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Members agree expansion of Early Years provision

Members have agreed to improve the islands' Early Years care provision.

At Thursday’s meeting of Full Council, a recommendation was approved to use an Early Years Capital Fund grant to expand the existing Craftikids Nursery and create a new facility at Five Islands School.

The Council has a statutory duty to ensure that all 3 and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year. This will double to 30 hours from September.

These hours can currently be taken at Five Island School Nursery Class, CraftiKids Day Care and all Ofsted rated Good plus Childminders.

Local authorities were invited last year to bid for capital funding to deliver the extra capacity and the Council of the Isles of Scilly received approval for a £543,000 project in March.

The funding will be used to expand and renovate Craftikids nursery at Carn Gwaval and to create an outdoor nursery and "all-through Early Year and Foundation Stage setting from Red and Orange classes of the Five Islands School".

The project is 25% match funded, with the Early Years Capital Fund: providing £407,250 £135,750 from the Council. The Authority's share will be sourced from existing Basic Need Capital allocations (£20,000) and Council borrowing (£115,750), which will incur an interest payment of £8,000 per year over the life time of the project.

Cllr Avril Mumford asked about arrangements for nursery provision while the work is in progress and was informed that the provision will be moved to Carn Thomas in the interim.

Cllr Steve Sims commented that though there is a cost to the Authority the "economic multipliers" for the community are much larger. Aisling Hick, Senior Manager for Services to our Community, said that the new provision would "really give reassurance to lots of families that they can pursue employment".

The recommendations were passed unanimously.


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