Council to Review Additional Early Learning and Childcare

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education and Learning committee [5 September 2019] will consider a report on Early Learning and Childcare [ELC]. The committee is recommended to agree to a pilot for charging for additional non-funded hours ELC hours in Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfries and Galloway Council offers funded ELC in 44 local authority nurseries and commissions ELC from 40 funded providers and 42 childminders. It doesn’t currently sell additional ELC hours to parents. Several other Scottish local authorities do.

In February 2019, the committee agreed that, where there is availability in local authority nurseries, and no extra staff are required, the extra hours could be sold to parents to top up their ELC entitlement. The availability of additional hours will decrease towards the implementation of the entitlement to 1140 hours of ELC [August 2020].

The Council works in partnership with the local private, voluntary and independent [PVI] sector and local childminders and values this relationship so Council nurseries, which are attached to a school, will only offer additional hours in locations where there is no PVI provision: Beattock, Canonbie Closeburn, Collin, Creetown, Drummore, Gatehouse, Glenluce, Kelloholm, Kirkcowan, Kirkcudbright, Sandhead, Sanquhar, Wallace Hall, Wigtown, and Whithorn.

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chair of the Education and Learning committee, said: “Providing the best start in life for all children is a priority for our Council. As we work towards implementing 1140 hours of early learning and childcare, we’re keen to best use capacity to assist families. However, we want to do this in a way that won’t be detrimental to our valued partners in the private, voluntary and independent sectors.”
Councillor Ros Surtees, vice chair, said: “Our aim is to develop flexible, high-quality early learning and childcare that is accessible, affordable, and integrated with school and out-of-school care. This will improve outcomes for children, especially the vulnerable or disadvantaged, and help to close the attainment gap.”

For full report see:

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