ALMOST 90 per cent of Glasgow's nursery population have accessed between 900 and 1140 hours of free childcare ten months before the national launch date.

The Scottish Government has been working with every local authority across the country to increase the number of early learning childcare (ELC) hours for three-five-year-olds from August this year.

Some eligible two-year-olds, including looked after children, those in kinship care and families who rely on certain welfare benefits will also benefit from the scheme.

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Glasgow City Council has been taking steps to allow families to access these services ahead of the "go-live" date.

By November 2019, more than 1200 children aged between three and five-years-old were attending the city’s 122 funded provider nurseries and accessing the 900 hour entitlement.

Within the council’s own 110 nurseries, opportunities have been sought where staff levels allow it, to deliver not only the 900 hour entitlement but to exceed this wherever possible to the full 1140 hours for as many children as possible.

Glasgow Times:

November 2019 saw 9310 children in receipt of between 900 and 1140 hours, with the majority of these accessing the 1140.

Some two-year-olds are also eligible to access funded early learning and childcare although not all nurseries can provide places for this age group.

Around 25 per cent of the city’s two-year-olds are likely to meet the eligibility criteria at any one time although encouraging families to take up the offer can cause anxiety because of stigmatisation.

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Only 546 children had been recording as accessing services as of November. For two-year-olds who do not fall under the criteria to access 900 hours, the national entitlement of 600 hours still applies to them.

The local authority has also been working to bring the required number of additional staff into position to allow the childcare expansion to take place.

UWS is also working with the council to support the first five graduate apprentices enabling people to progress through to partitioner level and degree qualified lead practitioner.

The programme will be discussed further on Thursday by councillors.