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I'm having a problem in my nursery as I am feeling as though we are under staffed in our afternoons and struggling to provide proper care for children as a result. I am getting quite stressed e.g. When I turn my back and am unable to properly supervise children who hurt themselves plus the fact we are all leaving late (unpaid) every day because we can't get everything done in the shift.

 

As an example of a typical afternoon (though today we had less!) ; we had 9 children aged 3-5 and 6 children aged 2 all playing under the supervision of 2 level 3 staff.

 

The problem is that two members of staff have to be left with the children whilst one deals with things like preparing snacks, tidying the classroom etc. So we actually had 3 staff members.

 

I have spoken to my manager that I feel we are under staffed who argued that this is the correct ratio of staff on shift but she isn't considering the duties a member of staff must do away from the rest of the children. Never mind if a child needs their nappies changing or assistance going to the loo. Especially with the 2 year olds, I just feel that more attention on the children is needed and my plights are ignored because the nursery wants to save money.

 

I wonder how others would deal with this situation? If there is a way to dispute my manager about ratios or if she could be right about ratios and it is just me worrying? Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

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I would say you need a minimum of 3 to meet statutory requirements with those 15 children. It is difficult but finances do impact on how we offer that care and education. Maybe you could review your staff deployment? We used to be over ratio but can no longer afford this.

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You would need 3 staff.

 

I know technically it can be 'within the building' ratios- but I wouldn't be happy with 2 staff for that many children, unless the 3rd member had literally popped out of room for a minute or so but was still in hearing distance.

 

Could the manager come in and cover whilst the snacks are made- or get the children to help prepare the snacks in the room?

 

Tidying the classroom?- not sure about that one. Could the children be involved with the tidying?- Ours have to help clear up at the end of session, and they are each given jobs to do.

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3 is what you need as others have said but I would look at your staff deployment too. Children can help prepare snacks and this can usually be done in the room..promoting independence and physical skills. Tidying up should really be done

by children together not by a staff member on their own. Children learn so much by tidying up and gaining a sense of responsibility, and yes two year olds can help too. Could you sit down together and work out how to reduce the things a staff member needs to be out of the room for?

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the two year olds should be on a 1:4 ratio so two of your 3 year olds could count down but you would still need 3 staff. The argument is around 'in the building' however if you read EYFS Statutory requirement 3.30 it refers to small print point 34 (bottom of the page)

 

34

Ofsted may determine that providers must observe a higher staff:child ratio than outlined here to ensure the safety and welfare of children.

If you are already engaging the children as mundia suggests and still feel you are not able to keep children safe I would discuss with the manager again.

Edited by bakerboo69

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Agree with previous comments - would leave tidying up and if it does not get done ready for the next day then it may become clearer to the manager that you need help at certain times? Alternatively bill for extra hours or ask for time in lieu for additional hours worked - 10 minutes here and there does add up! Would definitely discuss with manager again perhaps as a team during a staff meeting - if you all as a team state your concerns re safety during this time for example perhaps it will carry more weight?

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I would certainly say you need 3 staff for those children:

"As an example of a typical afternoon (though today we had less!) ; we had 9 children aged 3-5 and 6 children aged 2 all playing under the supervision of 2 level 3 staff"

 

3- 5 year olds 1:8 ratio, so 9 children would need x2 staff

2 year olds 1:4, so 6 children would need x2 staff

 

one of the 3-5 year olds could count with the 2 'additional' 2 year olds so they could 'share' a member of staff.

So, staff #1 = x8 3-5 year olds. Staff #2 = x4 2 year olds. Staff #3 = x2 2 year olds + x1 3-5 year old.

 

If one of those memebrs of staff goes off to do jobs, unless they take three children with them, you are out of ratio in my opinion. I know that 'within sight or hearing' is in the statutory framework - but you have already noted that accidents are happening when the ratios are this tight. The statutory framework also says that the ratios must 'ensure their (children's) safety' and you don't sound confident that you are managing this.

I'd speak to your manager, if you are really worried you have a duty of care to the children - inform Ofsted

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This is a tricky one. I think you are just about within ratio and as a nursery owner myself I do have to think about the finances of being able to employ another member of staff. If this is the issue then you have to look at how the session is organised and how staff are deployed and I do agree with some of the above comments about allowing the children to help prepare the snack and including them in the tidying up. Good luck but do speak to your manager.

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