Privately run early education and childcare providers are set to receive an hourly pay rise for supporting the council in offering up to 1140 hours of childcare.

The new rates would see an increase of 10 per cent - from £5.84 to £6.43 for caring for eligible two-year-olds and a 7.6 per cent increase to £6.28 for children who are three years old and above.

The rates were agreed by members of West Dunbartonshire Council's educational services committee. 

The higher rate for eligible two-year-olds was chosen in consideration of the stagnant pay scale from the previous term, and the higher adult-child ratio costs for two-year-olds compared to their older counterparts.

Councillor Martin Rooney said: “This is great news for the council's partnership nurseries and childcare providers as it helps them to sustain their high-quality services and means that they are able to pay their staff the Scottish Living Wage.

“Our partnership nurseries are a vital part of our early years provision and they also mean increased choice and flexibility for families including providing child care throughout the year including over the summer holiday period.”

In addition to pay increases, the council also provides partner providers free access to professional learning resources, working groups, and mandatory annual training.

The council also extends support from its psychological services and offers guidelines from its Early Years Service on various topics, including inspection preparation, budgeting and sharing best practices.

Laura Mason, chief education officer, said: "Since August 2021, all three and four-year-old children and eligible two-year-old children have been entitled to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare each year.

"Throughout this time we have built strong relationships with our partner providers and work together to ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet the demand of our families.

"I am pleased to see this increase to the hourly rate passed by the committee as we recognise and value their commitment to supporting local children in their early learning."