From August 2020 the number of hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare children can receive is increasing to 1140 hours a year, giving families choice on when and where they can use it. This follows a commitment by the Scottish Government to the near doubling of entitlement, with the aim of providing high quality, flexible early learning and childcare that is accessible and affordable for all families.
A programme of expansion of existing Council nurseries, creation of new facilities and partnerships with childminders has been taking place in Clackmannanshire, with a number of nurseries already offering the expanded 1140 hours provision.
Significant progress has been made to ensure that all three to five year olds and eligible two year olds in Clackmannanshire can access the care, which means about 30 hours a week during school term time or around 22 hours a week if taken all year round.
The work in Clackmannanshire to deliver the expanded care includes the opening of Menstrie Nursery this month. Menstrie Nursery sits in the grounds of the primary school and replaces the Nursery Class. It is open all year round and offers families flexible Early Learning and Childcare from 8am until 5.40pm, where they will be able to choose to use their funding during term time only or spread through the full year.
Menstrie Nursery can provide Early Learning and Childcare for children aged 2 to 5 years, and has capacity for 107 children. Workforce recruitment is progressing well, with eight additional staff already joining the team. The extensive outdoor area at Menstrie Nursery also offers lots of learning opportunities, with jackets and wellies ensure that the children can access this space regardless of the weather.
The expanded 1140 hours is available to all three and four years, as well as eligible two year olds. This is available in:
Any provider who meets the new National Standard, has a space available and is happy to enter into a contract with the Council can offer your child a funded place. Each setting will be different and it is best to ask what they offer.
Menstrie Nursery Head of Establishment Lorna Willows said: “We are delighted to open our beautiful new nursery and to have been so welcomed by the Menstrie community. We are looking forward to engaging with families and working together to make a difference for our children.”
Cllr Graham Lindsay, Spokesperson for Education said: "In Clackmannanshire, we are ahead of the game when it comes to early years provision with 9 out of 16 nurseries already providing the full 1140 hours entitlement.
"Our staff have worked extremely hard to get to this point and it has been a big undertaking which has not just been about building capacity for families in Clackmannanshire but also about investing in the council’s school estate which we have seen with the opening of the fantastic new facility at Menstrie Nursery.
"We have made a huge investment in early years provision and the work we have been doing is transformational. The 1140 hours initiative will not just benefit all our 3 and 4-year-olds and eligible 2-year-olds, but also parents and carers. It will create jobs and provide a nurturing environment for our young people to thrive in and give them the best possible start in life."
A parent of a child attending Menstrie Nursery said: “It makes a huge difference to me with four children and also means that going back to work becomes much easier. All the staff at Menstrie are wonderful and make a huge effort with both children and families. It really has made a huge impact on our life.”
Some reactions from children attending Menstrie Nursery:
“I like the garden looking up you can see the clouds and I like playing games”
“We like building with the bricks and I can make Edinburgh Castle”
“I like doing paintings on this wall. It stays up with sticky stuff”