By Democrat reporter
Argyll and Bute Council is leading the way when it comes to phasing in 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), with 76% of settings now delivering the additional hours.
A total of 70 childcare settings and 14 childminders in the area are already offering 1140 hours and, as a result of the expansion work that has been done to date, 74.3 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) posts have been created.
The expansion is part of a national policy introduced by the Scottish Government to increase the current 600 hours of funded childcare on offer to 1140 hours from August this year. These hours are available to all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “We are well on our way to ensuring that all our settings are equipped to offer the increased hours by August and we have either opened, or are in the process of opening, a number of new early years units to cope with demand, including two new outdoor nurseries.
“We have a committed early years team who work tirelessly for the benefit of our young people, and it is clear they have their best interests at heart.
“Over the last few months they have been working very closely with our partner providers and childminders to introduce these additional hours, and they must all be congratulated on their hard work. They are a credit to the area.”
The 1140 hours are intended to support child development, help close the attainment gap through the provision of high quality services; and support parents and carers to return to work, train or study.