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Increasing Numbers


kristina
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We are a private Pre-School that at present rents a classroom, garden and carpark from our local primary school. We are heavily over subscribed (not complaining!), there is an adjoining classroom to ours that at present is used by the school as a music room. There is the possibility of renting this room removing the adjoining doors to create 2 rooms linked together by the toilets (door each end) main door between both rooms and the garden (both rooms have doors into our garden. We are hoping to increase from 26 per session to 40 per session, I have spoken to Ofsted who have sent me a variation form to complete, they are saying they would not need to come out to check new room!! Can't believe it could be that simple with Ofsted, has anyone else done this? And if so was it that simple!!

 

Kris

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We have just increased our numbers from 26 to 32 we have a big hall and large outside space and it was just a matter of filling in a form and providing information to see that we had set a plan in place for extra numbers. It took about 4 weeks to process request.

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We didn't even do that much. Last year our inspector said 'Do you want me to increase your numbers for registration?' She measured the hall and said how man more do you want?, 5/10 or 15!! (we currently run on 25 per day) So I went with the extra 5 as it was the only figure that didn't require an extra member of staff. Two/three weeks later we recieved a new registration Cert with 30 instead of 25 on it.

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I have been and measured the additional classroom today and it is 60 sq metres so we would be able to increase by a fair amount. Now I'm thinking 40 children for snack 40 children for lunch is this going to work! Would be great to hear if there are any other pre-schools that run with approx 40 children per session, as not sure if it is possible. But I would be paying additional rent, employing extra staff so would need to increase to about 40 children!

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Why not ask to been registered for 40 but only take 30, 35 or so until you can see how snack etc works.

I didnt know it was so easy to increase numbers.Playgroup used to be registered for 30 but many years ago someone (Ofsted,social services) said we should never have been allowed 30 and it went to 26.

I'll see if the staff want me to look into it, but at the moment we're struggling to get up to numbers in September!

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well we have 2 loos and had always been registered for 20 children until about 4 years ago when I asked to increase by one child because he had moved into the area and this was for one term only. don't remember filling in any forms, but must have done, but do remember my Ofsted inspector ringing me, she was the one who had done our inspection a year or so earlier. she asked a few questions regarding safety of the children and was happy with what she heard so agreed over the telephone. Had a new certificate arrive some time afterwards.

 

as it happened with children going off on holiday sickness etc. never did get 21 in at any one time. However, our registration has remained at 21 and this coming year I shall need to go up to 21 each session I think, so I am pleased we have it in place already.

 

I think Rea's idea of getting your registration but not rushing to fill all the places quickly is a good idea. Will you keep the children separate, i.e. 20 in each room or keep it opened up and 40 altogther?

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We have 4 toilets and basins, the problem is I will have to pay additional rent on the other room so I need the extra children to cover the rent. The other option is we stay as we are and I continue to turn parents away, I have a parent looking for a January 2013 start date as child is only 18 months old and I have got to ring her and tell her I haven't got anything!!

 

Kris

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We didn't even do that much. Last year our inspector said 'Do you want me to increase your numbers for registration?' She measured the hall and said how man more do you want?, 5/10 or 15!! (we currently run on 25 per day) So I went with the extra 5 as it was the only figure that didn't require an extra member of staff. Two/three weeks later we recieved a new registration Cert with 30 instead of 25 on it.

 

Juat wondered what space you have and how you manage it as your registration takes you over the magic 26 in a room number. Do you have 2 and always seperate the children? I ask, because we have a reg of 34, but I hold numbers back to 26 so they can all play together in our large room, and we then just use the small 2nd room for quiet activities. Would love to hear more about your set up

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Hi Eyfs1966

I was wondering about going over the 30, when I had original registration inspection I was advised to stay under 30, but am struggling to find why in the registration/welfare requirements. Any ideas as this could be a deciding factor.

 

Kris

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I may have the wrong end of the proverbial stick but doesn't the new Ofsted guidance say about providers being responsible for deciding how many children they can take - rather than having a fixed number? the EYFS doc is very specific about space requirements and toilet requirements - I think Ofsted is planning (and I may be barking up the wrong tree) to let providers decide [i just read the new Ofsted thingy form Gezabels post earlier today but can't make copy and paste work!]

 

I would hold fire as IMHO it'll be up to you anyway! (as long as you are within the EYFS requirements)

 

pw x

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my issue was that under the eyfs, there was reference to a normal maximum of 26 in any one room, however, reading the new EYFS there only seems to be a refernce to a 30 max in school classrooms. Does this imply that we can set our own limit? Can anyone help enlighten me??

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I could be very wrong but I think it is (or should I say will be as changes are not set in stone until publication of changes in June 2012) up to providers to decide about numbers of children. This is a quote from the document I provided a link to earlier:

Ofsted intends to place the responsibility for meeting the Early Years Foundation Stage requirements firmly

with registered providers. This will allow them the opportunity to operate their services flexibly within the

limits of those requirements. Ofsted no longer intends to use standard conditions of registration that

restrict what providers can do. Typically, Ofsted has used these to set the number and ages of children that

providers may care for. However, this is not necessary because the Early Years Foundation Stage sets

these out. Currently, each time a provider wishes to change their conditions of registration, they must

request this in writing, and Ofsted must agree and issue a new certificate of registration before providers

can implement the change. This is time consuming and prevents childminders in particular from responding

quickly to changes in their circumstances. Ofsted intends to draw parents’ and providers’ attention to the

relevant requirements in the Early Years Foundation Stage on certificates of registration and through the

poster and the leaflet it produces for parents.

