Covid-19 guidance for group activities

The Scottish Government has kindly shared with us the following information in order to ensure home educators are apprised of the latest advice and guidance during these uncertain times due to Covid restrictions. Some or all may be of interest to home educating families and local groups.

We will post updates on this blog and through our community networks as we are notified of relevant information, which comes directly from the Scottish Government and can therefore be fully relied upon for accuracy. 

  1. Unregulated organised activities for children

The updated guidance on organised activities for children was updated on 24 September 2020

Key changes to note are:


Organised activity indoors

  • set a maximum number for indoor organised activities to 10 people (all ages included, no more than 5 adults)
  • set a maximum number of households for indoor organised activities to 5

Organised activity outdoors

  • set a maximum number for outdoor organised activities to 15 people (excluding under 12’s,)
  • set a maximum number of households for outdoor organised activities to 15 – this includes the under 12’s.

Following the FM’s announcement on 21 September 2020, the option to deliver an organised activity in someone else’s or your own home has been removed; this will be reviewed every 3 weeks.

  1. Music and Drama
  1. Animated Learning Resources

NHS Education for Scotland and Public Health Scotland have jointly produced ‘Animated Learning Resources – Promoting Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Preventing Self Harm and Suicide’, which complements the series they have already developed for the workforce supporting the adult population.   

These have been developed in partnership with young people, parents and families and agencies who support young peoples’ mental health. 

Flyer and further information about these activities can be found here: Mental Health Animated Learning Resource for People who work with Children and Young People 

UPDATE, 1 October 2020

The following helpful response to our request for clarification has been received from the Scottish Government, which we hope will reassure home educators who wish to safely resume their group activities:

There isn’t a statutory basis for the organised activity for children guidance (that provides information on group sizes), but as it mentions in the overview, it is directed at unregulated activities and services. It is therefore purely advisory and there is no legal requirement to comply with it. This is not unusual, much of the guidance issued recently is non-statutory, and it is commonly explained in the overview who it is aimed at and what the expectation is surrounding compliance/observance.

The requirements of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 are legal requirements, but education is exempted from the restrictions placed on gatherings in private dwellings. So there is no restriction on the numbers of persons who can gather in a private dwelling for the purposes of education. The guidance notes this and then goes on to suggest limitations, but since there is no such limit in the legislation, this can only be a recommendation.

There would be no consequences if a Home Educator chose not to comply with the suggested limits, or to follow other recommendations in the guidance.

Home Educators therefore can’t fall foul as you mention below, but the guidance is there (based on current scientific advise) to provide information on suitable group sizes and other considerations, to help Home Educators (and many others) plan for activities as safely as possible.


5 Replies to “Covid-19 guidance for group activities”

  1. Hi is there any allowance for kids with additional needs for a group activity? My son is 12 & has a learning disability – he doesn’t understand social distancing & can’t do it. He attends a session at an organised play place (both indoor & out) – they are insisting he has 2m distance between anyone else, its upsetting as he doesn’t understand & cannot do it.

  2. Hi, can you Clarify which guidance document set out the maximum numbers detailed on this page, and whether these numbers are advisory or a legal limit.

    1. We have asked for further clarification as the guidance remains somewhat ambiguous. The post will be updated as soon as we receive a response.

      1. Hi Alison, I’ve read through the whole unregulated children’s activities guidance now…. You have to, because the updated sections guidance just says there’s lots of updates throughout the document! Not very helpful! Anyway I have read it, and I couldn’t find any thing that said unregulated activities couldn’t take place in homes. Did I miss it? Anyhow, without much hope of a response ? I Wrote back to Mariken Schipper at SG asking for clarification:

        Thanks for your reply yesterday to my letter to the Cabinet Secretary dated 18 August. The new guidance doesn’t seem equitable, and I’m struggling with your interpretation of the guidance.

        I’ve read through the updated version of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) Activities for Children, and I can’t find any mention that prohibits running activities in private homes. Indeed, the section “Other important things to consider: individuals using or providing multiple services or activities on a regular frequency” specifically mentions the need to consider overall numbers of household interaction if you run your activity from home – which doesn’t sit easily with it being prohibited altogether.

        Prohibiting home educated pupils from meeting each other in private homes will have a significant impact on our children’s learning. As one would expect for home education, lots of learning activities take place in the home in small groups (eg. knitting, creative writing, book groups, foreign language and music tuition etc). As you’ll be aware as our sponsor division, home educators are loosely organised community groups with no funding, assets or estate at our disposable. We rely on using our homes and public community spaces, such as museums, galleries and local community halls – all of which are shut. There is no access to community space. The libraries are shut, schools are not open to us, and the council won’t allow home education groups to use the community halls as despite considerable correspondence, my local authority insist our children are not a priority. Currently, I could send my daughter to a commercial tutor, or enrol her in a dance class, or I could take her to the pub with her home educated peers, but I can’t access any community space at all to continue her normal home education activities.

        Having waited 6 weeks for a response from the Cabinet Secretary, and honestly feeling no further forward, this is beginning to feel like policy making 101. If, as the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have told us repeatedly, there’s a serious moral commitment to children’s education, something needs to be done urgently to support home educated children’s indoor access to their peers, particularly as we head into winter. This could be a relaxation of the (seemingly non-existent?) rules about meeting in homes, or negotiating some assistance with access to Local Authority community spaces for our children. Perhaps you or someone in your team could arrange an urgent call to discuss?

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