At Reepham Nursery School, we provide a staffing ratio in line with the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage to ensure that children have sufficient individual attention and to guarantee care and education of a high quality. Our staff are appropriately qualified and we carry out checks for enhanced criminal records and barred list checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service in accordance with statutory requirements.
To meet this aim we use the following ratios of adult to children:
- Children aged two years: 1 adult : 4 children:
- Children aged three years and over: 1 adult : 8 children:
- We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements where a Qualified Teacher, Early Years Professional or other suitable level 6 qualified person is working directly with children aged three and over between the hours of 8am and 4pm as follows:
- there is at least one member of staff for every 13 children. However, we only resort to this staff to child ratio if necessary. We strongly believe that our staff are our greatest resource and that a smaller child/ adult ratio is desirable.
- A minimum of two staff/adults are on duty at any one time; one of whom is either our manager or deputy.
- Our manager deploys our staff, students and volunteers to give adequate supervision of indoor and outdoor areas, ensuring that children are usually within sight and hearing of staff, and always within sight or hearing of staff at all times.
- Our staff, students and volunteers inform their colleagues if they have to leave their area and tell colleagues where they are going.
- Our staff, students and volunteers focus their attention on children at all times and do not spend time in social conversation with colleagues while they are working with children.
- We assign each child a key person to help the child become familiar with the setting from the outset and to ensure that each child has a named member of staff with whom to form a relationship. The key person plans with parents for the child’s well-being and development in the setting. The key person meets regularly with the family for discussion and consultation on their child’s progress and offers support in guiding their development at home.
- We hold regular staff meetings to undertake curriculum planning and to discuss children’s progress, their achievements and any difficulties that may arise from time to time.
Vetting and staff selection
- We work towards offering equality of opportunity by using non-discriminatory procedures for staff recruitment and selection.
- All staff have job descriptions which set out their staff roles and responsibilities.
- We welcome applications from all sections of the community. Applicants will be considered on the basis of their suitability for the post, regardless of marital status, age, gender, culture, religious belief, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. Applicants will not be placed at a disadvantage by our imposing conditions or requirements that are not justifiable.
- We use Norfolk Safeguarding Children’s Board recommendations for Safer Recruitment (Please see our ‘Safer Recruitment’ policy) and follow Ofsted guidance on obtaining references and enhanced DBS checks for staff and volunteers who will have unsupervised access to children. This is in accordance with requirements under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 for the vetting and barring scheme.
- We keep all records relating to employment of staff and volunteers, in particular those demonstrating that checks have been done, including the date and number of the enhanced CRB/ DBS check.
Changes to staff
- We inform Ofsted of any changes in the person responsible for our setting.
Training and staff development
- Our settings Nursery Supervisor holds Early Years Teacher Status and our Deputy Supervisor holds a sector endorsed Level 4 qualifications in childcare.
- Our Early Years Practitioners hold a minimum Level 2 Certificate in Pre-school Practice or an equivalent. One of our Early Years Practitioners is working towards NVQ Level 3.
- All staff have Safeguarding Training, First Aid and Food Hygiene certificates and this training is updated through a rolling programme of staff training and professional development.
- Our setting encourages staff to attend optional training courses in areas of interest to them. This is dependent on time and financial resources.
- We provide regular in-service training to all staff through staff training and development days
- Our setting budget allocates resources to training.
- We provide staff induction training in the first week of employment. This induction includes our Health and Safety Policy and Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy. Other policies and procedures will be introduced within an induction plan.
- We support the work of our staff by holding regular supervision meetings and appraisals.
- We are committed to recruiting, appointing and employing staff in accordance with all relevant legislation and best practice.
Managing staff absences and contingency plans for emergencies:
- Our staff take their holiday breaks when the Nursery School is closed. Where staff may need to take time off for any reason other than sick leave or training, this is agreed with the Nursery Supervisor and the Chair of the Management Committee, were appropriate notice will have been given. This should never compromise child ratios.
- Where staff are unwell and take sick leave in accordance with their contract of employment, we organise cover to ensure ratios are maintained.
- Sick leave is monitored and action is taken where necessary in accordance with the contract of employment.
- We have contingency plans to cover staff absences, as follows:
- When an Early Years Practitioner becomes sick, another member of staff who is not on duty that day is contacted to cover. If another member of staff is not able to provide cover, a member of the Nursery School’s management committee is called upon to provide cover. In the event of 2 of our practitioners falling sick, our Early Years Teacher can undertake a 1:13 ratio with remaining staff. (Always with a minimum of 3 staff).
- Adequate child – adult ratios are always maintained, including the times when staff are having lunch breaks.
- There will always be at least one member of staff qualified to NVQ level 3 or equivalent in accordance with the EYFS statutory welfare requirements. Where this is not possible, the Nursery School would have to operate its emergency closure procedures.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, staff will be deployed as per the government guidance. A risk assessment for working with prioritised places is included. Relaxation of the rules on ratios may be implemented only in exceptional circumstances, and only during the COVID-19 outbreak period. Any relaxation of ratios must be based on a risk assessment approach and with authorisation of the manager. Otherwise the following procedures apply.
During the COVID-19 outbreak early years staff are themselves considered to be ‘key workers’. If staff cannot source care for their own children then they are able to bring their child to the setting, ensuring that as far as possible they adhere to the criteria below and ensure they are not breaching conditions of their insurance provider:
- where members of staff have their own children with them at the setting, the age of the child must fall within the stipulated ages of the settings Ofsted registration
- where members of staff are likely to be working with their own children, this is subject to discussion with the manager.
Other useful Pre-school Learning Alliance publications
- Employee Handbook (2009)
- Employment in Early Years Settings (2007)
This policy should be read in conjunction with: ‘Safer Recruitment’
This Policy was adopted at a meeting of: Reepham Nursery School
Held in: July 2016
Date reviewed: JUNE 2020
Signed on behalf of the management committee: Rachael Jones – Chairperson.