Falkirk’s nursery plans agreed

Parents of children at Little Stars Nursery met the Young People Minister
Parents of children at Little Stars Nursery met the Young People Minister

Councillors have been given an update on the schedule to deliver early learning and childcare to two-year-olds.

Under the pledge by the Scottish Government to provide 600 hours pre-school support to children whose parents qualify for benefits, resources will be invested to provide a total of 196 places in council operated nurseries by Easter.

The council is following guidelines under the terms of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.

Across the area nursery capacity has been increased, 12 additional staff have been hired and the admissions policy is under review.

The council’s Education Executive heard details when it met on Tuesday.

Joint acting director of education Gary Greenhorn said resources have been allocated and phase two of the plan will cost the Scottish Government nearly £1.1 million.

Additional classroom space will be located in Grangemouth, Denny and Banknock, Bonnybridge and Larbert and Falkirk south at Rannoch Nursery, Denny Nursery, Bonnybridge Primary School and Camelon Nursery by Easter.

Education services have received around 90 enquiries from families hoping to take advantage of the provision and staff are working with them to establish their eligibility and agree where their children could be most suitably placed.

Money has already been allocated to provide 600 hours of nursery time to three and four-year-olds. Two early years campuses at Kinneil Primary in Bo’ness and St Margaret’s in Polmont will open in June with a third at Bonnybridge Primary ready by Easter next year.

All council wards will be expected to offer extended places by the end of the 2015-16 school session.

The review of the Early Years admissions policy targets places in nursery schools for catchment children while retaining scope for others living ouwith the catchment area to be accommodated where space is available.

Lat Thursday parents unhappy with the council’s arrangements will meet Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell to argue the case for the Little Stars Nursery to be given partnership status by Falkirk Council. They claim the council’s stance is costing them over £1800 a year in fees.