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Mixed Age Ratios


fairydollpink
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Hi all :o

 

Have been lurking with interest for a little while since taking over as a manager of a pre-school but now need some of your pearls of wisdom if possible.

 

Can anyone tell me what the ratios are for children aged from 2 to 4 years. We have a few sessions where a couple of children are 2 years old and the rest range in age up to 4 years old.

Have looked in EYFS guidance which says 2 year olds ratio is 1:4 and 3 years and over is 1:8(I think but it is getting late!!) but nowhere does it say what is is for mixed age group. Is it 1:6 as one of my committee members(read bosses) says it is or is she trying to cut costs further??

 

Sorry if have rambled but all advice will be eagerly received.

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Congrats on your first post!

The ratios are exactly what you read 1:4 and 1:8.

If you have 10 children - two aged 2 and eight aged 3/4 - you need one staff member for two year olds and one member for three year olds.

If you have 15 children - five aged 2 and ten aged 3/4 - you need two staff for two year olds and two staff for three year olds.

Is that understandable!

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you have to work with the 1:4 for the 2 year olds and 1:8 from their 3rd birthday and not a day before

 

you cannt mix the ratios anymore (something I learned in a previous topic)

you can mix the ages and the staff in the room but when caluculating ratios you need to round up the number of staff needed for 2 year olds so if you have 9x 2 year olds working on the ratio of 1:4 youll need to allow 3 staff for the first 12 children and then start counting the older children at the higher 1:8 staff ratio after that I hope that makes sence

 

try a topic search I know this was discussed recently and Im sure its explained better

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You could turn the ratio around to give staff numbers for one child (obviously this would not be a whole number):

 

1 adult :8 children = 0.125 adult:1 child for over 3's

1 adult: 4 children = 0.25 adult:1 child for under 3's

 

therefore in the scenario above for 15 children:

 

for 5 children aged 2 = 5 x .25 =1.25 adults

for 10 children aged 3-4 = 10 x .125 = 1.25 adult

Total 2.75 adults meets the ratio requirement so 3 adults would actually be within the requirement.

 

I think on the previous (long and very interesting) post on ratios the requirement using this calculation would also be a 3:

 

13 (+3's) x .125 = 1.625 adults

5 (u 3's) x .25 = 1.25 adults total 2.875 (or 3) adults

 

 

Whilst I would always in my own setting recommend working above this ratio in practice it seems to indicate less is okay and it is not mixing the ratios but following them accurately.

 

Now I am not known for my maths skills (but have been revising for a maths equivalency test prior to BA Hons on route to EYPS and recently looked at ratios) so would be gratefull for comments from all you mathematicians out there as to whether my calculation is correct or not!!

Edited by valp59
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Hi all

This topic was the reason I joined this forum and it got quite debated. Since then my old pre-school follow this table which is very useful as it indicates exactly how many staff you need when the ages are mixed. Basically, a 2yr old has to be kept in a 1:4 ratio even if that ratio is made up of that 2 yr old plus 3 other 3yrs old children. It can get quite confusing hence the table. I will try and upload it for you. Thanks go to another kind member of this forum who did it.

ratios.xls

Edited by marley
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Hi all

This topic was the reason I joined this forum and it got quite debated. Since then my old pre-school follow this table which is very useful as it indicates exactly how many staff you need when the ages are mixed. Basically, a 2yr old has to be kept in a 1:4 ratio even if that ratio is made up of that 2 yr old plus 3 other 3yrs old children. It can get quite confusing hence the table. I will try and upload it for you. Thanks go to another kind member of this forum who did it.

 

So using my table :

5 children aged 2

10 children aged 3

Number of staff = 3 staff

 

Worked out as follows:

4 x 2yr old = 1 staff

(1x2yr old) + (3 x 3yr old) = 1 staff (the 2 yr old is still in a 1:4 ratio)

7 x 3yr old = 1 staff

Total of 3 staff

 

Hope this helps!

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Congrats on your first post!

The ratios are exactly what you read 1:4 and 1:8.

If you have 10 children - two aged 2 and eight aged 3/4 - you need one staff member for two year olds and one member for three year olds.

If you have 15 children - five aged 2 and ten aged 3/4 - you need two staff for two year olds and two staff for three year olds.

Is that understandable!

 

As a charity run sessional pre-school we did end up limiting our 2 year olds to only 4 due to staffing issues ie committee could not afford to take on more staff so had a wating list for 2 yr olds. But we were told we could mix the age groups so long as that 2yr old was still in a 1:4 ratio. So for your 15 children scenario we still would have had only 3 staff (although as staff we thought that this was not enough!).

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Thanks everyone for quick replies..you've really helped.

 

The problem I have is that we're a committee run pre-school and the committee members are trying to keep costs down so we have to run on the bare minimum staff. Unfortunately although I'm there as manager and have oodles of stuff to do-SEF,planning etc etc-I'm included in numbers so some days we may have 15 3 year olds there's only me and one other which to me seems silly because if anything comes up one of us is left on our own.

I am desperately fighting for one extra staff to free me up but the committee is having none of it!

 

Sorry am just so frustrated by it all... :o

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we used to always try have 3 staff...

