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Managing Staff And Children Ratios


tlscriven
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hello I'm new to the forum and have been enjoying looking at all the messages.

I wonder if any one can give me any feedback on the requirements about mainting adult:child ratios as this has become quite an issue at the pre-school i work in.

The query is we have 2 rooms normallly staffed by 3:21 if a staff member had to leave the room for a break would we not be meetiong the standards? Is it ok that thety are still on the premisis but not in the room

Would be great to hear your experiences views? :o

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Thanks for your reply. We work to a 1:7 ratio with our 3 year olds as this gives us a little flexibility, but I want to see if it is possible for staff to have a break in the staff room off the main room. so leaving 2:21 whilst one member of staff is on the premisis to be called on in an emergency but not in the room?

 

Sorry for waffling

Edited by tlscriven
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i was under the impression that if your staff where on breaks and still on the premises that was ok as long as no single member of staff was left alone with the children. Not really sure of your circumstances inextra staff availble but I as Manager or my Deputy where ever possible go in to the rooms to help staff out over break times. sorry nearly forgot welcome to the forum

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Thanks for the info and the welcome this seems to be a fantastic resource.

I'm the deputy at the pre-school only in the job for 18 mths. Staff at mo do not have breaks which I would like to change. both myself and the manager are not supernumerary which means we are unable to cover breaks. I previously worked in a nursery attached to a primary school and we were able to leave the room for a break during the session but I'm trying to find out what OFSTED's view would be?

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Hi and welcome.

How long are the staff working for? My staff work 3 1/2 hours and do not have a break-we really just don't have time. If staff are only working a short session you are not obliged to give them a break-is it that you feel you want them to have a break? Are you full day or sessional?

Sorry, lots of questions but no real answers. I would be wary of leaving 2 members of staff with 21 children even with somebody else on the premises but not in direct contact.

Linda

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Hello and welcome from me too, Linda asks a good question because depending on hours worked, staff may be legally entitled to a break, in which they can choose to leave the premises. Therefore if this is the case you need to eaither have flexible break times and extra staff to cover.

The ratio issue with staff still on premises but not in the main room is I think a grey area. Try doing a risk assessment ( use the rationalle for adult/child ratio's as considerations), then give Ofsted a ring and ask, they can be helpful and I think prefer people to ask rather than muddle through.

 

Peggy

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Welcome to the forum, tlscriven!

 

When you say you have two rooms, how are they organised in terms of the numbers of staff and adults in each room at a time? You'd need to be very careful to ensure that at some point you didn't have one member of staff with 14 children with two members of staff with 7! Do the staff monitor population levels of each room and move between the rooms to maintain ratios within each room or just aim to maintain ratios throughout the setting?

 

I agree with Peggy - do a thorough risk assessment (and ask yourself some 'what if' questions - what if a child has a toileting accident at the same time as another child needs first aid? How would you cope with that eventuality?).

 

If you want to know what Ofsted's view on something is its always advisable to ask them - we know that what an Inspector tells one setting will be completely different to what a different Inspector tells another setting! Also speak to your early years adviser -they will have lots of practical advice to help you manage this tricky issue.

 

And finally (honest!) I take it that you don't have any under 3s in your group?

 

Maz

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Hi

 

The EYFS statutory guidance, which becomes legal in September, 2008, states:

 

Appendix 2, p 49

 

The ratios related to staff time available to work directly with children. Sufficient suitable staff must be available to cover staff breaks, holidays, sickness and time spent with parents, in order to ensure that the ratio and qualification requirements are always met in relation to the staff working directly with the children. Additional staff may be required to undertake management tasks, prepare meals, maintain premises and equipment and so on.

 

Hope that helps, have been looking for something else, and haven't found it, don't sleep with the EYFS honest!

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Thanks everyone for your replies. No we don't have any under 3's in the large rooms they have their own room where the ratio is 3:8 which allows for an extra person to deal with trips to the toilet and emergencys. We run full sessional care with many staff working from 9-3.30 so they are entitiled to a break. EYFS statutory framework page32 briefly mentions staff leaving room when children are resting but seems a bit vague. We are looking into the cost of having an extra member of staff in each session to cover breaks and other times staff have to leave the room, but money is always so tight!! I think I may give OFSTED a ring as suggested. Thanks again for advice :o

 

In answer to Maz's question the children don't move between the rooms. there is always 21:7 in each room so we don't have that problem. Altough we want to allow the children free access to the outdide area and that is one of the problems we are trying to solve at the mo

Edited by tlscriven
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Hi there

 

I know there is a nursery near me who offer full day care and they get an extra member of staff in to cover the lunch breaks. I think that this is only from 11.30am to 1.30pm. This would allow you to cover the staff break issue.

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I employ 2 staff simply to cover staff breaks and lunches, a big expense but a necessary one!

 

I would not consider allowing a member of staff to take a break without someone actually covering them in the room.

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On a similar theme, I would be interested to know how settings deploy their staff to ensure ratios are maintained, the targets for every child with special needs are met each session, observations and assessments are carried out constantly, and every aspect is evaluated!

 

We employ 5 or 6 staff per session (up to 30 chn per session). One leads a focus activity, another supervises preparation of snack with the children and manages the rolling snack bar. One is responsible for working with one child with SN per day (we have 3 on the register). Another is responsible for assessment and observation. These two take groups of children outside each day after snack. The final staff member is responsible for managing the creative area (messy!).

 

The groups split at the end of the session, with two adults per group, one doing show & tell/circle time, the other doing songs and stories. Then they swap.

 

Sounds ok, but the staff seem to think we are short-staffed, and at present no observations, assessments or evaluations are being done. Some staff do need to leave to pick up children from school, so try to tidy up before the session ends, which we try to stop, as my co-manager and I would prefer them to complete their paperwork and go, and leave us to tidy up after the chn have left. Seems to be low moral amongst some of the longer serving staff, particularly as we are beginning to use the EYFS to base plans on.

 

Any tips, or pointing out any obvious opportunities for improvement would be gladly appreciated.

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