Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

2 Staff Per Session...


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

We have just had feedback from ECERS and the biggest comment was regarding the fact we only have 2 members of staff - FYI -

Max of 9 children per session, 2 staff, very small school class room, office/kitchen/staff toilet in another building, childrens toilets in other class room but same building.

 

So they felt that we need to address only having 2 staff. We can't have a 3rd member of staff beacuse we need 11 children per session to cover 3 staff wages, We have approached the idea of parent rota and it was felt by ALL committee members that = A. they don't want to do this B. the class room is so small that 9 children and 3 adults is too much C. Too difficult to manage and rely on.

 

The EYIO said for the mean time we need a document detailing what we would do in every situation (ie, if a child need the loo/ if we need to go to the kitchen etc etc)

 

So am trying to do this but am out of ideas!! surely we arn't the only pre-school with only 2 staff??? I refuse to say that staff can not go to the toilet for the whole session (4 hours) firstly I am pregnant and can't last 2 hours - never mind 4 ! :o We often get phone calls in the office which I have to leave the class room to get. As money is tight we are only paid for the session time which means we leave to get snack bits and again to wash them (often fridge things so can't really get them before session anyway and as we don't get paid to stay late - no staff will stay late to tidy up/wash pots etc). I seem to hit a brick wall with every suggestion I have. I think if I pushed it I could get staff paid for an extra 15 mins before and after session but this still dosn't solve many other problems - like toilet brakes/phone calls etc.

 

Does anyone have any ideas / does anyone else have this problem??? - some days it feels like this job is just a problem after another followed by a mountain of paperwork!!!! xD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What age are the children?

 

Children are aged 2 - 5 years. So our ratio is 1:4 (2 years) 1:8 (3+ years)

 

Our EYDO sid that at no time should a member of staff be left alone with children, so this is the base of our problem.

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I'd only have 2 in for 9 children, as you say, you need sufficient children for staff overheads too

 

I knew we weren't the only setting to only have 2 staff for this number of children!! - so would/does only 2 staff cause a problem for you? have you/would you write a document detailing how you deal with occassions when one member of staff may be left alone (all be it for 5 mins!!)

 

I can't help wondering if this is pointless - OfSTED know our situation and have never mentioned it as a problem!...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even if its for just 5 mins, you are basicallly out of ratios for that time. Could you get hold of some walkie talkies so you are always in contact with each other, even if you're on the loo!?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I wouldn't waste my time on anything like that, It's risk assessed as a matter of course. Of course staff are left alone with children, but they are CRB checked after all. If I'm outside with 6 children and 3 are indoors with my Deputy why do we need anyone else? Yes, ok someone might have an accident outside and tie my attention up but we need to be sensible and look at the history of risk too, how likely is it - and if it's very likely then maybe we should be looking at ways of reducing physical risk rather than increasing cotton wool. Sorry if this sounds harsh, but we all risk assess all the time, it's what we do, it's the job. If we thought for one moment that having only 2 adults for 9 children was unsafe then Ofsted would make it mandatory for 3 members of staff to be there. Schools manage with one adult to much more than 9, so why should your ECERS flag it up for you?

Have you got a copy of the ECERS? If not I'll look in mine tomorrow (which is on the table at Preschool) and tell you what it says about staffing if you want.

Sorry for the rant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But surely we cant ignore the ratios? If Darlinbud has to answer the phone thats in another part of the building what happens if the call takes 20 mins? The other staff member might have children desperate for the toilet.

The walkie talkie would give everyone peace of mind including the advisors.

Failing that ask parents if they would help out every 9 weeks or so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you got a copy of the ECERS? If not I'll look in mine tomorrow (which is on the table at Preschool) and tell you what it says about staffing if you want.

Sorry for the rant

 

I do have a copy but not back at school until after holidays now, so if you do get a chance to have a look I would appriate it - thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But surely we cant ignore the ratios? If Darlinbud has to answer the phone thats in another part of the building what happens if the call takes 20 mins? The other staff member might have children desperate for the toilet.

The walkie talkie would give everyone peace of mind including the advisors.

Failing that ask parents if they would help out every 9 weeks or so.

 

The walkie talkie idea is a good one! In reality if I had to take a phone call I would explain that it has to be quick and would possibily take a message and call back later - but yes this could take slightly longer than 5 mins. I think we are all finding this difficult beacuse we have only ever had 2 staff and it's never been mentioned before and now seems like a huge problem :o

 

I wonder what other settings do if (for example) a member of staff needs the loo/needs to leave the room - surely then for a short time you are out of ratio???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could you ask all parents to take children to the toilet when they drop them off? Followed by all children visiting the toilet together an hour or so later - hopefuuly there wouldn't be too many individual 'loo trips' then.

