Enrolment week for Early Learning and Childcare settings will take place from the 8th to 12th February 2021.
Children born between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2019 are entitled to a funded Early Learning and Childcare place.
CALA has some available spaces in our settings throughout Highland.
Click here for further details of setting locations, contact details and information about each setting.
Further information on ELC Enrolment is available from the Highland Council – click here
Scottish Government have announced funding to support childminders business sustainability. Scottish Government state:
Grants of up to £1,000 each will be made to eligible childminding providers, and work is now underway with the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) to finalise the details of the scheme. Further information on how to apply will be published shortly.
Alongside the funding, a new Childminding Action Plan has been published, setting out the Scottish Government’s vision for the sector and the actions to support it that are being taken now and into the future.
There are no changes for childminders following yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister, Childminders can continue to operate as normal under Level 4 guidance, ie to all children, not only key workers and vulnerable children.
The FM’s statement applies only to extending supplementary guidance for daycare of children’s services including out of school care to the end of January. We will keep you updated on this as information is shared.
Updated Guidance for Organised Activities for children
Scottish Government have issued newly updated guidance for the safe running of organised activities for children and young people during lockdown – this includes Toddler Groups. Access the guidance at https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/practitioner-hub/
We recognise that in the current climate there is a need for responsive and fast-changing guidance and information and the difficulties keeping track of this can create. We endeavour to update our website with direct links to all sector guidance/information as it is shared with us – keep checking in on the dedicated pages of our website at:
Practitioners Portal at https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/practitioner-hub/
Parent Portal at https://www.careandlearningalliance.co.uk/parent-portal/
As we come to the end of what has been a particularly challenging and unprecedented year which with last week’s news of the need for tighter restrictions – this will no doubt bring further challenges for us all.
Despite this, everyone here at CALA is incredibly heartened by the resilience, dedication, and spirit shown by our children, families, staff and partners and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and relaxing festive holiday and will look forward to working together with you all again in the New Year.
Our little video message below was created for everyone by our Foundation Apprenticeship students.
All our CALA settings in Highland and Moray will be open from 6th January for children of keyworkers and children who will benefit from being in the setting. Children in these categories attending ELC settings and Out of School Care will follow their normal attendance pattern and your normal ELC funding entitlement will apply. Any additional hours, on top of ELC entitlement, will be charged to you as parent/carer.
The ‘Parent Portal’ on our website has been updated to share with you the current information as provided by the Scottish Government, The Highland Council and Moray Council. You will find useful links to letters to parents from both The Highland Council and Moray Council, along with further links to relevant guidance and support services you may find useful.
For parents/carers of children attending CALA settings in Highland & Moray, we have provided specific information regarding your childcare provision from 26 December to 18 January.
For practitioners working for and with children and families, including Childminders, you will find all links to current guidance and updates on our ‘Practitioner Portal’.
We will continue to monitor and update these pages with any further information.
We recognise that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone and would like to thank all our families for their continued support and understanding as we try to navigate through the necessary changes to keep everyone safe.
The following information has been provided from the Care Inspectorate via their provider update (22nd December 2020)
Letter to all registered childcare providers – for period 26 December to 18 January
The Scottish Government have issued a letter to all registered childcare providers following the First Minister’s announcement on 19 December that further public health measures are to be put in place. Mainland Scotland will enter Level 4 from 26 December and the island authorities will enter Level 3 restrictions.
The letter confirms the guidance which will apply from 26 December 2020 until at least 18
Help us keep children safe – complete a COVID-19 childcare monitoring return today
Please complete your childcare monitoring return today. The Scottish Government is collating this information, alongside local authority data, to monitor child attendance and absence from childcare services during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
We have adapted it to account for changes in their data requirements, and now issue it to you weekly on Tuesdays.
We ask that all local authority, private and third-sector childcare services including nurseries, out of school care and childminders complete a return each week.
