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College opportunity will help meet childcare targets

Staff will complete HNC qualification

Child Development Officers

A group of 20 staff currently working in schools across East Renfrewshire are off to college as part of the Council's drive to meet new Scottish Government targets for free childcare.

Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) - whose role is to provide support to pupils and teachers - were given the opportunity to enrol in a course at West College Scotland to complete an HNC in Early Childhood Practice.

The course, which begins on March 16 and will take a year to complete, will enable these staff to apply for jobs as Child Development Officers within the council's Early Learning and Childcare Centres.

Staff are being given paid day release by the Council to allow them to attend college, and will also have to spend a minimum of 60 days within an early learning and childcare setting to complete the course.

The move is part of the Council's plans to significantly increase its early years workforce to ensure the Scottish Government's plans to double the number of hours of free childcare available to parents are met.

Parents across Scotland currently enjoy 600 hours of free childcare at local authority run early years establishments, but this will rise to 1,140 hours per year by 2020.

We are already well prepared for introducing the increased provision of free childcare with the significant investment in our early years infrastructure over the past few years. However, it is also vitally important that the first-class facilities we are providing for our children are matched by highly qualified staff. Doubling the free childcare provision will require a significant increase in our workforce, so this opportunity for our PSAs is just one of a number of ways in which we will meet this need. I am confident that this will be an extremely rewarding career development opportunity for all involved. Not only does it provide progression for this dedicated group of staff, but we will also benefit from the local knowledge and expertise that these individuals already possess. Mhairi Shaw, Director of Education

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