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Aberdeenshire committee hears how additional childcare hours are delivered despite Covid-19


By David Porter

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Councillor Rosemary Bruce (left) councillor Gillian Owen, Lisa Summers (Early Years Practitioner) and a selection of children, childminder Zoe Sadler and mum Rhona Hopkins at Buchanhaven Nursery, one of the settings in Aberdeenshire where the additional 1140 early learning and childcare hours are available.
Councillor Rosemary Bruce (left) councillor Gillian Owen, Lisa Summers (Early Years Practitioner) and a selection of children, childminder Zoe Sadler and mum Rhona Hopkins at Buchanhaven Nursery, one of the settings in Aberdeenshire where the additional 1140 early learning and childcare hours are available.

The Education and Children’s Services Committee learnt this week how Aberdeenshire Council met the Scottish Government’s target of delivering 1140 hours of free fully funded early learning and childcare despite Covid-19.

The committee also heard the steps Early Years is taking to reduce the impact of Coronavirus on the expansion of additional hours which allows parents and carers more flexibility.

Here are just some of the ways Early Years are maximising choice whilst keeping everyone safe -

Running ‘pop up’ nurseries and early learning and childcare settings in Banchory, Huntly and Peterhead to provide additional support in areas where there is high demand for places for eligible two-year-olds.

Council-run nurseries and settings using available space to continue to meet demand. An increase in staffing numbers has helped achieve this aim.

Over the last year, the council’s catering service has worked with over 15 early learning and childcare funded provider settings to provide lunches so they could offer more places. This led to 194 1140 early learning and childcare places offered to parents and carers.

Early Years has communicated regularly with parents and carers to explain how the plans for rolling out the additional 1140 early learning and childcare hours will work and to keep them updated about changes.

Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee chair, said: “Congratulations to Julia Matthew and her Early Years team and the fully funded providers in ensuring Aberdeenshire met the Scottish Government’s 1140 hours of early learning and childcare in spite of a global pandemic.

“Parents and carers now have the flexibility to choose childcare arrangements that work best for them in some fantastic settings that have received a huge level of investment from the council.”

Committee vice chair Rosemary Bruce said: “Parents and carers can be assured their children can use early learning and childcare settings safe in the knowledge that the latest mitigations to prevent Coronavirus are being applied.”

A video of a recent event to mark the council meeting the 1140 target is available on the Aberdeenshire Council YouTube channel:


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