Nursery stock photo

Moray’s Early Learning and Childcare top up rates to increase

An increase in hourly rates for top up rates at Moray Council managed Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings will come into effect from 1 April 2024.

In Moray, there are currently 24 local authority settings that deliver 1140 hours of funded childcare to 3-5 year olds. Six of these local authority services offer the year-round model that operates from 8am - 6pm and allows families the flexibility to access childcare services for longer periods than the term time model, which operates within school hours of 9am-3pm.

The top up hours programme was trialled at the year-round model services, where top up hours were offered for 3-5 year olds already in attendance. There’s been a positive uptake of these hours across all services that offer this programme.

To help ensure the hourly top up rate is fair, and comparable with partner provider settings that offer non-funded childcare services, a survey of these partner provider nurseries and childminders was carried out.

The results from this survey showed that to bring the local authority hourly charges in-line with the partner providers, charges should be increased from £5.00 to £6.00 for 1 hour and from £9.50 to £11.50 for 2 hours. This new rate will come into effect from 1 April 2024 and will be reviewed regularly against partner providers in Moray for fair comparison.

Additional charges for light teas and snacks during any top up hours will also begin in April.

Currently, children accessing 1140 hours of ELC are entitled to either a fully funded lunch or light tea at no additional cost to the families. As part of the Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme, children also receive a funded healthy snack (a serving of fresh fruit or vegetables) and a portion of milk (1/3 of a pint) daily.

Local authority year-round services allow parents to choose the option of paying 30-50p per funded session for a more substantial snack to sustain a child accessing the extended hours. By implementing this charge across the top up hours, the settings can continue to offer the same quality of snack during this time. For children and families accessing top up hours after 4pm, a light tea will now be a further chargeable option.

Chair of Moray Council’s Education, Communities and Leisure Services Committee, Cllr Kathleen Robertson, said: “It’s important that we ensure the hourly top up rate is fair and comparable with those non-funded childcare partner providers and that we’re able to provide services that are beneficial for all parties.”

Contact Information

Moray Council Press Office