Parents and carers to help shape future of free early learning and childcare
Plans to almost double the amount of free early learning and childcare are being put to parents and carers in South Ayrshire. A consultation is being launched by the Council to find out the different ways people would like to see the service delivered.
The consultation is in response to a Scottish Government policy to raise early learning and childcare entitlement from 600 hours to 1140 hours a year by 2020 for eligible two year olds, and for all three and four year olds. The overall objectives are to improve outcomes for children, maintain high quality early learning and childcare provision, and to provide more flexibility for parents who wish to work, train or study. To help the current system to adapt in South Ayrshire an extensive planning exercise is already underway. The increase in early learning and childcare could be delivered during term time, or all year round, with a number of options currently being considered. Councillor William Grant, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said the views of the public would play an important role in identifying priority areas, “South Ayrshire Council is committed to providing high quality early learning and childcare and this new entitlement will make a real difference to parents and carers. “To help us to plan for this major change we’re asking you to share your thoughts about how we can design the new system to best meet the needs of our communities. “We expect provision and times will vary across centres and local communities, and the more people we hear from will make it easier to plan for demand as we approach the 2020 deadline to introduce this vastly enhanced service.” Early learning and childcare will only be made available from a registered provider that meets the new Quality Standards. This may be provided either through a local authority early years centre, private nursery, playgroup, and / or child minder. The Early Years consultation takes place between Monday 12 June and Monday 26 June. The results of the consultation will be used to plan for the future expansion of early learning and childcare across South Ayrshire.