Childcare plan is agreed

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education Committee this week agreed proposals to provide 600 hours of early learning and childcare for each eligible child from this August.

This will be achieved by:

• Increasing the pre-school education session offered in council nurseries from two hours 30 minutes to three hours 10 minutes;

• Purchasing up to 600 hours of early learning and childcare for each eligible child enrolled in partner provider nurseries, to be delivered in a way that suits parents; and

• An increase of a minimum of three percent in payments to partner providers, to be sought from the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.

The committee also agreed to introduce a new post of early years support assistant.

The committee agreed to receive a further report in six months. This will outline detailed costing, future plans based on consultation with parents, and recommendations, as outlined in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill and any subsequent legislation. The Bill is currently progressing through the Scottish Parliament with enactment anticipated this spring.

The Bill sets out requirements for local authorities to increase provision for eligible three- and four-year-olds from 475 hours of funded pre-school education to 600 hours of early learning and childcare. This provision is also to be extended to two-year-olds who are looked after by the local authority. Last month, provision was extended to include all two-year-olds living in workless households.

The Bill states that 600 hours must be provided over at least 38 weeks of the year and that each session must be more than 2.5 hours and less than eight hours. The council’s education service must offer early learning and childcare as equitably as possible across the region.

For full report see: