Significant changes have taken place in schools and nurseries across Argyll and Bute in preparation for the roll out of 1,140 hours fully funded childcare provision to more areas.
The expansion in childcare, from 600 hours to 1,140 hours, is part of a Scottish Government initiative aimed at providing young people with a high quality experience that can make a significant contribution to their development. It is also designed to help close the poverty-related attainment gap.
To accommodate the increased hours, new early years rooms have been created at Sandbank Primary near Dunoon, and Cardross Early Learning and Childcare unit near Helensburgh.
Significant building work also took place to alter the existing ELC units at Carradale, Dalmally, Drumlemble, Tarbert, Tighnabruaich and St Joseph Primary Schools, whilst Campbeltown Nursery Centre has opened an additional unit.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Our expansion to 1,140 hours is going very well. A total of 52 of our ELC units are now offering these increased hours, and we are well on track with the rest.
“Our early years staff have worked extremely hard to meet tight deadlines and ensure that quality provision is in place for our young people. They have worked tirelessly with their colleagues in catering, property services, environmental health and members of the Care Inspectorate, to make this happen.
“Staff have taken part in a range of outdoor learning training too. This is really important as 50 per cent of learning within nurseries will be done outdoors by August 2020.
“We want the very best start for our children and young people and, with very exciting things happening in our early years service, I have no doubt that we are helping to make that happen.”