Free early learning and childcare

Monday January 29th 2018


Midlothian Council is urging parents and carers to check if they are among more than 200 families eligible for free early learning and childcare for their two-year-old child.

More than 150 families on certain benefits and with an annual income of less than £16, 105 have already secured up to 600 hours in a nursery or other setting such as a childminder. However, there are still more Midlothian families eligible for a place for their two-year-old child.

A Midlothian Council education spokeswoman said: “Some parents and carers seem to think it is only for people on benefits but that’s not the case. If you are getting certain tax credits you may be eligible so we’d urge everyone to check as this is a service that will have enormous benefits for both you and your child’s development.”

Busy sorting toys and chatting, young Charlotte is testament to the benefits of free early learning and childcare for eligible two-year-old children.

Watching her daughter play happily in Newbyres Nursery in Gorebridge – one of our partnership nurseries delivering ‘A good time to be 2’ – Charlotte’s mum Steph would encourage everyone with a two-year-old or a toddler to check if they are eligible.

Steph, who works as a dental nurse, says: “Charlotte has only been at Newbyres for about three months but she’s settled amazingly well. She has separation anxiety and there were only some people in the family she would go to. Since coming here though she’s much more chatty and confident.”

Charlotte’s speech, which was slightly behind where she should be for her age, is now greatly improved. Her mum says her learning is also coming on leaps and bounds. Charlotte loves to sort her toys and she’s already keen to count.

The extra hours give Steph more time to organise her home but to also concentrate on potentially launching a new childcare business.  Steph has registered to set up her own childminding business in her home.

Steph says:  “It’s given me more time to work on a business plan for my childminding business”

The number of nursery hours for our eligible 2-year-olds and three and four-year-olds will be almost doubling by 2020 to 1140 hours.

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