Stirling nurseries reap benefits of expanded childcare funding with upgrades

Stirling Council is celebrating the completion of significant improvements to each of its 30 nurseries as part of its commitment to expand free early learning and childcare (ELC).

A picture of happy, smiling toddlers and young children sitting around a table with adult teachers
Children and staff at Drymen Nursery are delighted with the improvements to their facility.

The opening of new nurseries in Drymen and Braehead in May and an extension to Strathblane Nursery earlier this year concluded a five-year package of investment across the Council’s nursery estate.

This supports the local authority’s implementation of the Scottish Government offer of 1140 hours of annual funded childcare to eligible two year olds and all those aged three and four.

Scottish Government grant funding supported the Council in building new nurseries and upgrading its other ELC settings, which ranged from the installation of new kitchens and building extensions to cosmetic refurbishments.

'Benefits felt by families across Stirling'

Children and Young People Convener, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “The completion of the new nurseries in Drymen and Braehead will be welcome news to the local communities and is a major milestone in Stirling Council’s commitment to the highest standards of early learning and childcare.

“Through a phased approach to the roll out, long-term planning and working with providers across Stirling, we have been able to offer the 1140 hours provision to eligible children since August 2020 – a full year ahead of our statutory obligation and despite the challenges of the pandemic.

“The benefits of this programme have been felt by families across Stirling, and I’m proud we are delivering these vital services in modern, inclusive facilities that allow children to thrive.

“The wide range of improvements also ensure nursery staff can provide a nurturing environment for care, learning and development, giving our children the best start in life.”


An exterior picture of a new nursery with playground and bedding planter in the foreground
The new facility at Drymen is part of a five-year package of investment across the Council's nursery estate.

The provision is available across all local authority nurseries, private partner settings and partner childminders, allowing a greater level of choice for families in Stirling.

One parent of a child attending the new Braehead Nursery said: “It’s so lovely and bright and welcoming just like the team there. The kids love it. There’s so much for them to do in both the playroom and garden. It’s a lovely little safe place for playing and having fun whilst learning. My wee boy doesn’t want to leave.”

The new Drymen Nursery opened to children on 15 May. It boasts an outdoor classroom with easy access to the woods for children to safely explore their nearby natural environment. The nursery can accommodate 24 children aged between 3-5 and five children aged 2-3 at one time.

Braehead Nursery opened on 30 March and has a sheltered outdoor space which allows children to play outside in all weathers. Up to 32 pre-school age children can be accommodated within the nursery.

Both new nurseries feature wonderful skylights that will let children observe the world in daylight and darkness. The new state of the art nurseries also have bright, spacious playrooms, parent rooms and designated staff work and rest areas to support nursery staff.

ELC provision is due to be expanded further by 2026 to eligible one and two-year-olds. This currently remains at a national planning stage with local authorities awaiting a further update from the Scottish Government.