Fife Council has defended its handling of early years and childcare places, despite seeing more complaints than in previous years.
New figures presented at the region’s policy and co-ordination committee suggest out of 5,901 applications, a total of 135 families are without an August place at a Fife Council nursery after refusing what had been offered or choosing to go with another provider.
There has been criticism of the council’s allocation policy, with many parents left disappointed after being offered placements which had been unacceptable or not their preferred choice.
However, the local authority has confirmed only a “handful” of formal appeals had been submitted by frustrated parents, all of which had been resolved.
“Every year we have parents who are not happy with the placements they have been offered and this year it was much more complex,” said Carrie Lindsay, education and children’s services executive director.
“We were moving to a new model and we’ve had Covid-19 in the middle of that.
“But I think we’ve worked really hard with parents to try and support them – it is a complex process and we want to try and make any changes that we need to going forward.”
Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services, said the position will change over the summer, with all applicants being kept abreast of their individual situation.
Funded early learning and childcare (ELC) is available in different early years settings across the kingdom, including Fife Council Family Nurture Centres, nursery classes based in primary schools, stand-alone nursery settings, nursery settings based in other Fife Council buildings, private nurseries, childminders and playgroups contracted by the council to deliver funded ELC.
Many nurseries will be able to provide the new requirement of 1140 hours from August, although the impact of Covid-19 on new builds and extensions means 600 hours of ELC will be provided initially.