A BARRHEAD school will be given an early years extension as part of a £26million overhaul of East Renfrewshire’s nurseries.

The council is set to build a new 60-place extension at Cross Arthurlie Nursery as part of a plan to improve existing sites in the area.

Announced alongside the extension in Barrhead are five new nurseries elsewhere in East Renfrewshire, with other sites such as Cross Arthurlie Primary getting upgrades.

Costing £23m, the five new sites will be situated across East Renfrewshire, although none of the new schools will be based in Barrhead, Neilston or Uplawmoor.

The facilities, three of which will operate as family centres providing childcare for 50 weeks of the year, are planned to be open by August 2020.

The plans for the new nurseries propose creating a centre within Overlee Park, one to replace the outdated Crookfur Pavilion, a replacement for Glenwood Family Centre on an adjacent site, and two new centres within the grounds of Busby and Eaglesham primaries. The council is proposing to incorporate improved community and sports facilities within two of the centres.

Other existing nurseries will be developed as part of the expansion plan, with a further £3.3m being invested to create the extension at Cross Arthurlie Primary, plus improved facilities at Hazeldene Family Centre, Carolside Nursery Class and Braidbar Nursery Class.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, convener for education and equalities, said: “It is extremely exciting to have reached this milestone in our ambitious early years expansion plan.

“The sites of the proposed new family centres were carefully chosen as we aim to provide green and natural environments for our children so they have the best opportunities for quality exploration and learning experiences indoors and out.

“By offering parents various options of how to utilise their free childcare allocations, the facilities will provide more flexibility and choice which I’m sure will be welcomed by all.”

The announcement comes as the local authority looks to meet the target of providing increased free childcare for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by 2020.

Local authorities currently provide 600 free hours a year and this will increase to 1,140, which is in effect a rise to 30 hours per week.

The five new nurseries will all have 120 places and other improvements are lined up for each individual site.

At Crookfur, the existing pavilion will be replaced with the nursery and sports changing rooms. A hall space will be included for the whole community, the public playground will be upgraded and additional car parking will be created.

The family centre proposed in Overlee Park would be created on an area of disused ground behind the current pavilion. It is planned to carry out two phases of work, first building the nursery and then creating a sports changing facility. A community hall space will be created and additional car parking.

Once this early years, sports and community hub has been built, the council then proposes to demolish the dilapidated old pavilion and landscape the area.

A nursery will be built within the grounds of Busby Primary to replace the temporary facility. As part of the development a new multi-use games area (MUGA) will be built.

The plan for Eaglesham Primary is to build a nursery within the grounds of the school with a corridor linking it to the main building. This would replace the existing 60-place nursery class within the school.

A single-storey replacement facility is proposed for Glenwood Family Centre to provide a larger and more modern learning environment. The building has been designed to take advantage of the outdoor learning opportunities within Eastwood Park.