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Budget Consultation 2018 - 2021

Outcome 1: Early years

Consultation proposals for outcome 1.

Early years children playing

We want all children in East Renfrewshire to experience a stable and secure start to their lives and be supported to succeed. As such we have committed to investing £17.6million in Early Years in 2017/18. 

Our core objectives are to ensure:

  • Parents are supported to provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for their families.
  • Our young children are healthy, active and included.
  • Our young children are safe and cared for.

A number of services fall under Early Years, including:

  • Our 19 early learning and childcare centres, including 27 teachers and 154 child development officers.
  • Children and families services including child protection, looked after children, children with disabilities, as well as children and families who are most in need of support.
  • Our early years change fund which develops a number of local projects that connect young families with their wider community, supports parents and children to learn and play together, build strong emotional bonds and ensure young children are happy, healthy and supported to develop the skills needed to succeed at school.

Fast facts

  • 2293 children
  • 19 early learning and childcare centres
  • 27 teachers

Early Years Proposals 

Review of staffing, management structures and financial support for staff training in early learning and childcare establishments

Context

This review will give us the opportunity to address a number of issues such as the fact that many of our facilities are under utilised during the school holidays.

The majority of the Council's nine family centres currently have a Head Teacher or Head of Centre, two Depute Heads of Centre and one/two Senior Child Development Officers. In the Barrhead/Neilston area we have three family centres (Arthurlie, Carlibar and Madras) which are open and fully staffed 50 weeks of the year, regardless of the number of children booked into these services. 

As part of the staffing structure in place across the area, children attending a private nursery also have access to a dedicated early learning and childcare teacher to support their learning. 

In addition, we have a budget which covers the cost of the discretionary training of our early learning and childcare staff, particularly with further education to degree level. At present 48 per cent of ERC early years workers have a degree or equivalent level qualification, compared to the national figure of 19 per cent. 

Proposal

We would review the management structures in early learning and childcare establishments. We would also reduce the number of family centres which operate year-round in Barrhead/Neilston from three to two, with Carlibar Family Centre returning to only opening during the school year. Additionally, the dedicated teaching post for children attending partnership nurseries and playgroups would be removed, with support and challenge to nursery partner providers being provided through our existing partnership improvement groups.

What will this mean

These proposals would have no impact on the ability to deliver the nursery places required and the quality of children's experiences. It would reduce the number of Depute Heads from two to one per family centre, but we would backfill this change with additional Child Development Officers. This would streamline management arrangements at these centres whilst maintaining the necessary adult to child ratio. A reduction in financial support may impact on staff's ability to undertake further education, and they would need to fund this themselves. However, this staff group would still be supported with their professional development by East Renfrewshire's Quality Improvement team.

Estimated saving

£357,000

Removal of Sure Start budget

Context

We currently support the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership to fund a Play Scheme Coordinator who supports children and young people during holiday periods and a substance misuse post which works with families requiring support. In addition we fund a part-time Social Work Assistant Post as part of the Education Department's Outreach Service.  

Proposal

To remove the funding for these posts.

What will this mean

If the funding was removed, these posts could not be funded, however we believe we can make these changes thanks to the success of new community outreach social work services such as Family First - a team of staff who focus on preventing problems by providing early intervention and support to families on a range of issues helping them avoid the need for formal social work support.

Estimated saving

£49,000

East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HCSP) services to vulnerable children

Many of our services to vulnerable children and their families are delivered through our Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP). Whilst the Council provides funding for the HSCP, along with the NHS, the HSCP Integration Joint Board agrees spending priorities, rather than the Council. The budget booklet provides more detail on this.

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