Many Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) providers have been asking if and how they can reopen to deliver critical childcare if not working with their local authority.
The Scottish Government has produced the following guidance which will clarify the approach that providers who wish to reopen to provide critical childcare in the coming weeks should adopt as we move through the current phase and work towards the wider reopening of the ELC sector:
'During Phase 1 and 2 of the lockdown there has been an increase in the number of key worker families looking for critical childcare provision due to other changes in their household circumstances. As was the case during the initial period of lockdown, settings (other than childminders and fully outdoor provision) should only open or reopen if required to provide critical childcare for keyworkers and vulnerable children, preferably as part of a coordinated local authority plan.
However, you can chose to open outwith partnership with your local authority, but only to provide critical childcare until the wider reopening of childcare is permitted. This decision is to be made by the childcare provider alone. An indicative date of 15 July has been announced for the reopening of remaining childcare services, subject to the criteria for moving into phase 3.
Any provider wishing to open must be aware of current key workers definitions but can apply their own decisions on key worker status, using their judgement and awareness of local issues to ensure that those most in need of critical childcare are prioritised and taking account of the public health guidance that where children can be looked after at home they should be.
Providers opening outwith partnership with their local authority should agree fee arrangements separately with parents. Critical childcare provision provided free by local authorities does not automatically transfer over to private providers if a family chooses to change setting, providers should discuss arrangements with the local authority. Critical childcare privately procured by parents has no relation to ELC funded hours entitlement.
Out of School Care providers registered with the Care Inspectorate can only provide critical childcare for keyworkers or vulnerable children either in partnership with their local authority or privately through direct arrangements with families. An indicative date of 15 July has been provided for wider reopening and will be subject to published guidance (due 3rd July).'
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