£6MILLION Expansion Of Inverclyde's Pre-Five Provision Underway

PARENTS, carers and local toddlers are set to benefit from a £6million expansion plan designed to double the free early learning and childcare hours available from Inverclyde Council.

Currently three and four-year-olds, as well as two-year-olds whose parents are on benefits or a low income, are entitled to 600 hours a year of nursery provision. From 2020 this will go up to 1,140 hours a year.

Inverclyde Council has started recruiting private nurseries to help provide the extra hours and has also launched a massive refurbishment programme at its own facilities. Work is planned or underway to extend or create classrooms or outside spaces at five schools, five children’s/family centres and two nurseries.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, convener of Inverclyde Council’s education and communities committee, said: “This massive investment will make sure that every parent, child and carer in Inverclyde has easy access to high quality, early learning and childcare.

“There is a huge body of evidence which shows that this kind of positive start sets children up for life. It equips them with a level of confidence and skills that they will carry with them throughout their education. High quality early learning is also vital for combating the damaging effects of poverty and closing the gap between, how well children from poorer families do at school, compared to those from better off families.

“This childcare is worth £4,500 and will help parents and carers to overcome the barriers many of them face in getting back to work, training or studying. It’s anticipated that the expansion plan will also help to create new jobs and support existing ones.”

The £6million is being provided by the Scottish Government. Refurbishment work will take place at Blairmore Nursery, St Jospeh’s Primary School, St Francis’s Primary School, Craigmarloch School and the Gourock YAC (Youth Athletic Club) clubhouse.

New nursery provision will be built at Larkfield Children’s Centre and Park Farm (Rainbow Family Centre).

Outdoor classroom projects will be completed at Blairmore Nursery, Binnie Street Children’s Centre, Rainbow Family Centre, Gibshill Children’s Centre, Kilmacolm Primary School and Wemyss Bay Primary School.

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