‘Unfeartie’ Conversation

Are you an ‘Unfeartie’?

To mark Children’s Parliament’s 21st birthday, the Children’s Parliament initiated the inspiring and brave band of’ Unfearties’. ‘’

‘Unfearties’ are individuals who are courageous in discussing children’s issues, are making a difference in children’s lives, and are willing to speak up for, and stand alongside, children.

Since 2017, more than 1000 people, including doctors, nurses, teachers, parents, carers, civil servants, local authority workers, third sector practitioners, United Nations deputy high commissioners, and even the First Minister of Scotland, have joined the movement’ (Children’s Parliament Website).

As part of the 25th birthday celebrations of the Children’s Parliament which coincide with World Children’s Day on the 20th November 2021, CALA will be holding a ‘Unfeartie Conversation’ to discuss Children’s Rights and what else we can do.

Join us for our ‘unfeartiness’ conversation on Thursday 18th November, 4 pm.

To receive the link to join, click here

Funding Follows the Child & the National Standard

CALA is looking to hear from ELC providers and childminders on moving towards full implementation of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard.

Given the impacts of the pandemic, interim guidance giving some flexibilities to the standard was provided this year and CALA has been asked to consult with childcare providers on behalf of the ‘Scottish Government’s Childcare Sector Working Group’ who will be compiling a report based on your feedback and sharing it with the ‘ELC Joint Delivery Board’ to help inform on the timetable including sufficient notice to move to full implementation of the National Standard by the local authority and ELC providers.

 You can do this by:

Completing our online survey by clicking on the link below and complete no later than the end of the day on Thursday 4th November.


Alternatively, join us online on Wednesday 3rd November 2021 @ 4.45pm -5.15pm to discuss and share your views with fellow colleagues from the sector.

Click on the link below to sign up.


Your feedback will help to inform understanding of how to support the final steps towards the full implementation of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard

Gender Equal Play

Children’s understanding of gender is influenced and reinforced from a very young age through interactions and experiences with family, culture, lifestyle, the media, education, childcare environments and the wider community.

As parents and or practitioners nurturing children, we are in a unique position to make a significant difference by considering both the physical and psychological environments and interactions we provide.

Would you like to know more about this?

Why not try CALA’s e-module for parents and practitioners working with children and young people. The module will support your understanding of how to support gender equality through nonbiased practice with young children.

The module is a mixed media presentation that will guide you through key messages in a clear, straightforward and interesting way. Video, audio, simple interactive tasks, links to national and relevant guidance, along with suggested further reading are suggested are used to explain and illustrate important learning points and consolidate your learning.

To find out more visit www.calaelearning.co.uk

Keeping our planet safe

All CALA ELC and SAC settings ensure that through play-based learning and embedded in our vision, values and aims, children and young people have the opportunity to learn about caring for our planet. Many of our settings have been awarded their Eco-schools Green Flag.

As part of their Eco Journey, the inspiring children and young people that attend CALA’s Junior World Childcare (School Aged Childcare) frequently run different ECO projects within the setting and the community. The latest has involved making a poster on soft plastic recycling for the local COOP, along with an ocean-themed painting/display that can be viewed by visiting the COOP in Nairn Highstreet.


The Scottish Youth Parliament, Children’s Parliament, and Scottish Parliament are currently encouraging children and young people from across Scotland to take part in nation-wide climate meetings with MSPs to ensure their voices are heard as part of the debate on the climate emergency in the coming weeks. Click here for further information

In conjunction with this, the children decided to write to local MSP Drew Hendry and have been thrilled to receive not only a personal video response from Mr Hendry congratulating them on their achievements but one that was filmed from the Houses of Parliament in London.

On behalf of the staff at Junior World and Care and Learning Alliance, we would like to thank Mr Hendry for taking the time to send the children and young people this meaningful response.

Click on the video below to hear Mr Hendry’s reply to the children 

Barnardo’s Works Highlands & Islands

Bumps to Baby Steps

Barnardo’s Works Highlands & Islands provides young people with a unique blend of personal support and accredited training, matched with quality work experience and the opportunity for sustainable, independent employment.

