Upcoming Training in Fort William and Wick – ‘Needs, Connections and Development’

Key Details

Where and when: Fort William: Thursday 6th December. Wick: Monday 10th December

How much: Free to CALA members and practitioners. £12.50 for non-members. 

How to book: click here to book online or telephone Rebecca on 01349 866749

Closing date for bookings: 27th November, 2018

‘Careers in Early Learning and Childcare’ – a new page on the CALA website

If you are considering embarking on a career in Early Learning and Childcare, you might be interested in a new webpage we’ve just launched on the CALA website. 

Our new ‘Careers in Early Learning and Childcare‘ page is packed full of useful information for anyone with an interest in ELC.

The page contains information on: 

  • What to expect from a job in ELC
  • Information on pay, working hours and holiday entitlement
  • Advice on the qualifications you will be required to work towards as an ELC practitioner 
  • Information on volunteering with CALA, as well as details of our #OpeningDoors programme and the CALA Staffbank. Perfect for people who’d like to build up their experience and confidence before taking up a permanent position in ELC 
  • Links to useful websites that provide further guidance on careers in ELC

With the expansion of ELC to 1140 hours by 2020, an estimated 11,000 additional staff will be required. If you’d like to be one of them, begin your journey by visiting: https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/careers-in-elc/

Care Inspectorate announces new inspection framework

The following update comes from the Care Inspectorate, the national regulator for care services in Scotland:

In July, we started this roll-out by introducing a new framework for inspections of care homes for older people, and we have been using this framework on our inspections. You can find a copy of this, and more detail about how we are using it, at www.careinspectorate.com/index.php/inspections/new-inspections. The framework is designed for use in self-evaluation, inspection, and improvement support, and draws heavily on the new Health and Social Care Standards. 

We will soon be involving people who experience care, service providers and managers, and our own staff to review the difference this has made in care homes for older people.  This review will help us develop the frameworks for other care settings. 

Vote on what children’s play equipment you would like at the new Moray Sports Centre

The following blog article comes courtesy of the Play Scotland newsletter: 

Play Park designed by the community

Moray Sports Centre wants to build an inclusive Play Park at the new centre. They have contacted all local children’s groups, schools and nurseries to share the opportunity with users to contribute to the design of the park. Through this, they will be able to develop a design which the community wants, needs and will use.

Why do they want Inclusive Play Park?

Play is vital to a child’s healthy development in life. It is important to their physical health, as well as social skills. This park will enable children and young people to come together and play equally.

Inclusive Play is something that all children and young people should have equal access to. Children should have the chance to be able to play safely along-side one another.

 The Impact

Moray Sports Centre Play Park will become a facility in where children, families and the whole community can visit and not feel excluded. It will provide a safe and inclusive space for children to grow and learn while making friends and having fun.  This will be the only fully inclusive Play Park in the whole of Moray.

They would love to hear from prospective users on what equipment they would like to see in the park. Go onto their website here and please vote

Space Week at Junior World

The children and staff at Junior World in Nairn recently took part in ‘Space Week’, which ran from October 4th to October 10th. During Space Week, the children learnt all about space exploration, planets, Sputnik and other satellites. They also spent time learning about ways to care for the environment. 

The week culminated with the centre teaming up with nearby Millbank Primary School, to create a ‘space selfie’. 

Reay Under 5’s – Fun in the mud!

The following blog article was submitted by Yvonne Morris, Senior Early Years Practitioner at Reay Under 5’s:

We were lucky enough to get another area for the children to use for outdoor learning and play. Our dads recently cleared this area for us, made some new fencing and spread bark chips. We purchased a new Mud Kitchen and new sandpit for the children and now have a super outside area which will support the development of children’s curiosity and exploration.

Wow, what fun they had investigating and exploring. Lots of digging, pouring, filling to further develop their mathematical learning. As well as mixing mud and sand they used their imagination and senses as they made ‘pancakes’ and ‘blueberry pies’. The play has led to further development and fantastic communication as they extend their language skills using descriptive words whilst sharing with staff and peers what they are doing: ‘I am mixing all the ingredients’,’ it is gooey’. The benefits of our new area will be fantastic for the children’s development in so many ways giving them endless opportunities.

Empowering Parents in Prison

Mairianne Nairn and Gillian Forbes, supporting dads and their families at Inverness Prison

The following blog article was submitted by Mairianne Nairn, CALA Family Support Project Coordinator.

In my role as Family Support Project Coordinator, I have been working closely with Family Contact staff at HM Prison Inverness to offer a range of support and opportunities to dads and their families. Alongside Council colleague Gillian Forbes, I recently delivered a 12 week Pathway programme in the prison resulting in two fathers graduating with nationally recognised SCQF level 4 qualifications through the programme.

This is the first Pathway group to be delivered within a Prison in the whole of the UK and the first Pathway for the Highlands.

Every week we had a fun packed peep session, I’m sure the Dads and children would agree that Messy Play was the absolute favourite thing thoroughly enjoyed by all! After our hour of peep we waved goodbye to the families and got out the coffee and the chocolate biscuits and set to work on portfolios.