 

Could you make your setting 'phone number your mobile - that's what mine is.

 

What about buying a very small fridge for your classroom.

 

Just trying to think of ways for you to cut down the amount of time that you may be alone.

 

I wouldn't have more than two staff for nine children - wouldn't be able to afford it!

 

Sunnyday

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am full of problems tonight!! :o

 

Could you ask all parents to take children to the toilet when they drop them off? Followed by all children visiting the toilet together an hour or so later - hopefuuly there wouldn't be too many individual 'loo trips' then. - yes could definately try this

 

Could you make your setting 'phone number your mobile - that's what mine is. - we live in an area with no mobile signal, even stood outside / in the window there is nothing on Orange/O2/Vodaphone (only know these as this is what staff use)

 

What about buying a very small fridge for your classroom. - Yes good idea, we are very limited for space but this may solve some problems!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have walkie talkies and the preschool phone number is the mobile anyway. We generally find that when one wants the loo a few do too and there's time for staff to nip to the loo during snack times or story times or whatever. Personally I wouldn't take a call that seemed like it was going to be more than a quick 'hello, yes, ok bye' during the session,parents can text me (and do) and anyone else can wait until it's convenient and i'll call them back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right I've done a (very) quick search of my ECERS file and can't find any references to there needing to be more than two staff on duty.

 

However, there are references to supervision of children, for example:-

 

Item 14: Safety practices - Inadequate supervision to protect children’s safety indoors and outdoors (ex too few staff; staff occupied with other tasks; no supervision near areas of potential danger; no check-in or check-out procedures).

 

Item 29: Supervision of gross motor activities - Inadequate supervision provided in gross motor area to protect children’s health and safety (ex children left unattended even for short period of time; not enough adults to watch children in area; staff do not pay attention to children).

 

Item 30: General supervision of children (other than for gross motor) - Inadequate supervision of children (ex staff leave children unsupervised; children’s safety not protected; staff attend mainly to other tasks).

 

These are all criteria from the '1' column, so if any of these were marked 'yes' by the auditor then this would indicate inadequate practice. Were you given your score sheet, darlinbud? If so you'll be able to check whether these were the items that gave cause for concern.

 

If any of these items had been marked 'yes' by your auditor then s/he should be able to provide evidence to back up this judgement based on what they saw on the day. The great strength of the scale is that it is based on evidence rather than personal opinion - the scale tells you what to look for and it is clear whether the criteria are met or not.

 

I would ask for clearer feedback about what the auditor saw on the day to lead to this advice being given to you. It may be on the day in question there was an unusual set of circumstances and the auditor saw something you personally were unaware of, however if this is the case then s/he will have made notes about what was seen or what the problem was and should be able to tell you in some detail about what happened.

 

The whole idea of ECERS is to support settings in identifying areas for improvement or development, not to leave practitioners feeling deflated and 'got at'. It is designed to be transparent and if the evidence is there to support the scores (especially low ones) then you deserve to see it.

 

I know that doesn't help you immediately, but at least I hope it has given you some background since you and your ECERS scale are not in the same place at present!

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i read about a fridge for your room - would one of those small fridges the ones they advertise as beer fridge be big enough - they go on work tops so wouldnt take up your floor space.

do you have answer phone - you could then pop and see what message left was when easier for you - also reply straight away if needed or wait till later for calls that may take longer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Item 14: Safety practices - Inadequate supervision to protect children’s safety indoors and outdoors (ex too few staff; staff occupied with other tasks; no supervision near areas of potential danger; no check-in or check-out procedures).

 

Item 29: Supervision of gross motor activities - Inadequate supervision provided in gross motor area to protect children’s health and safety (ex children left unattended even for short period of time; not enough adults to watch children in area; staff do not pay attention to children).

 

Item 30: General supervision of children (other than for gross motor) - Inadequate supervision of children (ex staff leave children unsupervised; children’s safety not protected; staff attend mainly to other tasks).

 

Thanks Maz, luckily have the "score" sheet here! - on Item 14 we scored 4, Item 29 -5 and Item 30 - 5!! But a quote from the feedback sheet

 

"Write a policy that states how you manage with only 2 members of staff ie, You must never leave one member of staff alone with children even when one is taking a child to the toilet. There should always be two members of staff present, So make it clear that you do not leave one member of staff alone with children / make sure that you ake all children to the toilet before going outside to minimise need for toilet trips / what you do if there is an accident / you get what you need from kitchen before the children arrive etc..."

