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Ratio help please 😳😶


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Hi all,

please could you clear up something for me? I will be phoning Ofsted tomorrow but I know how long that is going to take and also that potentially they will pass it back to provider to decide.

When working out ratios -  (We are a preschool and have 1 room). If you have two qualified staff members how many children can you have aged two years old and three/four years old? I have always understood it (and been told by Ofsted in the past) that 1 member can have 4 under 2's and the other can have 8 over 3's? This agrees with the EYFS.
However if you only have 1 under two, do you bring down three older children into the two year old bracket to ensure they don't go over 4 children and therefore in total can have 12 children with two staff. OR....... can 1 staff member have 1 under 2 and 7 under 3's and the second staff member have 8 over threes totalling 16 children altogether?

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Hi pickles, I’m a bit confused by the post do you mean ‘under 2’ or should it read ‘under 3’ as in between 2&3 yrs old?

if it’s 1x under 2yrs you have to put 2 of the older chn with that 1 (so 3:1) and then it would depend on the ages left, if all over 3yrs then 8chn for the other member of staff (11 chn total) but if any of those are under 3yrs then only 4chn for the other staff member (7 in total).

if it’s 1 x under 3yrs, bring 3x over 3’s into their ratio + 8 over 3’s for the other staff member (12 in total).

I have seen some settings work it out on a points score but that isn’t what the framework states and in some scenarios it doesn’t work out.

hope that makes sense :-/ 

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Points counting does not work, you cannot cut a child or adult in half.. I know someone who did this ended up understaffed and got caught out.. 


If a member of staff has one child in a lower ratio then you can put older children into that ratio.so long as you don't exceed it. You cannot have a younger child in a higher ratio .

I used to put each adult into a 'box' and allocate children to that box.. it they had one under 3 than the box only had room for 3 more children..over 3 and the box could hold 8 children. 


This thread has a very useful table to help work out ratios..It may be an old one but still works.. it is a topic that regularly emerges.. Does not include under 3s though .


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