Council welcomes nursery plans

Scottish Borders council has welcomed an announcement by the Scottish Government that thousands of families across Scotland are to benefit from increased free nursery education.

The Government has pledged to increase the amount of free nursery education from 475 hours a year to over 600 hours. The move will help families by delivering improved childcare to around 120,000 children across Scotland and will apply to every three and four year old as well as the most vulnerable two year olds.

By legislating through the forthcoming Children’s Services Bill, the Scottish Government will ensure all local authorities are legally obliged to deliver this minimum requirement for the benefit of children and families.

Making the announcement, First Minister Alec Salmond said: “This Government has an ambition to make Scotland the best place for children to grow up. To make that happen it’s crucial we support families by providing better, more flexible nursery education.

“What we’re announcing today is a legislative commitment to the future of Scotland’s children and families as well as the best package of nursery education provision on offer anywhere in the UK.

“Improved nursery education will help support parents looking to get back into employment while also helping give our children the best start in life through increased early learning opportunities.

Yvonne McCracken, SBC’s head of schools services (West) said the move will help the council build on its current provision of services.

She commented: “We welcome any changes in legislation that will benefit families with young children and we look forward to hearing more details from the Scottish Government about their plans to develop childcare and pre-school education. Our new Early Years Strategy sets out our shared vision for our youngest children and their families, building on our existing commitment to a multi-agency, cross sector and locality based approach to delivering all Early Years services.”