 

?? Does anyone know what OfSTED / EYFS says about numbers of staff?? (other than the correct ratio)

 

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have just had feedback from ECERS and the biggest comment was regarding the fact we only have 2 members of staff - FYI -

Max of 9 children per session, 2 staff, very small school class room, office/kitchen/staff toilet in another building, childrens toilets in other class room but same building.

 

So they felt that we need to address only having 2 staff. We can't have a 3rd member of staff beacuse we need 11 children per session to cover 3 staff wages, We have approached the idea of parent rota and it was felt by ALL committee members that = A. they don't want to do this B. the class room is so small that 9 children and 3 adults is too much C. Too difficult to manage and rely on.

 

The EYIO said for the mean time we need a document detailing what we would do in every situation (ie, if a child need the loo/ if we need to go to the kitchen etc etc)

 

So am trying to do this but am out of ideas!! surely we arn't the only pre-school with only 2 staff??? I refuse to say that staff can not go to the toilet for the whole session (4 hours) firstly I am pregnant and can't last 2 hours - never mind 4 ! :o We often get phone calls in the office which I have to leave the class room to get. As money is tight we are only paid for the session time which means we leave to get snack bits and again to wash them (often fridge things so can't really get them before session anyway and as we don't get paid to stay late - no staff will stay late to tidy up/wash pots etc). I seem to hit a brick wall with every suggestion I have. I think if I pushed it I could get staff paid for an extra 15 mins before and after session but this still dosn't solve many other problems - like toilet brakes/phone calls etc.

 

Does anyone have any ideas / does anyone else have this problem??? - some days it feels like this job is just a problem after another followed by a mountain of paperwork!!!! xD

 

Hi have you thought of getting mobile that can be kept in the class room that people can contact you on any calls you have make if not important can wait till after the session , also maybe prepare snack befor the children arrive in the morning . We take the plates cups etc home to wash on rota bases so its not left to the one person . As i could well say it would be my boss and i doing it along with everything else . I may add come september the pre school i work in will be down to small number of children will only have 2 staff working most days ,as they will be hardly any funding to pay more than two staff members.I,m leaving at the end of the summer term , although i do intend look for another job in early years .Oh yeah we ve open for two half hours but are paid for three after all do you know anyone else who works for nothink?. I also do the setting up in mornings and do any other jobs and get paid minimum wages which i,m greatful for .

Edited by bubblybee3107
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always understood that minimum of 2 staff in room at same time mainly because if a child/parent makes an alligation against you, you have a witness. Also administreing medicines I've always understood you need a witness. Just to cover your backs. I've worked in 4 different EY settings and this has always been the case.

 

(gulp...hornets nest....hope not...)

 

ppp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Maz, luckily have the "score" sheet here! - on Item 14 we scored 4, Item 29 -5 and Item 30 - 5!!

So you're either at or hovering around good for the supervising children criteria so I am puzzled by the added comment on the feedback sheet. You scored 4 on item 14, so perhaps you could look at which of the 5 criteria you didn't get to see if there's a clue there. However these are about anticipating health and safety problems and taking actions to prevent them, and also about explaining safety rules to children. Neither of these would necessarily lead to a judgement that there are insufficient staff, unless I'm missing something. However if you had not been given 3.2 "adequate supervision to protect children's safety indoors and outdoors" then I could see how the feedback would be relevant!

 

Who did your audit - and can you contact them to ask how they have arrived at this recommendation? I was going to ask whether this feedback is binding in tems of what you must now do, because it does sound very directive. This sounds more like something your development officer would ask you to do (and expect it to be done) rather than feedback from the audit which generally is about enabling you to reflect on your setting's practice and decide your priorities for improvement.

 

I'm sure that Ofsted would say that the ratios quoted in the welfare requirements of the EYFS are minimum and that sometimes it is needed to exceed ratios in order to keep children safe. As Cait says, you will have risk assessed this as a matter of course - and presumably this has never been commented on by Ofsted in the past.

 

My eye alighted on the advice about taking all the children to the toilet at the same time though - that would mean you wouldn't be able to get 3.4 in item 12 Toileting/diapering - "toileting schedule meets individual needs of children"!

 

Good luck - hopefully you can get some answers to your question!

