Reform Scotland said the current system for government-funded pre-school provision was “unacceptable and unfair” as some children are entitled to less early-years education than others.
The organisation highlighted that as the legal entitlement starts the term after a child turns three, a child born in August will receive a full two years before starting school while a child born in September will receive only 18 months. Reform Scotland said the cost to parents using private nurseries could be as much as £2,800 and argued the scale of the “unfairness” would increase as the government moves to double the current entitlement.
In response to a Scottish Government consultation on the expansion, the think-tank called for provision to begin in the August two years before a child is due to start school, irrespective of their age at the time.
Research director Alison Payne said: “The Scottish Government has set a goal of closing the attainment gap. “However, many children start school already at a disadvantage.”