News round up

New guidance from the Scottish Government for early learning and childcare services

The Scottish Government has issued updated guidance: 

Information for parents about daycare of children service closures – Click here 
(last updated 27 March 2020)

Information for childminders about business and financial support  – Click here
(last updated 27 March 2020).

The following guidance has also been updated: 

Information for private, third sector and childminding providers about closures and emergency childcare  –    Click here                                                               

Information for private and third sector childcare providers about business support  – Click here
(both documents last updated 25 March 2020).

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for employers and employees

ACAS – Helpful advice, guidance and legislation explained – Click here

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Helpful guidance from UK Government (29th March 2020) about the possible impact social distancing can have on our mental health and coping strategies. Click here

Reminder: Scottish Government monitoring uptake and provision of childcare places

The Scottish Government continues to monitor the uptake and provision of places in early learning and childcare settings and providers who have services open for children of key workers should complete the online form each day.  This includes private and third-sector all-day childcare services including nurseries, out of school care and childminders (not local authority settings).

For settings that are closed, you are required submit the survey once, however, If your setting becomes operational again, please complete this on a daily basis before 15:00.

You can access the survey here

NHS Inform guidance in alternative formats and languages

You can access a variety of translated COVID- 19 guidance and information posters and leaflets from NHS Inform in a variety of different languages and easy-read format. 

Click here to access


Updates from SSSC COVID 19


The Scottish Social Services Council has shared the following information in their recent newsletter



Changes to the law to support social services:

The UK and Scottish coronavirus legislation include some important changes for social service regulation so we can support the workforce to keep on delivering high-quality services during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Fitness to practise changes during COVID-19 

To help focus resources on supporting the social service sector during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we’re making changes to fitness to practise. We’re making changes in the following areas:


Guidance for employers on core training for redeployed workers, temporary workers and volunteers 

With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across the country, it will be necessary for health and social care staff to be deployed to work in frontline care services they may be unfamiliar with. Temporary workers and volunteers are also being recruited to support services.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Read the latest information for social service workers and employers and what we are doing to help in our role as a regulator.
(last update 17 March 2020). 


Update from CALA

Well it has been a different but very busy week for us here at CALA as like everybody we have adjusted to the ‘new norm’ for the moment. We are linking closely with colleagues locally and nationally and keeping a focus on our vision and values for:  positive childhoods, empowered parents and dynamic communities at the heart of all that we do. 

We are working hard to try to meet needs as best we can. Through consultation with our members, staff and parents attending our ELC groups you have told us that you feel a ‘one-stop’ shop to go to that collates lots of the vital information and useful ideas for families would be beneficial so we have added a new dedicated section to our website. This is work in progress, so we’ll continue to develop it over the coming weeks.  

Our new dedicated Family Information and Support pages will provide you with:

  • Quick and easy access to national and local area support to services that may help you
  • Play and learning ideas you can dip in and out of for your children covering ages 0-12.
  • If your child attends a CALA Childcare setting there is a section here that you can access the specific information for your child’s setting. (This will be populated over the next week)
  • Easy access to our e-learning module ‘Supporting Young Children’s Behaviour – for Parents” which we’re offering you FREE for the duration of COVID-19
  • Child Protection information

Over the coming weeks some of the things we will be adding will be:

  • Short video clips from our practitioners reading stories and sharing practical play ideas, good news items and health and wellbeing information for you and your children.

Check out the new Family Information and Support page at

We hope you will find this useful, meanwhile be kind to yourselves and remember your children are learning all of the time and despite these challenging times, there are lots of examples of people talking to each other more, listening more, being more thoughtful and kind – all good role modelling and experiences which support our children’s all-round development.

Best wishes



Monitoring uptake and provision of childcare places – Scottish Government

The Scottish Government is asking each childcare provider that is NOT a local authority setting to complete this short online form from THURSDAY 26TH MARCH by 3.00 pm each day until further notice.

This includes private and third-sector childcare services including nurseries, out of school care and childminders. Information in relation to local authority settings will be gathered on a separate survey.

Childcare providers in the voluntary and private sectors and childminders are asked to provide information on:  

  • whether they are open or closed
  • the number of ELC practitioners working in the setting
  • the number of children attending (including those classed as “vulnerable”, those of key workers, and those attending solely for the purposes of taking a meal).

This form is designed to provide Scottish Ministers with regular and timely information in relation to COVID-19

Click here to access the form

Useful Information – 25th March 2020

Notice to all registered childminders in Scotland

Scottish Government issued guidance which sets out the implications for childminding services.

