Latest COVID-19 restrictions: update (10.30am)

Latest COVID-19 restrictions: update (10.30am)

The Scottish Government has confirmed to SCMA overnight that childminding settings can continue to remain open to all families during the current restrictions in line with the current operating guidance – level 4 (mainland), level 3 (islands); larger childminding settings (currently caring for 12 or more children) can also continue to provide care for key workers and vulnerable children. They have also confirmed that nurseries can remain open for key workers and vulnerable children and that the only change arising for childcare through yesterday’s announcement is that these temporary arrangements for nurseries will be extended from 18 January to 1 February 2021 in line with schools. We understand that confirmation of this will be sent out to all childcare providers in Scotland today in a Provider Update from the Care Inspectorate.

We can also confirm that SCMA will participate in a meeting of the national Recovery Working Group tomorrow morning and we will provide a further update after that meeting.

In parallel, SCMA urged the Scottish Government before Christmas to prioritise teachers and childcare staff for receiving the vaccine. We were pleased to note the First Minister confirming yesterday that this is now under consideration and we will continue to press for this to happen given the leading role that teachers and childcare staff are undertaking in supporting the national response to COVID-19. 

For added clarity -   

  • childminders are themselves considered key workers and are allowed to remain open

  • Blended Care: the current Childminding Services Guidance allows for blended placements to continue even in level 4. The guidance does note that local Directors of Public Health may consider if additional potential restrictions are required and that this could include looking at restrictions on blended care, but this does not mean that blended placements should or will be restricted. SCMA is not aware of any evidence showing increased transmission arising from blended placements involving childminding settings. The Scottish Government has also confirmed to SCMA today that there are no national plans at this time to restrict blended placements and it is recognised blended placements and wraparound care are required by many key workers.

For more information, please refer to the current Childminding Services Guidance