- Plans for the Scottish Government to remove the requirements for children to be kept in small cohorts or ‘bubbles’ in early years settings from August (in line with schools and subject to the scientific advice)
- An end to the requirement of restrictions on blended placements (where a child might attend nursery and childminder or out of school care)
- An £11.2m transitionary fund for private and 3rd sector providers to support with the re-opening.
Responding to today’s announcement Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “It’s fantastic to see both the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister acknowledged the importance of the early learning and childcare sector in Scotland – not only for children’s education but also the country’s economic recovery.
“Since lockdown began we have made a strong case for transitionary funding which has been announced today as nurseries and other childcare settings look to come out of lockdown. This will be a vital lifeline for providers to help adjust to the new operating realities.
“It’s important for these grants to reach providers as quickly and directly as possible, with a straightforward application process.
“Planned changes to the guidance on bubbles will be welcome to many childcare providers. Managing really small groups across a week - while attendance at nurseries varies so much - has been a key concern for our members. We have been raising this issue in our regular discussions with the Scottish Government. It is good to see that providers, who have the knowledge and experience of their settings and families, will be allowed to use their professional judgement in keeping staff and children safe.
“Nurseries always make the safety of children and their staff their number one priority. Risk assessments will still be carried out and we will wait to see any other changes to the guidance. Parents can be assured that all other protective measures will be in place around health and safety and infection control. Settings will be working hard to provide high quality learning experiences in a safe environment.
“Initial feedback from our members shows that demand for places has been hit by Coronavirus so there will still be a lot of uncertainty around in the months ahead.
“We will keep working with the Scottish Government to ensure providers are supported to be able to deliver the high-quality and accessible childcare that families and parents will need, both in the coming weeks and months but for the long-term as well.”
Read the full announcement here.