Lochinver ELC and their commitment to helping the environment

The following blog article was submitted by Amy and Jane at Lochinver ELC.


Green Flag Success For Lochinver Early Learning Centre

Lochinver Early Learning Centre has received exciting news from Eco School Scotland. A second green flag has been awarded for all their eco school work over the last 2 years. This involved a lot of community co-operation with surveys and marine litter picks. So they would like to thank everyone and congratulate the now P1’s, P2’s and nursery children for all their hard work in helping to “save the world”!

Here is a quote from their assessment:

“We must commend you on your glitter campaign and the lengths you went to get the message out there. Your young people were so expressive and determined to change glitter usage practice in your authority. Well done in making that change happen. We were also extremely impressed with measuring techniques to raise the profile of your targets for your projects. It emphasises that small changes in our habits can make a remarkable transformation to achieve a sustainable environment.”

“Recycle – Use It Again”

Lochinver Early Learning Centre has 9 children enrolled this session including some younger 2-year-olds. They have already been out and about in the woods and making a lot of use of their outdoor space, despite the rain and wind. In fact, on sunny, dry days the children don’t find the outdoors as interesting and chose to spend more time inside – this bunch will be tough “Highlanders”!

The centre would like to thank Ken Fairchild who has come up trumps again and provided them with two up-cycled new outdoor storage bins and kindly collected an apple tree from Inverness to plant in the old leaky bin – nothing ever gets wasted!

#Openingdoors at the Scottish Mentoring Network Awards

On Tuesday 6th of November, CALA Chief Executive Jaci Douglas, and Mentoring Support Officer Kirsty Hunter travelled to Edinburgh for the Scottish Mentoring Network Awards.

The awards are designed to acknowledge mentoring projects and individuals that have made a significant impact over the past year.

Jaci and Kirsty were there representing CALA’s #Openingdoors programme, which provides mentoring and guidance to young people aged 16-24 years who are interested in a career in Early Learning and Childcare.

#Openingdoors ended up winning not one, but two awards on the night. #Openingdoors received a ‘Highly Commended Project’ award, while Kirsty won a ‘Highly Commended Employee’ award. 

Kirsty said of the awards: 

These awards give the mentees the opportunity to feel part of something which is recognised and valued. It also assures their families, carers and our supportive partners that taking part in #Openingdoors is something positive and beneficial.” – Kirsty Hunter

What is #Openingdoors?

Over the past three years, #Openingdoors has mentored 72 young people into their chosen career path of working in Early Learning and Childcare. 

Here’s what two former #Openingdoors mentees had to say about the project: 

“I am now working in Social Care with young people from residential and secure units and I can honestly say I would not be in the position I am now or be in a career that I am truly passionate about, without the training and continued support I received from Kirsty at #Openingdoors”

“Kirsty helped me to do so many little things that turned out to be BIG things!

We talked about where I wanted to be and how I could get there. This helped me to believe in my own future and made me want to try – to put the effort in. Kirsty really listened to me and never pushed me too hard – she always made it fun!

“The little steps I started to take were huge! I started to interact with people more, to travel independently, to take responsibility for ‘adulting’ – filling in forms and finding certificates etc.”

Where can I learn more?

Keeping Children Safe bulletin – 3rd edition

The Keeping Children Safe bulletin contains useful information and links on child protection, with a focus on Highland and Moray. 

Some of the articles include: what to do if you have a child protection concern, contact details for child protection groups in Highland and Moray, information on upcoming child protection training, and advice on internet safety. 

Download the Keeping Children Safe bulletin by clicking here. 

Free training in Inverness: online safety awareness

This session will be presented by Robert Quigley, Head Teacher at Milton of Leys Primary School who is currently developing Highland’s strategy for online safety. We will look at some of the current threats and challenges those working with young children are facing in the online world. This session will also explore the bank of resources available to children, staff and parents which will help make digital learning more accessible and increase confidence in the online environment and what it can provide.

Book online by visiting: https://careandlearning.typeform.com/to/MuvA8N
or telephone 01463 222569

Where: Care and Learning Alliance, Kintail House, Inverness
When: Thursday 15th November, 12 pm – 2 pm.

There are only 10 more spaces available, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Sleep Scotland – supporting families of children and young people with additional support needs and sleep problems

Our third sector colleagues over at Sleep Scotland offer sleep support to parents or carers with children aged between 18 months to 18 years.

Their mission is that “all families of children and young people with severe sleep problems, including those with additional support needs, can be helped to achieve a qualitative improvement in the whole family’s life.”

If you need support or advice on a sleep-related issue, why not give them a call on 0800 138 6565, or take a look at their website: http://www.sleepscotland.org/

Out of School Care Policy Update 2018

The Scottish Government’s Out of School Care (OSC) policy dates back to 2003 when School’s Out was published. This has provided the underpinning policy framework and guidance for OSC for the last 15 years. But in that time, policies relating to early learning and childcare, school education, child poverty and inequality have changed hugely.

Learn more by downloading the Scottish Government’s Out of School Care policy update.

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’.