Cyber Resilience COVID-19 Bulletin

The Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit has released a new Cyber Resilience COVID-19 Bulletin. The bulletin shares important cyber security information. The Cyber Resilience Unit state that there is a “significant rise in COVID-19 related scams” and they aim to update the bulletin regularly.

Keep up to date with the most relevant information from the Scottish Cyber Resilience Unit by clicking here

Further information for Toddler Groups

CALA sought further clarification from the Scottish Government on re-opening of Toddler Groups for outside sessions. The following response was received  which indicates that this is not possible at this time as Toddler Groups do not fall into either of the criteria given:

“Unregulated activity clubs for young people under the age of 18 are not yet permitted to open. This is to further limit opportunities for virus transmission and ensure that the transition back to school is successful.

However, if the activity takes place outdoors it may be able to open if it:

is providing training for an organised children’s sporting activity and can operate within the guidance from their regulated body of sport; or

is providing a community learning and development service, such as youth work, and is able to operate within the guidance for this sector

is providing organised outdoor play activity in line with the existing public health guidance (i.e outdoor meetings in groups of maximum 15 people from 5 households)

We hope this helps clarify things and we will continue to keep you updated as soon as we receive further information.

Meanwhile, you will find resources you may find helpful on our website

Parent Portal

Baby massage, stories and songs from our Family Services Teams

Play and Learning ideas

Gaelic songs, stories and ideas


Important information for all Toddler Groups

CALA requested guidance from the Scottish Government on the re-opening of Toddler Groups. Scottish Government have kindly responded with the following information with regards to all non-regulated services such as toddler groups:

“Schools and regulated ELCs are beginning again from 11 August and we are receiving queries about whether other indoor activity may resume at the same time.

The answer is that indoor activities for children and young people which are not overseen by a regulator should not start again until agreed guidance is in place.  Unfortunately, back to school does not mean back to normality and for now, ensuring that the transition back to school is successful is our top priority.

For now, activities for children and young people under the age of 18 should continue online or outdoors in line with existing guidance. 

We know that these indoor activities are of huge value to children, young people and families across Scotland and our ambition are to get them open soon as soon as this is deemed appropriate.  We will provide further information about timing with additional guidance where this is necessary”.

We hope this information is useful. Please keep checking in with our Parent Portal for further updates and useful links to a wide range of information to support parents and carers.

Moving on with CALA

We’ve been just blown away by the number of daily views, parent interaction and feedback that our Family Information and Support pages (developed in response to Covid-19) have received over the last term – thank you for helping to keep us all so connected!

In recognition that the summer holidays are here and how we are so looking forward to the re-opening of our childcare settings in August we’re moving on with what information we provide whilst retaining what you told us was most useful but with a fresh new look!  Some areas are still work in progress, however, we’re delighted to announce the launch of our new Parents Portal and Practitioners Portal full of carefully selected items including Health and Wellbeing we think will be of most interest to you.  Our ‘Family Servicespage shares your favourite play/videos/songs and stories in English and Gaelic. Our ‘News from CALA Settings’ will be populated just before the start of the new term so you’ll know just what to expect when your child returns to their setting.

Why not have a look, we’d love to have your feedback

Updated guidance on re-opening of ELC and OSC

Friday 3rd July 2020: ELC reopening guidance update

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate have issued a letter to all Early Learning and Childcare providers containing an update on reopening guidance issued on the 15th June 2020.

Click here to access the letter.

ELC online sessions for Childcare Providers and Childminders

Online Support Sessions on Reopening Guidance for Childcare Settings – for childcare providers and childminders

The Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate are hosting a series of online support sessions on reopening guidance for the childcare sector, which will begin on Friday 10th July, 2pm – 3pm.

Click here for further details and information on how to book.

Friday 3rd July: School-age childcare services reopening guidance 

The Scottish Government has released new guidance to support planning for the wider reopening of school-age childcare services in Phase 3 of Scotland’s Routemap.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate have issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing the guidance for the re-opening of Out of School Care.

