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.”
Following a pre-planning drop-in session at the end of September 2018, The Highland Council has given the public a further 28 days to share their views and comment on the proposal for a new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Longman landfill site in Inverness. The public can now visit the Council's website to find out more about the MRF and to share their views on the proposal.
Dr James Vance, Head Teacher at Culloden Academy has been appointed as interim Head of Education Services with The Highland Council's Care and Learning Service. Dr Vance, who starts his new employment in January 2019, will be based at the Council's headquarters on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness.
The Highland Council has submitted a planning application for a low head hydroelectric development at the Torvean Weir on the River Ness at land 430m south west of Highland Rugby Club, on Bught Road, Inverness Using an Archimedes screw the hydroelectric scheme will have a generating capacity of up to 100kW and an average annual renewable energy output of approximately 600,000 kWh per annum. The renewable energy generated will return an income to the Council through the Feed in Tariff mechanism and be connected to the local Archive Centre and leisure centre.
The Highland Council is carrying out the formal review of its Polling Districts and Places. This review is required in terms of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 as all polling districts and polling places should be reviewed at least every four years.
Joint operation identifies poor standards of food safety and staff living accommodation. Highland Council Environmental Health Officers were required to take formal enforcement action regarding poor standards of food safety during a recent multi-agency operation led by Immigration Enforcement.
The Scottish Government's announcement of a consultation on the introduction of a visitor levy ("tourist tax") has been welcomed by The Highland Council. Convener Bill Lobban recently gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, where he emphasised the importance of tourism to the Highlands.
The Highland Council has appointed a new Chief Executive. The successful candidate is Donna Manson, currently Service Director for Children and Young People in the Scottish Borders.
Local services throughout Scotland could be plunged into crisis after - UNISON, Unite and the GMB - wrote to COSLA to say they will recommend their members reject their revised pay offer when they consult them in the coming weeks. The revised pay offer, made by COSLA on 6th September 2018, was a 3% increase for all local government workers earning up to £80,000, but the trade unions are angry that this is below inflation and does not improve low pay.
Members have discussed the consultation and proposed response to a review of the structure of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme. The Highland Council Pension Fund is one of eleven constituent funds of the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme.
The Highland Council has agreed to plan for a potential budget gap of £66.7 million over the next three years. It was agreed by Members in June to develop plans for a multi-year budget for the next 3 financial years (2019-22) to meet the challenge of a potential funding gap dependent on a wide range of variables.
[Printer Friendly Version]