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.
Members have, at a special council meeting today, agreed a top priority for the Scottish Government New Schools Investment Programme bid. Members agreed that the proposed Tain 3-18 Campus project is nominated as The Highland Council's priority for consideration by the Scottish Government for inclusion in the initial phase of the New Schools Investment Programme with a delivery timescale by the end of 2021.
At this time of year many householders are thinking of their gardens, keeping them tidy or seeing to those jobs that need done before the weather turns. This is also the same time of year for criminals to take advantage of this and prey on the unsuspecting.
The Council has successfully distributed more than 20,000 Chromebook devices to all its schools to support learners to acquire key technology and life skills in facilitating a digitally enabled generation. Based on the ICT in Learning Strategic Action Plan 2015, The Highland Council started the Chromebook Project in November 2017 where every pupil in P6-S6 will be allocated a Chromebook for their use in school and at home for educational purposes and P1-P5 pupils will have access to Chromebooks at school on a 1:5 ratio.
Considerable effort has been focussed on returning young people to Highland. Since the Councils enhanced Placement Programme began in June 2018, 34 young people have returned to Highland or circumvented OOA (Out of Authority) avoiding costs of over £5M as compared with these young people remaining out of area for a year.
In excess of 22,000 customers were assisted by the Council's Welfare Support Team and Citizens Advice during 2018/19 for support with welfare, debt and housing issues. 3,372 customers were helped by the Welfare Support Team and 18,777 clients were assisted by Citizens Advice.
One hundred and seventeen (117) probationer teachers were recently welcomed to Highland at an Induction course held at Millburn Academy in Inverness. The probationer teachers' induction day is the first of a number of professional learning events throughout the year specifically arranged to support probationer teacher induction and their ongoing professional learning.
Measures to be put in place to cut down amount of construction and demolition waste collected at Household Waste Recycling Centres. The Highland Council will be putting measures in place to restrict the amount of construction and demolition waste bought to its network of 21 Household Waste Recycling Centres.
Highland Council today (15 August 2019) launched a consultation on a potential Highland Transient Visitor Levy. The Council has not yet made a decision on whether to implement a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL), also known as a Tourist Tax.
The Highland Council is warning the public of the presence of an algal bloom at Loch Watten, Caithness, following an examination of sample water on Monday (12/08/19). As a precautionary measure, environmental health have posted notices next to the water body, warning that contact with the algal scum or material should be avoided.
An officer in the Highland Council's Trading Standards team has won a UK award for her work on anti-counterfeiting and protecting consumers. Lynn Foster was presented with the Dave Hankinson Memorial Award for Individual Excellence by Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG).
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