The Scottish Government has released guidance for early learning and childcare providers in the local authority, private and third sectors to support a safe reopening of these settings during Phase 3.
This guidance applies to all providers of registered day care of children’s services, including nurseries, playgroups, family centres and crèches who provide care to children under school age. While the Scottish Government continues to keep schools and most early years settings closed, this guidance allows providers to plan well in advance.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, chief executive of NDNA Scotland said: ‘The fact that this guidance has been produced for early learning and childcare settings well in advance of any re-opening gives providers plenty of time to prepare. The wellbeing of children and staff will be at the heart of plans so that as more children are able to return nurseries and providers will be safe places.
‘Putting these measures in place will naturally mean providers will face extra costs at a time of reduced demand. This means there are real fears across the sector that nurseries won’t be sustainable in the longer term as children start to return. Additional costs will include installing partitions and more cleaning and changing stations, but will also include PPE costs, hand sanitizer as well as needing more staff to keep consistent smaller bubbles.
‘If childcare settings aren’t sustainable this would be disastrous for families and children as well as the economy. NDNA is calling for the Scottish Government to look at recovery and transformation funding to nurseries so they can continue to do their excellent job of supporting children’s development and learning while allowing parents to return to work.’
On the 15th of May, Susan McGhee, chief executive of Flexible Childcare Services Scotland joined NMT Discussions to explore the Flexible Pathway Toolkit as well as her plans for a safe re-opening when the time was right.
Looking at how FCSS might approach re-opening, Susan listed these key things they will consider:
- Space requirements and reduced capacities, this may include reducing capacities or where possible increasing available space
- Additional cleaning and sanitisation plans
- Extra handwash stations, including at entry points
- Increased access to outdoors
- Maintaining home working for our office-based colleagues
- Staggering start times for children and staff
- Reducing the numbers of people entering our buildings by meeting children and parents at the entrance
- PPE for our team members where appropriate.