CHANGE Weekly Bulletin 9th March 2018
Although CHANGE is focusing on increasing childcare provision in Glasgow East for 0-12 year olds, the upcoming 1,140 hours Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) expansion is likely to have an impact on our project objectives. In our bulletin on 23rd February, we mentioned the release of Audit Scotland’s review of the proposed expansion. CHANGE has now had a chance to analyse these findings. In our bulletins this week and next, we will discuss the relationship between our project and what was contained in the report.
Exploring ELC expansion – Part 1
Perhaps the strongest link between Audit Scotland’s findings and CHANGE is the conclusion that families and services from areas of deprivation will face the biggest challenges during the expansion. CHANGE is working in the Shettleston and Calton political wards of Glasgow and, with both areas featuring prominently in recent poverty and inequality reports, our project will offer timely support to families and childcare providers during this period of transition.
The issue of flexibility is one that has been mentioned by the families we have spoken to and the Audit Scotland report also includes some discussion around this. There is a particular focus on the distinction between flexibility and choice. During our community engagement work, we have heard from families who have told us that what is currently available doesn’t offer a level of flexibility that accommodates their needs in relation to being in employment or further education. However, this report highlights a deeper issue, wherein a local authority may struggle to demonstrate that they are offering the required level of flexibility due to a lack of clarity around what is meant by flexibility and choice. Audit Scotland suggests that providing more clarity on these terms would help councils to offer an appropriate level of flexibility, while also making it easier for parents to understand what they can expect from their local authority.
CHANGE was particularly interested to note that an estimated 25% of two-year-olds are eligible for statutory ELC provision. In Glasgow East the number of children between the ages of 0-2 using registered childcare is very low. Some possible reasons for this, which we are currently exploring, are the complexity of applying for childcare and a lack of accessible of information describing what is available and what parents are entitled to. Our CHANGE Hub, which gets underway this month, will offer an opportunity for us to explore some of these challenges with a range of childcare providers and community groups as we begin to develop solutions to the difficulties faced by families and services in Glasgow East.
Contribute to CHANGE
We welcome and encourage input from anyone who has an interest in childcare or community wellbeing in Glasgow East. If you’d like to discuss this with a member of the CHANGE team please contact our Project Officer, Anthony O’Malley, firstname.lastname@example.org or our Policy and Participation Officer, Alison Hay, email@example.com. Both Anthony and Alison are based in Glasgow East at least four days per week and are happy to chat to anyone who feels they have something to contribute to the project.