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Glasgow Live
Glasgow Live
Catherine Hunter

West Dunbartonshire plan to expand 1140 hour childcare to benefit two year-olds

Families with one and two year olds could benefit from the 1140 hour childcare provision in West Dunbartonshire as the council invests in new outdoor education areas.

Funding for the project, which would expand the free childcare education offer, is not yet clear at this stage but a pilot project is already underway in Glasgow to help children most in need in the city.

West Dunbartonshire Council is currently working to open a new early learning childcare centre (ELCC) at Christie Park in Dumbarton with work at St Mary’s ELCC in Alexandria complete with a new entrance, improved garden and play area.

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Improvements will be carried out at Linnvale ELCC this August and the expansion outdoor project at Gartocharn nursery will begin next month.

It comes as a report, submitted to the education committee last week, showed that all ELCCs in West Dunbartonshire subjected to an unannounced visit from the Care Inspectorate were praised for providing children with good quality care and learning.

During the meeting, councillor Michelle McGinty asked how the council would meet the demand for further 1140 hour provision.

Councillor McGinty said: “We are looking at the hours increasing, the amount of children that qualify for 1140 hours. We are now offering this to two year olds but we are looking to extend that to one year olds.

“We are seeing more and more people taking the deferred entry option and I am a bit concerned that we are already trying to open new nurseries and find new accommodation to ensure we are giving every child the appropriate offer for what they need. We know that for every year a lot of the children don’t get their first choice places.

“What does this mean? Are we just going to be packing our nurseries out because we don’t have the capacity?

“It is not just capacity as in buildings - it is capacity as in staff. This will not just be happening in West Dunbartonshire it will be happening across all local authorities so there will be the need for already trained nursery nurses and teachers?”

Kathy Morrison, senior education offices, said that additional funding would help provide the additional hours to one and two year olds.

Ms Morrison said: “There is a new campus in Faifley that will leave some empty buildings that are already equipped as nurseries so there is an opportunity there. In Linnvale we have additional capacity there that we know we are not using.

“It would require investment to make it one and two year old friendly. In Dumbarton there is capacity possibly at Dalreoch primary but in the Vale area - that is where I would struggle.

“[This] is a very specialised age group. Quite a number of staff often choose to work with that age range.

“We are constantly looking at the workforce and how we can develop that.”

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