Aberdeenshire Council has announced the arrangements for Early Learning and Childcare for the start of the new August term.
There will be 900 hours of funded early learning and childcare for every child in private nursery and childcare settings in Aberdeenshire. Any decision to increase funded hours beyond 900 hours will be made in January. Where possible these proposals will be kept under review and plans will be developed in the new year.
From August, Aberdeenshire’s nurseries and childcare settings will be offering the statutory 600 hours of funded childcare, which totals five sessions. Between September and January, schools will increase to 900 hours where practicable as soon as possible.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, Cllr Gillian Owen, said
I hope this announcement gives parents and carers of young children reassurance and clarity. There has been a lot of changes in a very short space of time, but I would like to reassure everyone that the council remains absolutely committed to delivering the required 1140 hours of early learning and childcare for any eligible child in Aberdeenshire, albeit to a revised timescale.
We are still in a crisis situation so our plans may change at short notice in line with Scottish Government advice. Please be assured we will update any amendments to our plans as soon as possible.
Cllr Rosemary Bruce, Committee vice chair, said
I would like to thank parents, carers and funded providers for their patience during these uncertain times and to thank all colleagues within the service who have worked tirelessly to agree this arrangement in very challenging circumstances.
If you have accepted a place with a school but would now prefer to use a funded nursery and childcare provider instead, the school place you have accepted will be on hold until you make the final arrangements.
Funded providers will be able to discuss arrangements should parents wish to purchase additional hours with them.
If you secure a place at a Funded Provider and no longer wish to take up your school place please provide details to firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in the school you have applied to. This will enable schools to offer the place to another child.
The Scottish Government made it a legal requirement for all local authorities to offer 1140 hours of early learning and childcare by August. However, this statutory obligation was removed following the restrictions enforced to combat the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.