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Early Christmas present as Insch youngsters set for new Nursery


By David Porter

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Nursery age children in Insch could be set for a brand new facility in the town.

Aberdeenshire Council has submitted plans for an entirely new build unit which would be located on council owned land opposite the Bennachie Leisure Centre at Basse Croft.

Documents submitted with the application show that this land would be immediately be available, offering the scope for a new build which would meet the highest standards of quality and facility, as part of Aberdeenshire Council implementation of the expansion in ELC entitlement.

This provision would have the capacity to accommodate the existing levels of children attending the Nursery at Insch but also to provide indoor and outdoor facilities of better condition and suitability than the children can currently access.

At present in Insch, nursery places are currently split across a two session day, term-time only, offering 600 hours of ELC a year to the children who attend.

Aberdeenshire Council are proposing the option to change the session delivery model of ELC to deliver the increase in entitlement by extended opening times, offering more flexibility for parents.

The model is also based on the provision of the service across a maximum of 50 weeks a year compared to following the current term time only model.

At present Insch School Nursery would not be able to offer a full 1140 hours entitlement to all children who currently attend when the new provision entitlement comes into effect.

Aberdeenshire Council states that a new 80 place capacity provision would potentially offer around a total of 112 children an 1140 place, offering children in Insch the opportunity to access a full uptake of hours.

Indicative plans submitted with the application include extensive models of the site and its external and internal layouts including a purpose designed outdoor environment to enhance and promote outdoor learning.

Architectural images show how the new Insch Nursery site would look.
Architectural images show how the new Insch Nursery site would look.

Additional facilities will also be created within the new build provision, including a multi-sensory space and Parent space and will also be used for the purpose of workforce development to delivered training leading to formal qualifications in childcare.

As council officers note: “This centre will allow us to pilot various operating models and initiatives which could be rolled out across Aberdeenshire in the future.”

"The spaces currently occupied by the Nursery within the School building will revert back to school use as Classroom space as the school is currently operating at 95 per cent capacity with huge pressure on general purpose spaces in the school being used as classroom spaces.

"With the creation of a new nursery this will allow these spaces to come back into School use."

In an unusual move, due to time pressure, officers comment in the application: “Unfortunately, there has not been opportunity to undertake this community consultation prior to planning submission, however it is the intention to set-up a community engagement session in the near future.”

Insch Primary has a current role of 439 pupils and the current nursery can hold up to 60 pupils in a purpose-built temporary unit attached to the end of the main building.

however the proposed new nursery will provide 80 nursery spaces.


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