Highland on track to meet ELC expansion requirements by 2020
29th May 2019
The national expansion of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) hours will see entitlement for three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds increased from 600 to 1,140 hours per year from August 2020.
Every setting in Highland is being considered and assessed in preparation for full roll out in August 2020. The funding from the Scottish Government means that we are able to adopt a phased approach with approximately 70 sites already identified to move to 1140 hours from August 2019, with further sites expected to be identified into January 2020 before the statutory requirement in August 2020.
The ELC expansion programme aim is to reduce the poverty related attainment gap and ensure all children get the best start in life though the provision of high quality ELC. By providing an extension to the funded hours of ELC, parents who wish to access further education, training or employment will be able to do so.
The Highland Council aims to ensure families can access a high quality service that is flexible, accessible and affordable. With over 190 providers of ELC, including private, third sector and local authority settings, the Council is committed to developing proposals for the expansion of 1140 hours to more settings in 2019/20 to support Highland families' varying ELC requirements.
Parents and carers are being encouraged to understand their entitlement to ELC and will be supported to consider their options around available provision. Take up is optional and families do not have to take the full 1140 hours on offer, but rather parents and carers can consider what is in the best interests of their children and their own commitments in choosing the amount of funded childcare.
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing committee, said: "Because the provision of high quality ELC sets a solid foundation for children to develop their learning, life and work skills and also supports parents to work, train or study we are working tirelessly to meet the expansion requirements across Highland. The evolving nature of early year’s development means we are adopting innovative approaches to recruitment, capacity, infrastructure development and service delivery in meeting this obligation."
Parents and carers wishing to find out more about the ELC options available to them are encouraged to contact the Council’s ELC project team generic email address ELCTeam@highland.gov.uk.
Highland Council's Environmental Health team have identified raised levels of naturally occurring algal toxins following routine monitoring in coastal waters at Loch Glencoul, Kylesku area. Eating shellfish such as cockles, mussels, oysters or razor fish from these areas may pose a health risk arising from the consumption of these algal toxins.
Highland Council's Environmental Health team has identified raised levels of naturally occurring algal toxins following routine monitoring in coastal waters at Loch Eishort. Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, oysters or razor fish from these areas may pose a health risk arising from the consumption of these algal toxins.
Funding for food and activities during the summer break. More children and young people will benefit from a nutritious meal and a place to play this summer holiday.
At a meeting of The Highland Council on Thursday 27 June 2019, Councillors decided to discontinue the provision of education at Altnaharra Primary School, dividing its catchment area between Tongue Primary, Farr Primary and Lairg Primary schools. A copy of the consultation report, together with the original proposal paper and all relevant appendices can be viewed on the Council's website at: www.highland.gov.uk/schoolconsultations The Council is satisfied that implementation of closure is the most appropriate response to the reasons for formulating the original proposal identified by the authority.
"Highland Council as agreed to allow a question time for members of the public at future Council meetings. The motion was presented by Depute Leader Cllr Alasdair Christie and means that from December 2019, Highland Council meetings will include a time allocation for questions from members of the public.
Highland Councillors have unanimously agreed that the Council will support the continuation of the exemption from UK Air Passenger Duty for flights departing from airports in the Highlands & Islands; and Members also agreed that the Council will continue working with HiTRANS to present the case of the need for, and benefit arising from an exemption from the current UK Air Passenger Duty and any successor duty. The Council's stance comes this week as calls have been made by Aberdeen Airport for greater parity with Highlands & Islands.
Suicide prevention is a key priority for The Highland Council. Members have agreed today, to take forward a piece of research with partners including NHS Highland and Police Scotland, to better understand the current evidence base and experience of suicide in Highland.
The introduction of a service to support the mental health and wellbeing of Highland Council staff and councillors has been approved by the Council as part of a range of measures to improve wellbeing. An Employee Assistance Programme for staff and Members will be put in place to offer telephone and internet-based counselling 24 hours a day.
Councillor Mackie had a written question at today's meeting of Highland council. Item 12 - Question Time To the Chair of the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee "Official Highland Council guidance indicates that, unless extended, successful Community Asset Transfer requests should be completed by the Local Authority within a nine months' timeframe.
From highland council Meting today 27 June 2019. Item 12 - Question Time To the Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee "What are the current best estimates for present total Highland Council debt and the annual financial commitment required to service this debt?".
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