key worker used as cover elsewhere

(18 Posts)
Chloris33 Tue 25-Oct-16 13:40:01

Does this happen in other people's nurseries? If they are short-staffed in one room (say the older children's room) because a staff member is off-sick etc, then they cover it with a member of staff from another room (such as the baby room) if that room is well-staffed. This means that my sons's key person has twice not been there for him recently, as she's been working upstairs in another room. Not great in terms of stability when he is quite new to nursery. Of course you have holidays, sick days etc, but this policy seems to add to the instability.

BackforGood Wed 26-Oct-16 00:00:49

Well yes, if they have more staff than they need in one room (with dc doing different days of the week / different times / or even just being off sick themselves) then of course they are going to utilise that staff member who is not needed in one room, in another room where they are short. It would be illogical not to. You'll find all the staff in the room know him well, not just his key person.

insancerre Wed 26-Oct-16 06:31:46

Ye, its standard
The nursery can never guarantee that his key person will always be there. They might be on holiday, be off sick, attending training, have admin time out of thee room, be in meetings, or cover for other members of staff in the nursery, or even at other nurseries if the nursery is part of a chain
In my nursery, each child has a secondary keyyperson but in reality all my staff do know all the children and its not really an issue if the key person isn't there
If you are worried, speak to the manager about your concerns.

bumblebumbling Wed 26-Oct-16 18:53:18

Yes. I work in a nursery and it's just what happens. What else would you expect them to do?

HappyTalking Wed 26-Oct-16 20:12:16

Yes this is usual practise. The nursery are not going to pay for agency cover when they have extra staff in another room.

SellFridges Wed 26-Oct-16 20:18:10

This happens in ours. Obviously key workers aren't there all day every day. DS is full time so his key worker would need to work a 50 hour week!

Chloris33 Thu 27-Oct-16 07:02:54

Thanks for responses. My concern was that for the last 3 whole days DS has been there his key person has not been working in his room at all, but in a room for the older children as cover. I have just spoken to the manager about it & she said they'll try to share the cover around. If course I know his keyperson won't be there 100% of the time - that's not the issue.

Chloris33 Thu 27-Oct-16 07:11:45

It's just that I feel if it happens a lot for whole days then, from my point of view, it does undermine the key person system. I'm a psychologist & it is well established that very young children need the consistency of an attachment figure being around for them, and I thought the keyworker system would provide this. But perhaps if I feel strongly about that I should have chosen a childminder instead. Childcare is all new to me so I'm feeling my way through & learning how nursery works.

ALongTimeComing Thu 27-Oct-16 07:23:15

Yes unfortunately it's normal and I wasn't impressed either. It's really hard to hand over your baby to someone new each day. However, at the same time the keyworker is going to be off some of the time- holidays/sick/personal leave. Although I wasn't enthused when it was cover elsewhere.

ladypie21 Thu 27-Oct-16 07:30:18

I view the keyworker as more of an administrative role. They record development and report to parents and to nursery records. My kids have usually attached themselves to someone else anyway.

Sirzy Thu 27-Oct-16 07:31:12

I see it as a good thing, it means the children get used to all the staff in the nursery so that no matter who is off their is a continuity for them and they feel comfy with people.

When the staff moving worth the other way it also means when children move up rooms they already know the staff which helps ease transition

PerspicaciaTick Thu 27-Oct-16 07:34:58

I think you are over-thinking the role of keyworker.

NerrSnerr Thu 27-Oct-16 07:36:51

My daughter has been in nursery for just over a year. In two out of the three rooms she has been in the person she was most attached to wasn't her keyworker.

SpotTheDuck Thu 27-Oct-16 07:43:20

Keyworker is more about the admin of meeting with the parents, recording notes about the child etc. It's not really about developing a secure attachment to that one person, as they won't be there or available all the time.

In practice whichever worker is available will look after your son, or whichever worker can most efficiently do a particular task. So for example your sons keyworker won't do all the nappy changes - one worker will set up at the changing table and change all the babies one after another (for the routine they get new nappies every few hours changes anyway) and he may gravitate more towards one of the other workers anyway.

So yes this is normal, and it's one of the reasons we didn't go with a nursery.

Rainingchocolate Thu 27-Oct-16 10:37:42

Spottheduck in a good nursery that should not happen. The keyperson or buddy should do all the nappy changes as needed, do the feeds and settle to sleep. If the keyperson is off then the buddy steps in.

It takes planning but is so important for the child. If the child gravitates to someone else then the keyperson can be changed.

OP - ask if there is a buddy in place? Unfortunately with staff sickness there does need to be a bit of shuffling around with staff, the alternative would be to be very over staffed (we over staff but can't legislate for that bug that wipes out 5 staff!) or agency staff, both of which will push up fees.

LucyLastik Thu 27-Oct-16 10:50:03

The key person role is absolutely not just about admin

SpotTheDuck Thu 27-Oct-16 11:39:02

That's strange - the system as it was explained to us in three nurseries we viewed, and the one we tried for a few weeks, was very much that the keyworker was the namedbperson for admin but that all the staff worked with all the children? Maybe we didn't like those nurseries because they just weren't very good! There wasn't any kind of buddy system so far as I know.

BackforGood Thu 27-Oct-16 12:37:39

I'm a psychologist & it is well established that very young children need the consistency of an attachment figure being around for them, and I thought the keyworker system would provide this. But perhaps if I feel strongly about that I should have chosen a childminder instead.

Well, yes. This is a reason many people prefer a Childminder for babies / younger toddlers.

I disagree with rainingchocolate though -

The keyperson or buddy should do all the nappy changes as needed, do the feeds and settle to sleep.

From a safeguarding pov, most nurseries prefer the nappy changing to be done on a rota amongst staff in the room.

In most Nurseries, the person who is on the early shift (starting perhaps at 7.30) will go home at 3.30 / 4, and the person you might pick up from at 6 / 6.30 won't have been there at drop off at 8am, so you will not have the same person looking after them for the length of your working day + commute, unless you use a childminder.

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