All eligible young Dundee children are now able to access expanded early learning and childcare (ELC) free entitlement of 1140 hours a year, a new report confirms.
A senior councillor is praising the efforts of all those involved in the city’s nursery sector for their achievements in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The city council’s children and families services committee will be told on Monday October 26 that the expanded provision has been in place across Dundee since last month, despite the legal obligation to deliver being suspended across Scotland temporarily because of coronavirus.
Committee Convener Councillor Stewart Hunter said: “The expansion of ELC entitlement is designed to help improve the education of our children while also tackling the effects of poverty.
“We have been carefully trialling the expansion over the last couple of years and to now deliver for all eligible children in the climate of the current health emergency is quite outstanding.
“Our nurseries are receiving impressive inspection reports, and we are recruiting and training a workforce with the skills to enable very young children to make the best possible start to their life of learning.
“We are also in the midst of a building programme that is providing new buildings and refurbishments to create fantastic environments for the delivery of ELC.
“I am sure that families are enjoying the benefits that the expansion is bringing to their children and I hope to see the impact it makes becoming apparent in the years ahead.”
The committee will hear that seven local authority early years settings in Dundee were inspected by the Care Inspectorate between December 2019 and March 2020:
- 100% (3 out of 3) rated Very Good for Quality of environment
- 100% (2 out of 2 assessed) rated Very Good on Quality of management and leadership
- 86% (6 out of 7) were rated Very Good for Quality of care and support
In the building programme, seven projects have already been completed with two more, Eastern refurbishment and Coldside Nursery, to be operational in August next year.
Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.