Falkirk forges on with early years education plan despite COVID restrictions
Three-quarters of all three to five-year-olds in Falkirk are now receiving 1140 hours of nursery education.
The remaining 25 per cent are getting 736.25 hours, which means all of Falkirk's children in early years education are getting well above the statutory requirement of 600 hours.
Members of Falkirk Council's education, children and young people committee welcomed the update from Gary Greenhorn, head of educational planning and resources.
Falkirk Council had been confident of hitting the national target to get all children receiving 1140 hours of education by August 2020, until the Covid-19 pandemic halted all building work.
The lockdown means several projects have still to be completed, including major builds at Maddiston, Denny and Carron Primary Schools and the transformation of Kinglass social work offices in Bo'ness.
The Scottish Government has not yet set a new target completion date for all the work to be finished. Mr Greenhill told councillors that almost all of the remaining projects were expected to be completed by August 2021.
The meeting also heard that an additional 85 staff had been recruited since Easter, which includes the recruitment of modern apprentices and ELC assistants who have retrained.
When fully completed this will bring the overall ELC workforce to 560 full-time equivalent posts.
Councillors also heard that one of the key aims of the 1140 hours programme is to give parents much more flexible childcare.
However, Covid guidance states that children moving between individual “bubbles” should be kept to a minimum and parents are being asked to choose a single setting for their childcare wherever possible.