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Just interested in what you would have done in our situation this morning!


I got to pre-school this morning to be told supervisor off sick. Nobody could contact chair to organise cover, so agency girl in as deputy phoned the other agency worker we have been using recently (for courses etc). However this agency worker would take at lat 30 mins to get there. So potentially have 18 children, deputy (agency nvq3), me (no qualifications) and another assitant (no qualifications). We then took the decision that we would not open until agency worker arrived as less than 50% staff qualified. Chair phoned 10 mins later and said we should open as agency on way. We discussed some more and decided not to given that she maybe stuck in traffic, if there was an accident etc etc. What would you have done? I explained to parents and they all seemed really understanding. Fortunately there was harvest festival at the primary school so we suggested parents take their children there and return later. Another plus was that there were no children with carers that needed to get to work. What would we have done then?


Then the issue of lunch club came up. Normally supervisor and agency deputy go. I made the decision that it should be me and agency deputy go and not the other agency and agency deputy. My reasoning was cheaper if i did it plus although they are obviously crb checked im the only one with setting specific crb (other assistant had another job to go to!).


It all worked out really well in the end but that was down to the harvest festival! If it happened again what should we have done. We have no qualified bank staff just agency, one of the committe members is qualified teacher could she have come in to make up the qualified staff levels?


Any advice appreciated.

Edited by marley
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Would you like a job at my place? you seem to really have your head screwed on!!!


I think you mangaged well.


What I'd do - give pref to ratios of children with working parents/carers that cannot stay, then I ask the 'overflow' parents to stay...... if that makes sense.


Given you example of 18 children (assuming they're all over three!!!)

2 staff - 1 qual + 1 unqu = 16 plus ask two parents (or more if happy) to stay.


I'm not saying this is right - but it is what I have had to do on odd occassions - due to our location and the fact that all but one staff member have (not need) to drive it only takes one traffic snarl up to mess our mornings up..... this said it usually means children are also late in too- so usually panns out before we need to ask parents to stay.



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I personally think that in these situations as long as ratio's are covered, (eg: using parents if necessary for the half hour) and you feel that the staffing present still ensures the childrens safety and wellbeing then as a one off 'unusual' situation it would be ok to stay open. I would consider the 'disruption' to the children (not their parents) of being sent home again. In this situation I would phone Ofsted to tell them that I was open but not with the required qualified, but that at least one person on premises did have qualification.


My follow up action plan would be to try my hardest to ensure the committee could get 'qualified' cover should this situation arise again.


It's the balance of dealing with these situations as they arrive but also not having others expect you to 'sort it out' as the norm. To trust that should this situation occur again that strategies are in place to manage it.


I think the main thing to keep in mind is that the situation was 'unavoidable' at this time, dealt with very well, and also would have been dealt with very well even if there was not a 'harvest festival'. Ofsted are aware that situations arise which are out of our control, and I believe that they would only expect that you do the best you can at such times.


Problems would arise however, if this practice became the norm and there were no proactive measures put in place to avoid it happening again.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there,


just a thought, but could the school have a member of staff they could 'lend' you in case of emergency for 1/2 hour? Then your ratio's may be different and with parent helpers you could get by.


Personally though, I think you managed brilliantly and the beggest pat on the back is for you as a team as your decision was a team based one with thought about your own feelings and capabilities.

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