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Ratios in free flow


taffygirl
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Can you tell me what you do and what you feel is acceptable when not enough children want to go out/stay in to keep staff:child ratios correct when free flowing, this has never been a problem until the 2 year olds as we were always over staffed, now we are tighter to ratio's, I hear staff saying "you can't go out yet, until someone comes in" , I get that they're worried about correct ratio's (all L3's) but also doesn't sit well when I hear that, would love to know if others have this problem and how you address it, or do you look at the setting as a whole still, (our outdoors is very visible from indoors) rather then indoors/outdoors separately and use common sense to deploy staff, I can't really seem to find any concrete info on this. Thanks

 

Funny ...just found similar thread from 5 years ago and I was asking same question then, and now remember where the paranoia came it, we were pulled up at an ofsted inspection when 1 member of staff was left outside reading to 9 3yr olds while the other member of staff took one child through to toilet :/

Edited by mouse63
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if i remeber the phrase the framework says 'available to work' so in my opinion that would mean across the setting...we do try to stick to the right ratios across the board and staff have walkie talkies to help with this but i would never stop a child going in or out because of staffing.

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My RL is getting worked up about this lately, and other staff are getting stressed over this as they feel they never seem to be in the right place now, we do have a large outdoors, but luckily it is zoned and areas can be opened/closed depending on how many adults/children are out.....I feel a team meeting coming on to air this.

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Guest sn0wdr0p

This is good to know. My office is at the front of our building and staff constantly knock at the window and ask me to come outside to keep the ratios correct when they bring a child in to the loo, or for any other reason they need to pop inside. I have always stuck rigourously to the numbers inside and out even if staff pop out of the playrooms to get a resource, go to the loo etc. Our kitchen has a very large hatch to our large play hall so staff can see what is going on if they have to pop to make drink, get the snack etc. and I have always covered them if they go in there as well. All my staff are level 3. Have I been too cautious? I may stand a chance of getting some paperwork done. Hooray.

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We usually offer our free flow play at 9.30, once our morning breaks are covered and done as it means we have 4 staff available.

 

Sounds a little regimental, but knowing our children means we're not comfortable to leave 1 member of staff in the room to be with the children while 1 is outside and 1 is doing nappies. We do it once we know that the children's safety is covered by staff numbers.

 

If we can get them our earlier, we do. It's about what works for you. We're a little flexible with the ratio outside as it's a smaller enclosed space and the member of staff outside can come to the door and ask for help once they get a few children out there, but across the outside area and the room, we're covered.

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I asked our Area Advisor this very question earlier this month as we take 2 year olds and sometimes one or two go outside and one stays inside and therefore we are out of ratio either inside or out depending where the third member of staff goes. The Advisor assured me that ratios are across the whole setting and to use our common sense :) Hope Ofsted agree.

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  • 2 months later...

got my knickers in a twist because I've thought too hard about this! (edit: Meant to say nothing to do with Free Flow just this old thread kinda ticked the boxes of what I was asking - they are all either in or out, at the toilet or not depending on the answers for below --------- joking!)

 

3.21 In group settings, the manager must hold at least a full and relevant level 3 qualification and at least half of all other staff must hold at least a full and relevant level 2 qualification. The manager should have at least two years’ experience of working in an early years setting, or have at least two years’ other suitable experience. The provider must ensure...

Is the 50% level 3 (I know it's only supposed to be level 2 but I only have level 3 or U/Q) -

overall employed? (but may not be on shift i.e on hol, day off)

per room?

per shift across the nursery? so, for example, 9 level 3's across 3 rooms but one room may only have the unqualified's in (but know the children inside out as opposed to swapping staff around and the children being with less familiar staff)

 

as I am now long in the tooth with managing staff (and sorting out ishooos!) I have some lovely unqualified staff who I rate above some of my previously employed level 3's and 4's - some working toward level 3 some not - overall as a team we are above the requirement but on some days due to part timers, holidays, meetings etc we may be borderline

I'm planning ahead to holiday cover times and have begun to think - help!!

Seems crazy that you can't use common sense instead of messing the children around! (or maybe you can and I don't know it!)

