The Role of the Key Person and Settling-In (4.1)

Policy aim:

At Reepham Nursery School, we believe that children settle best when they have a key person to relate to, who knows them and their parents/carers well, and who can meet their individual needs. Research shows that a key person approach benefits the child, the parents, the staff and the setting by providing secure relationships in which children thrive, parents have confidence, staff are committed and the setting is a happy and dedicated place to attend or work in.

We want children to feel safe, stimulated and happy at our Nursery and to feel secure and comfortable with staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children’s well-being and their role as active partners with the Nursery.

We aim to make the Nursery a welcoming place where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of children and their families.

They key person role is set out in the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (2014). Each setting must offer a key person for each child.

The procedures set out a model for developing a key person approach that promotes effective and positive relationships for children who are in settings.


 We allocate a key person before the child starts and inform parents when they come for their initial visit.

  • The key person and an Early Years Lead Practitioner are responsible for the induction of the family and for settling the child into our Nursery.
  • The key person offers unconditional regard for the child and is non-judgemental.
  • The key person works with the parents/carers and other Nursery staff, to plan for their child’s well-being, care and leaning and development.
  • The key person acts as the key contact for the parents/carers and has links with others involved with the child, such as child-minders or other settings. The key person co-ordinates sharing of information with other agencies when appropriate.
  • A key person is responsible for developmental records and for sharing information on a regular basis with the child’s parents/carers, to keep those records up-to-date.
  • The key person encourages positive relationships between children in her/his key group, spending time with them regularly.

We promote the role of the key person as the child’s primary carer in our setting, using this as the basis for establishing relationships with other staff and children. In some instances, e.g. to accommodate attendance patterns, or if the child’s key person is absent we feel is it necessary for a child to have a key person and a key ‘buddy’. We will always inform parents of who their child’s key person and their ‘buddy’ is.


During the COVID-19 outbreak it is likely that some children will not have their usual key person. Where this is the case, and the key buddy is available, they will step into this role. If this person is not available then the principles of the key person role are followed as closely as possible.

Any temporary staff must be trained to proficiently and safely administer medical procedures for individual children. They must also adhere to the guidelines and procedures on caring for the individual needs of children with SEND, as detailed in their Health Care Plans.

Prioritised place risk assessment should be use to identify any risk that may be incurred due to a change in key person for these children.


  • Before the child begins at Reepham Nursery School, we use a variety of ways to provide parents/carers with information. These include written information (including our prospectus and policies), displays about activities available within the setting, information days and were necessary, individual meetings with parents.
  • During the half-term before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child and their parents/carers to visit the setting.
  • We use pre-start visits to explain and complete with the child’s parents/carers the child’s registration forms.
  • We have an expectation that the parent, carer or close relative, will stay, if necessary, during the child’s first week, gradually taking time away from their child, increasing this as and when the child is able to cope.
  • Younger children can take longer to settle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home or their main parent/carer. Children who have had a period of absence may also need their parent/carers to be on hand to re-settle them.
  • We judge a child to be settled when they have formed a relationship with their key person or they are happy to be separated from their main carer for short periods of time.
  • When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and when.
  • We recognise that some children will settle more readily than others, but we expect that the parent/carer will honour the commitment to stay, until their child can stay happily without them.
  • We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.
  • We reserve the right not to accept a child into the setting without a parent or carer if the child finds it distressing to be left. This is especially the case with very young children.
  • Within the first four to six weeks of starting the key person will arrange to meet with the parent/carer to discuss how the child has settled in at nursery and to start to create their child’s record of achievement.


This Policy was adopted at a meeting of:  Reepham Nursery School
Held in:  June 2016
Date to be reviewed:  June 2021
Signed on behalf of the management committee:  Maria Amies