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Lunchclub Ratio's?


silver genius
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Hi we run a lunchclub at my setting and a committee member came into the setting on wednesday and told the staff they were running illegally, she said we wouldnt be covered by insurance and health and safety was an issue!!!! blimey

 

We had 15 children attending and 2 staff on duty. the other staff feel that we are within our ratio's as stated by EYFS but the committee member pointed out that its the setting policy to have 3 members of staff on duty at any one time!

 

We have a staff shortage on a wednesday and i cant see anyone wanting a 1 hour a week job!

 

So i was just wondering what do you do?

 

And who's right

 

The other staff all flipped yesterday (my day off) and said they were all going to resign because they feel the committee are making up their own rules.... glad i was off....

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I work in a maintained nursery in the morning which then goes private in the afternoons.

 

Our lunch club connects the two and enables us to provide the 15 hour entitlement.

 

We were told that lunch club ratios are the same as our private nursery ratios 1:8

 

Thats what we work to and even when lunch club first started out before the 15 hour entitlement, if we had only a few children say like 4/5 we still had two staff so one staff member wasn't left alone.

 

Hope that helps!!

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Hi,

 

the lunchtime ratios would need to be the same as at any other time (1:8 for over 3 and 1:4 for under 3) so as long as all 15 children were age 3 you would be OK legally. BUT.....

 

if you have a written policy that says there will always be 3 members of staff present then OFSTED would not be happy, and the committee member/parents would be write to be upset.

 

However, your committee set the policy! so as long as they agreed that 2 members within legal ratio are acceptable during lunch club then just change the policy statement!

 

As I understand it your working practices have to match your written policies otherwise it is a problem with OFSTED, as long as your working practices are within the statutory requirements then you can say what you like!

 

Hope that makes sense!!

 

Good luck...

 

:o

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If it is your setting's policy to have three members of staff on duty at all times, then you were not working within the stated policies of the group. However if all your children were three and over you weren't operating illegally. There's a big difference.

 

Perhaps you could get the committee members to agree to coming in to cover staff absence so that you can maintain your setting's policy over the lunch club. Or alternatively they could change the wording of your policy to say that you try very hard to always have three members of staff on duty, but that if it wasn't possible for whatever reason then legal ratios would be maintained.

 

I'm not sure about the insurance thing - that would be down to the small print of the policy. Perhaps this is something that should be discussed at the next committee meeting! :o

 

Maz

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Hi yes all children where aged 3+

 

However i can see where the committee member is coming from, at the start of the term our children numbers where low but the senior went to the committee and said we needed 3 staff and wasnt happy running on any less... It's her day off on a wednesday

 

we had 3 staff in the morning and 1 member of staff is very relucant to stay at lunch (its a long story, she never worked on a weds shes unqualified, and has ahd to change her working week after 15 years so we could operate legally 50% qualified staff on a monday following phone call to Ofsted) its a nightmare any way she is totally inflexable and will not stay after 12.. off to town!

 

So the committee member was well within her rights to question WHY only two staff when we had said we would not be happy running with only 2 at a normal session.....

 

But not too sure which way we go from here... its a nightmare have just spoken to the senior and shes arranged for a parent helper to stay for lunch, but am i right in thinking that volunteers/parents can not be counted in the ratios or would it not matter in this case been within 1:8 ratio's !! ARRRGGGGGGGGG

Edited by mk5698
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It's up to your committee to employ staff, they are the employer and set the policies, so it's THEM that need to ensure you are properly staffed within the policy, not you. You were in ratios though, just had a long conversation with an ofsted inspector about that very subject. Even she couldn't tell me the correct ratio if you have twelve 3 year olds and one 2 year old. Mind you, she didn't sound like she had ever read an EY3 form either when I quizzed her on that.

 

I'm a committee chair and I would try to sort this out for you rather than blaming you. Having said that, it is a big job done for free and I can see why people might get stressed and try and shift stuff onto staff. Not saying it's right but just that's how it is.

 

Sorry, that doesn't really help you, but I wish you luck with sorting it out. A parent helper would definitely work well.

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If a member of staff during the normal part of the session had to leave for some reason but you were still in ratio, would have to send the children home? If your policy says you always have 3 then yes you would.

