The Scottish Government’s commitment to providing 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare to every three and four-year-old and eligible two-year-old in the country was delayed due to the Coronavirus.
To date, 1,660 children are already accessing the 1140 hours and work to expand the Council’s six remaining centres over the coming months will enable the remaining children to receive their hours entitlement.
Work at Dalmonach Early Learning and Childcare Centre, Carleith Early Learning and Childcare Centre and Braehead Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Centre is due to be complete next month bringing the total number of children receiving the additional hours to 1,900.
Work on the three remaining projects at Gavinburn Early Learning and Childcare Centre, Dalreoch Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Centre and Linnvale Early Learning and Childcare Centre is due to start in January with completion set for June at the latest.
Along with Council run ELCCs, 11 partner providers are also providing 1140 hours to families. The Council has 21 ELCCs providing 1140 hours and seven centres providing 600 hours; with two of these providing some places at 1140 hours.
Councillors Karen Conaghan and Ian Dickson.
Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “I am pleased to see our plans are back on track and hundreds of children will receive their free hours. While the delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic is outwith our control, news of our ongoing progress will be welcomed by our families. We are planning on having the final phase of works completed no later than June which will see West Dunbartonshire Council delivering 1140 hours of free childcare to every eligible family.”
Depute Convener of Educational Services, Councillor Ian Dickson, said: “Work has progressed well and I know families are really keen to get their free entitlement which will help hopefully support parents/carers to find employment or access further education or training. Officers have worked tirelessly to implement the expanded hours and ensure we are on track to fully implement the Scottish Government 1140 free hours of early learning and childcare in West Dunbartonshire.”
Artwork by Jane Heaney