The Education Committee has agreed to move forward with planning the expansion of the Early Learning and Childcare service in East Dunbartonshire.
Following the Scottish Government’s announcement to provide 1140 hours of childcare to children aged 3 to 5, the Council has been researching the opportunities to expand the service and further develop the efficiency, quality, flexibility and accessibility of provision in the area.
An implementation plan has been drawn up and covers the following areas:
- Ensuring quality provision;
- Workforce development;
- Physical capacity and infrastructure;
- Delivery model;
- Commissioning of funded provision;
- Process and admin changes; and
- Consultation and engagement.
The Council has submitted a detailed plan to the Scottish Government with financial costings to inform the planning at national level. There has been a commitment from the Scottish Government to a multi-year budget but the allocation to each local authority has yet to be finalised.
Convener of the Education Committee, Councillor Mohrag Fischer said, ”Having consulted with parents through an online survey and small group engagement across the authority area, we are aware that there is a strong support for extended day and year early years and childcare provision. A pilot programme using the extended year model is taking place in two of our nurseries and the uptake has been very positive. However, the implementation of these additional hours is a major project and we are currently looking at the ways in which we can ensure that we there are enough childcare places to meet demand.”
The Council delivers early learning and childcare in partnership with 25 voluntary and private childcare providers and at the meeting the Committee agreed to extend the two-year partnership for an additional year to allow more detailed engagement before the introduction of 1140 hours by 2020.
Cllr Fischer, continued, “At this stage a model of service delivery has been put together with involvement from parents, service providers and other partners. This model includes innovative new developments such as forest schools and blended models of provision with childminders.
“The introduction of these extended hours will see the introduction of more varied and flexible options and we will continue to engage with parents and carers before, after and during the roll out of 1140 hours provision.”
Follow us on Twitter @EDCouncil or like us on Facebook facebook.com/edunbartonshirecouncil