Nursery hopes receive boost
Portacabin operation on the radar
Callander Nursery looks set to be in line for new premises under plans by Stirling Council to meet a national expansion of childcare.
The Scottish Government is seeking to increase in entitlement to free early learning and childcare from 600 hours to 1140 hours by 2020 for all three and four years olds and eligible two year olds.
A recent meeting of the council’s education committee heard that officials were assessing what changes needed to be in place in order to meet the expansion.
Early indications were that the Stirling authority could be in line for an £8 million share from an additional £400 million in capital funding expected to be distributed by the Scottish Government over three years towards implementing the changes.
It has already been confirmed that Stirling will receive £580,000 of £30 million capital funding and £406,000 of £21 million in revenue funding.
Trossachs and Teith councillor Martin Earl made the case for a new nursery building for Callander which he said had been “existing out of a glorified portacabin” for more years than he cared to mention.
He added: “They have been doing amazingly well, particularly within the limits of their environment, but surely we can grasp the nettle and take this as an opportunity to establish a larger, fit for purpose facility in Callander.
“There is no private provision in Callander and it has always been historically difficult to get childminders in the area.”
Officials agreed that 140 hours of childcare could not be provided in the current provision and that something “has to change” and said it was likely they would need more than £8 million, although these were only early indicative figures.
They added: “Callander is one of our high priority areas. Because we haven’t put our options out there yet we are working through them and Callander is one of the priorities we are looking at. We should get a clearer picture and a more detailed timeline after we make our submission to the Scottish Government [ahead of September 29 deadline].
“We would hope by the end of the year we will hear something back as to whether this £400 million will be enough. We will come back and keep you [the committee] informed of that.”
Councillor Earl said this week: “I was delighted to receive an assurance that Callander Nursery will be a priority under this programme. It was important to raise this and have it on the record that this is the case.”