A major programme of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) for families across Aberdeen was under way today.

Aberdeen City Council is delivering 1,140 hours of ELC every year to eligible pre-school children. This equates to around 30 hours per week during school term or around 22 hours if taken through the year.

As children and families are welcomed back to start the new education term, families can use their additional hours at school settings and partner providers, including private nursery settings and childminders, who are working with the council.

The £23m programme includes the provision of 27 upgraded or new buildings, offering local, flexible ELC.

The expansion of ELC – up from 600 hours – will support child development through the provision of high-quality services as well as helping parents and carers return to work or study.

Councillor Marie Boulton, convener of the Capital Programme Committee, said: "The investment we are making in ELC across the city will ensure that we are offering children the best possible start in life.

"This council has long been committed to supporting our youngest residents and their families, recognising the broader value of play and learning, and this programme will benefit communities everywhere."

Councillor M. Tauqeer Malik, convener of the Education Operational Delivery Committee, visited the recently completed £2.4m new stand-alone nursery at Gilcomstoun Primary School.

The nursery has three bright and airy nursery activity spaces, one of which will be for the Gaelic nursery, Sgoil-Araich, and will also support family learning.

Councillor Malik said:: “The ELC facilities at Gilcomstoun are fantastic and will support outdoor learning, a key part of our ELC offer. We are providing first class learning environments in which our youngest children can thrive in.

"ELC has a positive impact on a child’s development in terms of educational outcomes as well as creativity, health and wellbeing."

Graeme Lawtie, operations director, Robertson Construction Eastern, added: “Aberdeen City Council’s provision of 1,140 hours of ELC has seen investment in high quality facilities which will further enhance preschool learning.

“We are proud to be the construction partner of choice for the delivery of these facilities and look forward to hearing how they have been received by the children.”

Louise Dodds, client relationship manager for procurement hub major projects, said: “This is another fantastic project delivered through the Major Projects framework. It’s great to have been part of this project which will benefit the local community and support Aberdeen City Council in providing their ELC expansion programme.”

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