Renfrewshire Council plans to build seven new nurseries and create 350 new jobs.

The £43 million proposal has been put forward as funded nursery placements for 3 and 4-year-olds are set to double over the next three years. This will increase the funded hours from 600 a year to 1,140 by August 2020.

Council bosses have decided to meet the new demand through a major education expansion and by providing a jobs boost for the area.

The cost of the building work has been estimated at £22.7 million with an additional £20.6 million running costs.

On Thursday, a report will go forward to the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, giving details on how this proposal can give children the best start in life.

In Renfrewshire, there are 22 council-run nurseries, 12 pre-five centres and 33 private and voluntary partner providers.

The report will show that there will need to be seven new-builds, seven major refurbishments, 10 minor adaptations and 13 outdoor adaptations to nurseries.

There will also need to be 350 more staff hired to deliver the services.

18 centres would also offer longer hours and cater to different ages; there will also be a boost in places from private sector nurseries and childminders.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board convener, said: “Delivering on this entitlement is a priority for Renfrewshire Council as we recognise the vital role early years education and childcare has on a child’s development.

“We believe that, with the right resource and through strong partnership working, we can set the standard here in Renfrewshire.

“Our implementation plan sets out the different elements we will need to put in place and acknowledges the challenges we face in delivering the increased entitlement, recognising the free hours increase will almost double the current entitlement.

“The quality of early learning and childcare we provide in Renfrewshire is among the best in Scotland and we will ensure this continues to be the case by investing in new and existing facilities and crucially by developing a strong and committed workforce.”

More than 2,500 three to five-year-olds and 785 two-year-olds are currently registered for early learning and childcare in Renfrewshire.

The plans will mean parents will have more choice when accessing their child’s entitlement and part-time employees will be able to increase their hours if they want to.

There has also been funding secured from the Scottish Government to recruit 26 early years graduates to staff nurseries and pre-five centres in deprived areas.

Councillor Paterson added: “This will benefit Renfrewshire, bringing new jobs and providing more free access to vital early learning, which can play a hugely important role in closing attainment and inequality gaps.

“We look forward to continued engagement with the Scottish Government to ensure we are able to deliver our plan effectively and further our established reputation in providing high-quality early learning and childcare to children across Renfrewshire.”

Documents reveal that the council’s plan depends on funding being provided by Holyrood. The Scottish government has already stated it has committed to increasing the early learning hours to 1,140 per year by 2020.

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