First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced funding of nearly £1.5 million to boost nursery staff numbers in less affluent parts of Scotland.

An extra 435 graduates are needed for the Scottish Government to meet a commitment for nurseries in the most deprived areas to have an extra graduate by 2018.

Around £1 million will support 126 additional teacher training places, with 100 extra staff expected to be ready to enter early learning and childcare by next year.

The funding will also support 270 extra places on BA childhood practice courses from August at a cost of about £400,000.

The Government said every council area will benefit from an increase in nursery staff numbers as a result of the funding, with the full commitment to be met by additional training for people already working in the sector.

Scottish ministers are working towards doubling free early learning and childcare provision to 1,140 hours by 2020.

Speaking on a visit to the nursery at Gorebridge Primary School, Midlothian, Ms Sturgeon said: "Increasing the number of teachers and graduates in nurseries is absolutely crucial to tackling the attainment gap right from the start of a child's education.

"We all recognise the importance of high quality early learning and childcare to the development of our young people, and access to the right staff with the right expertise is key to this.

"By providing the best possible start in life we can ensure our young people develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential, we know this is particularly true for children who face the greatest disadvantage.

"That is why, as part of this commitment, we are investing £1.5 million in 2017-18 to train additional teachers and graduates.

"By targeting these additional resources in Scotland's most disadvantaged areas we can improve attainment and make sure every child born in Scotland has an equal chance to succeed, regardless of their background."