28 November 2022

Aberdeenshire Council wins at Learning Places Scotland Awards

Aberdeenshire Council has won an award at the Learning Places Scotland Awards, celebrating excellence and achievement in delivering learning and play environments for children and young people in Scotland.

Held earlier this month in Glasgow, Aberdeenshire Council was praised for its Early Learning and Childcare 1140 Hours Expansion Programme.

The programme was delivered with the support of commercial partner, Faithful & Gould and construction partner, Morrisons Construction.

As part of the £27 million programme, the council has delivered 72 refurbished and three new-build nursery facilities.

Early Years Estate Manager Paul Whalley said: “The programme has successfully delivered high quality indoor and outdoor environments for children to learn and play, offering new opportunities for staff and children to learn, be creative and develop.

“Our early years estate now offers greater flexibility, affordability and accessibility for our residents and as a service we are more resilient, benefiting from better use of the space available, increased energy efficiency, and improved maintenance planning.”

There are now over 180 providers in Aberdeenshire offering over 1.8 million hours of Early Learning and Childcare.

The introduction of 1140 has also seen an increase in capacity with 62 early learning and childcare settings across Aberdeenshire open from 8am to 6pm and 46 settings open all year, excluding two weeks over Christmas and New Year.

Vice Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee Cllr Anne Simpson said: “I’d like to say a huge congratulations to the team.

“We know that the earliest years of life are crucial for every child, and the evidence tells us that if our early learning and childcare offer is to help give children the best start in life and contribute to closing the poverty-related attainment gap, it must be of high quality.

“Quality has been at the heart of everything we do in Aberdeenshire and the team has ensured that quality remains an integral principle in driving this expansion.”

“It is great to see settings opening at times that are convenient for parents and carers and to see the benefits to children’s learning and development as they have increased access to Early Learning and Childcare, learning and playing together in settings that meet their needs.”