The Scottish Guide to Childcare

teacher helping kids learn spelling in childcare in Glasgow

Welcome to the swoongallery blog, where we delve into what all there is to know about childcare in Glasgow. This guide to Scottish childcare aims to work as your go-to resource for understanding the nuances of childcare in Scotland. We provide insights, tips, and comprehensive guides to help parents and guardians navigate the varied aspects of this sector, ensuring the best for their little ones in Glasgow. From selecting the right childcare services to understanding local policies and finding community support, we cover it all.

Childcare in Scotland Guide

teacher helping kids in a private nursery childcare in Glasgow

Childcare is an integral component of family life. It allows children to learn, play, and build social skills while providing essential financial security. Although childcare may be costly, there may be support options available for families looking for childcare options.

Be sure to apply for funded early learning and childcare early, since local authorities often have specific application periods; otherwise, you risk missing out on your desired setting!

The following table can work as a structured guide for this article as it covers various aspects of childcare, such as types, costs, how to find and choose childcare, understanding regulations, where to get support, and ideas for activities. Each category provides a brief description along with practical resources or tips for further assistance.

Category Description Resources or Tips
Types of Childcare An overview of the different childcare options available in Glasgow. Nurseries, Childminders, and After-School Clubs
Cost Average costs of childcare services in Glasgow. Tips for budgeting; information on financial support
Finding Childcare How to find and choose the right childcare. Local directories: criteria to consider
Regulations and safety Understanding childcare regulations and safety standards. Official guidelines: checklist for parents
Support and advice Where to get support and advice on childcare in Glasgow. community forums; professional advisory services
Activities for kids Ideas for educational and fun activities in Glasgow. local events Child-friendly attractions


Types of Childcare Available in Glasgow

In Glasgow, parents have a variety of childcare options, each suited to different needs and preferences. Nurseries are widely chosen for their structured environment and focus on early education. They are ideal for developmental activities and socializing. Childminders offer a more personalized care setting, often in a home environment, making them a good choice for parents looking for a family-like atmosphere. After-school clubs and playgroups are excellent for school-aged children, providing a balance of educational support and recreational activities.

Cost of Childcare in Glasgow

The cost is a significant factor in childcare choice. In Glasgow, the average costs vary, with nurseries generally being the most expensive option. However, financial support is available through various government schemes, which can help mitigate these expenses. It’s important for parents to research these options thoroughly to understand what financial aid they might be eligible for.

Finding the Right Childcare Provider

Selecting the right childcare provider requires careful consideration. Key factors include the provider’s location, the qualifications of the staff, the facilities, and the child-to-staff ratio. An OFSTED rating can also provide a good indicator of the quality of a childcare service. I always recommend that parents visit potential sites, interact with staff, and seek feedback from other parents to ensure they find the best fit for their child.

Understanding Regulations and Safety Standards

Safety and regulatory compliance are paramount in childcare. Glasgow’s childcare providers are subject to strict regulations that cover various aspects, including staff training, facility safety, and child protection policies. As a parent, it’s crucial to ensure that any childcare provider you consider is fully compliant with these standards.

Community and Support for Parents

The community in Glasgow offers extensive support for parents when it comes to childcare. There are numerous groups and forums where parents can share experiences, get advice, and find support. These communities are invaluable, especially for those new to parenting or the city.

Activities and Development Opportunities for Children

Childcare centres in Glasgow place a strong emphasis on activities that promote development. These range from arts and crafts to physical activities and early learning programs. Such activities are essential for holistic child development, providing opportunities for children to learn, play, and grow in a stimulating environment.

Navigating childcare in Glasgow requires a blend of thorough research, understanding of available resources, and a keen insight into a child’s individual needs. The city’s childcare landscape is diverse and rich with opportunities for early childhood development.

Free early learning and childcare for some two-year-olds

The Scottish government offers two-year-olds free early learning and childcare through its Together for Twos scheme. Local councils may also offer extra schemes to help parents pay for childcare costs, such as paying for nursery or preschool attendance or household bills assistance or offering training courses for parents. There are also respite care and short-break services. Scotland boasts many different forms of childcare, such as nurseries and play groups for registered childminders and home care workers, as well as some people opting for hiring a nanny.

Your child should become eligible for free early learning and childcare around their second birthday, typically receiving a reference number or code to present to their childcare provider for verification of eligibility for free hours; these hours can be spread across various providers but cannot be used on consecutive days at more than one site.

If your household income falls below £16,040 annually, then you are entitled to 30 hours of free early learning and childcare per week over 38 weeks of the year. You can use these hours flexibly according to what best meets your needs, taking as many or as few as desired.

Alternative uses for childcare tax credits could include paying for overnight care or holidays, or alternatively, you could speak to your local authority and visit their website to understand more about what options may be available to you.

If your child has special educational needs or disabilities, additional support could be available through your local council to ensure they experience as much early learning and childcare benefit as possible. Your local council will assess what level of assistance will be granted.

