Committee acknowledges Early Years' Service Covid-19 support

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee heard how support was provided to the early years sector during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

On Thursday, October 8, the committee learnt that during the lockdown in response to Covid-19, 36 playgroups, 35 private nurseries and 27 childminders closed in Aberdeenshire, whilst eight private nurseries and 18 childminders remained open.

A variety of funding and support was provided by the council to mitigate against a potential crisis. This included funding used to support the delivery and cost of emergency childcare at 30 childcare hubs, comprising of 30 childminders, 21 schools, nine nurseries, and two pop-up settings run by the third sector.

A total of £4.1million in funding was provided to childcare providers in partnership with the council for early learning and childcare they were expected to deliver between April and August. 

Funded partners received £1.1million in funding for emergency childcare funding. This equated to £7.14 being spent per child which assisted in ensuring financial sustainability during lockdown.

The council commissioned Early Years Scotland to support playgroups throughout lockdown and during the summer in preparation for reopening in August.

The council fast tracked 35 childminders to work in partnership to support emergency childcare provision.        

A volunteer support scheme was developed by the council’s Early Years’ Service to support staff at Private Voluntary and Independent Settings who were furloughed, so that they could keep in contact and support their families during lockdown.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “Like many services across Education and Children’s Services, the Early Years’ Service have helped those in need at a time when they required assistance most. I would like to commend you all for the fantastic job you have collectively done in ensuring those who needed early learning and childcare received it.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce said: “Events are moving very quickly and change is happening all the time but we should, as a committee, pause to reflect upon the fantastic work council staff, private providers and those connected with childcare have done to make sure children and young people received the support they needed during a global pandemic.”

The report is available in full by visiting: https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=494

You can also watch a webcast of the Education and Children’s Services Committee by visiting https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home