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Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for school age childcare services

Non-statutory guidance to support a safe and supportive environment.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for school age childcare services
Summer holidays

Summer holiday guidance for school age childcare services


This annexe is a short-life addition to this guidance document, which will remain in place until the end of the school summer holidays in Scotland (currently expected to be 18 August 2021). This annexe will summarise the COVID-19 risk mitigation measures which regulated providers of school age childcare should adopt during the 2021 summer holidays in order to mitigate COVID-19 risks to staff and participants.

This annexe summarises four existing COVID-19 guidance documents.

 This summary was last updated on 22 June 2021. We will endeavour to update this summary, should any of the underlying guidance documents change. However, providers are responsible for checking the original guidance documents, linked above, for updates.

What to consider when planning summer holiday services

Recent engagement has shown that there are particular topics of interest to school age childcare settings as they consider summer holiday provision. 

These are

  • COVID-19 protection levels
  • trips
  • transport
  • activities
  • provision of meals and snacks, and
  • consistency of cohorts

COVID-19 Protection Levels

As outlined above, there are five COVID-19 Protection Levels (0-4)

When planning summer provision, providers must follow the wider guidance for the protection level of their local authority area. For example, you should not plan trips outside your local authority area if your area’s current protection level does not permit travel outside the local authority.


Providers who are planning visits and trips from their settings during summer 2021 should refer to the COVID-19 guidance for school visits and trips. From 10 May 2021, all day visits can recommence subject to:


As outlined above, dedicated transport used by the service as part of summer holiday provision should be regarded as an extension of the premises and on transport, physical distancing measures between children attending the service should be the same as those which apply on the premises (subject to continued low levels of infection within Scotland). Other risk mitigations remain important – including hygiene, ventilation, and sanitising/washing hands before and using transport.  

Providers who are planning to use other means of transport for trips should read the latest guidance on how to remain safe when walking, cycling and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.

You can find more information about travelling in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for school age childcare services document.


The activities which you can offer outwith your setting will depend upon the COVID-19 Protection Level in place in your local authority area.

If your service is planning to offer sport and physical activities during summer 2021, you should also refer to the COVID-19 sport and physical activity guidance.

If your service is planning to offer any activities involving drama or expressive arts, you should refer to the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues – advice on physical education and expressive arts.

Provision of meals and snacks

Meals and snacks can be given to children in the course of summer holiday childcare provision.

When you are planning how to serve meals and snacks safely, you should follow the guidance set out in the meals provision section of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for school age childcare services.

If you are planning to prepare meals and snacks as part of your service, you should follow the guidance set out in the catering section of the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for school age childcare services.

Consistency of cohorts 

Ensuring the consistency of groups of children and the adults who work with them remains a fundamental consideration. This minimises the risk of transmission throughout the group and reduces the number of children and staff who may need to be tested or self-isolate in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

We recognise that this may be more challenging for the providers of summer childcare/holiday activities.  For instance, children who attend a regulated childcare service during the school holidays may be drawn from a different set, and greater number, of schools than children who regularly attend during term time. Given that children will not be attending school in addition to summer childcare/holiday activities, there will be no requirement to keep children from different school in separate cohorts. In addition, services may offer parents the opportunity to book individual days depending on their childcare needs. This means that the mix of children attending summer holiday provision may vary from day to day. Recognising these challenges, services should plan their cohorts to ensure that there is as much consistency in child groupings as possible. 

Services must keep clear records showing which adults and children spend sustained periods of time together, and retain these for up to 21 days. This supports effective practice in following Test and Protect protocols in the event of positive confirmed cases being identified. 

Services should continue to bear in mind the potential impact of someone testing positive on the number of other children or staff members who may need to be tested or self-isolate – on the advice of Test and Protect.  

Next steps

This annexe to the Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for school age childcare services will remain in place until 18 August 2021, when it will be withdrawn. Between publication and withdrawal, it will be updated where necessary in line with ongoing public health advice.

First published: 5 Mar 2021 Last updated: 20 Jul 2021 -