Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance

Published: 5 Mar 2021
Last updated: 11 Oct 2021 - see all updates

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance


This is version 10.3 of the Childminder services guidance, published on 11 October 2021. 

The key changes are listed below but providers are encouraged to read the guidance in full.

This document is uncontrolled when printed. 

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for Care Inspectorate registered childminders.

Nannies and au pairs can continue to provide childcare in accordance with the restrictions on informal childcare in the protection level in which they are operating. They should follow the appropriate guidance on meeting indoors, and Parent Club contains additional explanation which may be useful.


We know there are challenges in delivering services after a turbulent break and in the evolving COVID-19 situation in Scotland. In line with Realising the Ambition, our focus must be on supporting children to form a secure and emotionally resilient attachment base which will stand them in good stead as they grow and develop. Nurturing and attached relationships are essential to creating the conditions for children to flourish in childcare.

All children have a right to play, to learn and to access experiences that meet their physical, social, emotional and cultural needs, and they have a right to associate with their peers. In line with Scotland's commitment to Getting It Right For Every Child, children also have the right to the best possible health, with their best interests a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect them. Adults, of course, also have fundamental rights in relation to their health and wellbeing. These important rights and considerations have all been factored into the development of a framework for delivering ELC and school-aged childcare services.

While the vaccination of adults has changed the relative rates of transmission, evidence continues to confirm that younger children are at lower risk of clinical disease from COVID-19 than are older children and adults. There is no evidence of any difference in the risk of severe COVID-19 among pre-school, primary and secondary school teachers, relative to other adults of a similar age. Childminding settings must place very high priority on reinforcing the mitigations set out in this guidance.

This guidance provides principles to help you make decisions based on the best available evidence to help you operate in a changed context. It will not provide the specific answer to every circumstance which may arise, but it will provide the basis on which you can use your professional judgement to make a decision. Please also be aware that public health advice may evolve over time, and you should check online to make sure you are working to the most recent version of this guidance. 

This is version 10.3 of the guidance published on 11 October.
This version reflects advice from the advisory sub group that visitors to the setting are permitted in a broader range of circumstances. (See changes to the sections on visits by parents and specialist visitors.) This version also introduces new sections on short local excursions which promote outdoor learning and day visits.

The previous version 10.2 of the guidance was published on 27 September. Updates in that version:

  • note that at their meeting on 7th September, the Advisory Sub-group on Education and Children’s Issues recommended retaining the mitigations set out in this guidance until at least the October half term break
  • add a new section on identifying contacts, that includes a definition of higher risk contacts
  • include new ‘Warn and Inform’ letters that should be issued to parent/carers and staff when a setting is informed of a positive case
  • provide a link to a flowchart that summarises what action to take when a child or member of staff tests positive

Version 10.1 was published on 10 September and updates in that version:

  • link to new Self-isolation and contact tracing information sheet for schools and registered childcare settings
  • provide a link to a guide that staff can use to determine for how long they should self-isolate: When and how long to self-isolate due to coronavirus | NHS inform
  • reinforce that where a childminder or a household member has symptoms and/or tests positive they should close the setting
  • guidance in the section on visits by parents about what to do if a parent has been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case but can end self-isolation on receipt of a negative PCR result.
  • clarify that if there is an outbreak in a one of the settings where a child has a blended placement, it should, where possible, be postponed until after the outbreak
  • provide the latest information in the section on financial impact, particularly the publication of the Financial Sustainability Health Check

Version 10 of this guidance document was published on 13 August 2021. Updates in that version:

  • clarify what do to when someone identified as a close contact has had a positive PCR test in the last 90 days (see section 19 If a child, childminder or assistant becomes ill)
  • add a link to an information sheet that settings should send to parents/carers and staff when there is a case in the setting (see section 25 Test and Protect)
  • revise the section on  how to deal with outbreaks and case management (see section 26)
  • provide additional guidance on the use of CO2 monitors (see section 21 Ventilation)
  • clarify that in level 0 and below groups can be mixed when outside, if this allows settings to maximise time spent outdoors (see section 17 Larger childminder settings – minimising children’s contacts

Childminders are encouraged to read the guidance in full.

First published: 5 Mar 2021 Last updated: 11 Oct 2021 -