CHILDREN as young as two will be entitled to 1,140 hours a year of Early Years Education in South Ayrshire by 2020.

This comes as part of a new plan by the Scottish Government, who have made a commitment to extend the entitlement of funded early learning and childcare to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.

Hours of education a year will be extended from 600 to 1,140 a year and is supported by COSLA.

Addressing the Leadership Panel last week, Cllr William Grant, said: “I think we have now moved on and with COSLA agreeing extra funding it is now a clear path.”

Cllr Brian McGinley added: “I support this development and this is a progressive report.

“Can I ask about the employment of staff and the methods used to train and retrain them?”

The Depute Leader was informed a training programme is already in place for staff and new employees to complete.

There will be an opportunity for them to retrain as Early Years practitioners and to become full time members of staff.

The council can also recruit externally. 

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Education, said: “We have a new training academy and it has already put new and potential employees through appropriate training.

“There have been a number of staff who have gone through it and by December 2019, 100 staff will have completed it.”

Leader of the Council Douglas Campbell added: “This is going to lead to an increase in demand for meals.

“Will there be a review to ensure that is dealt with?”

The panel was told there was a programme already in place to address the issue and there would be an increase in the provision of free meals. 

Cllr Campbell said: ”It is a hard piece of work and I think the children will benefit. I would like to thank you for your progress so far.”