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Hello everyone, I've just been looking at some of the discussions about flexible hours and offering 15 hours per week. I wonder if anyone could help me with a legal point. I work in a school nursery as the nursery teacher and I'm fortunate enough to have a full time nursery nurse which is currently job shared by 2 people and for 3 days a week an NVQ3 trainee. If we extended our current 2.5 hours sessions (9.00 - 11.30 and 11.45 -3.15 to fit with school times) by offering lunch at school would the children be able to be supervised by an unqualified mealtime assistant for those half hours? Also as we are in a fairly deprived area would children be entitiled to free school meals? I have a meeting with our head teacher to discuss the issues tomorrow and I'm trying to think of as many suggestions and implications as possible. Thanks in advance if anyone can help.

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As I understand it, you can only class the lunch hour as part of the NG paid entitlement if you can prove the educational element by showing your planning for learning over this time. I think that you need to have qualified staff there all the time, but you may be able to be 'within earshot' as long as the people who are with the children have an enhanced CRB check.

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We did the lunch as part of the educational session and had to have learning goals the whole lot like a normal session

the paperwork was awful as it had to be separate but still like a session. also the staff had to be qualified to level 3 had to have one of my leaders on all the time, couldn't leave a junior member. Also we weren't allowed to just leave the children to eat we had to make it a proper educational session. You can only say so much about sandwiches!!!

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We are a 39 place school nursery and at the moment aren't offering lunches but have extended the sessions to 3hours. My understanding is that if your lunch time comes within the 3 hours you have to have leval 3 or a teacher during that time and yes as said it should be 'educational' and planned for. I would agree there is only so much you can do with a packed lunch!! What is it all coming to?

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Clearly I need to look into this then. I thought that the 15 hours could be taken flexibly (well as flexibly as the setting can provide) over a minimum of two days - and that any lunch clubs could be part of that entitlement.

 

Mind you I could just be confused about it all: there's a lot of worry about how having an extra 30 minutes funding a day will affect groups like mine who are currently able to charge extra for the unfunded portion of the morning to make up for the shortfall in funding...

 

So actually, the lunch club thing won't affect me anyway! But of course it will once the funding moves towards 20 hours!

 

Maz

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We are open for 3 hours and for the last 30 minutes the children all sit down together (4 to a table) and eat a packed lunch- we have done this for over a year now and the children gain a lot- independence,social skills, differnet foods we eat, healthy foods, recycling- the list is endless. But none of it (apart from the recycling bit) has ever been really planned and surely shouldn't be or needs to be. Staff dont need lunch break so ratios dont come into it,

 

Like you Maz, we charge for the extra 30 minutes & it does concern me slightly that when we start to get the 15 hours funding the money wont be enough. But as we still have nearly two years to go in our borough, I'm not worrying too much

Edited by lynned55
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Clearly I need to look into this then. I thought that the 15 hours could be taken flexibly (well as flexibly as the setting can provide) over a minimum of two days - and that any lunch clubs could be part of that entitlement.

 

Yes you are right about the flexibility side of it - it can be as flexible as parents want - within stipulated parameters - ie. they can't break the time down into blocks under 30 minutes, so they can't have 10mins here and there all over the place - thank goodness - administrative nightmare! So for example they could take two and a half hours monday morning and again in the afternoon and pay for the lunch hour (5 hours taken), then do the same on Tuesday (10 hrs) and wednesday (15 hrs) and the pay for thursday and friday's sessions if they want them, or have just 5 two and a half hour sessions - they don't have to have the full 15 hours.

 

You are right about the two day minimum, Maz. If your setting has longer than two and a half hour sessions then it is my understanding that you could use it over the two days. However, there does seem to be the rule about the educational aspect as the grant is for nursery education.

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Hoooo this is going to be real interesting when it comes to schools!

If the qualified staff have to be within earshot of the children during their lunch time there is gonna be big trouble! Why should the teacher and support staff in nursery have to work longer hours than everyone else in school? Or am i just being thick here? We already spend longer with our children than everyone else, thanks to their allocated "playtimes" which are rota covered by staff. So the other staff get a break mid morning to have a coffee... Nursery and Yr r staff are on constant free flow and cover, so no morning break. now we are saying that the lunchtimes will have to be staggered etc. so staff can cover those too.

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