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Expanding Early Learning and Childcare

30th May 2018

The trial expansion of early learning and childcare in 6 centres in Highland was welcomed by Members of Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee today (30 May 2018).

The aim of the expansion is to provide high quality, flexible early learning and childcare that is accessible and affordable for families.

Scottish Government is committed to nearly doubling the entitlement of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) to 1140 hours a year by 2020 for all 3 and 4-year olds and eligible 2-year olds. Highland Council, as part of this phased expansion is trialling 1140 hours from August 2018 in six centres:

Merkinch Primary School Nursery

Merkinch Family Centre

Fliperz Day Care Centre

Obsdale Primary School Nursery

Kyle Primary School Nursery

Bun-sgoil Ghaidhlig Loch Abar (BSGL)

Cllr Andrew Baxter, Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee said: "Expanding early learning and childcare provision supports the Council’s Programme commitment to ‘provide services that support all our children to have the best start in life’. This is great news for children, parents and families in the trial centre communities. In addition to improving early learning it also enable parents and carers to get back into the work place hence boosting our local economies.

“Members will be asked to consider more centres throughout the Highlands moving to 1140 hours in August 2019 based on the level of funding Highland received from the Scottish Government next year."

Councillors welcomed the multi-year funding allocations to deliver the expansion of 1140 hours by 2020, of £26.469m recurring funding for service delivery and funding of £32.590m to enable capital works to go ahead.

Bill Alexander Director of Care and Learning said: “This is a welcome development, of great benefit to children and families. It will enable the Council to support the development and learning of children and assist with closing the attainment gap.

“The funding will also be used to employ graduate staff to provide additional support to children in nurseries in areas of deprivation.”


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