Bumps to Baby Steps provides specific support for lone parents aged 16-24, with childcare and travel cost covered for the duration of the programme.

Click here to find out more.

Keeping Children Safe

Keeping Children Safe 

Children across Scotland can face abuse, neglect, exploitation or harm. It’s not just up to the services to provide child protection services, everyone has a responsibility to keep children safe from harm. The Highland Child Protection Committee in partnership with Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) has a number of free-e-learning child protection-related e-modules to help raise your awareness including ‘Think you Know neglect’ and ‘Children affected by parental substance misuse. To find out more about the modules and how to access them, visit www.calaelearning.co.uk

Look, Think, Act Campaign

The Care Inspectorate has launched a campaign and resources for those working in Early Learning and Childcare. Published on 25th August 2021 they introduced SIMOA (Safe, Inspect, Monitor, Observe, Act) the elephant to all ELC settings to support practitioners to be alert to how and why children could leave a childcare setting without a responsible adult.

The poster and artwork can be used to support discussions with children and families with posters and artwork to help children be aware of how to be safe and secure in a setting.

With new children attending ELC and new staff teams forming it’s a good time to be reminded of the importance of being vigilant at all times and the need for strong/effective teamwork to help raise awareness and act responsibly to safeguard, protect and support children’s wellbeing.

Click here to access

Updates: COVID-19: early learning and childcare services

Following the First Ministers statement on the 4/8/21, Scottish Government and Care Inspectorate have updated and issued further guidance for:

  • Early Learning and Childcare provision
  • Childminders
  • School-Aged Childcare

The Scottish Government has also published a checklist summarising the COVID-19 risk mitigations for ELC settings. The Scottish Government state:

This should not be used as a substitute for reading the full guidance. This is especially true for managers of settings who must read the full guidance to understand the measures that they should implement in service planning“.

With updates to guidance ongoing CALA continues to update their Practitioner Portal to make it as easy as possible for childcare services to access the information and guidance in the one place.

For the updates mentioned above and other guidance visit: https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/practitioner-portal/

New Guidance and Resources

Care Inspectorate: A quality framework for daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare

This week the Care Inspectorate published their new quality framework for the daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare.  

The primary purpose of the framework is for early learning and childcare (ELC) services to evaluate their own performance.  It will also be used by Care Inspectors to provide independent assurance about the quality of children’s experiences and outcomes. 

The framework will be tested in some services between June and September 2021 and Care Inspectorate will notify the sector before they fully implement the framework in their full inspection programme.

Click here to access the guidance


National Cyber Security Centre: Supporting children to keep safe online

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched a new free educational game ‘ CyberSprinters’ with resources for helping children aged 7-11 years in Primary school, clubs and youth organisations learn about cybersecurity (how to stay safe online). 

To find out more and how to access the game click here

Get into Summer

Supporting Parent, Baby & Toddler Groups Grant

Early Years Scotland and the Care and Learning Alliance are excited to be administering a fund for Parent, Baby and Toddler Playgroups.

This fund will support Parent, Baby and Toddler Playgroups to be part of the Get Into Summer Campaign. This is a fantastic opportunity for groups to apply for a grant of up to £500.

We would be grateful if you could share this information with any contacts that are involved with one of these groups.

We have created an extensive list of FAQs to support applicants, which can be found on the webpage, along with the online application.

Funding is not limited to the provision of activities, find out more details in the FAQs. 

Applications open on Thursday 10 June at 10 am and close at midday on Monday 21 June.

Enquires are welcome and details of how to get in touch with CALA or Early Years Scotland can be found below.

Click here to contact details for Care and Learning Alliance

Click here for contact details for Early Years Scotland

Pocket Garden – Junior World


After being among the winners selected from the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful – Design a Pocket Garden competition, the children at Junior World are now putting their design into action and creating the garden!


The garden will be digitally showcased from Saturday the 5th of June 2021 and voting for your favourite pocket garden can take place from the 5th – 13th June 2021 at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/pocketgarden

News from CALA Family Services

The Family Services team have supported community Baby and Toddler groups around the Highlands over this last year.  Despite the past 12 months being far from ordinary, our member groups have continued to benefit from their membership in lots of ways.