Click here to access the new guidance

Weekly round-up

‘Being Prepared’ Continuous Professional Learning Sessions

Everyone at CALA is excited and optimistic that we will be shortly welcoming our children and families back to our settings across Highland. Preparations to ensure we are prepared to do this safely while still providing high-quality care and learning for our children began this week with a series of virtual learning sessions based on Scottish Guidance, sharing learning from our Keyworker Hubs and focusing on both child and practitioner Health and Wellbeing.

Over 70 staff including Service Coordinators, Childhood Practice Managers and Early Years practitioners attended the sessions. Practitioners will be further supported over the coming week with the launch of our new ‘Practitioners Portal’ on our website. The Portal is designed to serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information for our practitioners.

Updated reopening guidance for childcare providers

On Tuesday 23rd June there was further information on the re-opening of Early Learning and Childcare – including Out of School from the First Minister that subject to scientific and public health advice, all childcare providers will be able to reopen from 15 July 2020, if they wish to do so.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate have issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing what this means for them.

Click here to access the letter

Further announcements and guidance are expected to be issued shortly.

Interim guidance on the use of face masks and face coverings 

The Scottish Government has released interim guidance on the wider use of face masks and face coverings in health and social care.

Click here to access guidance

Parent Club – Changes to coronavirus restrictions

As coronavirus restrictions begin to change, Parent Club recognises the many questions parents will have and how they affect their family etc. Parent Club has a section of its website dedicated to providing information to what some of these questions may be. The page includes links to:

  • Returning to work
  • Your guide to extended households
  • Changes to outdoor restrictions
  • Reopening of schools and Early Learning Childcare Settings

Click here to access the Parent Club page

New guidance to support planning for wider reopening of ELC Services

The Scottish Government published new guidance for the safe reopening of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) services in Phase 3 of Scotland’s Routemap.

Click here to access the new guidance

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate also issued a letter to all ELC’s outlining what this guidance will mean for them.

Click here to access the letter

A CALA news roundup: 5th June 2020

Think you know neglect?

Think you know neglect?

Highland Child Protection Committee in partnership with ourselves here at CALA was delighted to launch the latest free e-learning module ‘Think you know neglect?’, which,  since launch 5 days ago has been accessed by 235 users and counting. Encouraging to see everyone working together to keep children safe as now more than ever, Child Protection is everyone’s responsibility.

Access the module at

Child Protection News Bulletin for Keeping Children Safe

Issue 8 of the Child Protection News Bulletin is published and includes important updates including a COVID-19 Statement from Highland Child Protection Committee, online safety, Health and Wellbeing information and much more. Click here to access under KCS Newsletters.

Foundation Apprenticeship: Children and Young People

We were absolutely delighted to welcome new Children and Young People Foundation Apprentices this morning albeit an online virtual session first session. Candidates have got off to a great start with some tasks set for next week to help consolidate learning from today and sessions set from now until the summer holidays.

If you would like to know more about our Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services – Children and Young People course click here

Volunteer Scotland week

It is #VolunteersWeekScot this week and we would like to take the opportunity to thank all our 26 volunteers who work across the CALA services for their outstanding support and all that they do. THANK YOU from all at #TeamCALA

Family Information Pages

We have all had many weeks of living through the COVID-19 pandemic as safely and as positively as we can. With restrictions beginning to lift we still find ourselves faced with a lot of new information to process and new ways of living to adapt to.

To make this easier for you in some small way we continue to collate the information we hope you will find most useful in the one place, to help you and your family navigate through these unprecedented times.

 You will find a wealth of information on looking after you and your child’s mental health, tips on sleep routines, behaviour and play for children of different ages on as well as the raft of information on these CALA pages.

Click here to access

Watten Wee Ones

Watten Wee Ones is a voluntary run Toddler Group supported by one of our Family Practitioners, Jules Taylor.  She has shared with us how the committee has worked together to support their families during Covid-19.  Here’s what Jules had to say:

I just wanted to share the thoughtful good practice of Watten Wee Ones in supporting children’s play and learning during lockdown.

