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Outdoor Supervision


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Hi the situation is we had a reception classroom and outdoor area at the back and we have large windows so I could always see the children this was deemed as fine. However our new outdoor area is twice the size and although I can see the children I am much further away. What is the legal side of this does an adult with reception need to be outside all the time?

 

It is an added stress coz now nursery share this as they had a classroom built next door. It is not the school's Nursery so the ratio's are two separate things. They have told me that having the reception children outside makes them over their ratios but they are not their children to look after. Confusing

 

Can someone please let me now the rules on adult ratio using outdoor classroom.

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Hmm, it sounds like this shared outdoor space issue wasn't considered in the planning stage. No, they shouldn't have to supervise 'your' children any more than you should have to supervise 'theirs'. I think the possibility arises for some joint working and you may need to ask your Early Years Advisor what they suggest, you may find that you need to either fence off your area so you can supervise from indoors or employ a TA who can be outside. Obviously school ratios are different from ours in Preschool so I can't help you there.

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Thanks. Unfortunatly cant fence it off as it is literally cant be done it is set up in areas so id be saying you can only play on the playground bit or in the house while the little ones can use the stage and den making if you see my point. Ive just read something on EYFS saying outdoor area in reception id designed for independent learning and as long as can see children or in an eye line you are ok and keep reviewing risk assessment and have the door open. So now its just the fact that nursery out there and their staff feel like looking after our kids. THanks for your help.

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It is a tricky one, and I'm not much help really! I can understand what you mean about the different areas. Are the nursery totally free-flow or would it be possible to negotiate a time table? are you both full-day?

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I'm not sure what the official answer to this is - all I can say is what we do. When we are using the whole playground area we always have an adult outside partly because it is a very vast area, partly because it is not as secure an area as it could be. If we have no adult spare we close the gate and the children are only allowed in the smaller year R designated area where we can see them and it is a secure fenced off area. We have not been told this as a rule but this is what we feel is safe.

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Guest LornaW

In my last school we had the nursery and reception outdoor in the same very large space and while the nursery were our school sometimes it wasn't appropriate to have them mixing especailly at the beginning of the year.

 

We already had a water feature in the outdoor area so what we did was paint a river on the playground coming out of the building and going down into the water feature and all children were taught not to cross the river unless there was a safe way to do so ie a bridge or stepping stones.

 

I know this is hard to believe but it worked!!!

 

 

I think I would always have adults outside and then regulalry scan the indoors depending on how many children were in or out!

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No nursery is half day but is moving to 2 sessions soon. These silly things keep cropping up and getting in the way of free flow if ofsed come in to us using it on a timetable I cant see them smiling about it lol. Its just one of them things I feel thats going to be trail and error.

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The EYFS is clear about the ratios needed to effectively supervise children in mixed age groups, in different settings and depending on the level of qualifications of practitioners. I didn't think it had anything to say about how to manage when children from different settings and with different minimum ratios use the same space at the same time. However, there is guidance about it on page 32 of the Statutory Framework:-

 

Some schools may choose to mix their reception classes with groups of younger children, in which case they should use their discretion in establishing ratios for these mixed groups based on the EYFS welfare requirements (that is, 1:30 for the reception group and 1:13, 1:8 and so on for the younger children). This applies whether the pre-school element is provided directly by the school or in partnership through a PVI provider. However, in exercising this discretion the school, and any partner provider, must comply with the statutory requirements relating to the education of children of compulsory school age children and infant class sizes. At all times it is necessary to meet the needs of individual children and it may be appropriate to exceed these minimum requirements. Where a school operates in partnership with a PVI pre-school provider both parties will assume shared responsibility for meeting the ratios in the amalgamated setting.

 

I'm not sure how this translates into your problem with outdoor play, but I would think it suggests that you should work together to make sure ratios are met during times when all the children are together.

 

This is a potentially very difficult situation for both the school nursery and the pre-school setting, but also I think has implications for individual practitioners.

 

I know that you would always ensure that there are sufficient adults outside to supervise your own group of children, but what if one of 'their' children was near you and was in need of adult support to prevent an accident? Most of us would find it difficult to ignore a child in this situation, but by helping you might be reducing the level of supervision of the children you are legally responsible for. What would the implications of this for an individual practitioner personally if something happened to a child they were supposed to be supervising whilst s/he was attending to a child from the other setting? I know this is an extreme example, and it is all about managing risk. However sometimes the worst does happen and you need to deploy staff so that risks are minimised whilst being able to effectively support children's play and learning.

 

As a private provider I'd want to get all this sorted before letting my children out to play with the school children - as Cait says it doesn't sound as if the plannners took this into consideration. Unless you can sort this out between you (and getting the LA involved might help here) then perhaps the only practical way forward would be to agree when both sets of children can use the outdoor space separately. Not great for offering free flow, but needs must when the devil drives!

 

I'll be interested to see how this resolves itself - sorry for rambling on! :o

 

Maz

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Yea I think that an adult outside is a must but that means with just me we are either outside or inside. I feel bad for saying to the children we are all outside or in. Its not letting them do what they want to do. This term has been a nightmare and feel I have done little focussed tasks I am either sorting out bumped heads (so i am leaving children on their own altogether to get ice pack) or adult initiated play and although they need this its not providing them with all the opportunities they need to develop. I use to have a ta up until this term but now shes been taken to 3/4 because the 2 ta'a !!!! in their cant cope so now they have teacher, and 3 ta's for 25 kids. How fair lol!! Ill stop moaning lol

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No your not rambling I see what you mean. When it was proposed I had a TA with me so there was no issues. In my previous post you will see she is now upstairs. We work very closely with the nursery and yes would always look after each others children but its the fact that can I let my reception children out their without me while I do teacher led activity in an area inside (the times when I do a teacher led outside can I leave my children inside?). No one even EY advisors seems to give clear answer. I think it just one of those grey areas.

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Ill stop moaning lol

That's what we're here for - but it sounds as if you have a lot on your plate. Have you tried talking to the 'higher ups' about it?

 

I think we in pre-school are so lucky that we work with much higher adult to child ratios than you do in schools - it makes issues like these much less stressful for us because we have more adults on hand. Not that I necessarily think that on payday, mind! :o

 

Maz

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