New rules to give Falkirk kids extra nursery time

Children are now entitled to more time at nursery
Children are now entitled to more time at nursery

Parents will be consulted on a move that will see their toddlers receive more free pre-school education.

New Scottish Government legislation means three and four-year-olds will be entitled to 600 hours of nursery provision, a significant increase from the current 475.

Questionnaires will be sent to parents during November and a public meeting will be held on November 19 in Graeme High School.

However, Falkirk Council’s education chiefs received initial feedback from councillors and community representatives at the Education Executive on Tuesday.

Councillor Craig R. Martin called for more flexibility to suit modern family life.

He said: “The hours of 9 to 11 a.m. suited when the man went to work and the woman took the children to nursery.

“But we live in a different era, and I think we need a more flexible approach.”

Teacher representative Margaret Smith told the executive the hours increase was causing anxiety among early years staff.

She said: “I welcome the fact more information will be coming after consultation, but I think people are anxious about the way the extra hours will work.

“They are worried how child records will be kept up-to-date, and what they will say to parents when they are asked questions.”

Gary Greenhorn, the council’s joint acting director of educational services, said he was mindful of the issues and would seek a balance between flexibility and affordability.