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Council approves steps to deliver 600 hours funded early learning and childcare

19th February 2014

Highland parents and families are to benefit from the introduction of 600 hours funded early learning and childcare from August this year.

The Highland Council’s Adult and Children’s Services Committee have approved a suite of measures to enable the Council’s delivery of 600 hours on early learning and childcare by August 2014.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of the Council’s and Children’s Services Committee said: “This is great news for parents and carers whose children will benefit from more structured education and preparation in pre-school before going on to primary school. Staff will also benefit from the changes as many of them will be upgraded with additional support and training.

“We will look at how the changes will impact on each of our 200+ school communities between now and June and establish how the introduction of double time sessions can work within the existing school accommodation.”

Local Authorities are required under the Children and Young People Bill to increase the current provision of 475 hours of funded pre-school education to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare.

To meet this requirement by August 2014, members have approved proposed changes to the council’s staffing model in pre-school nurseries, including:

a move from the current staffing structure of Nursery Assistants and Nursery Auxiliaries to an Early Years Practitioner model where both staff are on the same grade;
an extension of nursery sessions to 3 hours 10 minutes in term time, involving staff on 23 hour contracts, and maintaining the current contracts of nursery assistants with additional hours; and
an additional staffing allowance of 0.1 Full Time Equivalent to provide more management time for head teachers for all double session nurseries from August 2014.

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