2019