Proposals agreed for the delivery of increased early learning and childcare hours

Woman and young girl playing in nursery.

Published: Tuesday, 21st March 2017

Our Executive Committee has approved proposals that will deliver 1140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC)

Funded childcare will be available for all three and four year olds, and around 27 per cent of two year olds, across the Borders by 2020. 

From that date, the Scottish Government requires all local authorities to be providing eligible children with almost double the current entitlement of 600 hours.

Early Learning and Childcare increased provision

Our strategic approach to delivering these increased hours is based on a commitment to delivering a high quality, flexible ELC provision which is:

  • affordable and accessible
  • takes into account social, demographic and geographic needs

Locations for trial of extended childcare hours

The approach includes a trial of extended hours currently taking place at Philiphaugh Nursery in Selkirk as part of a Scottish Government pilot.

From August 2017, additional hours will also be available in:

  • Burnfoot
  • Langlee
  • Eyemouth
  • Greenlaw
  • Coldstream
  • Kirkhope
  • Philiphaugh

This will benefit some of the region’s most vulnerable children, families and rural communities.

New ELC provision at St Boswells Primary

An assessment of the current school nursery provision in terms of property and workforce will be undertaken. An initial agreement has been secured to enable a new ELC provision to be built at St Boswells Primary, the largest school in the Borders currently without an in-house facility.

Future consultation for childcare partners

Consultation with partner providers and childminders will also be carried out to consider future partnership and commissioning arrangements and ensure maximum access and benefit for children and their families.

In the longer term, the proposal is to develop a ‘hub’ approach to the provision of the 1140 hours, based around each high school cluster area. This is a new concept which would allow for different patterns of delivery which would provide a much more responsive and flexible provision than is currently available. Elected members agreed that a detailed options appraisal, which includes the revenue and capital implications, is undertaken in relation to these proposals and that the outcome is reported back to a future meeting.

Donna Manson, Service Director for Children and Young People

“This is an ambitious programme but it provides a clear strategy for how we intend to deliver the increased hours for the benefit of our youngest children and their families. Providing a high quality experience at this early stage, both through our teaching approach and learning environments, will enable our early learners to have the best start we can give them on their educational journey. The proposals also support our overall commitment to improving outcomes for all our children and young people and closing the attainment gap.

“Increasing the flexibility of ELC provision to support parents to work, train or study is also vital and a key element of our wider approach, with all the benefits this can bring in terms of sustainable employment and improved outcomes for families.

“We will now begin the task of taking forward the actions agreed by the Executive, including the options appraisal, and will look forward to bringing the outcome of that for consideration in due course.”

Further information

The full report from the Executive meeting held on 21 March is available on our website.

More information about the trial Philiphaugh is taking part in is available from the Scottish Government website.