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.”
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising users of private water supplies to take preventative steps to preserve their drinking water. Following a mild Winter and Spring, there is increasing pressures on water supplies.
There will be minimal impact on PSA posts due to extensive work done to protect staff through the holding back over 50 vacant posts and identifying other opportunities within the council. We have committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies.
The Highland Council, in partnership with Under One Roof Scotland, are inviting all private landlords to a special seminar specifically to look at issues surrounding common repairs and building maintenance in flats and how to deal with any problems that may arise. Under One Roof Scotland www.underoneroof.scot is an impartial online information site for flat owners and their advisers.
A greatly improved financial position is to be reported to the council's Corporate Resources Committee meeting next week for the financial year 2018/19. The position reflects the overspend reducing by £3M due to management actions in recent months.
Already leading the way when it comes to providing nutritional school meals, The Highland Council has reaffirmed its commitment to put more local fresh seasonal food on school dinner plates. Catherine Pendreigh, Food for Life Partnerships Manager at the Soil Association gave a presentation at today's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee on the accreditation already awarded to Highland Council's school meals and how this could be further developed in the future.
Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have welcomed new funding to stimulate economic investments in Highland town centres to help them diversify and flourish. In partnership with COSLA The Scottish Government have provided £50m capital to set up the Town Centre Fund 2019-2020.
The Highland Council is warning anyone considering buying a puppy to ensure they buy from reputable sources. Concerns have been raised that people are illegally importing dogs from Europe to sell without the correct health checks or paperwork.
Parking Enforcement is coming to a street near you. With the Decriminalisation of Parking Enforcement, and establishment of the Highland Council Parking Services in 2016, the local authority has committed to the roll-out of enforcement activities across all population centres in Highland.
Progress in the transformation of Inverness Castle to become a new visitor attraction for the city was marked today with the announcement of contracts awarded to the architect and the creative director for the project. The Inverness Castle project forms part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region deal.
The Chief Executive and Budget Leader are meeting with all budget holders this week to set out the need for tight budget controls to continue throughout the year. The Council approved the Council's change programme "A Sustainable Highland" in February, which is set to deliver £37.456m savings over the next three years.
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