Early years obligations in focus
THE scale of the challenge facing Fife in meeting its early years obligations has been thrown into focus.
The region must almost double the number of early learning and childcare (ELC) hours two-tofour-year-olds receive each year.
Up to 500 new, qualified staff, almost £50 million in capital funding over a three-year period and more than £35m of revenue funding annually is needed to meet the Scottish Government’s target of expanding the number of hours from 600 to 1,140 per annum from August 2020.
The details were included in a report considered by Fife’s education and children’s services committee as the local authority prepares to tell the Scottish Government how it plans to provide the equivalent of 30 hours per week of care to eligible children from 2020.
Councillors heard Fife’s approach aims to open up more choice for parents and carers and will be based around the region’s seven family nurture centres, with an agreed range of services offered in each of the kingdom’s 23 extended local nursery areas. Each area will provide term-time Fife Council nursery provision, full-year council nursery provision, a combination of private nurseries, playgroups and childminders, and wraparound services that cover the period before and after funded ELC sessions and school holidays.
The council is also looking at a range of alternative services that could include outdoor nurseries and nursery provision located in leisure centres, workplaces, health centres and care homes.