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Could anyone let me know how many key children they work with on a day to day basis?

Is it true that you cannot have more than 8 or 4 key children working with you at any one time (depending ages of children - adult:child ratios) even if their are other members of staff working in the room with you?

I have just been sorting out key workers for new children and my manager told me not to put more than 8 in each group (3-4yrs) and 4 for the 2 yr olds. One of the staff ended up with 9 (3-4 yr old) children on one day. I mentioned the fact that she wouldn't necessarily be working with the 9 children at the same time, even if they were all in on the same day but she said Ofsted would be critical of this.

I suppose this makes sense when you think about adult:child ratios but I have just never read anything about this and want to know what everyone else does.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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Our setting works on the principle of how many key children staff have, depending on their early years qualifications/knowledge and number of days worked each week. Each member of staff has between 2 and 7 keychildren. The rising 4's (leaving us in July) spend time in another room with their key person once a week for more structured play, and these groups are between 5 and 7 children (never more than 7).

 

dottyp

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HI

Not sure I can be much help but will be following replies with interest.

My understanding is that ratios relate to overall number of children/staff in the setting at any one time.

I didn't think ratios applied to key person issues but maybe I am wrong.

I agree that the member of staff with 9 children in wouldn't necessarily be working with them all at the same time. If that were the case what happens when one member of staff is 'doing' circle time for 16 children which I do quite often ( though of course I am not the only member of staff in the room!)

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Our setting works on the principle of how many key children staff have, depending on their early years qualifications/knowledge and number of days worked each week. Each member of staff has between 2 and 7 keychildren. The rising 4's (leaving us in July) spend time in another room with their key person once a week for more structured play, and these groups are between 5 and 7 children (never more than 7).

 

dottyp

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We are increasingly finding it difficult to work this system anyway...we have a mixed age group everyday and we, as keyworkers are finding it difficult to do any specific activities with our children, it is enough to look after the group.....I have 13 children, one member of staff is long term sick who has 12 children (she has been off for a month and possibly for another month to come) I am bringing in cover staff who are unable to do the files.....sorry I am ranting....well worrying really, we have Ofsted looming and I have put so much into my job only to struggle with staffing at the moment and all my best laid plans are falling apart around me as I try to staff the setting and make sure records are kept up to date......I think you have to work it the best way you can....I didnt realise there were any specific numbers set in stone..

Also we are in one room with no parition - we can obviously do outside activities.....but with free flow it is difficult to police...

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We work in a mixed age setting as well and I have been trying to group children according to age/ability so that it makes key group activities a bit easier to manage. We are a small setting and I am the only member of staff (out of 5) who works full time with the children. My manager works full time as well but most of her time is taken up with paperwork.

I also take groups by myself at circle time and never considered this to be an issue as other staff are still in the room with me. :o

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We are increasingly finding it difficult to work this system anyway...we have a mixed age group everyday and we, as keyworkers are finding it difficult to do any specific activities with our children, it is enough to look after the group.....I have 13 children, one member of staff is long term sick who has 12 children (she has been off for a month and possibly for another month to come) I am bringing in cover staff who are unable to do the files.....sorry I am ranting....well worrying really, we have Ofsted looming and I have put so much into my job only to struggle with staffing at the moment and all my best laid plans are falling apart around me as I try to staff the setting and make sure records are kept up to date......I think you have to work it the best way you can....I didnt realise there were any specific numbers set in stone..

Also we are in one room with no parition - we can obviously do outside activities.....but with free flow it is difficult to police...

 

It can be such a task trying to juggle everything by yourself and just when you think you have got it sorted, something else crops up.

I often read your posts on here Shirel and you seem to be really on the ball.

Keep your chin up and don't stress too much. :o

Thanks for your reply

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I didnt realise there were any specific numbers set in stone..

I have never seen anything in writing anywhere about there being a limit to the number of children a practitoner can have in their key group. Think about teachers - they are potentially the key person to their whole class, assuming they don't have the luxury of a TA working with them all the time!

 

Maz

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I was going to say the same thing about teachers.

 

In our setting I have all the 'pre-school' children, so that is however many there are, 9 this year. The other children are 'shared' between three members of staff depending on shift patterns and patterns of child attendance, but it averages out at about 8 each.

 

I've never heard or seen anything that specifies ratios in Key Groups. What if children change their pattern of attendance and alter the 1 : 4?

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I was going to say the same thing about teachers.

 

I thought of that argument but my manager will just tell me that we don't work in a school.

I can re-arrange things quite easily but it may mean a couple of staff 'sharing' one or two key children over the week.

I was trying to avoid this because, as all our staff work every day (all be it part-time) it surely makes more sense for the children to work with the same person throughout the week.

