Early Learning and Childcare

Funded Hours

What are funded (free) hours?

These are hours funded by the Scottish Government for your child to attend an ELC Provider which are free for you to use.

The hours are available from providers who have been entered onto our Framework Agreement to provide funded Early Learning and Childcare.

There is no charge to the parent/carer for funded ELC. The hours your child is entitled to must be provided free of charge, regardless of the setting you choose to send your child to.

You cannot be charged any sort of supplement or be required to pay for any additional hours/services unless you have chosen to purchase these. You may however be asked for a contribution of around £2.50 per week to pay for snacks.

Funded hours are available from local authority nursery or any provider who has been entered onto our Framework Agreement to provide funded Early Learning and Childcare.   

How many funded hours is my child entitled to?

In the Scottish Borders all eligible two year olds and three and four year olds are able to access up to 1140 hours of funded ELC each year, these hours are allocated on a pro-rata basis depending on when children start throughout the year.

Depending on the ELC Provider you choose to send your child to, the hours can be taken between 38 and 50 weeks a year.

A year is defined as a school year, so begins at the start of term in August:

  • if your child attends over a School Term Time (38 weeks per year) this equates to up to 30 hours per week
  • if they attend a provider for 50 weeks per year this is equates to up to 23 hours per week

Parents can take as many or as few of the funded hours as they wish within the framework below:

  • Minimum hours funded per day one hour
  • Maximum hours funded per day 10 hourss
  • Minimum hours funded per week one hour
  • Maximum hours funded per week 30 hours 
  • Minimum number of week per year 38 weeks
  • Maximum number of week per year 50 weeks