IT is an absolute privilege to be leader of East Renfrewshire Council, as there’s always so much to be proud of and exciting times ahead.

As councillors, we are often part of the big announcements but it is the hours of hard work going on behind the scenes that is to be applauded.

Our staff work extremely hard to ensure the best projects are delivered for the area – and that can be seen through our ambitious expansion plan for early years provision.

Plans have now been submitted to build five new nurseries, which will mean an investment of £23million in the futures of our youngest residents.

We all know that firing young minds and imaginations is the key to developing a lifelong love of learning and the plans for these new nurseries are extremely exciting.

They will make the most of the outdoor learning environments, encouraging children to learn through play and explore their surroundings as they broaden their horizons.

Another significant educational milestone was also reached last week as the proposal to create a shared campus in Neilston reached the next stage.

A consultation exercise showed significant support for this plan, which would ensure that pupils in Neilston had access to the best facilities possible to support their development.

The facilities at both Neilston Primary and St Thomas’ Primary would require significant investment and redevelopment, so this potential shared campus would provide major benefits for the village.

As new houses planned for the area are completed, this will also lead to additional children requiring a school place.

By taking this ambitious plan forward, it will ensure that we continue to meet the growing needs of the local community.

At the other end of the scale, it was great to hear from Natalie Fitzsimmons, headteacher at St Mark’s Primary School, in Barrhead, last week when she spoke at the latest meeting of the council’s education committee.

It was terrific to hear about the fantastic work going on in this school which led to such a positive inspection report being achieved.

We have excellent work being carried out across all of our schools and, indeed, across all areas of East Renfrewshire Council.

This is something that should be celebrated.

Indeed, residents across East Renfrewshire deserve a pat on the back for driving our recycling levels up once again.

East Renfrewshire continues to recycle the most waste in the country, with 67 per cent now being diverted from landfill.

This is a six per cent increase on the previous year’s results and shows the commitment of all our residents to making East Renfrewshire a cleaner and greener place for all to enjoy.