Pilot programme to start

A £3million project aimed at improving the life chances of children through the development of tailored pre-school and nursery provision will see the first phase of the initiative launched by May, councillors will be told

Six sites in Fraserburgh, Banchory, Stonehaven, Alford, Pitfour and Meldrum will open to a limited number of children within the next two months, to pilot the programme, which will provide support for families through early intervention and access to a wide range of services, including high-quality learning for children to help them reach their full potential.

Following the pilot, it is anticipated that the extended service will be rolled out to a further 12 sites across Aberdeenshire over the subsequent year.

All 18 sites will offer full-time childcare and pre-school education to children from age 3 to school entry. In addition, Fraserburgh and Stonehaven will host two of three integrated facilities which will be delivered by the Childcare and Early Years Extended Service (CEYES) project, offering support to families of children from 0-3 years. The third integrated hub will be based in Huntly.

An assessment process will be put in place to help identify the children and families who will benefit most from the extended service, with support and advice being available from a range of partners, including health visitors, social workers, speech and language therapists or a number of other support agencies.