Edited by gingerbreadman
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Half all staff working any session must be qualified level 2 or above with a "full and relevant" qualification so if you have 24 children aged 3+ then you need at least 3 staff one of whom must have level 3 another with level 2 or above and then any other - unless you are an EYP or QTS in which case 2 staff will do the EYP plus one other with a level 3.

Page 21 of the new EYFS statutory guidelines gives more detail for ages and settings

Foundation Years website has links

http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/eyfs-statutory-framework/

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Thanks Sue - so would you apply that to each (separate) room then?

 

This is what I normally do but this year it may take some thinking about - I'd prefer to not move staff round for the sake of it and instead have the children with staff that know them so well, know how the room works etc etc (the remaining key staff will guide them but it's never the same when you split a 'gelled' team)

 

failing that, I'll just be popular and cancel holidays!

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We try to do in each room but doesn't always work that way! I will happily have myself (teacher with EYPS) in the baby room with an unqualified (but very good) member of staff and 4 babies. Technically that's probably not right but overall we have plenty qualified so I don't see why it's a problem!

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Thumperrabbit are you saying gingerbreadman shouldn't risk it or me? Having a panic! I personally wouldn't have a room with just unqualified staff in, it's not worth the risk x

Sorry - I meant for gingerbreadman! Could be just me I struggle when it comes to pushing boundaries, I'm a born worrier :)

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Hi all,

Now it's my turn to be confused! When we have free flow all depends on what staff I have on,most of my staff are lvl3, one is lvl 2 and I have one apprentice. I thought I was ok to have a lvl 2 outside while a lvl 3 inside as long as they are in hearing distance!! Am I wrong?? I always make sure a lvl 3 is with the apprentice, who is by the way doing lvl2.

 

Very confused.com now!!

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it's a blinking minefield isn't it?! especially the more you think about it and the more scenario's you come up with!

 

Does it still count if the u/q are w/t a level 2 or 3 qual (so have an action plan etc in place) though I'd still put my eggs with my u/q staff more. Life skills/experience make such a difference in some people

 

I told a porky too :blink: I have an apprentice but she's level 2 w/t level 3 - so I do have a level 2 after all (cos she's an apprentice I keep thinking she's u/q!)

Thanks for your thoughts - it's so nice to have peoples opinions/experiences

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I hear what you are say Gingerbreadman - sadly having a qualification does not necessarily mean that a person as the common sense and wherewithal that perhaps an unqualified person has.

Having said that I would not want to be justifying myself to someone in authority as to why I had a room or outdoor/indoor environment staffed by unqualified staff only.

I will usually split my team so that some qualified are outside and some inside (we are a church hall so don't have to consider room deployments), most of my staff are level 3 qualified as well which helps.

Staff deployment is a minefield

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Half all staff working any session must be qualified level 2 or above with a "full and relevant" qualification so if you have 24 children aged 3+ then you need at least 3 staff one of whom must have level 3 another with level 2 or above and then any other - unless you are an EYP or QTS in which case 2 staff will do the EYP plus one other with a level 3.

Page 21 of the new EYFS statutory guidelines gives more detail for ages and settings

Foundation Years website has links

http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/eyfs-statutory-framework/

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In the framework it does not state working any session , I queried this with Ofsted as we fell under welfare requirements and have employed another level 3 but who will not be working every session therefore not 50% qualified each session

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more trawling has revealed specific details (why they couldn't put this with the initial "the manager must hold blah blah" section)

3.31. For children aged under two:

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

· at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification, and must be suitably experienced in working with children under two;

· at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification;

· at least half of all staff must have received training that specifically addresses the care of babies; and

· where there is an under two-year-olds’ room, the member of staff in charge of that room must, in the judgement of the provider, have suitable experience of working with under twos.

 

3.32. For children aged two:

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

· at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification; and

· at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification.

 

3.34. For children aged three and over at any time in registered early years provision when a person with Qualified Teacher Status, Early Years Professional Status,

Early Years Teacher Status or another suitable level 6 qualification is not working directly with the children:

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

· at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification;

· at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification

 

hope this helps...but still doesn't exactly answer when the children from a room split up and go in different directions - ie. outside, to the sensory room etc

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