Renfrewshire’s tots will soon get extra nursery time now that funding to expand the area’s early learning and childcare provision has been agreed.
More than £14million will be invested in early years buildings and £22million for additional early years jobs has been set aside to support Renfrewshire’s 1140 expansion plans following an agreement between Scottish Ministers and COSLA Leaders.
Visiting Hugh Smiley Early Learning and Child Care Centre, Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson expressed his delight that funding for the expansion had been agreed.
Iain said: “Renfrewshire can now put its expansion plans into action and support more children to have the best start in life while allowing parents to take up employment or go back to education.
“This financial commitment means we can forge ahead with plans for five new-build early learning and child care centres as well as refurbishing, adapting and building extensions for more than two dozen nurseries.
“The 1140 hours expansion is about supporting children to have the best start in life and we know that learning through play is a key part of that. We are currently running pilots in some of our nurseries and these continue to help shape what options work best for parents and children – such as staying in full time, part time or the same hours as the school day across term-time and the full year.
“We are also working with independent and private nurseries and childminders to ensure they can provide 1140 hours by 2021 remains a key priority throughout the expansion.
“From August 2018, we will see selected centres and classes beginning to offer 1140 hours to eligible children based on where there are the necessary resources and physical capacity. By 2021, all early learning centres and classes will offer the full entitlement.
“The early years’ expansion clearly means more jobs. We have begun discussions with colleges and universities to support young people leaving school who want to become an early years professional. Getting the right skills and qualifications is another vital part of this expansion.
“We also expect people already in careers to consider retraining in the field as well as parents returning to work. To support them, we are working with partners, including the Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire team, to ensure people have the right career advice and support.”
Natalie Don, Councillor for Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank has praised this agreement, she said: “I am very happy that a financial agreement has been reached between the Scottish Ministers and Council leaders.”
“This agreement will greatly benefit Renfrewshire and is just another example of the continued support that the SNP Government provides for local authorities.”
Derek Mackay, SNP MSP for Renfrewshire North and West who had a lead role in finance negotiations, added: “This is a massive amount of money, which will transform childcare across Renfrewshire.
“Making sure that all children get the best possible start in life is a key priority for the SNP in Government and we were determined to get this right.”
Renfrewshire South SNP MP Tom Arthur, added: “Families in Renfrewshire South will benefit from our share of almost £1 billion funding each year to support our ambitious expansion of free childcare.
“The SNP are determined to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up – and our childcare expansion will be of enormous help to families with young children.
“By almost doubling the availability of free childcare, parents will save hundreds of pounds a month and many will find it easier to return to work or to increase their working hours.
“This is a significant investment in families in Renfrewshire South and across Scotland.”
Photo: Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, Council Leader Iain Nicolson and Shirley Allan, Head of Hugh Smiley Early Learning and Child Care Centre