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how many children can one teacher have?


Kat
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Hi i am a teacher in a school based nursery. We have currently just gone over 26 children in the mornings and so now have 3 members of staff. My question is.. how many more children can we have? If a reception class goes over 30 they need another teacher is this right? If within a nursery session if it goes over 30 would this be the same or would the 1:13 ratio just continue therefore we could have up to 39 children before employing another member of staff? The reason I ask is that as the teacher it is my responsibility to plan for and complete assessments for the children and it just seems unmanageble to have that many children within a session then possibly the same in the afternoon session?! Surely there is a limit to teacher's workload or would nursery nurses be expected to plan and assess some of these children and if so would they be entitled to ppa? I would appreciate it if anyone knows the legal requirements. I know that it also depends on square footage but we have a large nursery so i don't think this would be an issue at present. Thanks

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We went over our 26 for a term about 18 months ago ( then went to 2 sessions the following term of 26 max). We understood that we would need another teacher if we went over 30. Also, we have 3 children's loos and the requirement for that was 1:10, so again we stuck at 30. However, the new EYFS seems to specify 1:13 with one being a teacher, at least one a level 3 so it's not as clear cut.

 

When we had 30 we found that it was permanently hectic and we didn't get to know all of the children as well as we'd have liked. We split the obs etc 3 ways but it still didn't work for us and I don't think we'd do it again given a choice.

The teacher is the only one ( and was with 30) to get PPA and her workload was massive , as it is when we have 52 across 2 sessions.

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The legal requirements for adult:pupil ratios in nursery and Reception classes in maintained schools are set down in the new EYFS Statutory Framework:

 

'3.36 For children aged three and over in maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained schools (except for children in reception classes):

• there must be at least one member of staff for every 13 children;

• at least one member of staff must be a school teacher as defined by Section 122 of the Education Act 2002 and the Education (School Teachers’ Qualifications) (England) Regulations 2003; and

• at least one other member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification.

3.37 Reception classes in maintained schools are subject to infant class size legislation. The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (as amended by the Education Act 2002) limits the size of infant classes to 30 pupils per school teacher

18. ‘School teachers’ do not include teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants or other support staff. Consequently, in a normal teaching session, a school must employ sufficient school teachers to enable it to teach its infant classes in groups of no more than 30 per school teacher.'

 

As you say, Kat, a single Nursery teacher can be responsible for up to 80 children or more, in 2 sessions, depending on the area of the setting. This is a huge workload, not just in terms of planning for children but also for planning and resourcing the environment, assessment and tracking. Since the introduction of 3 hour sessions the time for meeting with support staff has been, in my experience, reduced almost to the point of non-existence. Most Nursery staff Iknow work without a break during the session; 2 x 3 hour sessions each day is extremely exhuasting. Probably more so for the support staff than for the teacher who may well be given some release time to bring their contact time into line with their colleagues in Reception and other Key Stages.

 

Kat, you've raised an issue which should have been highlighted long ago. Perhaps it was and I missed it. Nursery teaching is still often regarded by other teachers as a soft option and the hard work we put in is largely unrecognised and undervalued by senior managers.

 

You can ask your support staff to plan for their groups but they're not obliged to do so unless it's in their job description. Support staff in our nursery schools within my LA do get PPA time and are usually expected to plan and assess for their groups. Support staff in my nursery class are only paid for an extra 30 minutes outside session times which is taken up with setting up and tidying away so any liaison with me about planning etc is done as we work.

 

Despite union efforts there is still no legally set limit to a teacher's workload, we have to do what is required for us to discharge our duties.

 

Oh dear, I've made myself quite miserable now!

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As said above...Teachers pay and conditions require you to do whatever hours additional to the directed time needed to discharge your duties. You can have upto 39 children with 3 adults in each session, so 78 children, which the teacher would ultimately be responsible for as per their contractual obligations and the teaching standards. There are the basic "administrative tasks" which can be delegated to support staff but requiring anyone other than the class teacher to plan/assess/manage parents etc is a bit of a grey area unless you have HLTAs or the like or it's contractually stipulated.

 

Who'd be an "Early Years Teacher" Eh?

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I think you have both highlighted some valuable points, as well as which , in most schools, the nursery teacher is in a class with children for an hour a day longer each day, with less lunch break and no other break. I am very surprised the Teaching Unions have not latched onto this as it does seem very unfair, especially when added to potentially doing assessment etc for more than a class of 30 children. The response is usually 'you don't have marking!'

 

Catma- I am a HLTA and EYPS but only get 'PPA' time for the PPA I cover, so 10% of 3hours a week =9 mins! Wow!!! I already work at least half n hour a day over my paid hours, never see the other school staff ( as the hours don't coincide with theirs!) and do bits and bobs at home. The Head has said i can bring home LJ to update, but at the moment I am reluctant to!!

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The point about Learning Journeys being taken home to update then raises issues around confidentiality and possibly data protection if you are using personal computers /laptops to type information entries/ print photos etc and don't delete them ? And is the Head going to give you time back - or pay you for the extra hours completed in your time ?

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All our LJs are books ( i would love to computerise but it's not happening!), so if I brought them home it would be just to stick stuff in!! No, I wouldn't get time back or paid for it!! I don't drive and frankly can't face lugging them all home and back again!! If necessary I'll stay longer at work unpaid, which doesn't really address the lack of time to do it and the insufficient time for the teacher to do everything else!

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Catma- I am a HLTA and EYPS but only get 'PPA' time for the PPA I cover, so 10% of 3hours a week =9 mins! Wow!!! I already work at least half n hour a day over my paid hours, never see the other school staff ( as the hours don't coincide with theirs!) and do bits and bobs at home. The Head has said i can bring home LJ to update, but at the moment I am reluctant to!!

 

9 minutes - that's ridiculous!! I'd leave the LJs in school then!!!

Cx

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Sorry - miscalculation ( it had been a long day ;) . It's 18 mins a week!!! :D

Thank goodness! I was looking at that and thinking it wasn't right, but maths isn't my strong point.

 

Well with 18 minutes a week I'm not sure what you're complaining about! :P

 

Seriously though - you're providing an awful lot of goodwill for free, so I'm not at all surprised you don't feel inclined to accept your Head's kind offer. :(

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