Practitioner Portal

Practitioner Portal

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CALA Practitioner Portal

The purpose of this dedicated portal is to provide a one-stop ‘shop’ to enable all CALA practitioners to access the latest guidance, childcare related news, information, useful weblinks, CALA blog, twitter feed, CPL opportunities and national guidance documents to ensure you are appropriately supported, well informed and empowered to keep up to speed with key information for childcare practitioners. Your portal will be updated frequently, therefore, we recommend you visit on a weekly basis.

Click through the slides below for our current ‘Practitioner Picks’

Highland Council – Professional learning materials for EYPs and others working in ELC

This resource sets out a process to support Early Years Practitioners and other staff who work in Early Learning and Childcare in finding and accessing high-quality professional learning materials.  It can be used individually, or in groups – either as a self-study or led by setting managers.  All resources can be accessed online.

CALA Twitter


Seasons Greetings

The holiday period is finally here, and our settings are closed…

Current updates

Care Inspectorate

Quality Framework for daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare (SAC)

Practice guidance

Highland and National practice guidance and support tools for practitioners. 

Consulting with our youngest children toolkit

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.

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.

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

Child Protection Guidance and Toolkit for Third Sector Organisations in Highland

This Guidance has been produced for larger Third Sector Organisations and those with a number of paid staff who should have robust child protection policies and procedures in place. This Guidance sits behind the Highland Child Protection Committee Guidelines and provides further tools to help support the recruitment of staff and volunteers, as well as more detailed guidance on child protection issues.

Child Protection Guidance and Toolkit for Community Groups in Highland

This Guidance has been developed by the Highland Child Protection Committee for Community Groups providing activities for children, young people and families in Highland. This may include sports groups, arts and crafts clubs, religious groups or any organised groups/activities which involve regular contact with children and young people.

Use the tabs on the left side of the information board below to access the documents. 

Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019: Changes to Legislation

On Saturday 7th November 2020, The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 (Equal Protection Act) will become the law in Scotland. This means that all forms of physical punishment of children will be against the law in Scotland, and children will have with the same legal protection from assault as adults. 

The following is guidance from the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to:

  • raise awareness and understanding of the new legislation for those of us working with and for children and families
  • resources to use with children and families to help raise their awareness of the new legislation

Click on the tabs below to access the information and resources.

Equal Protection - Letter to statutory bodies providing services

Equal Protection Information

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 (EP Act) received Royal Assent on 7 November 2019 and will be implemented on 7 November 2020. The purpose of the legislation is to assist in ending the physical punishment of children by parents, carers or the person who has charge of them. It removes the statutory defence of ‘justifiable assault’ under Section 51 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.

Click here to read the full document

Equal Protection Act - Framework document for statutory bodies

Equal Protection Act - Frequently asked questions

Click on the image to access and download the full document.

Resources to use with parents

Equal Protection Factsheet

Click on image to access and download a copy.

Equal Protection ‘Frequently Asked Questions’

Click on image to access and download a copy.

Resources to use with children and young people

Equal Protection – Poster for children and young people

Click on the image to access and download a copy.

Equal Protection -‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for children and young people

Click on the image to access and download a copy.

Continuous Professional Learning 


CALA E-Learning zone

Click on the logo to access Education Scotland’s Improvement Hub

Click on the logo to access the Care Inspectorate Hub

Click on the logo to access the SSSC Learning Zone

NEW - Pinky Promise

Pinky Promise

In October 2016, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, promised care experienced people that Scotland would do better. She said Scotland wouldcome together and love it’s most vulnerable children and give them the childhood they deserve. To figure out how to do this, she said the Independent Care Review should be set up.
The Care Review had to hear everyone’s voices. It needed to hear from the children and families who knew the ‘care system’ best – the people who had experienced it.

Click here to access the PINKY PROMISE

Healthy eating in schools: guidance 2020

Healthy eating in schools: guidance 2020

Statutory guidance supporting the implementation of the Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

CLICK HERE to access

Vitamin D Guidance - Scottish Government

Vitamin D Guidance – Scottish Government

This guidance was updated on 1st Dec to reflect the Coronavirus situation


In Scotland, it is important that people maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D has a number of important functions and is needed to support bone and muscle health.

Our main source of vitamin D is sunlight. In Scotland, we only get enough of the right kind of sunlight for our bodies to make vitamin D between April and September, mostly between 11 am and 3 pm. From October to March, we need to rely on dietary sources of vitamin D. Since vitamin D is found only in a small number of foods, it might be difficult to get enough from foods that naturally contain vitamin D and/or fortified foods alone.

Good food sources are oily fish and eggs. Other food sources include fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and spreads. 

Our advice

Everyone (including children) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D, particularly during the winter months (October – March). It is specifically recommended that groups at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency take a daily supplement all year round. These groups include:

  • all pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • infants and children under 5 years old
  • people who have low or no exposure to the sun, for example those who cover their skin for cultural reasons, are housebound, confined indoors for long periods or live in an institution 
  • people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, who require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D

The current guidance on sun exposure should be followed: 10–15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun exposure is safe for all. Once sunscreen is correctly applied, vitamin D synthesis is blocked. Staying in the sun for prolonged periods without the protection of sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer.

Further guidance for babies, young children and pregnant women

Babies and young children

  • breastfed babies from birth to 1 year of age should be given a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D to make sure they get enough
  • formula-fed babies shouldn’t be given a vitamin D supplement until they’re having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D
  • children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D

You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D (for under 5s) at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Please don’t buy more than you need.

