Brodick wins fight for early years provision

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By Hugh Boag

The future of early years provision in Brodick has been secured after a two-year fight by parents.

There was real concern the village would be left without any provision due to the potential closure of Brodick Nursery from June 2022, with young children having to travel to other early years classes on the island.

However, after a long battle, North Ayrshire Council has announced it is to spend £300,000 to transform Brodick primary to include an early years and childcare centre.

Currently, Brodick Nursery is a voluntary early learning centre (ELC) run by a manager and team of early years practitioners in Brodick Hall. The ELC in Brodick Hall is shared with other community groups and Arran public library which made it unsuitable to continue to deliver 1,140 hours of ELC provision.

The nursery’s parent committee has fought a long campaign to get the council to back its plans for alterations to the hall to allow the nursery to continue or find them alternative accommodation. Committee members have held countless meetings with council representatives and have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to find a solution.

Now they have persuaded the council to act and, under the new plans, the council is proposing to transform Brodick Primary School to create what they call a ‘fit-for-purpose’ ELC as part of the school.

The plan was due to be discussed at a parents’ meeting attended by NAC officials last night (Thursday) but it is hoped there can be a seamless transition for young children to the new centre from August 2022.

It is expected the new nursery will be run by the council which says the refurbishment will provide accommodation to deliver 1,140 hours of early learning education to around 18 young children from August 2022. An outdoor learning area will be provided and the children’s toilets will be improved.

Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education, North Ayrshire Council, said: ‘Our proposal to refurbish Brodick Primary School to include early learning and childcare provision is in line with our commitment to North Ayrshire’s children and young people having the best start in life.’

He added: ‘Brodick Nursery has been at the heart of the Brodick community for 40 years and is a highly-valued establishment. As Brodick is the main transport link to the mainland, it is important there is early learning provision in the village to support working parents who work in Brodick and on the mainland.’