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Mixed Age Ratios In Pre-School


macvicar1
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As a setting we have always had some children 2, some 3, some 4 up to maximum of 28 in one room. If we had 3 2 years olds we would work 1-4 ratio then for the remaining 24 older children 1-8 ratio - total 4 staff. Reading the new EYFS no mention of a change to mixed age ratios in pre-schools. Today I have just received a copy of PLA publication "Getting to Grips with the EYFS and on page 36 it states that mixed age children in one room where there are 2 year olds should have 1-4 ratio! If this is the case how can pre-school afford to run with 7 members of staff every session? Now only week to start of term!

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I don't think the ratios have changed and the 'formula' we have always used is..

Each member of staff represents 24 points.

A baby = 8 points

A 2 year old = 6 points

A 3-5 year old = 3 points

 

Add up the points of the children and match to a member of staff. You may need an extra member of staff who has spare capacity left within her 24 points.

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Well, the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements, section 3.31 states quite clearly:"For children aged two: there must be at least one member of staff for every four children ".... It makes absolutely no mention of mixed age groups, so, provided you meet the other qualification level requirements, I see no problem with your current solution.

 

The Pre-school Alliance in my experience are very hot on 'best practice', and in an ideal world it would be lovely to follow their advice. However, as you point out Macvicar, who can afford that? I used to work in a Day Care setting - they couldn't, so how could a Preschool??

 

I don't think you'd have any problem with Ofsted, provided when your group was broken down all your ratios and qualifications were as required.

 

Does that help?

 

Sue

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Thanks Sue,

 

I agree with you I can't find any change or mention of mixed age ratios in pre-schools in new EYFS. I believe that this publication of PLA may cause worry to practitioners that they have to change ratios in these type of settings. I have e-mailed PLA about my concerns but have not yet had a reply.

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Hi There, I am new to this Forum and so glad I joined. I work in a Pre-school and help with all the admin, policy stuff. I read the same paragraph today and it has caused me concern. I am glad to read the responses as I don't how we would manage if we had to use the 1:4 ratio for all children. I look forward to seeing more feedback on this issue. I am going to do a double check with our early years consultant when we go back.

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