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DGCouncil: Additional Early Learning and Childcare

The Council’s Education and Learning committee [5 September 2019] will consider a report on Early Learning and Childcare [ELC].

The committee is recommended to agree to a pilot for charging for additional non-funded hours ELC hours in Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfries and Galloway Council offers funded ELC in 44 local authority nurseries and commissions ELC from 40 funded providers and 42 childminders. It doesn’t currently sell additional ELC hours to parents. Several other Scottish local authorities do.

In February 2019, the committee agreed that, where there is availability in local authority nurseries, and no extra staff are required, the extra hours could be sold to parents to top up their ELC entitlement. The availability of additional hours will decrease towards the implementation of the entitlement to 1140 hours of ELC [August 2020].

The Council works in partnership with the local private, voluntary and independent [PVI] sector and local childminders and values this relationship so Council nurseries, which are attached to a school, will only offer additional hours in locations where there is no PVI provision: Beattock, Canonbie Closeburn, Collin, Creetown, Drummore, Gatehouse, Glenluce, Kelloholm, Kirkcowan, Kirkcudbright, Sandhead, Sanquhar, Wallace Hall, Wigtown, and Whithorn.

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chair of the Education and Learning committee, said: “Providing the best start in life for all children is a priority for our Council. As we work towards implementing 1140 hours of early learning and childcare, we’re keen to best use capacity to assist families. However, we want to do this in a way that won’t be detrimental to our valued partners in the private, voluntary and independent sectors.”

Councillor Ros Surtees, vice chair, said: “Our aim is to develop flexible, high-quality early learning and childcare that is accessible, affordable, and integrated with school and out-of-school care. This will improve outcomes for children, especially the vulnerable or disadvantaged, and help to close the attainment gap.”

For full report see:

SCC comments on Westminster Developments

Responding to the latest Westminster developments, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:


LIz Cameron


“Businesses in Scotland feel as if their pleas for a return to political sanity are falling on deaf ears as this dangerous game of Westminster brinkmanship escalates.


“Continuing political turbulence is taking a measurable toll on contracts, on investment decisions, and on business confidence. For three years our political leaders in the UK and Scotland have been consumed by political intrigues when the country, its people and the economy needs their focus to be on the business of governing. Government support is essential to creating the right environment for businesses to thrive and this effort is currently, at best, increasingly haphazard.

“We need to avoid a disorderly exit from the EU come 31 October. None of the events of the last few days have given businesses greater confidence that this will be achieved. Businesses are doing their best to plan. But it is essential for government and agencies in London and Edinburgh to further boost support for businesses through any scenario.”

Moffat To Honour Lord Dowding With Memorial Service

Moffat is proud to have been the birthplace of Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding. A memorial stands in his honour in the town's Station Park and, each September, a service is held in his memory. This year, the 79th anniversary of the successful defence of the skies over Britain, he will be remembered again. To many, he was known as The Architect of Deliverance. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding, GCB, GCVO, CMG (24 April 1882 – 15 February 1970) served as a fighter pilot and then as commanding officer of No.16 Squadron during the First World War. During the inter-war years he became Air Officer Commanding Fighting Area, Air Defence of Great Britain and then joined the Air Council as Air Member for Supply and Research. He was Air Officer Commanding RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and is generally credited with playing a crucial role in Britain's defence, and hence, the defeat of Adolf Hitler's plan to invade Britain.


Moffat will pay tribute on Sunday 1st September at Station Park, Moffat at 2.25pm with the COMMEMORATIVE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR LORD DOWDING, 2019

Dowding Memorial 2018 Supplied with Press Release

During the Second World War, France was not defeated and occupied by Germany until June 1940. This gave them the platform for the invasion of Great Britain, to be preceded by the air assault which we now remember as the Battle of Britain. But, in 1939, there were several important actions over Scotland involving Fighter Command, two of which are described here.

On the 16th October, 1939, the Luftwaffe’s Fleigerdivision's I/KG 30, based at Westerland on the Island of Sylt, despatched nine Junkers 88 dive bombers, under the command of Hauptmann Helmuth Pohle. Their main objective was to bomb HMS Hood, reputed to be docked at Rosyth. Ironically Pohle was under orders from Hitler that he was not to bomb if there was a danger of civilian casualties!

They did not expect any real opposition as the crews had been told that Scotland was defended by obsolescent Gloster Gladiators. But, in fact, there were Spitfires of 602 (City of Glasgow) and 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadrons at Drem (now East Fortune) and Turnhouse respectively.

The attack was a failure: Pohle was shot down in the Forth but managed to guide his doomed aircraft to ditch alongside a trawler. The crew rescued him, severely concussed, and he awoke five days later in hospital. The Luftwaffe lost four aircraft and five were badly damaged; all the downed aircraft fell into the sea; one of the enemy losses was a Heinkel 111, sent to observe the Junkers attack. There were no RAF losses.


On the 29th November, 1939, Archie McKellar, DSO, DFC & Bar (10 April 1912 – 1 November 1940) of 602 Squadron, spotted a Heinkel 111 over Dalkeith and attacked it, killing the dorsal gunner and damaging the aircraft. As he was about to attack a second time, two Spitfires from 603, under the command of Sqn Ldr E.H. Stevens, nipped in and shot it down, landing in a field at Kidlaw, near Haddington, East Lothian. It was the first enemy aircraft of the war to be downed on British soil.

For more information, please contact Hamish MacLeod on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DG1 Welcomes Over 900 NEW Members in First Month

DG1 has had a very successful first month of operation since it opened on 15 July.

Attendance figures for the first month are:
Gym – 20,600 attendances
Swimming pool – 17,500 attendances
Leisure pool – 5,274 attendances
Fitness classes – 4,751 attendances

901 new memberships have been taken out.

Elaine Murray, Council LeaderCouncil Leader Elaine Murray said: “I’m delighted so see that DG1 has been so busy in its first month and that so many people have joined me in taking out a membership. DG1 is a first-class facility and customers using DG1 over its first month of operation have mostly been very impressed with it.”



Depute Leader Rob Davidson said: “It’s vital that councils contribute towards improving people’s health and wellbeing. Now that we have a first-class leisure facility in DG1, it is heartening to see how well it has been used in its first month of operation. DG1 will make a major contribution to increasing people’s physical activity over many years.” 


British Telecom should not axe phone boxes in areas where there is no guarantee of a good mobile signal from several providers, according to South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth.


The local MSP was making the comments as it was revealed that BT plan to axe a further 650 phone boxes across Scotland- around 20% of the national total.

BT have previously axed 1,500 boxes. The latest cuts would leave about 2,600 phone boxes - a reduction of more than 60% since 2003.

The planned cuts include over 200 in the South of Scotland include 37 in Dumfries and Galloway, 13 in East Ayrshire, 32 in East Lothian, 12 in Midlothian, 95 in the Scottish Borders and 9 in South Ayrshire.

Commenting on the news Colin Smyth said, “Public phone boxes are still very important to many communities across the South of Scotland, especially in rural areas. These cuts are yet another depressing erosion of services in rural communities to add to the loss of Post Offices, banks and cash machines. It’s fine for BT to say that most people now have mobile phones but that isn’t the case for everyone and coverage isn’t always great. BT should at the very least give a clear guarantee that no phone box will be removed in an area where there is not good mobile phone coverage from several providers in that area, not just one. Ideally they should reconsider these cuts or local councils should ensure they object to any cuts that will impact adversely on communities in their area”.