This survey shows parents feel the same confusion about 1140 hours that nurseries often face.

But it also makes clear that private and voluntary providers are essential to deliver the flexible early learning and childcare places that families want and need.

With just over a year to go to the full expansion being rolled out, it is concerning that these issues are still being faced.

READ MORE: Anger and confusion over free nursery places pilots

We know councils have flexibility around the roll-out of the expansion, but this often creates different ways of doing the same thing. This makes it harder to produce clear and concise information for parents or providers, despite national guidance from the Scottish Government.

Sadly, we see examples where parents choose providers that are not yet included in the expansion, only to be told that they must move their children if they want to get the full 1140 hours. Neither parents nor providers can understand why some councils aren’t allowing choice about accessing those hours.

Nurseries and providers want the best start in life for the children in their care and want to see the expansion succeed, but the hourly rates currently on the table, combined with the complications of the roll-out, are threatening their sustainability.

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Private and voluntary sector providers are also being hit by qualified and experienced staff leaving for council run nurseries where they are offering higher salaries. Other providers cannot compete with these on the rates currently paid for funded places.

We need a concerted effort to get more people into the early learning and childcare workforce now so they are ready for August 2020. At the same time, funding rates need to be set which allow all providers to operate on a level playing field.

If nurseries are forced to close it is devastating to children, communities and those who run and work in them.

Purnima Tanuku is chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association