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Part-time staff and keyworkers


Lois
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Hi

We are full day care, open all year round and we have only ever had full-time staff working 8 1/2 hour shifts.

Recently we've realised that many other settings have staff working all kinds of variations of part-time and we know that one or two of our staff would prefer to work fewer days.

My big worry is key workers and continuity of care.

Does anyone have any experience or advice about this please? The only solution I can see is a child having two key workers but I don't know how this can be made to work as well as just having one. I also worry about how Ofsted would view it.

Can anyone help please?

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Many of our day nurseries have a system of key person and buddy...For times when the key person is away from the setting..holidays, training, shift patterns etc. With the best will in the world if you have children attending for 10 hours or more but your shifts are 8.5 hours then there are times the key person is not there. A buddy system of some sort works well and I'm sure our members using a buddy type system will come along and say how they use it.

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Thanks mundia for your suggestion. We operate a similar system to cover absences or shift patterns. But its only every other week that a keyworker isn't there at either the beginning or the end of the day. But holidays aside, each child sees it's keyworker every day they attend.

My big worry is when it's two full days out of every week that the keyworker is missing I don't know how we can provide the same standard of care.

And if a parent wants to talk to the keyworker, are they going to want to see both? And short of keeping tons of notes, how can each of them know the child as well as one person would do?

I know there must be some way of doing this, because other settings do. I'm just not sure how.

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We have quite a few part time staff - we match them to the part time children.

How does that work when someone books in a new child? Do you only offer them the sessions that fit round a keyworker whose group isn't already 'full up'? And how do you go on when a child changes it's days?

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We just manage this as best we can! To be honest, it is much easier if staff are full time. In our baby room we only have full time staff for that very reason as I feel that under twos would struggle to cope with two key people. In our other rooms, we match days/hours worked by staff and days/hours attended by children as far as we can. In our Pre-school Room, children understand better and we have several children who have two key people.

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No we don't fit new children round a worker, we book the children in where there are gaps and then assign the key worker who best fits. For example, if a child is just doing mornings, they get assigned to a worker that only does mornings. There's always going to be time when a key worker isn't present anyway, if they are on leave, sick, training, CAF meetings etc. Most of our staff have been with us a very long time and they get to know all the children very well so there are always someone there that can support a child, especially as we are almost always over ratio.

Edited by GFCCCC
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To be honest key workers is a real headache for us. every time we have to reallocate children due to staff going on maternity leave or coming back or moving between rooms we get complaints from parents about it. I dread what will happen if and when they discover their child has more than one.

We've had so much drummed into us about the importance of a child having one person to look after them (with occasional help from others) I just don't know how Ofsted are going to view it. Especially because sometimes a child will be shared between two people who never see each other. I think it would be less bad if people were working mornings or afternoons so there could be a handover in the middle. But when what they seem to want is full days but fewer of them it's not as easy.

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I'm sessional morning only pre-school so dont fully understand the reality of what you have to do but do you have enough full time staff to be keyworkers and part time staff are buddies to a keyworker rather than child?

forgive me if that's a ridiculous suggestion!

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No, it's not a ridiculous suggestion at all :-). I'm welcoming all suggestions at the minute.

 

For now, all our staff are full time. We know that a couple would rather work 3 days so I'm looking into how well it would work before we decide to make any changes.

If we did reduce their days,we would have to take on someone new to work 4 days to make up the numbers so yes, we would have enough bodies to 'buddy up'.

The children come for all sorts of combinations of sessions so it would be nigh-on impossible to match them up to a staff member who would always be there when they are. And the minute they change their sessions (yet again!) you're back to the drawing board.

So it comes down to some children having 2 keyworkers whereas those attached to a full-time staff member will only have one. My big concern is how to manage the exchange of information between two people who almost never see each other so that those children aren't at a disadvantage compared to the others.

And (big worry) how Ofsted will view it.

I feel like I'm talking myself out of it but really I'm just looking for a way to make it work well.

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Okay this is how we do it at our sessional pre-school.

Each child is allocated a keyperson on the days they start with. As times goes on and the children up their sessions and mature they are given a stand in person, buddy. If their keyperson does not work that day. All our staff are known to all our children over time.

All staff get to share information at our monthly staff meetings, post it notes or through the senior staff if needed.

It is a logistical nightmare, but we do manage to keep the cohort of children together to a stand in/ buddy and this certainly helps too.

If anybody has a better suggestion, please share.:)

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  • 9 months later...

We are thinking about having myself (director) and the manager as the keypersons for all children as they start. Over their first two week period (once sessions havent been changed by parents or apprentices have left or something else has happened) we can then see who bonds with whom. I have found that a child chosen by a KP due to a bond means much better quality interaction/teaching and observations, I know this has been done in settings maintained by a primary school but any PVI doing this?x

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We are thinking about having myself (director) and the manager as the keypersons for all children as they start. Over their first two week period (once sessions havent been changed by parents or apprentices have left or something else has happened) we can then see who bonds with whom. I have found that a child chosen by a KP due to a bond means much better quality interaction/teaching and observations, I know this has been done in settings maintained by a primary school but any PVI doing this?x

interesting.

