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Has Anybody Heard Of A Points System For Ratio ?


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Hi Everybody

 

Could some body please give me some advice on ratio please. I am Deputy in a day nursery for my sins a job I really enjoy untill now. The setting now has a new manager who fab and bring lots of experiance of working in a LEA day care setting. We have got along really well untill this week when she has wanted to introduce a ratio decimal point system. As far as my understanding goes we follow the ratio set by OFSTED inaccordance with the EYFS. I have asked her to write it down so I can look at it and try to understand what she is talking about. I really dont have the foggiest. The staff are all confused and this is causing tension and upset because the girls are worried that they are breaking ratio's and dont understand what the manager is trying to implement. She is also trying to use it for mixed ages groups, which is something that we have not done before as all the chidren are in their own age specific rooms. We are part of a large chain and the staff want to initate the whistle blowing policy as they are worried for themselves and the children.

 

So can anybody please shed any light on this for me. I was thinking that it may be a LEA thing?????.

 

Thank you

 

Blue

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This has been dicussed before on here so if you do a search you might find something.

 

I'd like to offer help but after a ***p day my brain is cotton wool.

I personally do not like, and would never use the point system.

If I write it out - I can sort of see it make sense but it still works out you could have a group of five children with some under 3.......which the EYFS clearly states a ratio of 1-4.

 

xxx

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Although I don't know exactly how the points system works (as in how many points each age group is) but it is just a way to combine ages and still maintain staffing ratios.

 

For example 1 member of staff could have : 8 3+ children or 4 2+ children or 4 3+ children and 2 2+ children or 6 3+ children and 1 2+children.

 

Does that make sense - we sort of do it but the numbers are just in my head rather than points, but it works in the sense that 2 year olds need double the amount of staff that 3 year olds need.

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I'd tread carefully here, you don't want to upset your new manager or your staff. Could you ask OFSTED to give you clarification in writing of what the staffing would be for your mixed group scenario and give them your figures? If the reply fits in with your manager's way of working great if not you have written evidence to support your claim. I've had this battle with my committee and felt awkward throughout and found my self saying "this might happen at other settings but our setting doesn't alter the rules to suit us!" The committee said I'd be getting a lower budget due to the lower numbers! By whistle blowing on your own manager where does that leave the setting if she believes what she is saying is right rather than she's playing the system? She may genuinely think she is telling you the right thing rather than be cutting corners.

 

With a point system you have a child over 3 counts 1 and child below as 0.5 (I think). My committee even said the local authority said it was ok and other settings did it. I just stuck to guns but felt uneasy.

 

I really feel for you it must be a very uncomfortable atmosphere.

 

edit: sorry think it the other way round over 3 is 0.5 and under 3 is 1.

Edited by suebear
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Hi

 

Thank you . I do not want to use the whistle blowing policy as I need to be sure first. It is the staff who are the most uncomfortable as it is not familer to them. I think I will give OFSTED a call and them maybe the Care and education officer for our cluster.

 

I hope is it just a misunderstanding as I know it is not something we do at company level but dont want to get the manager in trouble as we do actually have a good working relatioship

 

Thank you again.

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I agree that this has been discussed many times and if I recall when all came to all sometimes the points system worked out correctly but there were times when settings could have been short staffed...dangerous territory.

 

Someone gave a concise description of how to manage mixed age groups so it's worth doing a search.

 

 

IMHO I don't see the point of creating another system to work it out when the powers that be have set their own

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1 adult to 4 children if aged 2, as soon as they reach 3 the ratio is 1 to 8

 

so if you had 10 2 year olds and 23 3 and 4 year olds - you would need

 

3 adults for your two year olds 1:4 1:4 and 1:2 - you could add 2 of your 3 or 4 year olds into this ratio so making 1:4, 1:4, 1:4

 

that leaves you with 21 3 and 4 year olds.

you would need 3 staff to cover these 1:8. 1:8 1:5

 

we were told you can't do the point system as it doesn't really work and you may be understaffed. You can add your older children into the younger ratio, but you can't 'double' a two year old to fit in your ratio of 1:8 as they MUST be in a 1:4 ratio.

 

hope this makes sense!

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Well, I am now going to 'think outside the box'

 

I can see one area that the point system 'may' work.

 

I'm thinking that bluebelle works in a full day nursery. So maybe lots of different rooms - I supposed that if your overall ratio is correct with the building 'as a whole' then possibly you could use the point system to deploy the ratiod staff within the rooms. I'm not saying I'd be happy with this method- but I can see how it could work.

 

If it's in a one room setting then defiantly a no no.

 

xx

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My understanding under EYFS is that correct staff ratios had to be actually working with the children - so the application of 'across the building' would no longer apply.

