Dumfries and Galloway families warned over childcare access

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The council said it would provide as many hours as possible during the recovery period

A council has warned that some families may have to travel to access early learning and childcare services.

Local authorities have been released of their legal obligation to double free childcare provision by August due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said all enrolments for August had been reviewed based on capacity across the region.

It said that it meant some families might not initially find their first choice of childcare was available.

The council said alternative services would be offered but admitted it could involve further travel.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, all education authorities had been working toward increasing early learning and childcare provision to 1,140 hours from August to comply with Scottish government legislation.

However, in light of the health crisis, that deadline was lifted.

There remains a commitment to deliver the expansion but local authorities now have more discretion to determine the timing of their plans.

'Every effort'

In Dumfries and Galloway, all projects in the last stage of the early learning and childcare plan have been delayed by the pandemic.

It includes work to enhance school nursery provision at Laurieknowe, Calside, Noblehill, Canonbie and Springholm.

The council said it had been on track to meet its statutory obligations before the coronavirus outbreak.

A report said further guidance was expected on social distancing in due course and plans would need to "respond and adapt" once those were issued.

It stressed the council would make "every effort" to provide as many hours as possible to children during the recovery period.

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