 

I agree with other posts the Committee need to review/re-write their policy

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its a nightmare have just spoken to the senior and shes arranged for a parent helper to stay for lunch, but am i right in thinking that volunteers/parents can not be counted in the ratios or would it not matter in this case been within 1:8 ratio's !! ARRRGGGGGGGGG

 

You'd be fine because you're still in the 1:8 ratio with your two proper staff members so it doesn't matter whether she is or isn't counted

 

 

Even she couldn't tell me the correct ratio if you have twelve 3 year olds and one 2 year old.

 

Wouldn't it be 3 staff members? I thought if you had a two years old they automatically had to have 1:4 no matter how many of them there were. Since you only have one the you can fill up the 1:4 with 3 of your three year olds, which leave 9 three year olds out of the 12. These need 1:8 so you would need another 2 staff members to cover them.

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I agree with everything already mentioned above. I was just wondering though, how you run your lunch club. Ours is a very sedate affair with children eating together, chatting and when finished sitting and reading or doing something 'quiet/calm' until they are collected. If your scenario is similar then I would not be uncomfortable with 2 staff provided we met the ratios. In which case I would do a risk assessment for the committee so that you have concrete to add weight to your argument.

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Thanks for all replies,

 

the luchclub session runs from 11.45 - 12.45..

 

we have children that stay from the morning session, then some that come across from the school (part timers) they genarally arrive at 11.55.

 

Then some leave at 11.30 -11.45.

 

And new children come for the afternoon at 12.45.

 

Then other's arrive who have had lunch at school 12.50.

 

With all the coming and going's it turned it a but of a legistcal nightmare knowing who's where and when

 

All children and staff sit and eat together, then they can access to certain areas's mark making, books and the train table we also provide some form of floor activity i.e construction or jigsaw..

Edited by mk5698
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Thanks for all replies,

 

the luchclub session runs from 11.45 - 12.45..

 

we have children that stay from the morning session, then some that come across from the school (part timers) they genarally arrive at 11.55.

 

Then some leave at 11.30 -11.45.

 

And new children come for the afternoon at 12.45.

 

Then other's arrive who have had lunch at school 12.50.

 

With all the coming and going's it turned it a but of a legistcal nightmare knowing who's where and when

 

All children and staff sit and eat together, then they can access to certain areas's mark making, books and the train table we also provide some form of floor activity i.e construction or jigsaw..

 

from all the activity of children coming and going over this time I can fully see why there was the question of number of staff / ratios... we always had someone to supervise children and parents coming and going which would entail the need for 3 staff over the lunch period, because like you we had comings and goings for what felt like ages and odd times...

 

to know which children were in we used our self registration system, by the child adding or removing name as they come and go.. they all became very used to this and we could see at a glance how many children we had and who they were.. parents used to help the younger ones or the staff member allocated to doing the times in and out in the register.. this alone took time at this period of the day... surprising how much work coming and going of children generates.

 

In your case I would look for a volunteer/ parent, we had to use one for a while... or we used to have the afternoon staff take extra hours by coming in for when the morning staff left.

 

Inge

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Hi Inge,

 

Well we have a parent whose willing to come in for the lunchtime this coming Wednesday, but not sure if its going to be a long term thing.

 

I'ts really hard for me, I have only been at the setting for 12 months and the senior is retiering come July I have been approached by a committee member to take over from her, and at the moment we dont have a designated deputy, wrong I know, welfare requirment, I do feel since i started i am really rocking the boat and bringing up loads of issues that need a addressing, we are due an ofsted this year and the setting havent got to grips with the EYFS and dont use it properly, for planning, learning etc!!! its a nightmare...

 

I think thatswhy they set me on.. some other members of staff are quite supportive and ive had comments like ' you're knowledable and things need to change' but then the old school staff who started there when it open 20 yrs ago and was only as a volunteer,and still have no qual's cant see the need to follow EYFS, Ofsted etc... we are a small team of 6 staff and with 2 unqualified it make life and staffing sessions really hard...

 

 

 

Whoops had a right old moan there....

sorry

Edited by mk5698
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12 3yr olds and 1 2yr old= 3 members of staff.

 

If you had 11 3yr olds and 1 2yr old you could have 2 members of staff as one staff member would be 1:8 (leaving you with 3 3yr olds). The remaining and 3 yr olds and the 1 2yr old would be on a 1:4 ratio with the other staff member.

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