Early Learning and Childcare

Early Learning and Childcare is now bigger and better better!

The practical challenges presented by the various stages of lockdown to combat Covid 19 have been tough on everyone. The timing was dreadful for the expansion programme, but in North Lanarkshire we have still managed to deliver on our promise. All 3 and 4 year olds in North Lanarkshire are now eligible to 1140 free hours of early learning and childcare per year. Eligible 2 year olds can also access these hours. Our application process for the 2021/2022 session is now open. The deadline for applications is 12 February 2021.

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Our 1140 programme is now fully up and running

Thousands of families are benefiting from an increased provision in childcare: there are 80 nursery classes and 23 family learning centres delivering the programme in communities throughout the area. In addition, there are 42 private, voluntary and independent nurseries and 96 childminders all delivering the full additional hours to nursery children. Around 7,500 nursery-aged children are benefiting from the new arrangements, which have been implemented ahead of schedule and despite the challenges posed by coronavirus.

In July the Scottish Government announced a delay in implementing the programme due to the health crisis. However, we’ve worked hard to keep our word to local parents, delivering the initiative in full despite the Scottish Government removing the statutory duty on councils to deliver the programme. We are proud to say that we are the largest local authority in Scotland to successfully deliver the 1140 funded hours programme to all eligible families.

As well as the additional hours, every child attending nursery receives a free lunch. Children have been enjoying the social aspect of sitting down and eating with their friends and parents have provided lots of positive feedback, including seeing an increase in the range of foods their children will now try.