 

Maz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh dear - it was me that suggested 'taking the children to the toilet at the same time'!

 

I wasn't suggesting that any child should have to 'wait' to go! Simply trying to find solution to the problem of only having 2 staff and loos being situated away from 'classroom'.

 

We routinely take a lot of children at the same time - has never proved a problem, that said, if there is any nappy changing to be done that would always be completely 'private'.

 

Sunnyday

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Okay not sure if this is the right thread to add to but anyway...

 

Imagine the scenario - potentially 16 children per session, two staff (unless under threes present), all facilities in one open plan room.

How can this work in practice with free flow play indoors and outdoors, one member of staff indoors at some point is going to be doing 'cafe' snack, maybe (probably not in reality!) the other staff is outdoors with the climbing frame...the children not involved in snack or climbing are then occupying themselves for say 30 mins (hopefully none need help in the toilet!) ...oh and then maybe a visitor arrives ...or the phone rings...snack staff has to leave children to manage alone for even a minute or so to answer even if they then ask them to phone / come back later (questionable whether prospective parents will see this as a good sign!)...or do you refuse to answer the door or phone because you need to be working directly with the children at all times!?

So on a two staff day should you have to avoid any adult led activity that requires a member of staff's direct supervision (cooking, climbing, snack...) and do everything altogether?

How do others manage? Any tips /advice to get around the situations.?

Can you manage to become fully involved with any childs activity or engage in sustained shared thinking when ratios are so tight?

 

I feel the children suffer as a result. I cant see how 'good' care can be offerred...in my mind it'll only be satisfactory. Is it me? Reassurance needed!

What do others think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's exactly for those reasons I'd never have only 2 staff with 16 children! Just because a child is a day over their third birthday why do they need less 'attention' than they did yesterday?

 

I only ever have two staff when/if there's 12 or under children present

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was once told by an Ofsted Inspector that ratio's count for nothing; it is the care of the child that is most important and if that care can't be given even when you are in ratio then it needs to be addressed. I agree with this wholeheartedly; but try telling that to an Ops Manager who asks why you've too many staff in that room!!!! Not that I would ever compromise the safety or well-being of a child; I wouldnt and I do stand up to my Ops Manager!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I read darlinbuds first post my initial thoughts were on 'safeguarding against allegations rather than ratio requirements.

Maz, (or anyone familiar with ECERS criteria), Is there any criteria re: safeguarding / allegations?

 

When I had my setting and numbers were low I still remained with 3 staff, however I did eventually close my business with 8K debt :(

 

When I was busy ( 20 children 4 under 2, 16 over 3) and wanted to use two rooms, two staff in main hall and one staff in adjoining hall with 4 x under twos, Ofsted wouldn't allow it on the grounds of safeguarding, no witnesses, even though staff fully qualified and CRB'ed, and even with the adjoinoing door left open. :o

I didn't agree with ofsted (now there's a surprise) as I felt the risks of 'harm' to the children were very very minimal compared to the benefits of having some time ( just a short 5 minute session) for the younger children to spend away from the older ones and vise versa, in terms of story telling, singing etc for the differentiated levels. So here's my confession, I carried on using the small hall, with one member of staff and had a whistle hanging on the wall for 'emergencies', and updated my safeguarding against allegations policy in with the CP policy to include this fact stating the risk, the thorough staff vetting procedures, the fact that a member of staff from the main hall could 'look into' the other hall at any given time, and how we would deal with any allegations.

 

We used to have our phone connection in the cupboard/Office, from which we had 2 additional wireless extensions, The base phone in the office/cupboard, one 'extension phone' in the main hall, one in the small hall. Any of the extensions could be taken outdoors, they also worked as walkie talkies if required. They were BT triple handset phones which I think you can get in Asda or Argos.

 

What I would like to say is that your attitude is applaudable darlinbud in that you have taken on board the assessors comments and are 'open minded to suggestions' and 'doing your best' to think of ways to improve. xD

 

Let us know what you come up with as it seems many are in the same predicament.

 

Peggy

 

ooh, just another thought have you considered volunteers from the wider community to up ratio's, contact your local volunteers bureau, or calculate if there could be a slight fee increase to afford another member of staff, it may only be about £1.50 per child.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel the children suffer as a result. I cant see how 'good' care can be offerred...in my mind it'll only be satisfactory. Is it me? Reassurance needed!

What do others think?

