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Programme for Government
The Scottish Government announced its Programme for Government for 21-22. These are the key commitments relating to children and families.
- Drive forward a national mission to end child poverty – rolling out Scottish Child Payment to children under 16 by the end of 2022 and doubling it to £20 per week as quickly as possible thereafter: this year and next – ahead of full rollout – we will provide a £520 'bridging payment' for every child in receipt of free school meals.
- Starting this year, invest a further £1 billion over the Parliament to tackle the poverty related attainment gap, and support the recruitment of 3,500 additional teachers and 500 classroom assistants: this will be over and above the 1,400 extra teachers recruited during the pandemic. Starting next year, we will undertake a refresh of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, and continue work to implement the recent OECD recommendations on curriculum and assessment.
- Build a new system of wraparound childcare for school age children. This year, we will publish a 5‑year delivery plan, undertake an evaluation of pilot projects to inform full implementation, and establish a public panel, including parents, carers, children and young people.
- Expand free early learning and childcare to one and two year olds – starting in this Parliament with children from low-income households.
- Starting this year, invest £100 million to support frontline services and focus on prevention of violence against women and girls from school onward.
- Away from school, we are ensuring that children all over Scotland have access to fun, safe environments to play and socialise in. In our first 100 days, the Scottish Government has already delivered our £20 million Summer Offer for Children and Young People. £15 million has been specifically targeted at those who have been hardest hit, with those aged up to 25 from low‑income households being provided with opportunities they may otherwise struggle to access. £5 million was provided to a coalition of 18 national partners to strengthen and build on existing summer provision. Over the course of this Parliament, we will invest £60 million to renew play parks in Scotland, so children have access to high‑quality outdoor play in their own communities, with the first funding allocation of £5 million agreed with local authorities in our first 100 days.
- Our promise included, 'where children are safe in their families and feel loved they must stay – and families must be given support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties which get in the way'. This requires a shift in investment to prevent families reaching crisis point. We are committed to investing at least £500m over the life of this Parliament to create a Whole Family Wellbeing Fund. This will enable the building of universal, holistic support services, available in communities across Scotland, giving families access to the help they need, where and when they need it. This will help reduce the need for crisis intervention and contribute to improving people's lives across a wide range of different areas, including but not limited to, child and adolescent mental health, child poverty, alcohol and drugs misuse and educational attainment. Fundamentally, this is about significantly reducing the number of children and young people who are living away from their families by 2030.
Also in this issue
Other articles published in Autumn 2021 newsletter.