My only issue with this would be that the keyperson is the main link both for the child and the parents/carers in the first few weeks.If you are taking in to account key attachment theory then would this work?

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We are thinking about having myself (director) and the manager as the keypersons for all children as they start. Over their first two week period (once sessions havent been changed by parents or apprentices have left or something else has happened) we can then see who bonds with whom. I have found that a child chosen by a KP due to a bond means much better quality interaction/teaching and observations, I know this has been done in settings maintained by a primary school but any PVI doing this?x

I too have thought about this Keyup. In my experience children know who they like! We have often found little ones choosing to be close to someone other than the keyperson we chose for them!! Sometimes we just go with the child's choice and swap keypersons. Never been a problem.

 

For the first time in many many years...next Autumn I am key children free!!!

Skips, jumps, twirls........takes a bow - Thank You!! : )

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For the first time in many many years...next Autumn I am key children free!!!

Skips, jumps, twirls........takes a bow - Thank You!! : )

:o Wow - how have you managed that? I need a 'green smiley' now........

 

Our children are allocated their Key Person before they start - but I would be happy to change later if there was a 'problem' - there never has been - but the fact that we are all working in the same room probably helps with that :1b

 

My theory behind allocating KP before start date is that it gives parents someone to 'anchor' to, as much as it is helpful to the child.......

 

Goodness some very poor grammar there - but you catch my drift ::1a

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Like rafa, I have been key children free since Sept for the first time. I do observations when I am in ratio or might take a small group. It has been much easier. I always felt really guilty about doing any admin and did much more at home than I do now. Anyway, back to the original question. We allocate keyperson before the children start to build that link with home. Normally the same person that siblings had but like others, we will change if it doesn't work. I suppose I am 'back up' for everyone else.

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I tend to only pick up children who join late from elsewhere and won't be there for long as they already have paperwork to go from, I don't feel that I have the time to give the tinies the support they need, so I usually only have a couple but do obs etc for others to help out.

 

We try to allocate KP before visit so they can go through starting points with parents but have been known to change if needs be. We allocate a buddy KP if any children attend sessions when KP isn't in.

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interesting.

My only issue with this would be that the keyperson is the main link both for the child and the parents/carers in the first few weeks.If you are taking in to account key attachment theory then would this work?

So we do the first visit (walk around) we answer any emails or calls from prospective parents, also any calls or emails from those walkabout parents. Some dont even want or have time for a settling in session, they may visit last two weeks of term to start as soon as next term, so they dont even know who their keyworker is before they start, for some I may give them a keyperson name, but that doesnt really mean much, and then if little Jonny has spent half the sessions crying on someone elses lap it makes the KP look and feel a bit rubbish. In theory we are saying that KP would be allocated within first two weeks, by that time all about mes can be done aswell and mums work hasnt changed or pick up etc etc.

I believe Anna Ephgrave does this at Carterhatch, but does anyone else? I did trial it a while back but said we were assigning KP after child starts, it worked extremely well, only to be told by the PSLA that it cannot work that way and KP has to be assigned before child starts, so if we (manager and Director) are the KP are we wrong.....? Ive also had to contend with two maternity leaves this year so the children have been bumped all over the shop and although to be fair we are one classroom and the majority of children really dont care who their KP is as we all observe and we all get on its more about the parent connection. We also have a buddy system in place and would continue to do so....thoughts???x

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Yes we assign a keyperson once a place has been accepted for their child.

They are then able to meet them and interact at their transitition sessions. The KP and senior member of staff will also do a home visit if parent/ carers are in agreement.

This works extremely well for us and supports the attachment theory. We also work very closely as a team and support each child and each other.

This includes a buddy system for children attending additional sessions in time that their KP doesn't work.

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We are sessional pre-school and all staff are part time - we use the buddy system - which Ofsted liked - although there is a list on the wall of the children, their keyperson and buddy, parents don't seem bothered at all, we explain that the 'buddy' just covers when keyperson is not working and that the keyperson is responsible for observations, assessments etc

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Out of interest for those of you who use a more wait and see who bonds with who approach what happens if the children all gravitate towards one or two staff members and do you find staff might make more effort to create a bond with some children rather than others, possibly due to higher needs, not toilet trained or more challenging behaviour etc...

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Out of interest for those of you who use a more wait and see who bonds with who approach what happens if the children all gravitate towards one or two staff members and do you find staff might make more effort to create a bond with some children rather than others, possibly due to higher needs, not toilet trained or more challenging behaviour etc...

Did wonder that myself, really couldn't see it working for us!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are sessional with only me working full time. I match the children to the keyworker who will be in on the majority or all of their days. We are a small setting so we all work very closely with all of the children. We don't manage keyworker groups due to not all of the children doing every day - I think after Easter I don't have any doing all week so some days I might only have 2 key children in.

 

When Ofsted came she asked the question about what happens when staff are off or not in and I just explained to her that the keyperson was in charge of their learning journeys, sorting out next steps and talking to the parents if needed but we all took a role in helping that child progress in their learning. The parents also know that they can speak to me or my Deputy if their key worker is not in. She was happy with that.

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