 

I argued with the committee who wanted minimum ratios, that the ratio was based on staff being hands on with the children.. therefore if one was dealing with a parent, visitor, making snack etc or phone call they were no longer in ratio ...

it did help them focus on the fact that in a period of a session one of us would always be dealing with something and not being hands on with the children which we should have been to be counted in ratio..

 

and Marley is well up on ratio requirements.. the spreadsheet is a good way to show ratios...

 

Inge

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Thanks everyone for quick replies..you've really helped.

 

The problem I have is that we're a committee run pre-school and the committee members are trying to keep costs down so we have to run on the bare minimum staff. Unfortunately although I'm there as manager and have oodles of stuff to do-SEF,planning etc etc-I'm included in numbers so some days we may have 15 3 year olds there's only me and one other which to me seems silly because if anything comes up one of us is left on our own.

I am desperately fighting for one extra staff to free me up but the committee is having none of it!

 

Sorry am just so frustrated by it all... :(

 

I do feel for you fairy! As I too have been through all of this with my old pre-school committee. Eventually they did listen. The best thing was to get a couple of the committe to be parent help to actually see what it was like in the session. Inge is right. We aways had 3 staff no matter what numbers. The supervisor, like yourself was also included in ratios which we tried to altr aso but thy said no. What if there was a first aid issue and a behavioural one or a toileting issue at the same time? How can ony 2 staff deal with this?Cant you site this as a welfare issue? Quote the welfare requirements to them?

 

Just got me annoyed when the committee kept advertising the fact that we had a high adult:child ratio when with the number of 2 yr olds we were taking actually meant we were always running on minimum ratios (hence I removed this statement from the website :oxD ). PLus our committee would not take on anymore staff due to costs even though we were not full, they had a waiting list.

Edited by marley
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Hi all xD

 

Have been lurking with interest for a little while since taking over as a manager of a pre-school but now need some of your pearls of wisdom if possible.

 

Can anyone tell me what the ratios are for children aged from 2 to 4 years. We have a few sessions where a couple of children are 2 years old and the rest range in age up to 4 years old.

Have looked in EYFS guidance which says 2 year olds ratio is 1:4 and 3 years and over is 1:8(I think but it is getting late!!) but nowhere does it say what is is for mixed age group. Is it 1:6 as one of my committee members(read bosses) says it is or is she trying to cut costs further??

 

Sorry if have rambled but all advice will be eagerly received.

 

oh and forgot to say I actually queried the mixed age ratio with OFSTED (not that that is worth much sometimes :o ). They said that the ages could be mixed but that the 2 yr olds must aways be in a 1:4 ratio. I used this as my argument with the committee and they did then follow and use the table I have uploaded.

 

You state that there are 2 of you for 15 3 year old children so I take it that you do not take under 3s?

Edited by marley
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I am in exactly the same situation - in the ratios, having to do tons of work and fit in additional studies...I argued the welfare issue and the 'must be hands on' rule...no effect...I questioned how we could provide the same care on two staff sessions as on three..no effect....As ever with the committee I am talking to a brick wall. We also advertise good adult-child ratios so I'll have to advise the committe to amend that! - and maybe then it'll get through...

I was told I'm just going to have to 'like it or lump it' basically...and no back up from early years worker on that either! :o

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We always aim for a minimum of 3 staff, because if one person gets tied up doing something, common sense dictates that you need a couple of other people available.

 

I'm chair and would back up my leader to maintain this ratio, I think a high staff to children ratio is a key selling point for parents.

 

I'd say it is worth saying to your committee that it would be better to have to spend more time fund raising than to have minimum staff numbers, or to spend less on physical resources. Staff are the best resource a setting can ever have.

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because the ratio for under 3's is 1/2 the ratio for over 3's we count each under 3 years as 2 children.

 

I hope that is the easiest way to explain.

 

So for 3 members of staff you could have the equivalent of 24 children.

 

if you have 10 3y's and 6 2yrs that would equal 10 + 12 (ie 6 x 2) = 22

 

hope that makes sense...

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because the ratio for under 3's is 1/2 the ratio for over 3's we count each under 3 years as 2 children.

 

I hope that is the easiest way to explain.

 

So for 3 members of staff you could have the equivalent of 24 children.

 

if you have 10 3y's and 6 2yrs that would equal 10 + 12 (ie 6 x 2) = 22

 

hope that makes sense...

 

 

 

 

Hi MPS09 and welcome to the forum.

 

For 24 children you could have 3 members of staff provided the children were all over 3. For your last example, you would need a minimum of 3 members of staff - 1 staff for 8 of the 3 year olds, 1 staff for 4 of the 2 year olds and 1 staff for the remaining 2 -2 years and 2 -3 year olds.

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because the ratio for under 3's is 1/2 the ratio for over 3's we count each under 3 years as 2 children.

 

I hope that is the easiest way to explain.

 

So for 3 members of staff you could have the equivalent of 24 children.

 

if you have 10 3y's and 6 2yrs that would equal 10 + 12 (ie 6 x 2) = 22

 

hope that makes sense...