 

Due to room size we can only have a maximum of 9 children per session anyway. In our case (a Pre-School on a primary school site) we do not have free flow, and snack time is a group activity - we all sit together. We don't have a phone in room and any visitors go to school reception and are brought down to us. I know not all settings will be like this but many Pre-schools are (esp small village pre-schools) It is completely un-realistic for us to pay 3 members of staff for 9 children (and some days less than 9)....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I read darlinbuds first post my initial thoughts were on 'safeguarding against allegations rather than ratio requirements.

Maz, (or anyone familiar with ECERS criteria), Is there any criteria re: safeguarding / allegations?

 

ooh, just another thought have you considered volunteers from the wider community to up ratio's, contact your local volunteers bureau, or calculate if there could be a slight fee increase to afford another member of staff, it may only be about £1.50 per child.

 

We have advertised for volunteers and luckily a mother who uses the Pre-school has offered to help, as she would like to do her level 2, but this is only 1 morning a week. We have calculated that we need 11 chidren to pay 3 staff or increase each paying child's session by £2.50 each - which the committee has agreed is too bigger increase in one go (and this doesn't take into account that staff pay rises are due in October...)

 

To be honest I think it's a "safeguarding" issue that is my biggest concern, and the only time it "could" be a problem is when a member of staff takes a child to the toilet, but surely other settings have 1 member of staff taking 1 or 2 children to the loo alone?!?.... When the member of staff does go to the loo with chidren we leave the KS2 class room door open so if needed we could shout for the KS2 teacher or teaching assistant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have advertised for volunteers and luckily a mother who uses the Pre-school has offered to help, as she would like to do her level 2, but this is only 1 morning a week. We have calculated that we need 11 chidren to pay 3 staff or increase each paying child's session by £2.50 each - which the committee has agreed is too bigger increase in one go (and this doesn't take into account that staff pay rises are due in October...)

 

To be honest I think it's a "safeguarding" issue that is my biggest concern, and the only time it "could" be a problem is when a member of staff takes a child to the toilet, but surely other settings have 1 member of staff taking 1 or 2 children to the loo alone?!?.... When the member of staff does go to the loo with chidren we leave the KS2 class room door open so if needed we could shout for the KS2 teacher or teaching assistant.

 

 

The safeguarding re; allegations consideration is 'any' member of staff alone with a child, not just about toileting issues ie: the staff member left in the class whilst other staff take child to the loo and a child goes home and says "Mrs........hurt my wrist and my back today, she held my wrist and pushed me down to make me pick up the jigsaw". The investigation could conclude that as there was no other member of staff in the room at tidy up time (due to a loo or snack run) then there is doubt of what happened compared to if two staff then the witness could explain how the incident actually occurred.

 

The above allegation happened to me (resulting in Ofsted and a police officer coming to interview me at my setting) but I had other staff present at tidy up time (and throughout the session) to back up that no such incident occurred and that in fact the child had bent down to pick up a jigsaw, another child accidently stood on his hand and as he pulled away he bumped his back on the underside edge of the table. (we didn't think to note it as it was immediately dealt with, no marks and the child was happy straight away xD:( )

Children, I don't think lie at this age but the can percieve things a bit differently mixed up with misunderstood emotions and/ or in this case we think the child relayed the event in a confused manner ie: tells mum his wrist hurts she asks how did that happen, he replies " well, Peggy, and hurt it, and the jigsaw which banged my back". Or in this case unfortunately Dad was hurting the child and was trying to allay suspitions away from him onto another person which happened to be me. :o ( I found this out a year later)

 

There HAS to be a balance though of 'trust' in us as professionals and a realisation that staff will be alone with children for short periods of time. I'm only pointing these out so that you can think through and be pro-active rather than re-active in the event of any such allegations, maybe a policy that says even normal rough and tumble incidents are recorded (more than if there were witnesses). That all incidents will be reported to parents, that staff maybe have whistles to gain immediatte support in emergencies etc.

 

Good luck, I hope you can work this out and well done for what sounds like (apart from this) a successful ECERS audit. :(

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From a parents point of view-

 

I would not expect there to be 3 practitioners for 9 children however I would be miffed to know that there were chunks of the session where the staff went to another building to get snack and very miffed you were doing the washing up or answering the phone rather than looking after the kids.

 

I am not implying that you do not look after the children, it is clear you do.

 

If you need to do things in another building then IMO your committee need to either pay you to do that out of session time or have a volunteer rota to do that. IMO one option would be to have an answer phone and take the messages after session, which you would be paid to do. How do you know the phone is ringing if it is not in the room?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)