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Argyll and Bute wins national learning award

Argyll and Bute Council fought off stiff competition from across the country to win the hotly contested Early Years and Childcare Development category at last night’s Learning Places Scotland Awards.

This prestigious award recognises excellence and innovation in the briefing, design, development and delivery of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) facilities. It was presented to the Council’s education and property teams for their work in delivering 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), particularly the development of outdoor learning spaces.

Council Leader Robin Currie said: “Argyll and Bute Council was shortlisted in not just one, but three categories at the Learning Places Scotland Awards. This in itself is a great honour, but to win this prestigious title when there was such a high calibre of entries – that is just tremendous.

“Everyone involved in the expansion of 1140 hours in Argyll and Bute worked tirelessly to get the scheme up and running, so it is extremely rewarding to see their efforts recognised at a national level. Well done to all.”

The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, agreed: “I am absolutely delighted. Over the last few years a tremendous amount of work has been carried out to prepare for delivering these additional hours, including the creation of two new dedicated outdoor nurseries, complete with hobbit houses and environmentally friendly toilets.

“Outdoor learning is vital to our children’s development and I believe that Argyll and Bute is leading the way in this. Congratulations to all our dedicated, hardworking staff who made this possible.”

Notes to editor

  • The expansion is part of a national policy introduced by the Scottish Government to increase the number of funded childcare hours from 600 to 1140. In Argyll and Bute, the Council carried out an extensive programme of refurbishments to existing properties to prepare for the increased hours, as well as opening two new dedicated outdoor settings.
  • A successful recruitment campaign was also established to appoint more than 70 new posts in the area, including child minders, admin and other support staff. The council has also been working in close partnership with the Scottish Child Minders Association to promote child minding as a career to assist staff recruitment.
  • Funding was made available to help providers and child minders prepare for the expansion, with grants offered to every nursery and to each child minder delivering ELC. A free training scheme was also implemented for staff working in both the council and partner providers.

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