 

However, in terms of numbers I think we just refer to welfare requirements in relation to space, ratios, toilets etc. So I guess if you have the space, qualified and ratio of staff, enough toilets then it's up to each provider? Though personally I question the quality of provision when there are huge numbers of children in one room irrespective of space, staff etc in fact it was why I left my last job!!

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thanks for the clarification Gezabel, i think you may be right on all points!

 

Will wait for final info from Ofsted in June. Sadly we are due an inspection next academic year, so will be panicking about revised eyfs, revised inspection info etc for the months to come.

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So maybe for us we may be better increasing to 30 children in the 1 classroom. It measures 80 sq metres with a really good size garden. Will have to look at both options and see what's best. Thanks for all the helpful replies.

 

Kris

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Hi

At pre-school We are registered for 40 chiildren and have only 2 toilets. We take from 2yrs so potentially we may not need 4 toilets? I dont know. We have a similar set up in that it is 2 rooms with a double door that can close and separate off. Off one room we have a door that leads straight outside. In the morning we separate the rooms for approx 1 hour so 2 yr olds have quick register and then play whilst 3 yr old plus room has register, letter and sounds and bit more focus. Works well as this settles the little ones down too. Then the doors open, snack and outside open also. Then at end of morning they are separated again for singing and story.

Works well until you have only 6 x2 yr olds and 34x 3 yr olds!! The rooms are staffed according to the ratio of numbers of children in each room. When this happens we have to review ie open up outside straight away.

At lunch time we have children going home, children arriving, children being walked to and from nursery school so takes a number of staff (total of 20 of us working various shifts!). We separate the rooms for lunch with those going to nursery and coming from nursery in one room and the rest in another. After lunch we then have a couple of sleepers and whilst children sit and watch a eg Mr tumbe dvd the staff clear away and re set the rooms up for afternoon session. This is a time we are unsure about how OFSTED would feel but how can we clear away brush the floor etc with children running around?? Some children leave after lunch and some arrive.The afternoon is then a repeat of the morning.

The staff rotas are nightmare to doand the deputy never gets it right straight away. Most of it works well though, the children love it, staff are happy with it.

Hope this helps.

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Juat wondered what space you have and how you manage it as your registration takes you over the magic 26 in a room number. Do you have 2 and always seperate the children? I ask, because we have a reg of 34, but I hold numbers back to 26 so they can all play together in our large room, and we then just use the small 2nd room for quiet activities. Would love to hear more about your set up

 

Well we have a large (like think enormous -sorry I'm useless with measurements but last week I was at a function there that had sold 220 tickets for a seat down meal. Just to give you some idea of it's size!) hall plus an outdoor area and a smaller hall that is adjoining. However we dont always separate the children Often they are separated naturally by activity e.g some outside, some in main hall and if we have a separate activity in small hall, However they all have lunch together in the smaller hall (as part of their NEF hours) and in bad weather can all be in same room for most if not all of the day. She knew/saw all this and didn't mention going over 26 at all. Three days of the week we are at 25 anyway and the extension was just to allow us to have any odd 1 or 2 spaces for emergencies.

I will be honest though and say I'm not sure what you mean by the magic 26 in a room? Does it say that somewhere? I cant remember and wouldn't have taken any notice as I still in my head think of 25 as our number!! Our children start at 2.9/8mths & stay until they go to school. 3.5 hours (9.15- 12.45)

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Oh dear, I hope they make it a little clearer as I can see this opening up a whole new can of worms!!

 

So if we wish to increase (actually I remember the inspector saying something about they had changed the rules to allow inspectors to increase numbers) then we will no longer have to apply to Ofsted and fill in a long form as long as we are abiding by the EYFS regulations on space, toilets etc, etc. Hmmm...........

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We are registered for 25 and have 2 toilets for children (and 2 washbasins) and a staff toilet which can be used if necessary by children with adult help. We have lots in nappies but I'm not sure if that's considered relevant! I have something written down in my SEF file about the staff toilet being available to children if necessary. The wording in the current (and new I think) welfare requirements says something like 'one toilet for every 10 children and there should usually be separate facilities for adults'. Do you think it's ok for us to have 25? We increased from 20 after the last inspection and Ofsted didn't query the number of toilets but the form you fill in now specifically asks. Although it just asks for total number not how many are dedicated to the children.

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I have just sent a variation form off this week to increase to 35 children based on floor measurement due to a little extension we added to the main room.

This is the second variation I have put in for this year, as we originally took 30 children and then increased to 32. Ofsted issued the new registration form within 2 weeks based on the details I gave e.g toilets 3 small and 2 adult toilets + 5 sinks. As long as you have the space and a plan for staff ratios I think it is down to the provider.

 

I have found the extra spaces have come in handy now children are entitled to 15 hours, otherwise we would have had to turn children away.

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