The only exception is if you are a local authority run service in one of the following areas:
Aberdeenshire Argyll & Bute Clackmannanshire East Lothian City of Edinburgh Falkirk Midlothian Perth & Kinross Stirling West Lothian
Private, third-sector services and childminders operating in these areas should still complete one.
Any residential schools, school accommodation services, and independent schools who complete a ‘COVID-19 Grant-Aided & Independent Schools Monitoring Return’ do NOT need to complete this.
You only need to complete this on a Tuesday before midnight, and only information on childcare provided that day is required.
Test and Protect – contact tracing while services are closed over the festive period
It is anticipated that over the festive period some ELC services including childminders and out of school care services will close for some or all of the period. During this period it is expected that Test and Protect will require to contact services to establish close contacts of any staff member or child who is confirmed as having COVID-19.
As the Test and Protect service depends on Health Protection Teams being able to look back 48 hours from the time a positive case had symptoms in order to identify close contacts, we are requesting all registered services have an emergency contact for their service that families and staff can pass to Test and Protect during any closure period.
The service emergency contact will need to have access to attendance and staffing information for each session or day, including any information on groupings of children, and will need to provide contact details for the identified close contacts to the health protection team.
It will be particularly important for services to be able to identify close contact staff members if a staff member tests positive.
Therefore, can you please ensure that all of your parents and staff have the contact number for someone in your service who will be able to provide any information to Test and Protect that is required to help prevent the spread of infection.
The Scottish Government has provided the following statement:
“All areas in mainland Scotland are to move into Level 4 of the Strategic Framework from 26 December 2021.
Schools and nurseries will remain open (reopening according to their planned timetable), but only to vulnerable children and the children of ‘key workers’, this is in order to restrict the number of contacts as a precautionary measure to ensure sufficient time to assess the impacts of the festive period on community transmission in light of a new strain of the virus has emerged, prior to the full reopening of the sector.
Out of school care settings can also continue to operate, but as for nurseries, only for children in the priority groups. The aim is to return to the normal operation of services from 18 January.
This does not entail a return to critical childcare, or the operation of local Childcare Hubs, but rather the continued operation of settings with reduced numbers of children. Childcare accessed by eligible families would either be the regularly funded entitlement or require to be paid for by those families.
Supplementary guidance is being developed for publication later today, which will set out definitions for the categories of Keyworkers and Vulnerable Children.
The guidance will also set out arrangements for staff and children who are clinically vulnerable, and provide as much information as we can about financial support available”
For updated guidance and signposting to relevant information that you may find useful, visit the following:
CALA Practitioner Hub – Click here
CALA Parent Portal – Click here
The Scottish Government is currently seeking your views on the revised ‘National Guidance for Child Protection’.
Scottish Government state:
“The aim of the consultation is to seek views on the tone, level of detail and approach in the revised guidance, in particular in relation to the description of new or significant aspects, and whether there are any omissions or aspects that have not been adequately addressed”.
The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland describes the responsibilities and expectations of everyone who works with children, young people and their families in Scotland. It sets out how agencies should work together with children, young people, parents, families and communities to protect children from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Click here to access the DRAFT National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2020
Click here to access the Consultation Guidance
Click here to locate and download the Consultation Questionnaire and Respondent Information Form
The safe operation of daycare of children settings during Covid-19
Scottish Government are hosting a webinar on the safe operation of daycare of children settings during Covid-19
Care Inspectorates ‘updates to providers’ on the 25/11/20 states:
This webinar will provide an opportunity for heads of centres and managers to come together virtually and hear from the Care Inspectorate, Public Health Scotland and ADES on key issues relating to safe operation during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, informed by feedback the Scottish Government has gathered from the sector on areas of particular interest/concern.
To book your place click here.
Care and Learning Alliance is a Company Limited by Guarantee No. SC 115681
Care and Learning Alliance is a Scottish Charity No. SC 009292
Care and Learning Alliance
40 Longman Drive
Inverness IV1 1SU
Tel: 01463 222 569