Number Of Childcare Places In Scilly ‘Fragile’

childrens services signScilly’s Head of Children’s Services has said that the number of childcare places on the islands is ‘fragile.’

Joel Williams told councillors at last week’s Children and Young People Committee that the small population in Scilly meant that tiny fluctuations in the birth rate could create big problems from year to year.

A survey conducted earlier this year by consultants highlighted a difference in the views of parents and carers.

Joel said parents felt there weren’t enough places, yet minders reported that they had plenty of vacancies in their groups.

He encouraged parents to plan ahead and contact child minders early. That way, he said, they could plan to have the right number of staff in place to cope with demand.

Two new child minders have been recruited recently, bringing the total number to four.

A new play centre has also been set up at the Carn Gwaval Health and Wellbeing Centre. Joel says this offers improved indoor and outdoor play space.

And while he felt there was now enough provision for childcare on St Mary’s, he admitted it was more difficult for parents on the off-islands to access the service.

The Council are helping those families by providing interisland boat services, he said.