Families in Argyll and Bute will benefit from an increase in the number of hours of Early Learning and Childcare provided by the council, which from August will go up from 475 hours to 600 hours a year.
This increase will be for three and four-year-old children as well as being extended to include eligible two-year-olds who are looked after by the council, in kinship care, or with parent appointed guardian(s) and for children who have a parent/carer on certain benefits.
The new arrangements will come into effect at the start of the new school term and mean increased flexibility and choice for parents. The new hours have been introduced following extensive consultation with families, care providers and council staff who provide the service.
For information, and to find out if your child is eligible contact the council’s Early Years service at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01369 708503
Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Children and Families, Councillor Mary Jean Devon, said, “The benefits of this increased provision for busy parents are obvious. Simply put, early learning and childcare provision will increase, with those providers offering provision during term time, from twelve and a half hours to over fifteen hours a week.
“We asked parents what they want, and consulted, too, with the views of child care providers. Everyone’s aim is to give every child in Argyll and Bute the very best possible start in life and at the same time provide the flexibility to allow their parents and families to make the most of child care opportunities.
“There are benefits in terms of supporting and boosting our economy, too, in that increased provision may lead to increased employment opportunities both within the private sector and the council in order to cover the flexibility.”
Argyll and Bute Council is investing £1.345m during 2014/15 to provide this increased service.
The council is making these changes in line with the Children and Young People Act which was published in April 2014, and which seeks to improve the way services work to support children, young people and families.