Blended care permitted from 10 August 2020

Blended care permitted from 10 August 2020
In great news for childminders, parents/carers and the children you support, the Scottish Government has today published new childminding guidance which confirms that from 10 August 2020 there is no longer a requirement to avoid blended placements. 

Blended placements relate to children attending more than one childcare setting (i.e. nursery and a childminder) and also to where childminders are involved in the provision of out of school care. 

While recognising that it remains important to minimise the number of contacts and risk of transmission, the guidance states that the balance of scientific advice supports the use of more settings where required to ensure high quality childcare is available to children and in support of parents’ needs.

The guidance notes that parents and carers should be encouraged and supported to limit the number of settings their child attends, ideally attending one setting only, but also explicitly states that:

for children who attend more than one setting (i.e. nursery and childminder), consideration should be given to ensuring their child only attends the same setting(s) consistently. For children who attend multiple settings consideration should be given to how they are supported to ensure good hygiene practices (washing hands, not sharing resources, etc.) when moving between settings, and how their interactions with other groups of children are managed, based on an appropriate risk assessment;

childminders and other key workers may undertake drop-off and pick-up from other early learning and childcare settings and schools, but social distancing with other adults must be maintained; and

where a child attends more than one setting, consideration should be given to record keeping of the other setting(s), to assist with any Test and Protect process. Any records should be GDPR compliant. 

Commenting on the publication of the guidance, Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive, SCMA, said: "This is fantastic news for childminders, parents/carers and the children you support. COVID-19 has presented huge challenges for us all.

"In particular, and as previously reported by SCMA, restrictions on blended care have seriously affected childminding businesses and their ability to respond to parental demand for flexible childcare.

"SCMA has worked hard and constructively to raise awareness and inform understanding about this and the impact of restrictions on childminding, families and parental choice. We are delighted that restrictions on blended care will be lifted from 10 August and that the public health advice now confirms it is safe to do so.

"Childminders and parents/carers should now feel confident about confirming blended placements to coincide with the schools returning."