Plans are being developed for access to the increased provision of 1140 hours of early learning and childcare from 2020, following consultations with parents and carers to discuss how they would prefer to access the care.
A report to Council (9 November) heard details of the plans that the Scottish Government had asked councils to produce for the expansion for all eligible 2. 3 and 4 year olds. The plans are underpinned by guiding principles:
• Quality – the expansion will ensure a high quality experience for all children, aim to close the attainment gap and strive to achieve the best start in life.
• Flexibility – parent/carers will be supported to work, train or study through more flexibility and choice aligned to work patterns, whilst ensuring high quality experiences for children.
• Accessibility – capacity of ELC will be sufficient and will support families through being conveniently located across the school clusters and settlements of Clackmannanshire. Needs of children who require additional support will also be considered through Getting it Right procedures.
• Affordability – increased access to affordable ELC which will help reduce barriers to work, training or study for parents/carers. Consideration of the level of payments to private partner nurseries will be crucial.
A draft delivery model has been developed, which will now be further refined. This includes plans for a combination of nursery provision for term time and full year, nursery paid wraparound and partnerships with provider nurseries and childminders. These initial plans will continue to develop to reflect local priorities and further guidance from the Scottish Government.
Education Spokesperson Cllr Graham Lindsay said: “I am pleased to see the progress that is being made in our plans to deliver this ground breaking increase in early learning and childcare for Clackmannanshire’e young children. A key priority of our Local Outcome Improvement Plan and Integrated Children’s Service Plan is that children will have the best start in life, and the provision of high quality early learning is crucial to achieving that. This expansion will also mean an increase in job opportunities for local people, which is very welcome. The expansion of the service will allow us to expand the great work that is already going on in our early learning settings throughout Clackmanannshire, and we’ll be working hard to develop the draft delivery model.”