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Additional Early Learning and Childcare hours to be made available in Aberdeenshire

By David Porter

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Aberdeenshire Council is increasing the number of funded Early Learning and Childcare hours available.

The council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee heard that from next month all funded provider settings working in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council will be able to offer up to 540 hours more than the Scottish Government’s current statutory entitlement of 600 hours.

This will see the figure increase to 1140 hours, the total that the Scottish Government requested all local authorities to meet in the first instance.

Council-run settings will move to increase to 1140 hours in proposed phases:

• 20 per cent offering 1140 hours in full, by December.

• Between November and February, 30 per cent will offer 1140 hours in full with the remaining 70 per cent offering 900 hours.

• From February to April, 50 per cent of settings will offer 1140 hours in full with the other half offering 900 hours.

• From April to August the majority of settings will offer 1140 hours but there may be exceptional cases meaning some may need time to adjust up to August.

Parents and carers can split their 1140 funded hours between a council-run nursery or a private provider setting.

Councillor Gillian Owen
Councillor Gillian Owen

Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee chair, said: “It was always our intention to roll out the 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare across council-run and private provider settings in Aberdeenshire giving parents and carers maximum flexibility.

“I can’t tell you how delighted I am that we have been able to do this quicker than expected.

"I hope this is welcome news for all parents and carers looking after young children.

"I would like to congratulate Julia Matthew, quality improvement manager, and her team, on a job well done.

"It is very pleasing indeed to shortly be offering the 1140 hours and to meet the Scottish Government’s expectation early.”

Councillor Rosemary Bruce
Councillor Rosemary Bruce

Committee vice chair, Rosemary Bruce, said: “This is very welcome news indeed.

"Arrangements for the re-opening of schools and nurseries has meant revisions to the timescale have been made much more quickly than first thought.

"I would encourage any parent or carer who has questions about how the new arrangements affect them to contact our friendly Early Years team who will be happy to help.”

Nurseries will be writing to parents and car shortly to explain the arrangements in full.

However, if you have any questions please email elcadmissions@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

More information is available by visiting: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/childcare-and-early-learning/childcare-extended-hours/

The report is available in full by visiting: https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=494

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