Click here to access

Third Sector Resilience Fund

The Third Sector Resilience Fund is now open for applications.

You can find details of the fund here and start the process of applying by using the online eligibility checker.

The Fund will provide grants of between £5,000-£100,000 and 0% interest loans starting at £50,000 to charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland that find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other financial information and support links you may find useful.

Highland Council

Moray Council

Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI)

Highland Community COVID-19 Response

HTSI has launched a new website to deal with Third Sector issues related to COVID-19 in Highland. HTSI state:

“The Highland Third Sector Interface are working closely with our partners in the Third and Public Sectors and in the community to support the wide range of community support developing in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. This website is intended to provide information which will assist individuals and community groups undertaking work to support people experiencing the impacts of the outbreak and to mitigate the most harmful of those”

Click here to access the site

Keeping children safe – Child Protection


The protection of children is still a KEY priority and RESPONSIBILITY of everyone through the changing landscape of services necessary to address the COVID-19 spread.

As always, if you are concerned about a child or young person it is important to speak to a professional as soon as possible using the following:

  1. If you are worried that a child is at immediate risk of harm, phone the Police on 999 without delay
  2. If you are worried that a child may be at risk of harm, please visit  for a local contact number
  3. If you are worried that a child may be at risk of harm and it is out with office hours, phone 08457 697284

Where can I get further information on keeping children safe?

  • Care and Learning Alliance website – Child Protection – useful information tab and websites and video tab – quick and easy access to information, guidance and tools.
  • Highland Child Protection Committee – help and advice, resources and training.
  • – access to FREE short format certificated e-learning modules in partnership with the Highland Child Protection Committee to keep children safe
    • Introduction to Child Protection
    • Children Affected by Parental Substance Misuse
    • An Introduction to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
    • Understanding the Child’s Plan
    • What Makes a Good Chronology?

Temporary Childcare for Essential Workers

The Highland Council has set up a process for KEY WORKERS to apply for childcare if they have no other provision or support.

The form MUST be completed by 9am on MONDAY 23rd MARCH


Click here to access details about key workers and the application form  

Information on closures of ELC Premises

Scottish Government has provided further guidance providing further clarity on the closures of childcare provision due to the current COVID 19 situation.

There is information/guidance for private and third sector providers about closures and emergency childcare.  This applies to providers of childcare who are registered with the Care Inspectorate,
including after-school services, holiday provision and breakfast clubs. A separate
factsheet for childminders will be available soon.

Please click here to access the guidance.

There is also information for parents on the closure of the daycare of children services.

Click here to access information for parents

We would encourage you to share this information with all relevant parties (especially parents) through your various media/information platforms.

Our office is open for enquiries or support as usual by telephone, email or online via our social media.

 We will endeavour to keep you updated with information as soon as we receive it.

We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and understanding.

Updated information about ‘Key Workers’ from Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has provided further guidance on ‘What is meant by a key worker’. They state:

“Local authorities should put in place provision to ensure that children of key workers, for example, NHS and social care staff, have continuing access to appropriate learning and childcare that allows their parents/carers to participate in the national response to COVID-19. There should be a presumption that, if parents can make their own childcare arrangements within the community, they should do so. If one parent is a key worker and the other is not, the non-key worker should normally be expected to provide childcare.

A definition of key workers is provided here. There should be a particular focus on:

Key workers in posts which ensure that essential services can be delivered and cover tasks within the local community which support the vulnerable and aid community resilience. This may be slightly different in each community to allow the country to address local priorities. Whilst decisions will be taken at the local level, we would expect this to include consideration of:

Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life-threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as a top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.

Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.

Category 3 –  All workers without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to COVID – 19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised).

Local authorities should be guided by this definition and prioritise the provision of arrangements accordingly. They should consider any circumstances that mean that specific classes of worker are critical in their local contexts”.

Useful Information

Care Inspectorate – Update on the closure of schools and early learning and childcare settings

The Deputy First Minister has issued a letter with an update on the closure of schools and early learning and childcare settings. You can read the letter here

Remote Learning: Ideas and activities for parents and teachers

Some ideas from the Highland Numeracy Blog – Early Level to Second Level.

Care Inspectorate – COVID 19 frequently asked questions

Care Inspectorate has captured some of the most frequent questions that they receive regarding COVID 19 and shared some of the advice that you may find useful for supporting families.

Downloadable poster – Coping with stress during the 2019-nCov outbreak form the World Health Organisation

CALA – Updates to office hours