At the end of the 12 weeks, prison governor Stephen Coyle presented two dads with their certificates

Some weeks brought challenges, but the Dads were determined to achieve their goal and worked so hard, completing portfolios to a very high standard. We ended the 12 weeks with a celebration with the families and the Prison Governor joined us to chat to the dads and present them with their certificates. Thanks to the Community Justice Partnership’s generous funding we were able to gift each family a box of resources so they can replicate the activities at home.

The peep Pathway at the prison was only possible thanks to an excellent working relationship with fellow practitioner Gillian Forbes from Highland Council and Scottish Prison Service staff who supported the families along with all the other professionals involved throughout to ensure the programme’s success.

During the 12 weeks of the course, it has been a pleasure to work with the Dads to complete their portfolios and explore the topics. I have observed first hand the positive effect this has had on parent and child as their understanding of their child’s development and how best to support it has deepened. Peep is a wonderful programme that allows the practitioner to deliver an adult learning programme in a positive atmosphere with families learning alongside each other. I look forward to returning to the Prison to deliver another round of Pathway training where one of the dads is coming back to complete his level 5.

What is peep?

The CALA Family Support Team have a diverse set of skills and tools at their disposal to ensure we can give the very best tailored support to families and groups one of those tools is peep.

The peep learning together programme is an evidence-based intervention, developed by the charity ‘Peeple‘ and focuses on the all-important home learning environment and strengthening the relationship between parent and child.

Peep sessions come in all shapes in sizes as it is a wonderfully flexible programme and can be in a group, in the home, over a number of weeks or a one-off session. Above all things peep sessions are fun!

Peep sessions involve songs, stories, activities and discussion linked to the programmes five strands of learning:

  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Communication and language
  • Early literacy development
  • Early numeracy development
  • Health and physical development

The peep Progression Pathway allows parents to gain a City & Guilds qualification whilst participating in weekly peep sessions then taking additional time to complete a portfolio related to their learning during the session.


Upcoming free event in Inverness: nature is the best playground

What: Scotland’s Play Council Seminar on Nature is the best playground – the benefits of outdoor play in the home, early learning and childcare, in school and in the community

When: Saturday 17th November 2018

Where: Culloden-Balloch Baptist Church, Inverness

How to book: click here

Free e-learning resource from NHS Health Scotland: British Sign Language (BSL)

The following blog update comes courtesy of the Care Inspectorate’s Newsletter: 

We are pleased to let you know about a new e-learning resource that is free and available to you and your staff.

The new module is relevant for all staff across health, mental health and social care. It aims to develop awareness of the different types of British Sign Language (BSL) and share good practice in communicating with people who use BSL, to improve their experience of services.

The module covers the following key learning outcomes:

    • Recognise the different types of communication support needs.
    • Describe the basics of BSL as a language and the rights of BSL users.
    • Respond appropriately to the communication preference of BSL users.
    • Reflect on ways of improving current practice.

NHS Health Scotland’s Workforce Development team developed the module in partnership with BSL users and colleagues from DeafScotland, Deafblind Scotland, the Care Inspectorate, the Scottish Social Services Council, NHS Education Scotland, NHS Lothian and NHS Forth Valley.

We encourage all care service providers and staff to enrol themselves onto this short and enjoyable module. Follow the link at the bottom of this email to NHS Health Scotland’s Virtual Learning Environment.

Please note, new users will need to create an account and log in before accessing the course. You can create a new account on the following link: https://elearning.healthscotland.com/login/signup.php

Self-enrolment: Once you have created an account and logged in, click the following link and self-enrol in the course – https://elearning.healthscotland.com/course/view.php?id=539

Congratulations to Watten ELC for attaining their Eco-Schools Green Flag Award

The following blog article comes from Donna Sinclair and the staff of Watten ELC:

Congratulations to Watten ELC for attaining their Eco-Schools Green Flag Award status.

The feedback from the Eco-Schools Interim Assessment report included “it’s wonderful to see this campaign being carried out in an Early Years context, it is very clear both from the quotes from children and the wonderful photos of children working in the centre groups that Eco-Schools at Watten ELC is very hands-on and child led.  Curricular links outlined in the application and Action Plans are outstanding and well thought out.  An outstanding application for a First Green Flag“. 

Well done to the staff and children for all the hard work put in to achieve this award, a definite inspiration to us all.

Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Inclusion Fund

The following blog article comes courtesy of Children in Scotland

The second round of the Scottish Government’s Early Learning & Childcare Inclusion Fund is now open to applications.
The ELC Inclusion Fund provides funding to selected Scottish registered ELC providers to support children with additional support needs (ASN) in Scotland access their funded ELC entitlement. It funds staff working in ELC settings to receive appropriate training and fund resources, equipment and adaptations to help meet the needs of these children.

Details on the funding and how to apply can be found at https://childreninscotland.org.uk/our-work/services/early-learning-childcare-inclusion-fund/

Closing date for applying to the fund is 5 pm on 31 October 2018. For further details email [email protected]

Not included, not engaged, not involved: a report on the experiences of autistic children missing school

Not Included, Not Engaged, Not Involved – Children in Scotland, Scottish Autism and National Autistic Society’s research report 2018 on the experiences of autistic children missing school.

The report, based on analysis of 1434 responses to an online survey (from every local authority) suggests nine calls for action and a range of further actions needed. Full report: