Children at Houston Early Learning and Childcare Class were the first to dig up the ground in preparation for their new-build nursery.
Beth, Annie and Isla, aged four, and Leo and Jess, aged three, helped contractors Fleming Buildings Limited start work on the site beside Houston Primary School.
Houston is one of four new-build nurseries that will be built across Renfrewshire, with work also starting on site for nurseries at Dargavel in Bishopton, Lochfield in Paisley and Kirklandneuk in Renfrew.
Major extension work will also start soon at St Margaret’s Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Johnstone and Kilbarchan Community Nursery, as well as a bespoke centre being created for Inchinnan Community Nursery at Inchinnan Primary School.
The projects are part of a £14million extension and refurbishment programme to support the expansion of nursery provision in Renfrewshire. It will also help the council meet the Scottish Government’s target of 1140 fully funded hours of early learning and childcare for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by August 2020.
Renfrewshire was recognised for its efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap in 2019 when it became the first local authority in Scotland to be rated ‘excellent’ by Education Scotland. The early learning and childcare expansion will support much of that work.
Education and Children’s Services Convener for Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Building these four new-build nurseries will help us provide young children with the best possible start in life by creating the best possible learning environment for them.
“We are also carrying out extension work and refurbishments to nurseries across the area and recruiting staff in preparation for the expanded 1140 hours of early learning and childcare in August 2020.
“We are committed to providing the best learning environments for young children and are driven to maintain quality across all early learning and childcare centres and classes. The building work will support this by creating bespoke centres and facilities that will help young children in Renfrewshire thrive for years to come.
“Applications for children due to attend nursery after August 2020 are open, and I’d encourage as many parents as possible to apply now for their preferred choice of nursery placement.”
Ronnie Burrows, Director of Fleming Buildings, said: “We do extensive work in the education sector and are delighted to use our expertise to benefit the very youngest generation. For us this latest contract is an endorsement of our collaborative approach, focus on quality and strong working relationship with Renfrewshire Council. We look forward to delivering new buildings in line with local authority’s aim to provide a sustainable estate and accommodation fit for education in the 21st century.”
Houston Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Class Headteacher, Jennifer Murray, added: “We are delighted that Houston will have this brand new, purpose-built centre which will offer our youngest learners continued high quality experiences in a top-quality learning environment.”
To apply for a nursery place or for more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/1140ELC