Family Practitioners continue to support committees with up-to-date Scottish Government guidance.  A representative from CALA has been present at government meetings throughout the year, not only ensuring our advice is current, but also advocating the importance of support for families with young children and reflecting pressures on community toddler groups.  With this knowledge, our practitioners have been supporting those who were able to meet as regulations allowed both outside and inside.  One Chairperson said “We would not have managed to reopen our toddler groups without your help. We would not have felt confident enough about all the rules or even thought it possible. It was only through your help and encouragement that the groups re-opened.”

Family Practitioners have also been constant support for families as they navigate parenting and family life in such different circumstances.  Outdoor and online groups have provided key support to families as places to meet and to make connections with others, which supports the health and wellbeing of parents and carers.  They have also become forums to discuss home-based activities to support their child’s development.  Many families have also explored the ever-expanding resources on our CALA website, including our dedicated Parent Portal, Family Services page and Play and Learning page which encourages play and learning opportunities at home.  Most recently on the Family Services page, we have begun a series of short clips focusing on supporting children’s early communication.  The members-only Facebook page gives further useful tips and links. 

Member groups also have access to the MembersZone section of the website, which has useful templates and documents, to support the running of groups and a committee induction pack, with top tips for new committees.  As part of their membership, groups receive three vouchers to take part in further training from CALA’s e-learning zone. 20 courses are available, with topics ranging from an Introduction to Risk Assessment to Top Tips for Interacting with Young Children, or Gender Equal Play, there is plenty to choose from.  You can also currently access the ‘Supporting Young Children’s Behaviour for Parents’ e-module here, currently being gifted for free during COVID.

The family Services team have also recently undertaken Walk Leader training with Paths for All.  Partnering with other organisations, we can’t wait to offer member groups the chance to take part in Buggy Walks and Toddler Toddles, as a way to increase health and wellbeing; enjoy the outdoors and support child development. These walks are now permitted under government regulations and plans are being made to establish these early next term.

If you would like to explore membership for your community group click here or contact the Inverness Office 01463 222569.

As restrictions begin to ease and we can begin to get out and about more, our Family Services Practitioners would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Easter holiday and look forward to seeing you next term – Happy Easter!

Consulting with our Youngest Children Toolkit

The Highland Child Protection Committee, Keeping Children Safe and Care and Learning Alliance are delighted to be launching the ‘Consulting with our Youngest Children Toolkit’.

As part of Scotland’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) every child in Scotland has the right to have their views heard and taken into account in decisions affecting them (Article 12) and to be protected from harm (Article 19).

Consultation with young children is more than just asking their views, it is about really listening to and responding to them.   It’s also about facilitating their ability to influence things that affect them and help adults to know and understand their concerns or worries through the child’s eyes enabling adults to help protect them from harm.

Consultation with children under 5 years of age can be a little challenging!  However, it’s vital we take time to enable children to communicate their ideas, thoughts and feelings in ways best suited to their age and stage to ensure that we keep the child at the centre of all that we do.

We know that children need to feel secure, confident and familiar with their physical and psychological environments. Having a consistent approach to consulting with young children is more likely to help us gain a true understanding of the child’s world enabling us to plan to meet their needs effectively. 

The strategies in this tool can be used by adults working on an individual basis with a young child for a specific purpose or by adults who have significant contact with young children on a frequent basis embedding meaningful consultation in daily practice.

This tool will support you to engage in a fun playful way to enable young children to:

  • share their ideas and make choices
  • share their thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes and worries
  • recognise their views matter
  • know they are listened to
  • support their sense of belonging
  • develop confidence and self-worth
  • develop their communication skills

The tool is ‘free’ to everyone and is available from our Care and Learning Alliance Website, Highland Child Protection Website and Keeping Children Safe websites.

Click here to access.

An e-book guidance document is also available to support implementation and for those seeking some further guidance on using the toolkit.

Click here to access

For further ideas and resources for consulting and keeping children safe visit:

Highland Child Protection Committee

Safe Strong and Free