Visit your local council’s website or speak to a family advice worker for more information about applying for free hours and the additional support available.

Baby boxes

The Baby Box is a free gift to every newborn in Scotland and contains clothes, blankets, toys, and books designed to assist babies’ sleep. Parents following safe sleeping guidelines may use it as an infant crib. Parents can store essential items before birth for later use as memory boxes or places for toys after their baby has outgrown them.

Since 2017, Scotland’s Baby Box Initiative has been implemented for all newborns. According to the Scottish government, this scheme aims to give all children an equal start in life. As part of their evaluation of how well this scheme is being received by families, a series of qualitative studies has been commissioned with strong public health aspects that provide valuable insights into its effect.

This study comprises four focus groups with 21 parents who have used the baby box within the past year and had at least one or more children born during that timeframe. Recordings were transcribed verbatim before being analysed using thematic analysis; the findings will inform future interventions for new parents in Scotland.

Parents were generally positive about the Baby Box and saw its potential as an avenue of social inclusion, though many also voiced concerns over its potential to reinforce certain parenting behaviours that not all would agree upon. For instance, its absence may signal to new parents that breastfeeding isn’t necessarily their only option.

Nearly half of the parents surveyed responded positively to a box, especially first-time and lower-income parents. Over half stated that the books included in the box encouraged them to start reading with their baby at an earlier age; many found the box a useful way of starting their learning journey; and most rated its contents as high quality.

Choosing a childcare setting

An effective childcare setting can play an essential part in your child’s growth and development. It provides them with opportunities to be independent, connect with other children, and learn new things while giving parents peace of mind that their child is in a safe environment and their needs are being met.

There are various childcare options available, from local authority nurseries and playgroups to registered childminders, nannies, and registered nanny services. Before making a decision about any particular childcare programme for your family, always visit first to make sure it fits. Check staff qualifications, experience, and training as well as tour their facility; classrooms and play areas alike should be carefully inspected prior to entering into any agreement or making decisions based on visiting times alone. Inquire as to the activities being offered and any possible schedule that might work for them before making your final decision.

If your child will be attending a nursery or childcare setting, be sure to discuss their policies regarding discipline and safety with their provider. Find out how often reports come home as well as any training programmes or support provided to teachers. Finally, inquire as to their communication methods between parents.

As it can be daunting to leave your child with someone new, it is crucial that you choose a childcare setting in which you feel secure leaving them. Many providers provide settling-in periods whereby gradually increasing the time your child spends at their centre will help them adjust and ensure they are content in their new care.

Contacting other parents who have utilised the childcare provider of interest can also be useful in gathering feedback about their experience and whether or not they would recommend the facility to other families. Furthermore, be sure to inspect its health and safety features, as well as discuss any specific needs your child might require.

Early learning and childcare systems are intended to support working parents and their families. Their purpose is to increase access to early learning and childcare facilities while increasing parental choice and engagement. Although the Scottish government and councils have made progress towards increasing ELC provision during the COVID-19 pandemic, they still face considerable challenges; nevertheless, they continue to collaborate closely to ensure children get a solid start in life.

Applying for funded early learning and childcare

Before your child can begin getting funded for early learning and childcare services from their local authority, you must first apply to them for a place. Each council has different processes for applying, with dates for when applications should be sent varying accordingly—generally around three months prior to their third birthday, but be sure to double check this with your council in case anything changes!

Children aged three and four living in Scotland are entitled to 1,140 hours of free early learning and childcare each year (or roughly 30 hours each week during term time) from local authorities; some two-year-olds may also qualify.

The Scottish government recently unveiled Funding Follows the Child as part of their initiative to assist parents with making informed decisions about where and when their children attend pre-school or nursery. It provides more flexibility while still guaranteeing high-quality education services; it will be fully implemented by August 2021.

This system is provider-neutral, meaning it does not discriminate based on whether your setting of choice is public, private, or third sector-run. Furthermore, all funded providers (nurries, playgroups, commissioned childminders, and home childcare workers) will have to meet a national standard set forth.

When applying for funded early learning and childcare for your child, the local authority will evaluate your family circumstances as well as how many hours are needed from the funded hours available to determine what setting will provide access for both you and your child.

Information about childcare options offered by your local council can be easily found by visiting its website or calling them. Each local authority will have its own way of providing this data, with most providing interactive maps that enable users to locate nearby childcare settings. Likewise, websites usually display the funding hours available and the type of childcare offered at each location.

Finding funding for disabled children can be made simpler with our guide, ‘Help with the costs of childcare for children and young people with disabilities or special educational needs’. If your child is disabled, make sure that you contact their local authority, as they may provide additional support services for them.


In conclusion, choosing the right childcare in Glasgow involves understanding the types of care available, costs, regulations, and the specific needs of the child. With the right information and support, parents can find a childcare solution that not only meets their logistical needs but also contributes positively to their child’s growth and happiness.