MORAY Council has set out how it will deliver a £17.5m expansion of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) in the area.
The delivery plan outlines the refurbishment of local authority nurseries and plans for new nurseries in Buckie and Keith, as part of the Scottish Government-funded increase to 1,140 hours a year ELC for three and four year-olds, and eligible two year-olds.
The significant change to Council nursery provision is the flexibility of hours, which parents can use between 8am-6pm in school nurseries, and sessions can be between three and 10 hours long all year-round in nurseries where there is a demand for it.
Acting Corporate Director (Education & Social Care), Graham Jarvis said the expansion is an “exciting prospect” for Moray.
“This gives us the opportunity to really modernise our delivery of early learning and childcare.
“We, and the Scottish Government, recognise that affordable childcare is a barrier to many parents being able to get back to work or further education, so providing a more flexible service can alleviate some of the strain on family budgets while ensuring that our youngest learners are gaining confidence and skills to prepare them for their future.”
A number of new central posts are being created to support this expansion including an Early Years Officer, Continuous Improvement Officers, Early Year Social Worker, Family Support Workers, ASN support staff and 12 peripatetic teachers available for all nurseries and childminders in Moray to support the curriculum work.
Recruitment campaigns have been ongoing since late last year and the next event to take place will be an ELC Careers pop-up shop in the St Giles Centre, Elgin, on Saturday 9 June from 9.30am-1pm, where those interested in a career in ELC can find out more and speak to prospective employers.
The roll-out of the ELC expansion will continue to be phased in until 2020 when the Scottish Government requires the provision to be in place. Parents can now find out in which phase their postcode will become eligible for the increased hours using the interactive postcode checker online: www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_116586.html.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.