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Changing Children In Nursery And Reception Classes Advice.


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Hi,

Could someone point me in the right direction or give me their views.

Our head states thar no teacher should change wet or soiled children if they are not fully toilet trained.

We may be having some children who are developmentally and emotionally have nappies as they come into nursery. Under the understanding of EYFS and the care and education standards and also as part of inclusuion. Where do we stand with this. Surely it cant be jusy one persons policy to exclude these children. EYFS has the childrens welfare and the child and its family at its heart!!

 

Could someone please advise.

 

 

Many thanks

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Gosh I thought everyone would do it as a matter of course these days. You have to. Its the disability discrimination act, you cant refuse entry and you cant refuse to change them.

I havent got my EYFS book with me but someone will be able to point in the right direction. Or try a search, I know this has ben discussed before. :o

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There are some that still do not think that they should change wet or soiled children, beggars belief! Insisting that the parent comes in to do it :o

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This is completely untested I believe, but most LAs have been advising their settings for years that it is simply not acceptable to exclude children because of their toileting needs since the Disability Discrimination Act came into force. What it needs is some setting (or school for that matter) to be taken to court for excluding a child because they are not toilet trained to test the law in this area.

 

I wouldn't know where to look in the EYFS materials to find out what is said about this, if anything. If anyone does see something I'd be interested to know where it is!

 

Maz

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The EYFS doesn't specifically state anything about nappy changing but most LAs, certainly the ones I have worked in have a written statement which fits in with the DDA stating that children cannot be excluded if they are not toilet trained.

 

However, it is then up to the school to determine who will actually do the changing, (which could be what the Head teacher was referring to?). Ive changed my fair share of children over the years as a teacher but I am also certain that this job may well more likely to fall to TA or LSA, and this is logistic (rather than leaving my TA alone with the 29 children remaining in the class it would usually be me that stayed with the children whilst she went off).

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We do ask the parents to come and clean a child who has soiled themselves and can not manage their own personal hygiene as we do not have the staff available to change a child or the facilities for such intimate care. We regard this as a safeguarding situation.

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We do ask the parents to come and clean a child who has soiled themselves and can not manage their own personal hygiene as we do not have the staff available to change a child or the facilities for such intimate care. We regard this as a safeguarding situation.

We have been told quite strongly by our LA that those reasons are not acceptable justifications for telling parents that their child must be toilet trained before coming to nursery. Mind you, I don't know if the same advice has been given to schools in our Authority based on their very different set up.

 

What happens to the child whilst they are waiting for their parent to arrive, and what happens if you can't get hold of any of their emergency contacts should the parent not be available?

 

mundia makes a good point about the logistics of who should and will change children in a school setting, based on class sizes, responsibilities etc. It did cross my mind that the OP's head might be making a distinction between teachers changing children, and support staff doing so.

 

Maz

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My interpretation of the post was certainly that the HT did not see it as part of the teacher's role rather than refusal of entry and as a school we have not refused entry on this basis--although by 5 most children are at least partly reliable but we have had children who frequently soil and wet themselves in Reception and even higher up the school.

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The original post did mention excluding children, although I know you didn't say that your school actually excludes children who need to be changed.

 

However what would happen if the parent refused to accept your school's policy on the basis that they would expect the staff to care for their child in the event of a toileting accident?

 

It is such a complicated issue isn't it?

 

Maz

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Hello Sunshine,

 

Hopefully you should find some of the following interesting. According to the NUT (I have attached a doc) it is not a teachers job to clean a child, although they acknowledge that in emergencies this might occur. I am a teacher myself and i have to say that I would never pawn a child off to my nn just because it isn't on my job description, however I work as a nursery teacher and do not deliver 'formal' teaching. As a general rule, whoever is less busy will help to change and clean the child. I can understand that in Reception + where more formal lessons occur, it might be more practical for the TA to support the children in this area.

 

Susan, I was speaking to my County SENCO today and she made it quite blatant that your school can be sued for this type of conduct- i.e. sending for the child's parent to come and clean them. Equally I could also say that I don't have enough staff (2 for 26 3/4 year olds) and that we do not have the facilities (we will change them either on a mat on the floor in the middle of the bathroom but we do request that they wear pull-ups so it can more discreet in the cubicle- and parents are fine with this). We wear gloves, bag the nappies and we treat every child as a unique child. It makes me quite upset to think of a child sitting in their own mess waiting for their parent to come and change them.

 

I have also put in a copy of guidance from the ECM website in regards to continence, which is quite thorough and I found it useful when challenging these views when I first took over my post.

 

MuckyDuck

ECM__Continence.doc

NUT_Continence.doc

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Thanks MuckyDuck for the ECM guidance , what a brilliant document. I've printed it off to see if there is anything I should be including in my documentation. I was particularly struck by this bit:-

 

It is not helpful to assume that the child has failed to achieve full continence because the parent hasn’t bothered to try.

 

I heard a discussion on Woman's Hour a couple of months or so ago and the representative from the teacher's union (don't know which one) could have done with bearing this piece of advice in mind whenever she opened her mouth to speak! :o

 

Maz

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Thanks for these, I've also downloaded them for reference.

