Boost for parents as early years entitlement increases

Young children in East Dunbartonshire are set to benefit from an increase in the entitlement of early learning and childcare provision.

The forthcoming Children and Young People Act requires ante and pre-school children to receive 600 hours early learning and childcare and this will come into effect in August 2014.

Children become eligible in the term following their third birthday and two year old children who are looked after or are in kinship care are also eligible to receive the new entitlement.

Convener of Education, Councillor Eric Gotts, said: “The introduction of these extra hours in early learning and childcare is welcomed by many parents in East Dunbartonshire.

“Having carried out a consultation prior to the introduction of the Children and Young Peoples Act, we have been able to better tailor this provision to meet the needs of parents and children within the area. We will continue to review early learning and childcare to ensure that we provide services that benefit families within East Dunbartonshire.”

Parents will be able to access the entitlement in the following ways:

· Five sessional places at a local authority nursery class, with each session being three hours ten minutes in the morning or afternoon, five days per week. This will be during the 38 weeks of term time per year, excluding five in-service days.

· At an extended day/year provision in the local authority where parent can purchase additional sessions.

· At a partner nursery or childcare provider.

During September and October last year the council carried out an early learning and childcare consultation and the results have helped to shape the planned provision to be delivered in East Dunbartonshire.

The consultation showed that a significant percentage of parents wanted extended day and year provision within local nurseries.

A proposed pilot to deliver extended day provision during term time will be provided at Auchinairn Nursery, Baljaffray Nursery, Milngavie Nursery and Meadowburn Nursery during the session 2014/15.

The demand for early years holiday provision will be monitored and made available in other centres if required.

Further findings from the consultation indicated that parents wanted more flexibility and choice.

Where the local authority cannot provide the provision required, it will procure places from partner nurseries or childcare providers.

Private and voluntary providers have been invited to tender to be in partnership with the Council to provide the 600 hours of early learning and childcare for 2014/15 and 2015/16.