Scottish Government guidance: Funding and free school meals

Below you can download two letters containing guidance on updates to funding and free school meals for Early Learning and Childcare (ELC).

Additional costs for free school meals in ELC


Adult and child holding money

This letter clarifies Early Learning and Childcare allocation of additional costs for free school meals: 

  • £3 per child per lunch can be claimed by partner providers from their local authority for pre-school children eligible for a free school lunch (FSL) at their nursery
  • Legislation has been changed - local authorities are now required by government to secure the provision of a free school lunch for eligible children at partner providers, find out more here
  • If you have children at your setting who are eligible for FSL, please get in touch with your local authority to claim this funding.

If you have any issues in accessing the £3 per child per lunch get in touch with NDNA Scotland at the Edinburgh office on 0131 516 6967. 

Local authorities will receive £21 million in revenue and £30 million in capital funding to support the expansion of ELC to 1140 hours by 2020. 


Revenue funding allocation states:

  • Extended opening hours for existing ELC settings, or opening new settings to build capacity for 1140 hours, including revenue implications of any capital expenditure 
  • Developing or expanding the involvement of childminders in the provision of ELC, including “blended” models involving provision in both group and domestic settings 
  • Enhanced provision for children with additional support needs
  • Implementing or expanding innovative models of workforce deployment and training, both in local authority and partner providers
  • Developing, introducing or expanding outdoor nursery provision; and supporting delivery of the additional graduate commitment by providing backfill for staff requiring day release for study towards the BA in Childhood Practice. 

Capital funding allocation states:

  • Initiatives that have the potential to realise additional capacity for 1140 hours, through making the best use of the existing public sector estate such as an extension, remodelling or refurbishment of existing ELC settings or other public assets to enable extended opening hours and / or additional capacity
  • Initiatives that support the development of ELC settings which seek to embrace the Curriculum for Excellence’s emphasis on a broader learning experience through active learning and learning outdoors and providing capital grants to delivery partners, including third sector and private providers, in furtherance of these purposes. 

Both funds are ring fenced for ELC and local authorities have to report to government on how the money was spent.

They will receive the funds in June 2017. Please get in touch with your local authority officials to access either of these funds and if there are any issues with access contact NDNA Scotland on 0131 516 6967.