Read advice and support for parents to follow the recommendation for infants from birth to 6 months

For further information from the Scottish Government – click here

Position Statement (Highland Only)

Updated Covid-19 guidance from The Highland Council in response to the Scottish Government updates 30/10/20

Click here to access

Winter Planning for ELC providers including childminders (29/10/20)

Care Inspectorate Chief Executive Peter Macleod has written a letter to providers of early learning and childcare (ELC), including childminders and school-aged childcare, about winter planning during COVID-19.

Click here to access

Weekly Monitoring Form

Help keep children safe – complete a COVID-19 childcare monitoring return.

Scottish Government and Care Inspectorate are requesting all childcare settings in Scotland (some exceptions) to complete ‘WEEKLY MONITORING RETURN’ before midnight each Tuesday.

Click here to access

Scottish Government note to all childcare providers - 7/10/2020

Scottish Government note to all childcare providers – 7/10/2020 

The First Minister has announced that, following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across Scotland and on the advice of her medical and scientific advisers, further measures were to be introduced across Scotland to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The announcement by the First Minister has no effect on current childcare arrangements and childcare providers should continue to operate in accordance with the current guidance.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate have issued a ‘note’ outlining this to all childcare providers. 

Click here to access

For Highlands Children 5 - Practice Guidance

Highland Children and Young People’s Forum


Highland Children and Young People’s Forum is a Scottish Charitable Organisation based in Highland.

On their website they state their aim is to:

“To advance human rights, promote equality and diversity and relieve those in need by contributing to towards the provision of highest possible standards of services in Highlands for the benefit of children and young people with additional support needs”

Find out about the excellent work they do by visiting their website.

Click here to access

Tooth brushing Standards

COVID-19 Toothbrushing Standards have been reviewed by the following bodies (24/8/20):

  • Antimicrobial Resistance & Healthcare-Associated Infection Group, Health Protection Scotland
  • The Care Inspectorate
  • Chief Dental Officer

Click here to access

HTSI (Highland Third Sector Interface)

Free online learning for third sector organisations during Covid-19. Courses vary in length (identified at course description) and include some 60-second bitesize modules. Courses of particular interest include:

  • Coping with Change, Self-care, Health & Wellbeing, Self-management.
  • Cyber Security, Data Protection
  • Health & Safety, Food Hygiene, Food Hygiene & Safety
  • IT skills, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
  • Literacy Skills
  • Teamwork.

Please access via Marion, [email protected] (CALA practitioners only)

Click here for further informaiton

Scottish Government e-learning

Scottish Government ELC

Free e-learning for ELC practitioners – more in-depth modules to study over a few weeks

Current modules:

  • Understanding the social factors which may impact on children’s outcome in the early years
  • Supporting parents to further engage in their children’s development
  • Supporting the development and progression of children’s early language and literacy
  • Building confidence in identifying and responding to additional support needs
  • Staff skills, knowledge and confidence in delivering and learning in STEM subjects

Click here to access


Step into Leadership 

A new resource, 23 Things Leadership – Useful tool with activities to support leadership development in Social and health services – 23 different ‘things’ looking at all aspects of leadership/management, encouraging self-reflection.  Links to the SSSC open badges.

Click here to access


COVID-19 related information

Supporting children’s worry and anxiety

Podcast and Q&A webinar on the impact of COVID with Stan Godek. Useful awareness of common anxieties and strategies for supporting children.

Click here to access


Posters, film for how to talk to parents, stories about COVID to share with children. How to talk about bereavement – and much more.

Click here to access

While we can’t hug

Short film for children explaining other ways to show you care

Click here to access

Leading in a crisis 

Particular support for reflection, developing own and other’s leadership capability during crisis e.g. Covid-19: access to a range of existing leadership resources, from a variety of sources, using a simple and accessible format.  Learners can access resources designed to support them develop their own skills in leading a crisis, leading with compassion, self-leadership, resilience and wellbeing.  There are also resources to support leaders support others in a crisis, and in particular resources related to supporting others to use their own leadership capability, supervision and support, and coaching and mentoring

Click here to access

Child Action Prevention Trust

Free downloads on COVID and child safety

Click here to access


NHS Mental Health & Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub

Range of support tools including info on children, teens, students.  Mood assessment, video guides e.g. anxiety, low mood, low confidence & assertiveness, unhelpful thoughts.  Links to therapies available, stress busters etc.

National wellbeing hub

Support page for those working in Health or Social Care in Scotland.  Links for individuals, managers/employers

Click here to access

NHS Highland Staff health & wellbeing

For NHS Highland staff – covers issues such as healthy mind, healthy body, finance, etc.  Also Moodzone assessment tool

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness state:

“We are a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life – where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.

Click here to access more information and their resources.

Just Ask

Just Ask – Highland Children and Young People’s Allied Health Professionals (AHP)

This enquiry line is for our parents, carers, children, young people, and those who work with them

Click here for full information

Click here for guidance on making a request for assistance

Play – post Covid

Play – post-Covid

An article about getting play right in the early years post-COVID

Click here to access

COVID – 19 play report from Play Scotland

Click here to access

Attachment theory

Attachment theory

Attachment theory in practice

Click here to access


The psychology of play

The psychology of play

A 2 min video with input from psychologists helping children cope with stress and worry through play – good to share with parents

Action for children

Action for children

Support for children’s mental health

Click here to access


Trauma informed

Trauma-Informed – for those working with children and families video

Click here to access


Coping and resilience

Coping and resilience

A useful infographic to help awareness of coping mechanisms and resilience

Click here to access

Highland Council - CPL via Highland Digital School Hub

Words Up, RTA, access via Highland Digital School Hub

Click here to access

Further learning materials  on ELC Highland blog – including planning, SE, literacy, numeracy

Click here to access

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