Keeping Safe Online

With many children and young people spending more time online, it’s comforting for parents/carers to know that you’re doing everything you can to help ensure they do so safely. Have a look at these useful guides providing helpful information to help you keep children and young people of all ages safe online:

Internet matters 0 – 5 years,

Internet matters 6 – 10 years,

Internet matters 11 – 13 years and 14+ 

Parent guide

Click here to access the resources on our ‘Child Protection Useful Publications’ page under ONLINE SAFETY

Important update from Highland Child Protection Committee

COVID 19 – Interim Changes to Highland Child Protection Guidance

The Highland Child Protection Committee has issued an update to Child Protection Guidance for during COVID-19. They state:

“The Scottish Government update to National Child Protection Guidance supports interim changes to local arrangements for child protection practice. Following this document, some small amendments have been agreed to Child Protection Guidance in Highland. These will be in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and reviewed regularly. The Interim Guidance should be considered alongside the Highland Child Protection Guidance and can be accessed here.”

Click here to access

A day in the life of a CALA Practice Manager during lockdown

Today is ‘International take your child to work day’. This annual event on the 4th Thursday in April is an educational program in the United States and Canada where parents take their children to work with them for one day. The day is designed to help children explore the workforce. With children out of school and many of us working from home at the moment, don’t forget to consider the positive ‘learning and insights to the world of work’ your children will be getting from watching you work (they will be learning even when you think they are not watching!).

To celebrate,  our CALA Practice Manager, Donna Sinclair has shared insight to her ‘lockdown’ working day with us along with some photos of her working alongside her children and just to cheer us all up – a few of her super cute furry friends!

From Donna:

“I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.  Like many of you I’m finding life at home is very busy and most of the day is juggling home schooling for my two children in Primary 4 and Primary 7 and trying to convince my nearly 16 year old to get up to do some work.  I’m working from home and have the extra challenge of studying – I’m in my 3rd year of BA Childhood Practice so with everything else going on, it can be hard to concentrate and find the time needed to complete my assignments.

My day starts with a 4 mile walk with our Collie at about 6.30 and then we begin work and school.  We go outside during breaks and lunches to bounce on the trampoline, play in their den or generally run about and play games.  I am trying to keep a routine going which is definitely helping to keep us all motivated.  We are very lucky as we live on a wee farm with a few sheep and highland cows.  

I thought you’d like to see some pictures of our animals. The sheep in the picture is Nibbles who was a pet lamb 3 years ago, she always comes for a cuddle. She’s expecting twins so we can’t wait to see the lambs!  We have just recently had 3 highland calves born who are called Bailey, Daisy (original name for a cow ?) and Poppy and they are very fluffy and cute bouncing around the field.  Our lambing is about to start so it will be nice for the kids to be able to help through the day around school work.

Every evening and more often if needed, we go to check on the animals and walk through our burn and fields. I know we are so lucky to have all this space and the weather has been kind too.  Nobody is sure how long this will last but staying connected and reaching out helps to keep our spirits up.

We will be doing our weekly clap and drumming of pans on Thursday (I broke my spoon last week ?) as a massive Thank You to all the key workers and NHS staff working hard to save lives.

Stay Safe everyone”


CALA weekly information round-up – 13th – 17th April 2020


Here at CALA we are continuing to work hard to find new ways of working to ensure where possible, we continue to meet the needs of our members, families, and children during this ongoing period of change and uncertainty.

Most of the CALA team are currently working from home including our office teams in Inverness and Dingwall who are doing an amazing job of keeping up with ‘business’ as usual for us.

Some of CALA ‘s settings continue to open providing essential quality childcare for the children of frontline staff.

Our Direct Services, Family Services and Learning and Quality teams have been collaborating on a range of tasks including populating our dedicated ‘Family Information and Support’ pages on our website and delivering virtual continuous professional development sessions.

We are seeing a significant increase in numbers of learners accessing our e-learning, A big THANK YOU to the 927 users who have accessed our free Child Protection related e-modules since the 1st of April, and are helping to keep our children safe.

Through our social media, blog and membership services we continue to try and take some of the leg work out of sourcing through the increasing raft of information and guidance to select the most important information that we feel will be useful to share.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank all our members, staff, families and partners for their continued support. Please keep talking to us, let us know what and where advice or support is needed. We can’t promise to always be in a position to help, however, we will always listen and where possible signpost you to information or services who may be able to help.

