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Legal ratios


garrison
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I am having a dispute with my manager over staffing ratios at lunchtime. A child couldhave been seriously injured if I just hadn't happened to come out of the office at the time I did.

There were only 2 staff with 18 children, and one of them was in the kitchen and not directly supervising the children. (Over 3's)

My manager says ratios are a Guide-when I said they were legal instructions she said we can get round this because there are other staff in the building eg in the office.

My question is-do ratios mean working directly with the children, not just in the building?

Edited by Rachael1820
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ratios are most certainly not a guide, but the staff on the premises bit is a tad of a grey area it would seem, In my mind the ratios should be applied when working directly with the children...ie working in the office all day should not count, but popping into the office for a minute or so would be ok. I believe staff should be within sight or hearing, prefferaby both, but wait to hear what others think

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We try and keep ratios spot on during lunch, but if say we have only 9 or 10 3/4 yrs olds in, 2 staff will be in the room, one sat with them but the other might be prepping something for the afternoon or cleaning up messy area etc.., I'd say it depended if the kitchen person was just collecting something, if you think about settings that run 16:2 there has to be times when 1 person is only directly with 15 or 16 children, if staff need toilet or a child needs changing ?

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[1] We expect the teacher (or equivalent) to be working with children for the vast majority of the time. Where they need to be absent for short periods of time, the provider will need to ensure that quality and safety is maintained.

 

Statutory framework info!

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As others have said - ratios are statutory. Placement of staff and qualifications, layout of building may impact on how this may look at certain times of the day but the most important thing is that children are kept safe!

If you have real concerns about safety which you feel are not being addressed through your settings procedures, maybe you need to consider whistle blowing?

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Rachel ...you do seem a bit cross about this.....where is the kitchen? is it off the same room or in a different part of the building? I must admit that I don't really see the issue if the kitchen is next to the 'eating area and someone has popped in to get something...as long as the children are not alone at any time. Remember teachers are left with 30 children and nothing seriously happens to them.

Perhaps you need to talk to your boss and express your concerns?

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Having reread your original post Rachel. Are you saying that an incident/accident was avoided because you came out of your office at that moment or you came out of your office and saw the possibility of a child coming to harm because there were not enough adults? What is your role in the setting? Sorry lots of questions - trying to get picture in my mind.

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EYFS states "Children must usually be within sight and hearing of staff and always within sight or hearing” - this may be what your manager means regarding being out of the room - as long as other staff members can hear and could be on hand if /when needed! I am not suggesting this is a way to "cheat" ratios which are Law not guideline - but there are sometimes going to be those times - toileting for example; when unless you are running over ratio, this may occur!!

 

Perhaps if you have a word with your manager, explaining your fears, he/she may be able to address the issues you have. As a manager myself, I would always hope that my staff would feel able to tell me anything, especially if they felt there was a safeguarding issue!

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The child was being harmed and neither staff noticed as one was in the kitchen out of sight and the other was at the other end of the room facing away from where the children sit while dinner stuff is tidied away

Neither of them heard his screams or saw the incident happening-I came out of the office to find one child ramming a anothers head into the floor repeatedly. Said child was screaming loudly.

I have spoke to my manager and she is happy to let lunches to be staffed out of ratio. When I said are you happy for that to happen when OFSTED inspect she said (exact words) " well we would just get someone to come out and help"

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And this is why we have ratios that should be followed. Yes children might fall out and verbally attack each other or toy fight a little, it's all part of growing up and learning. I don't think a child ramming another child's head into a hard surface is a positive learning experience!

 

A little intervention from an adult and also completing a serious incident form would be appropriate. What was the cause of this behaviour? Was your Behaviour Policy followed in dealing with this incident? Is it possible to deal with this incident with only one staff member present? I would think not!

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I am actually quite emotional now-was getting to the point where I thought I may be wrong. It has caused a huge s...storm where I have basically been boll...kid for making a complaint. I am so disheartened by what has happened to me-the staff concerned have had no comeback but I have been accused of bullying

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I'm sorry to hear and read about this Rachel.

Are you the deputy?

