Latest Childminding Guidance and on Blended Care

Latest Childminding Guidance and on Blended Care
Updated COVID-19 guidance for childminding published this morning (10 July 2020) by the Scottish Government confirms that:

- blended care: current restrictions on blended care remain in place for the time being, but, following intervention by SCMA, the Scottish Government has now confirmed that it hopes to be in a position to lift the restrictions on blended care alongside the return to schools, subject to expert advice and continued suppression of the virus. The Scottish Government has also now committed to confirming by 31 July if the restrictions can be lifted at the same time as schools return.

From 15 July 2020:
- restrictions on capacity will be lifted: childminders can return to their normal operating model based on the maximum capacity in line with their Care Inspectorate Certificate of Registration. Restrictions on the number of households that childcare can be provided for have been removed.

large childminding settings registered for more than eight children can now care for more than eight children at any one time, however when doing so this should be done in line with the guidance for nurseries and other larger ELC settings (i.e. groups of no more than eight children and with two metres apart at all times).

- restrictions on how capacity can be allocated will also be lifted: childminders can use their discretion to allocate places to families, based on their usual operating model.

- ELC funded hours: childminders who have contracts in place with a local authority to deliver funded hours will need to agree these placements with their local authority before they are agreed with parents/carers.

READ | Full details of the changes included within the updated guidance can be accessed here
WATCH | Our latest video update from Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive of SCMA.

Graeme said: "While this is still not certain, we welcome that the Scottish Government has responded to SCMA’s intervention and now officially confirmed that it hopes to be able to lift the restrictions on blended care alongside the return to schools on 11 August and that it will confirm if this will be possible by 31 July. We believe this shows that the Scottish Government is listening and it is a positive step as it provides some clarity for childminders and parents/carers which had not been provided until now.

“As recently as a week ago, it was confirmed that these restrictions would remain in place, be reviewed and updated by 30 July but without any clarity of intent or direction as to when or if these restrictions might be lifted.

"SCMA published a survey earlier this week which found stark evidence that over 1190 families had already been lost from childminding settings due to these restrictions and if restrictions were to remain in place after the schools go back only 19% of childminders in Scotland believed their businesses would be viable in 12 months’ time.

"Recognising the devastating effect which this could have on childminding businesses, families and parental choice we called on the Scottish Government to urgently commit to removing all restrictions on blended care by the time the schools go back if we continue to make progress in suppressing the virus. Our concerns attracted widespread media interest and led to questions being asked of the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

“To those childminders who have already lost business and will continue to lose business until these restrictions are removed in full, we know this may not go far enough for you. However, it does provide some optimism for both childminders and families that the Scottish Government has now clarified it’s hope to remove restrictions before the school go back and that childminders will be allowed to deliver blended care next month. As such, we would strongly encourage parents to keep their children in childminding settings and not feel that they are forced to move provider.

“While the Scottish Government has made it clear that this will be subject to expert advice and continued suppression of the virus, the evidence on the social and economic impact of COVID-19 on childminding businesses and families is compelling and must also be considered alongside this and taken into account to ensure a fully informed policy decision.

"SCMA will continue to feed this evidence into on-going national discussions and to maintain the focus on this. To support this, we would encourage childminders who are concerned about the impact of these restrictions on the viability of their businesses to continue to contact your local MSPs to inform them of the impact of these restrictions and the need for this economic impact to be considered."

SCMA has produced a template to support childminders and parents who wish to contact their MSP regarding this issue. Read more