Scottish nurseries are suffering a bigger funding shortfall than those in England and Wales and many will struggle to offer more free childcare hours, it has been claimed. The Scottish government plans to almost double free hours for three- and four-year-olds by 2020. But half the nurseries in a National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) survey (www.ndna.org.uk/annualsurvey2016) were uncertain they could meet the extra demand, with funding already falling short. NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku identified a “huge burden on private and third-sector nurseries”.
Syrian refugee families will be given up to 1,000 children’s books and toys from the PlayTalkRead educational scheme. The packs have been donated by the Scottish Book Trust and Scottish government. Children’s minister Aileen Campbell said that many refugee children had gone through long periods with “no education, no opportunities to play and no normality in their lives”. Scotland has received about 400 refugees under the Syrian resettlement programme since October.
A youth orchestra programme has been boosted by a £2.5 million, four-year funding package. This will allow Sistema Scotland to build on work in deprived parts of Stirling (Raploch), Glasgow (Govanhill) and Aberdeen (Torry). The scheme, which originated in Venezuela, works with more than 1,500 children and young people, aiming to transform lives by forming orchestras from the early years of primary. The Scottish government has provided about £4 million to the charity since 2012-13.
A charity set up after the Dunblane tragedy, 20 years ago this week, will continue funding educational schemes around Scotland. The Gwen Mayor Trust was named after the teacher who died on 13 March 1996 along with 16 of her P1 pupils. It has provided nearly £100,000 for primary school activities, including arts, culture and sport. Donations can be made via the Royal Bank of Scotland to the Educational Institute of Scotland–Gwen Mayor Trust account (sort code: 83-18-44; account number: 00118240).