New Busby Nursery is a ‘positive step’

Artist impression of the new Busby nursery
Artist impression of the new Busby nursery

As part of East Renfrewshire Council’s drive to deliver increased free childcare by August 2020, the development will increase the number of free places available in Busby Nursery Class.

A total of 100 places are currently available across two buildings for Busby Nursery Class.

Creating a bespoke 120-place facility will bring all children together in one, purpose-built space, with a dedicated outdoor play area for the nursery class.

It will also increase the available car parking, once the existing temporary modular facility is removed, and provide the school with additional classroom space as the rooms currently used by the nursery will no longer be needed for this use.

As well as building the nursery, a new link path will be created between the school playground and eco garden to connect the areas together and provide direct access to this space for the primary pupils.

This is in addition to the recently completed MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area), which is used every day on a rota basis during break times, with each year group having access at least once a week.

Council Leader Tony Buchanan said: “The creation of a new purpose-built Busby Nursery is part of the council’s £23m investment to support our delivery of the increased level of free childcare required by August 2020. We are committed to providing the very best facilities for all our children and young people, to support their learning journey. The outdoor space which will be created as part of the nursery will provide a fantastic environment for our youngest learners to explore and enjoy. The new development will improve access to outdoor space by creating a direct link to the eco garden, allowing pupils to benefit from this area on a regular basis.”

Councillor Paul O’Kane, Deputy Council Leader and Convener for Education, added: “Our nurseries are already extremely popular and building these new facilities will offer families more flexibility and choice when choosing their childcare. We will work closely with pupils at Busby Primary and Nursery as these plans progress to ensure their views help to shape the final design and layout of all aspects of this development. This is a positive step forward as the council prepares to introduce almost double the amount of free childcare for all three and four-year-olds by August next year.”

Local authorities currently provide 600 free hours a year for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.

As part of changes being introduced by the Scottish Government, this will increase to 1,140 hours by August 2020, which is in effect a rise to 30 hours per week, matching the amount of time children spend each week in primary school.

The first phase of the council’s roll-out was to make increased hours available at four facilities – Arthurlie Family Centre, Isobel Mair Family Centre for those with additional support needs, Braidbar Nursery Class and Busby Nursery Class.

Until the council’s expansion plan is fully implemented, access to these places is limited and so criteria are in place to identify children who are eligible to benefit.

As the council moves to the next stage of the expansion plan, it is planned to introduce partnerships with childminders from August 2019, offering parents the opportunity to access their free entitlement through a more blended approach.

The council is also currently in partnership with 13 early learning and childcare providers, and work is ongoing to increase the number of funded partners available, which includes childminders and private and voluntary nurseries.

The final phase of the plan, which will play a significant part in supporting the council in delivering the increased provision, will be the creation of five new nurseries by August 2020.

A £23m investment is being made by the council to build a centre within Overlee Park, one which will also replace the outdated Crookfur Pavilion, a replacement for Glenwood Family Centre on an adjacent site, and two new centres within the grounds of Busby and Eaglesham primaries.

Other existing nurseries will also be developed as part of the expansion plan, with a further £3.3m being invested to create a new 60 place nursery class extension at Cross Arthurlie Primary, plus improved facilities at Hazeldene Family centre, Carolside Nursery Class and Braidbar Nursery Class.