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Wishart supports parents threatened by £4,500 price tag over school start deferral

February 3, 2021 7:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has today called for funded childcare for parents who choose for their children to defer starting schooling to be available from 2021, rather than waiting until 2023 for the policy to be introduced.

Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals to give parents both the legal right to defer Primary 1 and have it replaced with funded early learning and childcare were rejected by SNP, Labour and Green MSPs.

Speaking in the chamber, Ms Wishart said:

"I have supported the move to a legal right to funded deferrals throughout the Give Them Time campaign, but I have grave concerns about what the Government has brought forward today.

"A full right to deferral will not exist across Scotland until 2023. Children have missed out on so much because of the virus. And so more families than ever before will now be wondering if their four-year-old is ready to start school this August.

"And yet this August there will be a £4,500 price tag hanging over families who want to give their children more time.

"Parents should be given the legal right to both defer Primary 1 and have it replaced with funded early learning and childcare. They should be allowed to concentrate solely on what is best for their child, not the family's financial situation.

"Children only start school once. The government could remove the extra financial barrier, guarantee full funding for all parents who need it and empower families to do what they feel is right. On that basis, Scottish Liberal Democrats cannot support these regulations today."