Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance

Published: 30 Jul 2020
Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Non-statutory guidance to support childminding settings to operate safely.

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance
Financial impact and workforce support

Financial impact and workforce support

Financial impact

We recognise that any restrictions on operating may affect the cost of delivery of services per child. If the number of children that can be accommodated in a setting, or within a given staffing model, is reduced, there may be an increase in the cost per hour of childcare. However, the extent of this impact will vary from setting to setting, and will be closely linked to capacity. There may also be additional costs, relating to implementation of public health measures for cleaning and hygiene requirements. These cost increases may apply throughout the period where these public health measures are in place.

Assessment of the impact on cost of childcare provision while these public health measures are in place must be based on an open, transparent approach. Providers should consider carefully what the impact of restrictions are on cost of delivery in their settings, and how this can be demonstrated.

Advice on the application of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard for ELC Providers  has been published, and includes guidance on the payment of sustainable rates for the delivery of funded ELC.

Further information on support available to the sector throughout the recovery.

Supporting the workforce to be confident and safe

Our priority is the safety of all staff, children and families.

Our collective responsibility is to enable all childcare professionals, including childminders and their assistants, to feel confident when returning to the workplace. They should have read:

Childminders should communicate with any assistants to ensure that they are clear and confident with the measures and processes recommended within the guidance on safe reopening of the childminding setting in advance of reopening.

As there is some evidence which suggests that COVID-19 may impact disproportionately on some groups (ethnic minority communities), childminders should ensure that they provide practical support and advice to ethnic minority staff, particularly where they are anxious about protecting themselves and their families. Employers should be mindful of their duties under the Equality Act 2010 at all times. All ethnic minority staff with underlying health conditions and disabilities, who are over 70, or who are pregnant should be individually risk assessed, and appropriate reasonable or workplace adjustments should be made following risk assessment.

Children, and staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding)

Shielding restrictions for the clinically extremely at risk children and staff are due to be paused on 31 July 2020. People in this group should refer to the latest advice on the need to shield. This guidance will continue be updated if there are a high number of local cases or there is a need to resume shielding.

Guidance for people with underlying health conditions has been prepared and will continue to be updated. Any staff employed by the childminder service who have underlying health conditions will wish to be aware of this advice in order to inform discussions with their employer and/or their healthcare team.  Similarly, parents and carers may wish to have a discussion with their child’s healthcare team if they are unsure or have queries about returning to settings because of their health condition.

Local monitoring arrangements will be in place to give early warning of any local increase in infections in the future which could lead to people in the higher risk categories being advised to stay away from setting again for their safety.

Support for children with Additional Support Needs

Every child will have different levels of required support. It will be important as part of the risk assessments carried out to consider the individual needs of a child or young person. Where there is a need to work in close proximity with adults and children the appropriate safety measures should be put in place based on that risk assessment.

Staff wellbeing

It should be recognised that childminders and assistants may find it valuable to access support for their mental health and wellbeing, in the lead-up to settings reopening and once they do reopen. Many will be balancing the return to work with managing their own childcare needs and caring commitments linked to the COVID‑19 pandemic, including possible illness and bereavement within their own families.

The Scottish Government is working with partners from across the childcare sector to develop a directory of existing mental health, wellbeing and professional learning support for early learning and childcare, and out of school care, practitioners and childminders.  This is updated and shared across the education and childcare sector at regular intervals.

We have worked with Early Years Scotland to launch a Team ELC Wellbeing Hub to support childcare professionals. Through this platform, childcare professionals can connect with one another, attend online events and access wellbeing resources.

Wellbeing, nurture and experiences

As settings re-open, staff will be aware that the pandemic will have had a unique impact on each child and their family, as well as themselves and their colleagues at work. It is important that staff are mindful of keeping the child at the centre of their practice to ensure quality and wellbeing, while balancing safety and risk.

Children have the right to play and learn, as set out in Article 31(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life. 

In Scotland, the Government has enshrined children’s right to play outdoors every day in its national Health and Social Care Standards – “As a child, I play outdoors every day and regularly explore a natural environment” (HSCS 1.32).

Children's rights

Children have the right to play and learn, as set out in Article 31(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life.

In Scotland, the Scottish Government has enshrined children’s right to play outdoors every day in its national Health and Social Care Standards – “As a child, I play outdoors every day and regularly explore a natural environment” (HSCS 1.32).

It is essential, at this time of transition, that childhood practice continues to be informed by the principles which underpin high quality provision. While aspects of practice may be delivered differently, childminders and assistants will still be working to meet the needs of children and their families. Practice that reflects the principles of nurture, and the importance of relationships is key to this. Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) with its focus on wellbeing, recognises that children and young people have the right to expect appropriate support from adults to allow them to grow and develop and to have their voices heard. Working in partnership with parents is essential, with two way sharing of information being fundamental to this. The GIRFEC approach is about responding in a meaningful, supportive way which puts the wellbeing of children and families at the heart of any support.

Childminders need to be confident that they are providing experiences and sensitive interactions in a variety of outdoor and indoor spaces, in ways which best support the needs of children within the context of the recovery period.


First published: 30 Jul 2020 Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 -