Need for Additional Report Before Approving Nearly £0.5m on Nursery Places for Under 3s
21 April 2014
On Monday night at the City Development Committee, on the basis of a flimsy report, Councillors are being asked to approve borrowing of £464,659.00 to pay for Various Primary SchoolsProvision for Under 3 year olds.
The works comprise alteration works to provide provision for under 3 year olds at Ardler, Ballumbie, Dens Road, Longhaugh, Mill O’Mains, Park Place and St Ninians Primary Schools.
There are no background papers just the contract costs.
Significantly there is no mention of this project on the agenda of the Education Committee which meets before the City Development Committee on Monday night.
Apparently it will be on the agenda of the next Education Committee in May.
This will be locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
I appreciate that the pace of change is dictated by the Scottish Parliament's requirement that the Council make provision for 600 hours of nursery provision for 2 year old children where both parents are unemployed in August 2014.
But this decision is being presented with inadequate information for Councillors to make up their minds and that can't be right.
I have already been advised that the inclusion of Park Place Primary School in the list is wrong; it closed it as a Primary School in 2012.
Here is my list of the things I think Councillors reasonably need to know now:
How many children are we planning to provide places for?
How robust are these numbers of 'qualifying' two year old children?
Why have the named schools been chosen for these developments?
Are there any other schools not needing major building alterations that will be involved in providing places for this additional group of younger children?
What is the basis for calculating that qualifying children will live closest to the schools that have been identified?
What pattern of nursery hours will be offered to help unemployed parents and carers back to work?
What job can you do if your child's nursery place runs for just over three hours a day five days a week?
Has any other configuration of hours been considered?
What steps are we taking to recruit additional Early Years Practitioners to provide the extra places?
Will there be time to do all the building work before mid August as well as obtain the Care Commission approvals?
What consultation has taken place with parents and carers?
Has an Equality Impact Assessment been completed?
It's still not too late to put his right and introduce a late item at the Education Committee on Monday night.
I have written to the Education Convener and Director of Education to propose that.
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