News from Care Inspectorate

  1. Care Inspectorate announced Scotland’s first Bereavement Charter for Children and Adults:

“The Charter, together with Guidance notes and frequently asked questions (FAQs) contains 15 statements that describe what the best bereavement care and support should look like. It has been developed to support individuals and communities who struggle with the death of someone they know or someone in their community.

Today, the need for such a Charter has become even more important due to the unique circumstances we currently find ourselves in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are bereaved may not have been able to be with a person as they approach the end of their life and may be isolated from their usual networks of support. It has also changed the traditional ways we are able to mark our grief. Traditional bereavement rituals and funerals have changed with many people now unable to attend funerals in the way that they might have in the past. Many deaths have become sudden, with little or no time to prepare.

Every death is unique and the way we each come to terms with a death is individual. this Charter and Guidance attempts to describe what good bereavement support can look like and what difference it can make. #becausegriefmatters

  1. COVID-19: revised personal protective equipment guidance (PPE)

“Health Protection Scotland has published revised guidance on the use of use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health and social care workers. You can download the guidance by clicking here

Opening Doors

Due to COVID-19, ‘Opening Doors’ will be taking a break and will return as soon as possible

Need help or advice meantime visit


Inactive services during COVID-19

The Care Inspectorate has issued the following information:

“The Care Inspectorate understands that as a result of the current situation regarding Covid-19 that a number of registered care services will not be operational during this period. In normal circumstances, we ask services to submit a notification indicating where the service is ‘inactive’ for any length of time in certain circumstances and we note this formally on our systems.

To reduce further pressure on services and to give maximum flexibility to re-establish registered services as easily as possible, the position is that any registered service not operating directly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is not required to submit an application to become inactive during this period”.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone – if you are looking for some fun things to do with the children, click here to access the CALA Family Information section of our website.

Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Programme COVID-19 update

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Programme has published a COVID-19 newsletter. This has replaced their monthly programme updates and will be published regularly for the duration of the pandemic response. 

Click here to access a copy from


Links to further guidance, resources and information – 3/4/20

The Scottish Social Services Council – ‘Workforce support and wellbeing during COVID-19’

A resource to support the health and wellbeing of staff during the challenging times of COVID-19.

Click here to access the resource

The Scottish Social Services Council – Guidance for employers on core training for redeployed workers, temporary workers and volunteers

SSSC state:

“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”.

In partnership with NHS Education for Scotland, SSSC has provided this national guidance to support employers with training for redeployed workers, temporary workers and volunteers.

Click here to access the guidance

Disclosure Scotland fee suspension

Disclosure Scotland is suspending all fees for key workers and volunteers who are being drafted to help Scotland fight against COVID-19.   This is a temporary measure which will be in place for an initial period of six weeks, before being reviewed and extended further, if needed. 

Click here to access information

UK Government Guidance for Employers

Information on claiming back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Click here to access

Celebrating Silver Work-versary!

Our Improvement Co-ordinator Marion Laidlaw was delighted to receive chocolates, flowers and certificate to mark an amazing 25 years service today. Always ready with a listening ear, a wealth of knowledge, experience, and solution-focused helpful suggestions,  Marion has been a wonderful asset to our organisation over her many years of service in a variety of roles.

Warmest congratulations and heartfelt thanks for all that you have done and continue to do Marion, from everyone at CALA past and present.

Further updated information from Scottish Government

Information site from the Scottish Government

The Scottish Government have developed a web page dedicated to hosting guidance and information to help us access it easily and ensure we have the latest version. The suite of documents includes:

  • Parent factsheet about closures
  • Provider factsheet about closures
  • Business support factsheet
  • Childminders support.

Click here to access

Information for Childminders

Scottish Government has put together a webpage for CHILDMINDERS which has information about the range of business and financial support.

Check it out

Click here to access

Reminder – Guidance from the Scottish Government: social distancing in education and childcare settings 

The Scottish Government has published guidance for organisations and their staff working in local authority, private and third sector education and childcare settings that are providing care to vulnerable children and children of key workers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): social distancing in education and childcare settings