Watten Wee Ones used to be a small group, which was poorly attended but some lovely local parents agreed to form a new committee and became a CALA member group.  This enabled them to apply for funding and gave them the freedom to implement their own ideas and encourage more families from the community to join in.  The group is now thriving and last year received funding from the local wind farm which has helped them to continue to improve, providing rich play experiences for the children and families attending.  Each week they provide a variety of activities, usually in themes that run over a course of around 4 weeks supporting children’s interests.


Because they are not able to offer their weekly activities to the families that attend during the pandemic, the very proactive Committee has come up with the idea of putting together an activity pack to send out FREE to families that wish to receive one. 

When a family opens the pack, they find a rainbow with their child’s name on it. Packs include a whole range of inviting resources to support play experiences including kits to make and assemble, crafts, playdough, paints, puppet kits and bubbles. There are also some glue dots and lollipop sticks so they can make the box into a small world scene – nothing is wasted!

The packs have been posted out to families and here are some of the responses:

“Flora was very excited to receive her craft box today! She’s already had loads of fun with it (as did her brother and sister) and still has lots left to do! Thank you so much!!”

 “Cammie loved the box and has painted everything including herself.  Thanks so much for the box it’s been great.  We are really missing the group and Cammie has turned into a grump not being able to socialise.”

 “Amazing support and contact from Water Wee Ones, it ensures that we still feel part of a group even though we are apart.  The excitement of getting the parcel to cheer us up and give a constructive activity was just the pick me up for us mums and babies indoors every day with little social interaction.  Many thanks and thank you to the volunteers cannot wait until we are together again…. stay safe – Archie.”

The committee has done a wonderful job and this pack clearly demonstrates their ongoing commitment to supporting their families and thinking of others during these strange times.  

A huge Well Done and Thumbs Up from CALA



Update information and upcoming events

Care Inspectorate Update

ELC including childminders and out of school care

The announcement made by the First Minister on Thursday 21 May 2020 outlined the Scottish Government Route Map and a phased approach is planned to the lifting of lockdown. The First Minister was clear in her message that each stage will be reviewed and take account of scientific evidence and research before we move forward.

Click here to read more 

Share the Love 2020 – Fri 29th – Sun 31st May

The ‘Share The Love’ festival is  Who Cares? Scotland digital festival to support participation and engagement activities for people with care experience across the country during this period of isolation and social distancing.  The festival will include a variety of different activities and broadcasts that cover learning, getting active and showcasing talents. 

Click here to find out more

Words up Wednesdays

Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team in Highland are hosting an exciting weekly opportunity on Wednesday’s during June to focus on one of the Words Up key messages each week.

Click here to find out more

Information on reopening of schools/childcare etc.

Letter to all childcare providers from Scottish Government ELC Directorate

Yesterday, the First Minister made a statement to the Scottish Parliament setting out Scotland’s routemap through and out of the crisis, including a phased approach out of lockdown.

Click on the link to access a letter from the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate to all childcare providers outlining what this will mean for us all.

Click here to access

Parent Club support for parents on the reopening of Schools/ELC’s

Parent Club ha provided useful information to help inform parents of how schools/ELC’s will reopen over the coming months.

Parent Club state:

“As you may have heard, schools are set to reopen this August. However, things won’t be the same as they were before the coronavirus outbreak – schools will be making changes to ensure that everyone stays safe.

On our new back to school FAQ page, we answer as many questions as we can about what those changes will be and how they’ll affect your family”

Click here to access

Information on transitions and Gaelic language learning at home resources

Early Learning and Childcare Highland

ELC Highland has posted updated information on Developmental Overviews and transitions to Primary 1 in the current situation due to COVID-19.

Read the full article on ELC Highland blog by clicking here:


Cluichidh sinn Còmhla’ – Resources to Support Gaelic Language Learning at Home

Cluichidh sinn Còmhla’ is a new resource created in collaboration with Early Years Practitioners who are linking ‘Bumps to Bairns’ play-based learning activities to language opportunities.

Read the full article on ELC Highland blog by clicking here