New partnership will accelerate understanding of School Age Childcare

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland and Ember Technology join CivTech’s Accelerator programme to uncover the current provision of School Age Childcare in communities, and help Scottish Government find the data they need to design a system to meet families’ childcare needs. 

CivTech is the Scottish Government’s national business accelerator programme and has been created to tackle public sector challenges by supporting the private sector to develop innovative products and services. 

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) is a national childcare charity that was created after it was found that parents were unable to accept offers of employment and education due to a lack of high quality, flexible, and accessible childcare services.  

FCSS, and their tech partners Ember, responded to a challenge set by Scottish Government’s Early Learning & Childcare Directorate which asked: ‘How do we better understand the supply and demand of school age childcare in communities?’ 

School age childcare describes the current set of childcare services and activities, formal and informal, regulated and unregulated, which happen before school, after school and during the school holidays. It can be extremely beneficial to families as it often gives adults the time they need to work, train or study with the knowledge that their children are being cared for. 

FCSS were successful in their application to CivTech due to the ability to build on their existing Caerus software. The CivTech programme will aid in the further development of Caerus, allowing the team to collect real-time data on the supply and demand of school age childcare in communities across Scotland. 

Susan McGhee, Chief Executive at FCSS said:

“We are delighted to be a part of CivTech’s latest accelerator programme, and we’re excited to be working with Scottish Government on this challenge. By understanding the current landscape and helping parents to access school age childcare we will be able to ensure that they can continue in meaningful work or education – a core reason FCSS was created. 

“Currently in Scotland there are more than 9,000 regulated school age childcare providers offering initiatives such as breakfast and after school clubs, unfortunately there is currently less visibility of unregulated providers of specialist activities, such as drama classes or sports clubs. By developing our existing Caerus software, we will be able to collect data which will not only help us to understand the supply and demand of school age childcare, but also uncover parents’ unmet needs. 

“The CivTech programme will help us to gain these insights which we can share with Scottish Government’s ELC team so that we can work together to develop a system that can meet the school age childcare needs of families across Scotland.”