As I said, we are a small group so we all have a good understanding of all the children's skills/interests etc. and all the children will come to any of us, not just their key person so hopefully it will all work out. :o

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I can re-arrange things quite easily but it may mean a couple of staff 'sharing' one or two key children over the week.

We have a paired key caring system so that every child has a 'back-up' key person whenever they attend. Two heads are better than one, and all that!

 

Maz

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I too work with all the pre-school children and it seemed daft to send one or two of them off to another group just because I happen to be working with 9 or 10 children at one time. On some days I have 7/8 children and on a couple of days I have 9.

As long as other staff members are in the room I wasn't aware that this would pose a problem.

Anyway, thanks for all your replies. :o

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We have a paired key caring system so that every child has a 'back-up' key person whenever they attend. Two heads are better than one, and all that!

 

How many staff do you have Maz ?

I have had to pair some children already with two staff as one works mornings and one works afternoons.

I agree that two heads are better than one but sometimes I feel that I am the one with two heads....both of them spinning!!!!

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How many staff do you have Maz ?

We are a very small team - four of us in total. So what we basically have is two key groups, with two staff members responsible for each. Within each group each staff member is the key carer for individual children.

 

Maz

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We are a very small team - four of us in total. So what we basically have is two key groups, with two staff members responsible for each. Within each group each staff member is the key carer for individual children.

 

Does anyone work with more than 8 (or 4 if the children are two) in their key group at anyone time or is this not an issue for you?

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Does anyone work with more than 8 (or 4 if the children are two) in their key group at anyone time or is this not an issue for you?

Sadly for us this is not an issue! :o

 

Is the issue that an individual key person would be working with more than the legal ratio during small/key group time? If so I remember reading something in the recent inspector's guidance about this not being a problem so long as children were safe and legal ratios were being maintained throughout the setting.

 

But maybe that was just a dream.

 

Maz

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In my Nursery class I have 24 key children in total - about 16 in the morning and the rest in the afternoon, my nursery nurses work half the week each and between them they have the remaining 20 children as their key children. We tend to work with all children on focus activities but keep the records/files updated on just our own key children, although we all contribute to them. To be honest the way it works at the moment it doesn't really work! :o Its more key child in name than practice - but can't really go changing too much now - it'll have to wait till I come back from maternity leave, as I won't be there long in the new term to see any changes through. Would love to know how other people work with their key groups though

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We don't work in keygroups anyway.

Children are just spilt equally between all staff depending attendance and staff availabilty.

 

We are a pre-school 26 children aged 2-4.11

 

we have free-play running all session, and have a focus activity run by one person each session.

 

Focus person takes 'notes' etc and passes onto keyperson. All children given chance to do focus which is differentiated for each child.

 

We stopped doing keygroups as we are in one hall, and sometimes even our youngest are incredably (s?) able and want to join in wiht the 'older' activities.

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I just found this from the EYFS guidance - Effective Practice:Key Person

The keyperson approach and 3-5 year olds

"As children get older, sustained individual attention is more difficult but also becomes less necessary

for most children. Nevertheless, it is still important to ensure key person principles continue to underpin

practice and even ratios for three- and four-year-olds of 1:8, 1:10 or 1:13 means that this is still possible."

 

 

I read it a few times and was not sure that it was actually saying you had to stick to ratios for key groups or just generally within the nursery environment (but maybe I am just kidding myself!!! :o)

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Gosh, thats a very ambigious (sp?) statement isn't it.

 

I have 9 key children at the moment but have worked with 12/15 in the past. We do not have key group time as free flow prevails and the thinking is why take them away from something they are doing to do something adult initiated. Rightly or wrongly Ofsted agreed with this. We have 24 children per session in one room so to try and have small groups going on would be havoc.

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We are a 39 place school nursery so my 2 nursery nurses and I are key workers for 26 children each - 13 in the morning and 13 in the afternoon, hence the 1-13 ratio mentioned in the guidence

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Can anyone give me ideas about how to have a key person approach in a reception class? We have one teacher and a TA in the class. Obviously the teacher is responsible for all the children but our LA keeps mentioning it so I'm keen to find out how reception teachers tackle this requirement.

 

Ta

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I am thinking of revamping our 'keyperson' system in September.....I have two members of staff who 'hate' doing the paperwork to such an extent it becomes contentious most weeks - I have six members of staff in total and am thinking of introducing a system whereby there are three main key workers and they each have an assistant key person to work with....I hope to work a system where the assistant doesnt take responsiblity for keeping the files updated but collects the relevant observations that have been decided by her and her the main key person.

I think it will work well as I have three (inc me) key persons who like doing the collation of observations and three practitioners who would prefer a back seat on the collation but are good at taking observations and gathering evidence....I am working out individual planning sheets for September at the moment and am quite excited about the prospect of it all.....(how sad is that) :oxD

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