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To think the nursery ratios are important?

(16 Posts)
Babylonmood Sun 16-Nov-14 20:14:43

Looking at nurseries and think we've found one we like. However, on the last visit for the good 15-20 minutes we were there, the toddlers room had 8 toddlers and 2 staff. All under two so should be 3:1. I asked the manager while we were there and she shrugged me off saying it was probably a nappy change. I felt more unhappy and emailed later asking pretty open questions about the situation. Her response was a bit dismissive. One member of staff dealing with nappy, another was uploading learning journals and that they were required to have the correct ratios in the building but staff needed breaks etc. tbh. A bit of a confused answer and certainly not the one I was looking for! Anyway I thought the ratios were important so that the children get the attention they need. To me 1:3 is very different to 1:4. Is this normal practise?

ladeedad Sun 16-Nov-14 20:18:05

Afaik it's an average time ratio, and can't be maintained all the time.

Suefla62 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:23:55

They're hardly going to employ an extra person for the few minute people need to leave the room.

hollie84 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:24:05

Nappy changes are normal, but usually the bathroom is off the main room. They should have enough staff to cover breaks and planning/paperwork time and still maintain the ratios in the room though.

Babylonmood Sun 16-Nov-14 20:31:05

Of course nappy breaks but I was concerned that there was a long period of 1:4. Since all the kids sleep at the same time that seems like a great admin opportunity. I suppose I am asking whether I'm expecting too much that the nursery prioritises maintaining the ratio.

skylark2 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:35:11

If you're unhappy, even if it's only a gut feeling, I would pick another nursery.

I haven't a clue whether my kids' nursery maintained 1:3 during nappy changes. I knew from the moment I walked through the door that it was right for them.

hollie84 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:39:19

I would expect ratios to be generally observed at all times. Someone going into the kitchen to prepare snack/bathroom to change a nappy/going to the office to phone a parent is obviously all fine.

Not covering extended periods of time for staff breaks or paperwork, not ok.

DS1 went to a children's centre where they always had more than minimum ratios so this wasn't an issue. Maybe look at LA rather than private nurseries? Most private nurseries will work on minimal staffing levels.

Babylonmood Sun 16-Nov-14 20:40:09

Sorry. I haven't been clear. I get that 1:3 can't be maintained at all times but it didn't seem like it was a priority. So someone nips out to change a nappy - fine. Maybe the person doing their admin can come back in. Or is that expecting too much?

The nursery seems very nice and in all other respects I am happy. This issue is my sticking point and so I wanted to gauge whether other nurseries are similar.

Babylonmood Sun 16-Nov-14 20:41:03

X message with you Hollie b

callamia Sun 16-Nov-14 20:44:32

I know that my son's nursery has someone who comes in just over lunch and at the end if the day to cover lunch breaks and end of day (a regular key worked does the early shift, so leaves an hour early).

I also know that it's not impossible to draft someone in from another room if it's necessary, or ask the manager to pitch in - she's often around in one if the rooms at the end of the day, and I think that's really nice - she gets to know the children and parents too.

WineWineWine Sun 16-Nov-14 20:52:39

You were only there for 15-20 minutes. Preparing a snack or changing a nappy could easily have taken a member of staff for that time. I would expect that they have enough staff to cover the correct ratio the majority of the time, with extra staff to cover breaks, but there will always be times when one staff member is dealing with 1 child.

nannynick Sun 16-Nov-14 20:58:15

Over 10 years ago I raised ratio issue with a CCI (childcare inspector) and was told that ratio was the nursery as a whole. Over the years there has been some changes to ratio but it does not go as far as stating that there has to be x number of adults in the same room as the children. Instead it says things like "Children must usually be within sight and hearing of staff and always within sight or hearing." (EYFS Sept 2014).

Great nurseries I have temped in have had more staff than the minimum requirement. Layout of nurseries is also often planned such that things you do frequently (so nappy changes when you are talking about under 2's) are done such that children are still in sight and hearing, whilst still giving the child being changed some privacy.

Staff on a break or doing things like cleaning are now not part of ratio.
"The ratio and qualification requirements below apply to the total number of staff available to work directly with children." (EYFS Sept 2014)
So if a member of staff is doing admin away from the children, then they are not working directly with the children so should not be counted in ratio. Staff on a lunch break are not in ratio.

You felt it was wrong when you visited. You felt strongly enough about it to send an email. So really I feel you have decided that this nursery does not meet your expectations.

Is it typical of nurseries - well there is no typical. Some nurseries will manage things better than others, some will spend more on some things than other things. Some for example spend lots of making the outside of the nursery look nice, on latest equipment. Others spend it on staff. There has to be a balance, spending on staff and on equipment.

So keep looking at nurseries, find somewhere that has a better balance to how they spend the money. Also look at other options, such as Childminders.

CountingThePennies Sun 16-Nov-14 21:02:40

I would of thought they would of made a massive effort to ensure all hands were on deck if they knew someone was coming to visit.

If something is telling you that something isnt right now, then there will be other things you are not happy with once he starts

JennyBlueWren Sun 16-Nov-14 21:04:52

If it's your only issue then why not visit other nurseries and see how they compare. Or go back and visit at another time and see if it's the same.

Babylonmood Sun 16-Nov-14 21:12:00

We dropped in to drop off application forms so they weren't expecting us. While dp sorted stuff me and dd went to toddler room on their invitation. Open and friendly and not cagey.

Babylonmood Sun 16-Nov-14 21:13:04

We've visited a lot of nurseries and will visit more if necessary.

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