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Published 10 March 2021

All eligible families across West Dunbartonshire will have access to 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare by the end of April.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to the additional provision for all three and four-year-olds as well as eligible two-year-olds was delayed  last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than 1950  of West Dunbartonshire children are already accessing the 1140 hours, and now increased capacity due to additional and expanded  Early Learning and Childcare Centres being introduced mean that the remaining 288 can receive their entitlement.

Work at  Dalreoch, Dalmonach and Gavinburn ELCCs  is due for  completion next month, and Linnvale Early Learning and Childcare Centre  will also be refurbished to offer additional places within Clydebank.   

A brand new facility at Carleith PS, Carleith ELCC opened on 8 March and centres at Ladyton, Brucehill,  St Mary’s Duntocher and Lennox Early Education and Childcare Centre in  Faifley will offer increased hours by the end of this month.  

Partner nurseries providing  1140 hours of early learning and childcare which remained open over the lockdown from December to February to support vulnerable children and children of key workers, will receive a Temporary Restrictions Fund grant. Additional childcare providers including out of school care providers and childminders registered to care for more than 12 children at a time will also be able to apply for an additional support grant.

Childcare services can use the money  to protect their business and ability to continue to delivering  services when  reopening.

Childminders  in partnership with the Council  who were not subject to the same restrictions by remaining open from December to February can apply for a grant of £500 to £1,000 from the Scottish Childminding Association.   

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “I am really pleased to see our  implementation of 1140 hours is near completion and I would like to thank everyone involved in delivering this facility to local families. This will be welcome news for the  families whose places have been on hold due to the pandemic.  We are on track for the final phase of works completed by the end of April  which will see West Dunbartonshire Council delivering  1140 hours of free childcare to every eligible family.”

Depute Convener of Educational Services, Councillor Ian Dickson, said: “Delivery of this entitlement will enable parents and carers to plan ahead and consider further education or employment.   I know our Officers have worked tirelessly to implement the expanded hours and offer the children of West Dunbartonshire their free entitlement as soon as possible. Their commitment is not only appreciated by the Council, but by every family across the authority.”