INVERCLYDE will get £21 million in total over the next five years to expand early years learning and childcare.

Every three and four year old in Inverclyde will be entitled to double the number of hours at nursery by 2020.

The Scottish Government will meet the demand by handing over cash both for investment programmes and to cover the year-on-year costs of the huge expansion.

Under the plans the total revenue budget for early years will more than double from £7m this year to £15m by 2022.

Education bosses have agreed a plan of action with the government which will mean three new nurseries and five refurbishments in Inverclyde to increase capacity.

A new report by head of education Ruth Binks says: “It is evident that the 1,140 hours expansion programme has many challenges.

“However it has the potential to give Inverclyde’s children the best start in life and to close attainment and inequality gaps.”

Under the expansion plans there are three new-builds   — Larkfield Children’s Centre, Park Farm Community Centre and Glenpark Early Learning Centre.

Five refurbishments will take place — St Joseph’s nursery class, Blairmore, St Francis’, Craigmarloch and Gourock YAC.

More outdoor learning places are to be created for Binnie Street, Blairmore, Kilmacolm, Rainbow Family Centre, Gibshill Children’s Centre and Wemyss Bay Nursery class.

The new universal entitlement will see an increase of 72 outdoor learning places in Inverclyde and a 43 per cent increase in partnership places at private nurseries.

The Scottish Government has agreed to increase revenue funding for the expansion from £265,000 this year to £9m a year by 2022.