Following the revision to Scottish Government guidance for early years delivery announced today (Thursday 30 July) the Council is able to increase funded provision to 940 hours across both Council and funded provider early years centres for the new 2020/21 session.
Joint Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Polson explained, “We are delighted that we are now able to offer 940 hours to all eligible children in the new session in August. Our teams have been working hard to ensure that we deliver all the hours we possibly can and today’s update means that we have been able to increase capacity across all our centres whilst complying with the revised guidance.”
As previously confirmed, the Council’s four existing 1140 hours Pilot Centres, in areas of deprivation, (Auchinairn Early Years Centre, Hillhead Early Years Centre, Twechar Early Years Centre and Lennoxtown Early Years Centre) will all continue to deliver 1140 hours. All those who currently meet the eligibility criteria for 1140 hours are also entitled to that allocation.
Councillor Polson added, “The increase in capacity in our centres also means that we are able to work to provide greater flexibility in terms of the options that parents and carers are seeking. Where possible, we will be able to offer half day options, and the revised guidance also means that blended placements across more than one provider can now be considered.”
The updated plans for the reopening of Council early years’ centres take account of the revised guidance from Scottish Government published today (Thursday 30 July), with health, safety and the well-being of children and staff continuing to be paramount. Parents/carers were able to apply for additional hours following the initial allocations by 31 July, and work can then begin on updating allocations.
Joint Council Leader Councillor Vaughan Moody explained, “When we detailed the initial allocations, parents and carers were invited to apply for additional hours, subject to availability at their early years centre. The closing date for those applications is tomorrow (31 July) and from then we can begin processing those requests, and the new allocations will incorporate the additional funding from the original 750 hours offered to 940 hours.”
“Whilst it is a significant piece of work to review and process the additional requests in line with revised capacity, this exercise will be completed as quickly as is possible and parents and carers will be advised of the updated position in relation to their placements from week beginning Monday 3 August.”
Parents/carers who have applied for funding with a private or voluntary provider or childminder will also receive confirmation of the additional funding from 3 August and should then link with their chosen provider to discuss the placement for their child.
Councillor Polson concluded, “Covid-19 continues to impact our lives and we fully understand how challenging it is for parents and carers during these unprecedented times. We would like to thank them for their patience and understanding as we implement today’s updated guidance. It is no small undertaking for our Council teams to update allocations and to ensure that our early years centres are safe when they reopen next month and we would like to thank them too for their truly fantastic efforts.”