Covid-19 Early Years Update

Early Years Update (Published Monday 3 August) 

Following confirmation on Thursday 30 July that the change in Scottish Government guidance had resulted in an increase in capacity in Early Years centres and that the Early Years allocation in East Dunbartonshire could increase from 750 hours, the following Frequently Asked Questions have been prepared to provide additional information.

 

Early Years Update (Published 30 July)

Following today’s (Thursday 30 July) updated Scottish Government guidance in relation to Early Years, the Council has been able to increase capacity across its Early Years Centres and is now able to deliver 940 hours of early years provision.

This is nearly 200 hours more than the original planned provision of 750 hours and 340 hours more than the current statutory requirement of 600 hours.

Work will progress on this increased allocation in line with requests for additional hours from the original allocation which need to be made by 31 July.

1140 hours will continue to be provided in the pilot 1140 hours early years centres (Auchinairn Early Years Centre, Hillhead Early Years Centre, Lennoxtown Early Years Centre and Twechar Early Years Centre) and all those currently eligible for 1140 hours can still apply for this provision.

Planning continues for the reopening of Council Early Years Centres on 10 August (12 August for term-time centres) following the revised Scottish Government guidance.

Subject to capacity at individual centres, the Council is working to provide flexibility across allocations where requested.  This flexibility will include consideration of half days and blended placements across more than one provider now that guidance permits this approach.

The review and processing of requests for additional hours will be carried out as quickly as possible now that increased capacity has been established.  Confirmation of revised allocations will be issued to parents/carers as soon as possible from week beginning Monday 3 August.

 

Applications for additional hours (Updated Tuesday 4 August)

Applications can now be made for additional hours to the 940 hours that have been allocated for Early Years for the new session in August 2020/21.  Applications are subject to availability in each Early Years centre.

Applications submitted after 5pm on Friday 31 July will be considered a late application and will be allocated subject to availability.

Frequently Asked Questions (Updated Monday 20 July)

In response to a number of questions being raised following our Early Years Update on 2 July, we have prepared these Frequently Asked Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Early Years Update (Published 2 July)

The Council has confirmed that planning is continuing for the reopening of Council Early Years Centres on 10 August (12 August for term-time centres) following the Scottish Government guidance published on 15 June.

Capacity has now been established at the Early Years Centres, with children in consistent small groups and distancing maintained between groups and between adults at the centres. Having established capacity the Council has confirmed that it will be able to deliver 750 hours of early years provision, 150 hours more than the current statutory requirement of 600 hours. Our Pilot 1140 hours Centres (Auchinairn Early Years Centre, Hillhead Early Years Centre, Lennoxtown Early Years Centre and Twechar Early Years Centre) will continue to deliver 1140 hours.

The allocation of 750 hours will be confirmed to parents early next week with information on our approach to planning. Specific allocations will be issued week beginning 13 July to meet our mid-July commitment for this, ahead of the scheduled reopening of centres on 10 August (12 August for term-time centres), subject to confirmation from Scottish Government.

Early Years Update (Published 18 June)

Following the Scottish Government publication this week of further guidance on the reopening of Early Years Centres, we are progressing our planning for both local authority centres and our funded providers. We will provide more information on these plans over the next few weeks and would plan to let parents know the outcome of their applications in mid July. 

All updates will continue to be published on this webpage and we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding as our planning for the safe reopening of our early years centres progresses.

Early Years Places (Published 1 June)

An update on Early Years places and the reopening of Early Years Centres will be issued later this month, once further guidance has been provided by Scottish Government. Thank you for your patience and understanding in these challenging times.

Childcare continues to be provided for the children of key workers and those who need support in our Early Years Hubs. Hubs have been established across Early Years, Primary and Secondary sectors for childcare provision during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Food Vouchers

The Council is providing food vouchers for those in receipt of free Early Years meals (with the exception of the universal provision in our pilot 1140hrs Early Years Centres.) If you are eligible and have not yet applied the application process is here:

Application Process – Early Years

Our application process for Early Years Free Meals required parents/cares to attend one of our Community Hubs, with the completed form (available in the Early Years section of the website) and with the evidence of their eligibility. This is not possible as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) and we have therefore created an online application process.

The eligibility criteria for this are broader than for School Clothing Grants/Free School Meals and so it is a separate application form. Early Years Free Meal entitlement excludes the universal provision being made in some of our Early Years Centres through the 1140 hours pilot. 

You can claim Early Years Free Meals for nursery aged children with the following criteria:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £6,900
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit where the monthly earned income does not exceed £610
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Those aged two or over who are (or have been at any point since turning two) either looked after by a Local Authority, the subject of a Kinship Care Order or a child with a Parent or Appointed Guardian.

You should complete the Early Years Free Meal application form here:
 


Once your application has been verified and while our Early Years Centres remain closed, you will receive a Food Voucher.
You should make an application if:

If you are eligible for Early Years Free Meals (excluding the universal provision in our pilot 1140 hrs centres) but have not yet applied.

If your circumstances have changed and you are now eligible for Early Years Free Meals (excluding the universal provision in our pilot 1140 hrs centres), you should apply for the benefits you are now entitled to and once you are in receipt of these, you can make an application to be eligible for a Food Voucher.

For those parents/carers who we have information on our system that they receive Free Early Years Meal entitlement and have already provided the proof of entitlement, a voucher should have already been issued.

If you are currently in receipt of Early Years Free Meals (excluding the universal provision in our pilot 1140 hrs centres) but you have not yet been issued with a Food Voucher, please ring 0300 1234510 and provide your name and contact number and the name of your child/children, the Early Years Centre they attend and if possible, the date you received your award. We will investigate and get back to you.

Early Years Payments

Following the Government guidance that all schools and Early Years establishments should close from Friday 20 March, we have been putting measures in place to address the consequences of this requirement.

There is no expectation for fees to be paid while the centres are closed. 

No invoices will be issued for the next session, and Direct Debits are in the process of being suspended. We will restart contracts when the current measures are lifted and the centres re-open. 

We are in the process of calculating everyone's account up to the closure of the centres on 20 March and will advise of the credit/debit status of your account once this work is completed.

Thank you for your understanding as we implement these measures at this unprecedented time.

Early learning and childcare expansion (1140 hours)

You may be aware that the Scottish Government has removed the deadline of August 2020 for councils to deliver 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare.

This decision has been take to support all councils, including East Dunbartonshire at a time when we are on an emergency footing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, diverting all available resources to provide essential services.

In East Dunbartonshire, we were already delivering additional hours of early learning and childcare to families in our four pilot areas and this model was enabling us to plan for the wider expansion throughout the area. Pausing this for now enables us to focus on supporting the people of East Dunbartonshire through this worrying and unsettling time.

A further update will be provided once normal services resume and once a revised timescale can be finalised. Thank you for your understanding and support at this challenging time.

Please Note: The application forms for additional hours are not yet available. A further update will be published on this page and publicised on social media as soon as they are available.

Emergency Childcare provision for Keyworkers

Emergency childcare arrangements are available for parents/carers who are key workers with no safe alternative childcare available. Full details and the application process for a place at one of our Early Years locality Hubs can be found on the Covid-19 Schools Update webpage:

www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/council-democracy/covid-19-school-update