 

We are a pre-school and we regard it as neglect if a child is left in very wet/dirty nappies or clothes and that we have a duty of care towards children's needs. It upsets us no end when we hear of the lack of help and care with when some of our children move on to school. Head teachers really do need to provide the poor teachers with extra help now that they are taking children who by virtue of their age are more likely to need support with their toiletting.

 

Sharky

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Head teachers really do need to provide the poor teachers with extra help now that they are taking children who by virtue of their age are more likely to need support with their toiletting.

 

This is really the heart of the problem for many schools. It's all very well saying that headteachers need to provide the support, but where is the extra money going to come from to provide this? At the school I work in children are changed by the staff if they soil themselves, however this is going to become a nightmare when the nursery doubles its intake and takes on younger children as a result. There will be two staff to 26 nursery children and no changing facilities, nor is there money to employ extra staff or build changing facilities. It's already a problem with one child who soils himself regularly and is sent in inappropriate clothing. We also have a child in the juniors who regularly soils himself. All physical and psychological assessments of him have come to the conclusion that actually it's just that he can't be bothered to leave activities in order to go to the toilet - what on earth should teachers do in this case? They make him clean himself up, but it's unpleasant for the other children and unhygienic when he sits on soft furnishings and then soils himself.

 

I realise I've gone a little off topic here, since obviously we're not going to be excluding him or anything but my point really is that schools face problems in this area and don't get much support in order to deal with it. They're expected to change children and not discriminate, but then are left with inappropriate facilities and no staff to do this. Many school buildings are old and lack funding, there just isn't anywhere to put a changing facility for a child (especially one still in nappies) that is discrete and yet meets the safeguarding issues of no adult being alone with a child whilst undressing them.

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you talk about schools being not suitable for changing children, i am in a pack away and we change our children in the mens toilet, not ideal but i would not dream of not doing, yes it is discrimination

 

and yes we change alone, i have done my upmost to ensure the safety of my children and my staff

 

do not make the mistake of thinking that you are covering safeguarding by having 2 people change children you are not if the 2 people are working together to harm children

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I realise I've gone a little off topic here, since obviously we're not going to be excluding him or anything but my point really is that schools face problems in this area and don't get much support in order to deal with it.

You haven't gone off topic at all, Kariana - this is the reality of the challenges you face in schools. Perhaps the answer lies earlier in your post - should schools be taking ever younger children into their settings if they are unwilling or unable to fund their care adequately?

 

and yes we change alone, i have done my upmost to ensure the safety of my children and my staff

So do we, Suer - I really worry about the message we send children if we insist that two adults must be present when changing children. That intimate care is somehow a spectator sport? That their privacy and dignity is unimportant? That somehow adults are not to be trusted?

 

Maz

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Perhaps the answer lies earlier in your post - should schools be taking ever younger children into their settings if they are unwilling or unable to fund their care adequately?

 

I agree that ideally they should not be taking on the younger children at all, but whe the authorities are pushing for places to be available to the children and children are coming in toilet trained at later and later ages it becomes a cache 22 situation. Shutting the nursery or refusing to expand it would leave many children without any of their free nursery care at all. At the moment they do change them in the toilets and nappies could be changed on the floor if this became necessary but my point was that it isn't ideal, especially since the toilets have windowed walls and are in the middle of the nursery room. Nappy changing could definitely become a spectator sport!

 

So do we, Suer - I really worry about the message we send children if we insist that two adults must be present when changing children. That intimate care is somehow a spectator sport? That their privacy and dignity is unimportant? That somehow adults are not to be trusted?

 

I do agree with this, but sadly a lot of teachers and head teachers in schools would be afraid of false allegations if they did this. In the school I work in it isn't a problem and the nursery staff do just take the children into the toilets and change them, but for older children who need first aid two adults have to be present before they can remove the bottom half of their clothing. It's school policy and there to protect the staff, however unfortunate it might be that this is necessary. In other schools where the child had to be taken to a room well away from the nursery room in order to be changed teachers and staff could be reluctant to do this. I don't know what it is like in nurserys and pre-schools with regard to false allegations being made but for many teachers this is a real worry so is it any wonder they don't want to risk anything by being alone whilst undressing a child?

 

Please don't get me wrong I'm not saying that schools should be excluding anyone who isn't toilet trained and I'm not saying it's right that things are this way I'm just trying to put forward the other side of the argument to show why some schools might think this way. It's not necessarily that the staff don't care or are determined to make the child/parents suffer for not being toilet trained it's simply that our culture has forced things to become so twisted that schools feel they need to act this way in order to protect their staff.

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Whatever one's political view about children being taken into school earlier, the fact remains that if it is going to be done then the funding should be there to care for them properly. So we're back to politics there - I'm sure no-one would disagree with the principle, least of all the teachers and support staff who struggle with this issue perhaps not on a daily basis in all schools, but certainly in some.

 

I wonder how keen most headteachers would be to preserve the policy of having two staff members present whenever a child is changed if they were that second person on every occasion that required it? If you have a classroom teacher and a TA working together and a child needed to be changed, what would you do?

