Committee hears of progress on the city’s new Early Learning and Childcare settings

Aberdeen City Council’s Capital Programme Committee was updated yesterday (Wednesday 23 September) on the progress being made in the city’s multi-million capital investment in increasing Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) capacity across the city.

£23 million is being invested in a capital programme to refurbish, upgrade, extend and build new ELC sites to help deliver the Council’s commitment to expand funded ELC from 600 hours to 1,140 hours in line with Scottish Government requirements for all local authorities..

Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on building work across the country and on the national roll out of the extended hours, progress has been made on projects including the first completed major nursery refurbishment which saw the contractor hand over ownership of the upgrade setting at Quarryhill School on Monday 14 September.

In the coming months, two further significant projects at Tullos and a new nursery on Regent Walk, Seaton are programmed for completion. The new setting on Regent Walk, which will be the largest ELC setting in Aberdeen, is due for completion in November.

Other projects currently underway or about to commence as part of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the programme include the re-modelling or extensions to schools and nurseries at Culter and Cults, Broomhill, Charleston, Loirston, Kingswells, Tullos, Westpark, and Woodside, and new builds at Duthie Park, Gilcomstoun, Hazlehead Kirkhill, Kingsford, Northfield/Cummings Park, and Tillydrone. 

Committee Convener, Councillor Marie Boulton, said: “It was heartening to learn that, despite experiencing both national and local lockdowns since March, we have been able to make progress on the projects which will ensure we deliver on the commitment to an enhanced ELC provision.

“My thanks go out to the contractor Robertson Construction and also to our ELC and Capital teams for their hard work during the pandemic in driving the programme forward”.

Local Authorities’ duty to provide 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare for eligible two-year olds and all three and four year olds by August 2020 has been revoked by the Scottish Parliament. However, it is expected that a new implementation date for delivery of 1140 hours will be agreed following further discussion.