 

 

It's difficult and discretion must always be applied - just because a child turns 3 doesn't always mean they can cope well with the larger ratio and vice versa.

 

 

The whole EYP status through a spanner in the works in one thread as OFSTED gave different people different answers regarding the application of the 1:13 ratio. This raised the question of why an LEA nursery can class a level 3 nursery nurse in a 1:13 ratio but under EYP rule it's only the EYP that has that ratio - the level 3 remains on a 1:8 (not that I would want 26 children and only 2 staff - hats off to those that have to work that way)

Edited by gingerbreadman
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You might be interested in 'conducting early years inspections which has some amendments the last version.

 

Of particular note on p.30:

 

Staff deployment: ratios

Providers must meet the specific requirements for ratios of adults to children set out in appendix 2 of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The most important factors are that correct ratios are maintained overall by ensuring sufficient qualified staff are on the premises at all times – and that children are safe from harm and their needs are met. In group settings, inspectors should not be unduly prescriptive when interpreting ratios of staff working directly with the children in each area of the premises or at times such as lunch or breaks. If, for example, ratios in group rooms are not maintained at lunchtime, inspectors should consider the ages and needs of the children in each room, whether their needs are met, and whether other staff are on hand and could be summoned if an emergency occurred or a child became distressed.

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Just another thought - I see those ratios as something we can't drop under, but certainly not as something we can't improve on.

 

We will be opening next week with 3 staff to 11 children (only a couple of whom are under 3), if our numbers go up much above 15 I will push for us to have 4 staff. In theory, we could have 2 but that wouldn't allow us to fulfill our obligations to the children, i.e. individual care, free flow, someone spare for child who has wet themselves.

 

We are a voluntary setting so we will have to fund raise to make this happen, but personally I don't think a setting can ever do its best for the children with only 1 adult to 8 children. This is why I find it hard to see how childcare can ever be a profit making operation and run by private chains.

 

I will duck back under the parapet now!!

 

In terms of a points system, from what I can see that is just trying to squeeze more children in for your ratio allowance, rather than thinking about the needs of the child.

 

Sorry!

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In terms of a points system, from what I can see that is just trying to squeeze more children in for your ratio allowance, rather than thinking about the needs of the child.

Or alternatively it could be a good method of enabling practitioners to quickly see where potential problems might arise when there are different numbers of children at different ages, and to make sure that they are able to meet their legal obligations.

 

Maz

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All good if that is why it's being used.

 

I guess the system is at fault because it is so complex to work out. I have a fair grasp of maths and none of this makes sense to me.

 

I also find something philosophically a bit odd about allocating points to children as though they are some kind of mathematical equation and not little people.

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Points system... I do have reservations about this actually giving out correct ratios... I had a friend who used this and when they had an inspection were found to be over ratio... luckily the manager was supernumerary so became included in ratio but it was commented on and they had a lot of problems at the time..

 

 

It may work but in the same way it can fail for example

 

5 @ 2 = 10 points (equating each 2yr old to needing twice the amount of adult to a 3 yr old.) 1:4 x 1:8

6 over 3 = 6 points

 

in this case the points give 2 adults needed 10 +6 divided by 8 (ratio) =2 adults

 

 

but in working out numbers we cannot include a 2 yr old in a 3 yr ratio so in this example we would need 3 staff

 

4 x 2 yrs olds

1x 2 yr old plus 3 x 3 yr olds

3 x 3 yr old

 

3 staff

 

 

and as some children may need more support than others the minimum staffing may not be the best way for children or staff..

 

it may be a way to perhaps check a ratio but to but do think as a system it is greatly flawed

 

Inge

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Points system... I do have reservations about this actually giving out correct ratios...

Quite so, Inge. I do seem to remember there was some debate about this in the past, and whether Ofsted recommended its use or not. Unfortunately we have so few children that it is of no use to me - and if I had more children I would be able to afford a third member of staff and so wouldn't need one!

 

What these discussions highlight though is how worried we all are about ratios and how to ensure we're meeting our requirements. We would all prefer to have more adults, but the sad reality for many groups is that minimum ratios are a necessity and children continue to make progress and benefit from close and trusting relationships with the adults who care for them.

 

Maz

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Hi Ladies

 

Thank you for all of your replies and debating. Since I posted the thread I have spoken to OFSTED and little did I know a staff member was contacting head office. Ofsted have said "We must adhere to ratio as per EYFS". The company I work for have introduced a new policy about ratio so it is defo no no now. The manager has taken it on board as it was norm to do so in her previous LEA setting. So thankfully thing's will go back to normal and just have the normal nursery grumbles.

 

Thank you once again.

Bluebelle.

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