 

I'm also very interested in whether the perceived threat of false allegations is a real one? I've no doubt at all that the stress and anxiety caused to teachers/TAs of having an allegation made against them and I wouldn't seek to negate this - but I just wonder how many false allegations are made by children of this age every year?

 

It is one of those issues that get more complicated the more you dicuss it and explore it from different angles, isn't it?

 

Maz

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It would be interesting to know if any research has been done to identify if false allegations are a justified reason for the need to have 2 adults present. It seems to me, and I'm basing this purely on TV reports, that the people who do assult children are never accused by the child, they are always found out by other means. If every incident of changing and toileting was logged and signed by another adult there would be a trail. I once worked in a nursery where the staff worked on a rota for toileting. I cant remember how they did it but it meant that they didnt toilet the same child twice inone day and they worked it over a week. They said it was so noone could become too familiar with any one child.

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Guest jenpercy

But I thought that the main reason that schools are going for younger children is the funding attached. As they are allowed to take children with much less staff than a non-school setting, surely there should be money for support - or do qualified teachers earn THAT much more than we do.

 

Oh I forgot - we can't afford to pay more tham minimum wage or thereabouts!!

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How sad for the child though!

 

Maz

 

 

That was my first reaction Maz, but after seeing it I dont think it was so bad. The staff who did the toileting were the same 3 who worked in the room all the time so the children knew them well. The fact that it wasnt necessarily their keyworker didnt matter to them. :o

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The fact that it wasnt necessarily their keyworker didnt matter to them. :o

Probably like our setting then - if the team is small then the adults are well known to the children I guess and so it wouldn't be as upsetting as it might seem at first sight. However we have children who are quite insistent that they only want a certain member of staff to go and change them, so this system wouldn't really work for the children in our setting at the moment. I think it is about recognising every child's unique needs and doing our best to meet them, isn't it?

 

Maz

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Guest heleng
But I thought that the main reason that schools are going for younger children is the funding attached. As they are allowed to take children with much less staff than a non-school setting, surely there should be money for support - or do qualified teachers earn THAT much more than we do.

 

Oh I forgot - we can't afford to pay more tham minimum wage or thereabouts!!

 

Schools are not taking younger children because of the funding attached, they are taking them younger because we are told by the LEA we MUST take them younger. As far as I know the funding is the same for every child in Nursery regardless of age, although I could be wrong. I don't know enough about it.

 

And just because we are allowed to take children and have a higher ratio is not a good thing and doesn't mean there is money for support, unfortunately it doesn't work like that.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi

I wonder if anyone can advise me, I run a small pre-school and our changing unit is in the main room, close to the door to the bathroom area. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase a Community Playthings unit, with steps so the children can climb up themselves (which most think is great). My problem at the moment, is a suggestion that the unit is not discreet enough for the children as its in the main room, that it could be overlooked from outside - its on the opposite wall to the windows, most panes of glass are obsecure and the lowest window is at adult chest height. I have had a number of "Professionals" into the setting and not one has commented on the location of the unit.

Is there some legislation on the positioning of a changing unit, I cant find anything.

The other problem is our bathroom area isnt big enough to put the unit into anyway.

If anyone could help me it would really help clear this up.

Many thanks.

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It certainly is a lovely unit and gives the children some independence in going up the steps,I assume one of the other reasons you have it in the main room is it keeps you in ratios. I could only suggest two things really, could you get a screen for those moments when you need to give the child some dignity - a little like the old fashioned moveable hospital screens which you can still get hold of in medical catalogues and regarding the window, if it is possible that a passerby could really look in and see what is going on have some children's art work at that window, or some frosted sticky backed plastic film over the window to allow light in.

 

I would find it hard to believe that there could be any legislation regarding the siting of changing units, but one never knows! I generally try and put myself in the same position as the child in these circumstances and think what would I want if it were me?

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TarasMum

 

I once worked in a nursery school where they had a free standing 'vanity divider' which they used to offer privacy when changing children, and which folded flat for ease of storage. Maybe something like this could be used to position near your changing unit to offer more privacy?

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Children are still entering nursery classes after they turn three and reception classes in the year they turn 5 so in reality they are not "younger". It may be that changes to the entry processes mean that there are more of a particular age band but school nurseries are not yet generally taking children below 3+ or reception children below 4+ which its always been. I also think that if schools had the same ratios then maybe it would be a level playing field. Responsibilty in a 1: 8 ratio for children's welfare is very different to 1:13 or even 1:30. Schools get the funding per head like any other funding formula. That money is not ringfenced - it will be part of the whole school budget and will be used as priorities within the whole school dictate, as agreed by the governing body.

 

I do feel that from when I started teaching to now it was a rarety 20 years ago and is more prevalent now. Why would we percieve more children need toileting than did in the past?

 

Will the new EYFS with it's focus on readiness for school include being able to manage your own toileting I wonder?

 

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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I do feel that from when I started teaching to now it was a rarety 20 years ago and is more prevalent now. Why would we percieve more children need toileting than did in the past?

 

Cx

 

Could this be because more children with additional needs are educated in mainstream classes these days?

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