 

My calculations for the above are:

 

4 x 2yr old = 1 staff (1:4 ratio)

(2 x 2 yr old) + (2 x 3 yr old) = 1 staff (1:4 ratio for the 2 yr olds)

8 x 3yr old = 1 staff (1:8 ratio)

 

But then anymore children you would need another staff member. So in this case due to ages of chidren 3 staff covers max of 22 children and not 24 children.If you add one more child it works out as follows:

 

 

so if you have 10 3ys and 7 2yrs that would be 10 +14 (ie 7x2) = 24 so you calculate you would have 3 staff. My calculations show:

 

 

4 x 2yr old = 1 staff (1:4 ratio)

(3 x 2yr od) + (1 x 3yr old) = 1 staff (The 2 yr olds are still in a 1:4 ratio!)

8 x 3 yr old = 1 staff (1:8 ratio)

1 x 3 yr old = 1 staff - extra staff needed to cover this child

So 4 staff needed!

 

Hence this is why some places would not take that chid but have a waiting list.

 

Somtimes takes alot of working it out hence I now use the table as it is a quick reference and is worked out using this method.

Of course some will not agree with my workings out but I felt personally that this is the way it should be done.

 

Thanks

Edited by marley
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I have found formulas or multiplying children etc inaccurate.

 

they usually rely on dividing the adult into 8 and having the appropriate children for this. however by adding 3yr olds into the mix it easily compromises the 1-4 ratio for 2 year olds. By using the multiplying route you could end up with 3x 2yr olds (6) and 2x 3 yr olds (2) allocated to one staff (8) member , and this is over ratio.

 

this one comes up regualry and is often debated.

 

Ofsted never seem to give a clear definite answer when anyone calls even with numbers of children asking how many staff will I need.. usual reply is a quote back to the ratios.

 

but what has become clear over time is that you can have a 3yr old in a 1:4 ratio but not a 2yr old in anyhting over a 1:4 which is where the spreadsheet posted by marley comes in very useful.

 

Inge

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Hi all.

 

Just wanted to say thanks to Marley, hope you don't mind but i've used your ratio's chart and adapted it to suit our age range mix. Got a gold star from my staff for doing it to. lol! :o Did tell them i 'borrowed' your chart and they also send you a gold star and their thanks xD

 

We are full day care covering 6 weeks to 5 years. We have three separate rooms, 0-2, 2-3 and 3-5, staff ratio 1-3, 1-4 and 1-8 respectively. We have found that sometimes children are ready to move through from 0-2's to 2-3's before 2 and therefore could have a mix of up to 16 children age range 18mnths to 3 years. We did have a much more laborious system in place but the chart is so much simpler. Thank-you again.

 

Raich

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Hi all.

 

Just wanted to say thanks to Marley, hope you don't mind but i've used your ratio's chart and adapted it to suit our age range mix. Got a gold star from my staff for doing it to. lol! :o Did tell them i 'borrowed' your chart and they also send you a gold star and their thanks xD

 

We are full day care covering 6 weeks to 5 years. We have three separate rooms, 0-2, 2-3 and 3-5, staff ratio 1-3, 1-4 and 1-8 respectively. We have found that sometimes children are ready to move through from 0-2's to 2-3's before 2 and therefore could have a mix of up to 16 children age range 18mnths to 3 years. We did have a much more laborious system in place but the chart is so much simpler. Thank-you again.

 

Raich

 

Hi Raich

Im so glad this has worked for you however, I cant take the credit! Im sure I did get this off here from another forum member (sorry cant remember who or where!) and like yourself I slightly adapted to our own needs to make it work. :(

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Hi Raich

Im so glad this has worked for you however, I cant take the credit! Im sure I did get this off here from another forum member (sorry cant remember who or where!) and like yourself I slightly adapted to our own needs to make it work. :o

 

I might be wrong but I think it was Cait who did it. xD

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Thanks for all the replies you've all given some really good advice which I can put into use. Am getting hassle from one of our committee members about cutting costs via cutting staffing hours so hopefully armed with all your great information I can pacify her and have enough staff per session.

Honestly not even back at the setting yet and am ready for half term!! This could end in tears I feel.

 

Thanks again

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Hi, well thank you to whoever created the spreadsheet, most useful, and perhaps it ought to be gold stars all round then, for whoever wrote it, for remembering it and posting the link, and for everyone else just for being crazy enough to work in childcare. lol :o

 

Nearly the end of the week already, hurrah for bank holidays.

 

 

Raich

x

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  • 1 month later...

Raich41: I have adapted your chart for my age range ...

 

 

We have an age range of 0-2 and 2-3. I have studied the spreadsheet to see what formula I could use to adapt this to our age range. My mind is completely blank on this. other than calculating each permutation by hand! Could you point me in the right direction or let me have a copy of the one you have adapted, it would be so useful!!

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Does anyone know anything about including 'rising 3s' in your over 3s ratio? Our Head thinks we can and wants us to run with a 1:8 ratio as we take from 2y9m which is pretty much rising 3. We are obviously not keen and I'm hoping she's got her facts wrong... I can't find anything about it online.

Brilliant chart btw - I've printed it for future use - assuming we get to keep our 1:4 ;)

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