Trying to picture the scenario and staffing etc.and your position.

Did you just happen to be in the office (is this in sight/sound of children too?)or is this where you usually are (would manager for example expect you to keep an eye on everyone too within your role?)

Lunchtimes are often fraught times to cover in settings but like everywhere else,the correct number of staff need to be paid for to ensure safe cover.

I don't consider a member of staff in the kitchen to be in ratio as one of 2 staff at all.

I could save a lot of money each week but I wouldn't dream of doing this in my setting or putting this responsibility upon a member of staff's shoulders let alone compromising the safety of the children.

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I am actually quite emotional now-was getting to the point where I thought I may be wrong. It has caused a huge s...storm where I have basically been boll...kid for making a complaint. I am so disheartened by what has happened to me-the staff concerned have had no comeback but I have been accused of bullying

Bullying? Who have you bullied?

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Yes who exactly have you been accused of bullying. Can you tell us what your position is within the setting.

I would feel very uneasy in only having 2 staff with that amount of children of which one is in the kitchen at any time I'm afraid.:)

Keep your chin up you are only trying to look out for the children in your care. Fx

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This is the latest in a long line of concerns I have about these members of staff which I have raised informally with the manager on numerous occasions. I am the EYT/senior staff and the staff concerned are the deputy manager and another lady who also has EYT status.

For some reason these staff appear to be bulletproof and they have now said that I have been bullying them, and subjecting them to workplace harassment( which had never been mentioned before the complaint)

The manager did an investigation the 3 points I raised and found that they weren't negligent, she had taken my concerns seriously and that staffing at lunchtimes was acceptable-surprise surprise

 

I am extremely tearful tonight after a meeting with her, minuted by a trustee who had her 3 year old child present and was breastfeeding him at the time!

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Dare I suggest that sadly, there are some jobs that aren't worth the trouble. Now clearly I don't mean the children aren't worth it- of course they are- and I personally would be whistleblowing if I had any concern about safety. What I mean is, report to Ofsted, and look to move elsewhere with a group that shares your values.

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This is terrible and apologies for spelling your name incorrectly earlier Rachael.

I would certainly write everything down. Are you in a private Nursery setting?

I would want to also know if the owner is the manager?

 

Are you new to the position or Is this a situation that has been brewing for a while? Do you have regular supervisions?

 

Something doesn't seem right - can you discuss this with your LA advisor (if you have one still?)

 

Ultimately, I am in agreement with EYFS1966 too.

 

Keep on the forum, everyone will help you through this but you must do what you think is right in the end.

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So the deputy and or EYT are happy to be left in sole charge or/and care of 18 over threes are they. What happens if a child needs support in the toilet, or one child injures themselves and requires first aid treatment. Please try not to get upset, how has the manager left it with you.

Take care Fx

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Well Rachael having just revisited this from this morning things appear to have moved on a pace.

 

I do not believe that this is really about ratios ...but it is about dispositions and attitudes and the safety of the children in the nurseries care. What did the Mother of the injured child say when she was told about the incident? Was the head injury recorded? What about the children involved...I feel really sorry for the little one who was hurt but what on earth is going on with the child bashing him on the head??? (is there a safeguarding/behaviour concern there?)

 

You have two choices IMO ignore it and put up with appalling situations In the future or tell someone and get out now.

 

The staff can be reported to the Lado for neglect causing a childs injury and you can report to ofsted so that they can investigate

would the parent involved back you up ?or another member of staff? do you have any witnesses or accident forms for evidence?

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Unfortunately at the time I was extremely emotional and didn't do an accident form as the child appeared fine and I didn't want to get anyone in trouble-in hindsight I know I made the wrong decision here. It was seen by another member of staff who has said that she backed up everything I said.

Unfortunately I can't leave at the moment as the hours and location fits in with my family life and I am getting married next year so need every penny

The child causing the injury is just a very emotionally immature 37 month old-we have no cncerns over him

I feel there is no point reporting to OFSTED or lado as my manager is extremely good at covering things up and bluffing her way out of things

 

I am in a lose lose position whatever I do

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