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First phase of increased nursery provision set to start

Families will have more flexibility and choice

Increased early years

The first phase of the Council's approach to increasing free early learning and childcare provision across the area will be introduced in August.

Local authorities currently provide 600 free hours a year for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.

As part of changes being introduced by the Scottish Government, this will increase to 1,140 hours by 2020.

The Council is preparing to roll-out increased provision in phases, with the aim of meeting this target prior to the 2020 deadline.

As well as instantly providing some children and families with increased free early learning and childcare, the phased approach will allow the Council to test new staffing models and introduce hot lunch provision.

Starting in August, two nursery classes and two family centres will extend the provision offered in order to give families more flexibility and choice.

With greater capacity now available at Arthurlie Family Centre, Isobel Mair Family Centre, Braidbar Nursery Class and Busby Nursery Class these facilities will be first to roll-out the increased provision. 

These facilities will give parents the opportunity to access sessions matching the school day, have the ability to attend longer sessions if required and also stretch the provision throughout the year, rather than just term time, using a mixture of full and half days.

Until the Council's expansion plan is fully implemented, access to increased free childcare places will be limited and so criteria are also being put in place to identify children who are eligible to benefit.

I am delighted that we will now be able to offer increased provision in four of our facilities from the start of the new session in August. When our expansion plan was set out we were very clear in our commitment to both meet the increased provision and also maintain the very high standards of learning and care provided in all our Council nursery settings. By taking this phased approach it will allow us to monitor its implementation and make improvements and changes to our approach as may be required. We are committed to ensuring our early learning and childcare provision is as affordable as possible for families, whilst also meeting their needs by offering flexibility. The new models being offered will provide this and I look forward to seeing it in action. Councillor Paul O'Kane, Convener for Education and Equalities

The Council submitted a detailed expansion plan to the Scottish Government in September last year.

This outlined the local authority's plan to meet the increased provision by 2020, with plans to create new nurseries, significantly extend some current centres and create new nursery classes in existing facilities.

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