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I run a large day nursery, open from 7.30 - 6, i currently employ a manager, deputy, senior nursery nurse and nursery nurses and nursery apprentices. As owner i am in the nursery each day for approx 6 hours.


The manager has expressed that she would like to work fewer hours, but i don't feel that this would be possible as i need this position to be full time, also i'm not sure that a job share would be the solution.

I have decided that it would probably be best if i went back in full time in the role of the manager, but am worried about having enough time to do things like wages, invoicing, marketing and recruitment.


Ideally, i would like the senior staff to each be responsible for an area, so i could be sure that everything is running smoothly, but at present all they seem to be doing is covering breaks and lunches and i don't feel they are able to achieve as much as they should be during each day.


I'm not sure i have explained myself properly, i'm feeling really confused about everything at the moment!


I would really appreciate some examples of how the staff are structured at your setting, how you manage staff tea breaks and lunches and also how many supernumary staff you have and are they qualified or unqualified?


Thanks in advance :)

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Well, actually, Lucy, I may be able to help here!


In our settings, the Senior staff handle all management issues for their Room, as well as Fees, Changes to Childcare etc, is that the sort of thing you mean? It's brilliant for staff development and means that normally all sorts of potential crises can be calmed down until properly sorted.


I was in the vanguard of developing this, it's a bit scary at first, but the confidence to be derived for Staff cannot be underestimated! If you want to hear more, please feel free to PM.



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Hi lucy

I run three settings and have senior staff in each setting who handle all the fees staffing e.t.c for there particular area and leaves me free to oversee and take care of problems that they can not solve. I totally agree with you that a manager has to be full time, but giving staff specific responsibilities will make life a lot easier for you. If I can be of any further help give me a shout

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:( I manage a large day nursery, with the Managing director, and with the aid of two Senior staff, caring for upto 96 children and 24 staff.


We all work between 43 to 47.5hours a week, with a handover to a senior, as far as childcare responcibilities go, (MD not childcare trained) on my half days or when I am at meetings. Most fees, enquirys, bookings etc are covered by myself or the MD. Senior staff are trained to answer phones and take credit card payments in our absence. The senior staff get a half day to do there planning, room management and the additional weekly responcibilities assigned to them, such as First Aid, ordering shopping, Emergency Evacuation box updates, training Senco etc, or anything else deligated to them. During this time they are not counted in ratio. The room responcibilities are then handed over to their room second.


The nursery MD at present is at the nursery for approx the 3 to 6 hours a day doing accounts, staff wages and new booking paperwork, that lucy describes. All staff get half hour lunch break, and no other breaks during the 10.5 hour day. We did have a deputy, but since her leaving to go back to uni, we have scraped that role. We also had an admin assistant for a year, but again when she left, she was not replaced.


You don't say the hours you manager works, but I take two half days, shortly to move to one full day off a week, working the 43 to 47.5 hours a week. (The MD and I will soon move to alternate Thurs/Fri's off).


Usually the MD or myself are there, we share the office load between us, her day off, I work, my day off, she works. She knows when I'm there she can come and go as she needs. Its good communication and knowing each others role really well in order to cover, also knowing where each other are at. Reliance on Senior staff is a must as I have to entrust the childcare side to them when I'm not there. If we have to be out together, a senior staff member takes on the office role.


:( I do empathise with your manager if she is working long hours, that she may need to reduce them, especially if 'burn out' is a factor. Maybe you could look at splitting you week so that you get time off, and your manager gets time off, but you meet in the middle for a day to catch up. Make the Wednesday your catch up day, so you could get two whole days off each. Will possibly be my aim in a while! xD


Don't know if this is any help. :o

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Thanks Nina and Maria.


I am definately becoming more focused on where i can be making improvements and i now realise i need to look at my senior staff member roles (not including manager) and ensuring they are taking on more managerial tasks, rather than just covering lunch/tea breaks all day.


Regarding the manager she works 40 hours and has just returned from maternity leave after having her first child, i think she is struggling coping with the work / home balance. She is willing to drop her position in favour of working less hours, i'm just really unsure of whether to keep her in manager position working less hours or whether to accept her offer of a change in job.


It is a real eye opener learning the hours that you as manager and your staff work Maria. Our staff's day is 8 hours and they also receive an hour for lunch plus 15 mins tea break!


I employ so many more staff than are needed to cover the number of children attending on a daily basis just so that i can cover the morning ratios from 7.30 - 9 and the evening ratios from 4.30 - 6, also the lunch and tea breaks (16 hours in total per day :o ) No wonder i don't see much of a profit!


Can anyone else give me examples of your working hours and how you manage staff breaks?


Many Thanks

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:D Hi again Lucy. Don't know if this will help. Can send you my staff rota sheets if you would like. Have tried to explain below.


Staff shifts cover various patterns, full-time staff and part-time. Staff are issued with their hours the week before, which change each week according to the no's of children in that week, therefore you never have staff over ratio. The two to three more senior staff in each room, do have roughly the same shift patterns each week:-

Eg. Full-time staff 3 x 07:30 to 17:30/18:00 or 08:00 to 17:30/18:00, with one or two days at

08:00 to 13:00/13:30 (Seniors longer one day if planning).

Part-time combination of full days as above or 08:00/08:30 to 13:00/13:30/14:00 and

12:00/12:30/13:00 to 17:30/18:00.


This pattern over all our rooms has proved to be very successful. Staff all like the hours too. They are long days, but the half day working make it all worth while, giving staff time to get into town etc.


The full-time staffs half days and the part-time staff start or finish times cover all staff members .5 lunch time, and is very flexible to cover 07:30 and early leaving children 17:30 no's of children. This pattern also cuts down on the no's of staff needing to be cover for lunch, as you can balance up the 6 hours before they need a lunch break.


hope this isn't too confusing!!!!!


If we have children off sick, and we have staff not needed in ratio, they will cover other staff to do extra jobs, run errands etc. and make the much needed coffee!

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hi i have been reading through this topic and i would be very grateful for any further information that anyone can give me my employer has recently purchaced a new nursery and i will be working between the two and want to put some procedures in place to ensure the smooth running of both nurseries x jojm x

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