North Lanarkshire Council and unions consult on how to deliver expanded childcare entitlement

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Trade union representatives and North Lanarkshire Council have completed a consultation regarding the delivery of free childcare.

All Scottish local authorities are required to increase the annual entitlement of free childcare from 600 hours to 1140 hours by 2020.

To deliver this requirement the council needs to restructure its educational workforce, including 35 primary schools operating from 8am-6pm.

Officials have been consulting trade unions to raise awareness of what needs to be done to complete this expansion by the deadline.

The unions consulted represent teaching and non-teaching staff, and officials held a series of meetings during September and October.

Head of Education (Central) Gerard McLaughlin said: “The trade union consultation has been very positive, and all parties have embraced opportunity for detailed discussion and analysis of the 1140 strategy.

“Trades union colleagues played an integral part in the detailed planning of phase 1 of the Workforce Plan for the Early Learning and Childcare Expansion programme.

“We have asked our colleagues to continue to work with and support the team throughout the lifetime of the programme. This ongoing involvement will greatly enhance the workforce strategy.”

Future actions include providing an open forum for all dialogue relating to the expansion programme and holding regular meetings to promote discussions during the course of the expansion.