Funding Support for Eligible Childminders

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.

Click here to access further information.


Update – Scottish Government

In the latest update today, the Scottish Government announced that the current closures of ELC settings will remain in place until at least mid-February due to the COVID-19 rates remaining high.
Nurseries & regulated childcare providers should continue to open to key worker/vulnerable children only.
Childminders can continue to stay open operating in line with the latest guidance.
A further review will now take place on the 2nd of February 2021.
Read further information – CLICK HERE 
Practitioners – for latest guidance and support CLICK HERE
Parents – for advice, guidance and fun play and learning ideas CLICK HERE

Scot Gov – (COVID-19): financial support to childcare sector

The Deputy First Ministers announcement today included information on financial support for childcare providers.
This information applies to private and third sector childcare providers and childminders and sets out the range of business and financial support that has been made available to the childcare sector.
Access this and other relevant guidance on our Practitioner Portal

Updates from Scottish Government


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

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

Parent Portal at

Christmas wishes from CALA

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.

Information for CALA settings (6th – 18th January 2021)

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.

Click here to access

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.

Click here to access

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.

Festive period: important new and updated information from Care Inspectorate

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
January 2021.

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.

Tier 4 information for ELC provision – update from Scottish Government

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


National guidance for child protection – revised: consultation

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

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.

CALA’s Book Week Celebrations

CALA Family Services have loved celebrating Book Week Scotland, from 16th to 20th November. With most community toddler groups unable to meet in our current circumstances, it was a project that aimed to reconnect our families and facilitate an opportunity for all ages to come together to celebrate storytelling, books and rhymes.

In September we invited young families to tell their stories of windy days by drawing or taking photos and submitting them to be a part of a new book.  This book also contained a new rhyming story, written especially for this project, about Puff.  The story tells of the adventures of Puff – a tiny wee breeze who travels across the Highlands, and visits each Toddler Group community.  Puff was painted onto stones, which practitioners then hid in these communities, encouraging families to go on a Puff Hunt and find her themselves.  Photos were shared on group social media pages of successful finds and submitted onto the CALA website prior to Book Week.  In addition, 200 party bags were delivered to families from Toddler groups, with activities, songs and rhymes relating to Puff and windy days.  All these resources were also available to download in order to give wider access.

Our celebrations for Book Week itself included daily activity videos exemplifying some of these activities and culminated in a virtual Pyjama Party, in which we were honoured to welcome local author Merryn Glover.  Among the songs, rhymes and games, Merryn encouraged us all to be storytellers, by telling stories based on our everyday activities.  Merryn also read the story A Tiny Wee Puff and we heard families’ stories of A Time we met Puff.

A variety of individual families, toddler groups, playgroups and nurseries took part in the Puff Hunt, activity videos in Book Week and the Pyjama Party itself.  One mum said her son, “absolutely loved his wee pyjama party… it was so lovely having something so positive to do with him all week.” Another stated “I couldn’t believe how engaged [he] was with the whole thing.  He loved the songs and the story.  It was lovely to watch it together.” Noah’s Ark Tots in Inverness arranged their very own Puff Hunt in their outdoor area and made their own kites to see where Puff would take them.  Meanwhile, Toybox in Gairloch made flags and watched them flutter and the ELC at Milton Primary School also participated with a Puff Hunt, using Puff Bingo, the crafts and roleplaying their own Pyjama Party and sleepovers in their setting.

CALA are grateful to the Scottish Book Trust for the funding given to facilitate this project and to Merryn Glover for her collaboration.  We also thank all the families who shared their stories through their pictures. 

Working with a wide range of partners, Scottish Book Trust – the national charity changing lives through reading and writing and delivered events and activities across the country during Book Week Scotland 2020, which ran from 16 November to 22 November, linked to this year’s theme of Future. Now in its ninth year, Book Week Scotland was initiated by the Scottish Government. Hundreds of free events happened during Book Week Scotland across many different local authorities, funded by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, public events could not be held, however, there were many community based and digital events to join in across Scotland.

As another Book Week closes we recognise that stories are amazing -they can make us feel anything and take us anywhere in the world! Keep telling your stories in any way you can. Words, photos, artwork, music, movement… Pick your favourite and tell your story! We cannot wait to hear them!

We truly value your feedback and would like to be able to report back to our funders, Scottish Book Trust on how you found our activities. We would be grateful if you could complete our online evaluation and Scottish Book Trust’s at

Important Information for Services from Care Inspectorate

The care inspectorate is making changes to the way you receive your PROVIDER UPDATES. You are required to click on the link below to select which update version you wish to receive and update your account.

The Care Inspectorate state:

We are tailoring the content you receive.

We carried out a Provider Update reader survey in July 2020 to help us get Provider Updates right for you. Based on what you said we are transitioning into three new editions of the Provider Update: 

  • Provider Updates for adult/older people services 
  • Provider Updates for early learning/out of school/children and young people services
  • Provider Updates for childminders 

We will be switching to the new editions of the Provider Update from 10th December 2020. 

Subscribers who receive the Provider Update 

Subscribers to the Provider Update must now choose which of the three editions they now want to receive going forward. You may choose to receive all three editions if you wish or any combination of the three. 

We will continue to issue reminders to subscribers to update their subscription topics as we will be switching entirely to the new editions of the Provider Update from 10 December 2020. 

Your subscription topics can be chosen by logging into your subscription account here and clicking ‘Add subscriptions’ which sits just under the ‘Submit’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons.