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out of ratio in maintained nursery problems


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we had a staff member away yesterday and were told no one could cover for last hour and a half of 3 hour session. we only had 26, but have 31 children on roll, so luckily we didn't go over numbers. i said we need 1:13 in nursery, but assistant head just said you'll have to manage and no one came to check if we were 'legal'. any advice gratefully received, as next time we may go over 26, as we only have 1 or 2 away generally

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Hi sooty99 does this help (it is taken from the 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.
Also just to link to your post about toilets and staff having to disappear over to the main school to use the loos this bit might help too:
Staff: child ratios
3.27 Staffing arrangements must meet the needs of all children and ensure their safety. Providers must ensure that children are adequately supervised and decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met. Providers must inform parents and/or carers about staff deployment, and, when relevant and practical, aim to involve them in these decisions. Children must usually be within sight and hearing of staff and always within sight or hearing.

Not sure this last bit will be possible if you are over at the main school visiting the facilities!

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Hi sooty99 does this help (it is taken from the 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.
Also just to link to your post about toilets and staff having to disappear over to the main school to use the loos this bit might help too:
Staff: child ratios
3.27 Staffing arrangements must meet the needs of all children and ensure their safety. Providers must ensure that children are adequately supervised and decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met. Providers must inform parents and/or carers about staff deployment, and, when relevant and practical, aim to involve them in these decisions. Children must usually be within sight and hearing of staff and always within sight or hearing.

Not sure this last bit will be possible if you are over at the main school visiting the facilitie

i know guidance states ratios but what do i do when school leaders choose not to follow them? we were ok this time, but next time?....... we have new deputy and head. maybe not au fait with eyfs?

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Did you have 2 staff? With 26 as long as 1 was QTS and the other level 3 then you would meet minimum requirements in this instance, even if you normally have more staff. What is your max roll number for each session? How many staff do you usually have in each session?

Sometimes all you can do is state your case and make it clear that this is a management decision, but one that may impact on the welfare of children. However if you are actually in ratio, then the debate is more about adjustments that need to be made to the structure of the session for that time. Many nurseries run on 2 members of staff for 26 children all the time!!

Cx

Edited by catma
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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.

So nurseries in schools can have 26 children whilst other nurseries can have 21, with one teacher and one level 3?

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Not sure where you get the 21 from? In other nurseries there can be 26 children (aged 3+) with two staff too - one member of staff must have QTS/EYP(now EYT) and the other staff member must have a level 3.

(This all goes back to EYPs not being considered to have QTS for leading practice in maintained settings - a whole different argument!)

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Ah I see your reasoning Wildflowers - but any early years setting can have 1:13 if the following applies:

3.32 For children aged three and over in registered early years provision operating between 8 am and 4pm where a person with Qualified Teacher Status, Early Years Professional Status or another suitable level 6 qualification (which is full and relevant) is working directly with the children:

• there must be at least one member of staff for every 13 children; and
• at least one other member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification.
This is how Truss was planning to "reduce the cost of childcare" xD
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sooty99, in this case, you were in ratio, and until you are in a position where you do have all your 31 children and are left with 2 staff, its difficult to suggest anything. I went through this often when I was teaching in nursery, and was told it was my job to 'manage' and so get on and manage. Often this meant taking a TA from reception for that period of time, sometimes they would bring a small group of children with them (if it worked number wise), so that the reception teacher was left with a smaller class. I used to log it every time it happened because in the end it made a huge difference to our provision, (and the reception class provision) because it wasn't a one off, it was a regular occurrence. I nagged and nagged so I was like the stuck record in the end. We did get there in the end, when I showed her just how often it was happening.

 

Good luck with it, its not always easy.

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When I joined a school they had 2 nursery classes of 20 and 4 staff (2 x QTS and 2X nursery nurses). When I went into nursery by dropping places by 1 we had 39 children each session and 3 staff, 1 teacher (me) +2 x NN.

In any other setting there would be probably be at least 5 staff!

Cx

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I remember on two occasions I had to manage with 15 children ON MY OWN :o when my NN was off sick. I was an NQT and the Head did not know any better - I did, but also knew not to argue (it was a new maintained nursery). What made matters worse was that I was in a portacabin. Things did change soon afterwards as the Head learned more about the EYFS and it has never happened again. That said, I had a lovely morning with the children (although I was very nervous about being on my own!). The children were very good and even helped to prepare the snack and wipe the dishes. :D

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Did you have 2 staff? With 26 as long as 1 was QTS and the other level 3 then you would meet minimum requirements in this instance, even if you normally have more staff. What is your max roll number for each session? How many staff do you usually have in each session?

Sometimes all you can do is state your case and make it clear that this is a management decision, but one that may impact on the welfare of children. However if you are actually in ratio, then the debate is more about adjustments that need to be made to the structure of the session for that time. Many nurseries run on 2 members of staff for 26 children all the time!!

Cx

3 of us for 31 which is fine but if 1 of us away and no cover put in we would likely be over 26. am worried what will happen in future, and a parent's sister is a SEYE so she may realise..... we can cope, of course, but it's not the same, and the children suffer. will log effect if it happens again and see if that helps. and print page from gidance to show SLT. key stage 1 has 55 children and 3 classes of under 20 with a TA and teacher and a TA extra for any statemented children, so i would argue that one of their class TA's could cover, but no one wants to come down to nursery as its very hard work!!!!!!!!!! and don't want to take staff member from reception, as they have 30 children

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At the end of the day it is the Heads responsibility to ensure that every class is covered legally and its their responsibility if they invalidate the insurance as ultimately it was their decision.

Do make your point and concern though, do suggest that if such events happen again, could you have a TA from KS1, as they appear to be well staffed. It would be good for their professional development to actually experience what its like in nursery.

Im not sure your union will be able to help much at this point because you haven't actually been left out of ratio yet.

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At the end of the day it is the Heads responsibility to ensure that every class is covered legally and its their responsibility if they invalidate the insurance as ultimately it was their decision.

Do make your point and concern though, do suggest that if such events happen again, could you have a TA from KS1, as they appear to be well staffed. It would be good for their professional development to actually experience what its like in nursery.

Im not sure your union will be able to help much at this point because you haven't actually been left out of ratio yet.

if it happens again i will point out that we are over numbers and not running in legal ratio and insurance would be inalidated and state that i am not to be held responsible. and ask for cover. if not given and there are staff available i'll go to my union.

thanks for everyone's help x

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work in a maintained nursery where there are 3 staff (1 teacher, 2 TAs) for 30 children andl it's a struggle to meet children's needs so I really feel for those of you working with a 2:26 ratio. I think it just proves how little the majority of headteachers know about the EYFS.

 

Sooty 99, I'd contact your Union for advice because as mundia said, if something happened, there could be dire consequences. It's also not fair on your or the children.

 

Good luck and let us know how you get on. :1b

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nn has shingles and noone put in today or tomorrow. 25 today. i will send nn to office to report to senior member of staff if over 26. and if no cover put in i will inform that insurance will be invalid if something happens. and go to union if nothing changes. it is so sad for children. this is a needy group with 5 on iep's and 2 more close. and girl in care with behavioural issues. and 1 autistic i believe who hates change and it's her key worker, so her group is getting split between me and remaining nn. we go to her room to help. i wish head would have to do a day in nursery to see our unique challenges

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I am not entirely sure that schools have insurance in the same way a private provider or academy etc might...the LA may be the body that insures the schools so you would have to be very clear what the insurance covered. Overall you may have adequate staffing numbers in the for the numbers of children on the premises. I'd be wary of going in with an argument which isn't fully evidenced beforehand.

Cx

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That's great news, I just hope the "someone" who is put in has experience of working in nursery. I agree with your comment about headteachers spending time in nursery, they really have no idea how hard it is.

I have to say I found all years in primary to have their own difficulties so in the end it's swings and roundabouts. 30 stroppy Yr 6 children can be just as taxing and if your TA is taken away to cover elsewhere it would be pretty irritating too!!

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