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Nursery over ration - twice in 6 weeks

(11 Posts)
MummyNic Tue 30-Aug-11 12:42:50

2 year old DC seems pretty happy at nursery but twice now I have found the room to be out of ratio. Last month I dropped DC off and there were 6 children in total, 1 staff member... I questioned the manager (when I left) & she said that she was just on her way... But I was there for 10 / 15 mins settling DC... Too long to be out of ratio (if it is EVER acceptable).
Collected DC the other day and found there were 7 children (including DC) and only 1 staff. Whilst there a phone call came to the room - twas the other staff member checking all was ok. I asked the girl if she was out of ratio and she said 'yes, that was X checking that I was ok'

Oh, well that's ok then... ring & check - I haven't seen that in the EYFS but I'm sure it must be... Doh!!!

Going to ring manager again.

Shall I report this? My concern is that if they can do it at drop off / pick up time when parents will notice... what the hell happens the rest of the time? Left completely alone with knives?!!! (kidding! hmm

inmysparetime Tue 30-Aug-11 16:14:26

Technically the ratios are based on the number of adults in the building not the number in the room, to allow for staff e.g. Taking children to the toilet, but a staff member shouldn't have been alone for that length of time with that many kids. A good manager will take your comments on board and bring it up at the next staff meeting, and you should see an immediate return to proper ratios.
Summer is a tricky time as many staff take holidays, it may resolve itself anyway once term time starts again.

MummyNic Thu 01-Sep-11 10:29:19

Appreciate it's a difficult time with holidays. I do struggle with your comment that it's 'adults in the building' though. This nursery is split into 4 rooms so it really can't apply else all the staff could be in a totally different area whilst there is just 1 person in each room.
I have spoken to manager who will investigate when the staff who were meant to be in the room are back from hols.
I'm trying to avoid making trouble or a name for myself as being a moaner. I can turn a blind eye to 5 children to 1 person at pick up time (knowing the number of children will soon reduce) but to see 1 person looking after 7 2 year olds was quite alarming - made me realise why the ratios exist. I can turn a blind eye to staff going to the loo too... But I was there 10 - 15 mins and the other girl wasn't there when I arrived nor was she there when I left - so who knows how long that girl was alone with all those kiddies.

Maybe I sound harsh but my DC had a serious accident at previous nursery (which is why he's elsewhere), it happened because he wasn't being supervised....

inmysparetime Thu 01-Sep-11 13:03:22

I am not excusing the situation, just giving statutory requirements and possible reasons. I work in a day nursery myself and my boss has a particular focus on staff being in their own rooms for that very reason. I am occasionally on my own with more than 4 2 year olds, but never for long, always with good reason, and always in contact with other staff and management via phones in the rooms.
I am glad you took your concerns to the manager, hopefully it will be resolved quickly.

littletime Tue 06-Sep-11 21:00:12

I would be really worried about this. I've been meaning to post for a while on this as it's been bugging me since I read it last week. I don't think communicating by phones is the way forward, what if a child wets herself and then two other children have a fight over a car - how can one person sort the child's accident and the other children's fight...then the phone rings and she abandon's all of this to pick up the phone and ask for help. I'd take it up with the manager and request that two people are in the room with more than two children - it's sensible and should be a rule for all good nurseries.

littletime Tue 06-Sep-11 21:01:02

by the way - surely rules don't go out of the window just because it was the holidays!

MummyNic Thu 08-Sep-11 21:16:19

I agree, tbh my policy would be a min of 2 staff at all times, regardless of ratio. If there's an accident someone can deal whilst other gets help / emergency svcs. Maybe I'm idealistic but 1 staff member is vulnerable regardless of number of kids. Manager hasn't contacted me with reason but both staff are back. I will ring again tomorrow. I don't think she's terribly good at her job, comes up with crap excuses. Will see if I can talk to other manager as she seems much more pro active.
I just don't want a reputation of being a moany mum. Wish they had a parents forum of some sorts. I wonder if this is why they don't...
Children's safety is the most important thing and I must remember that when I ring tomorrow angry

1sockmonkey Fri 09-Sep-11 11:30:43

I have just reported the nursery my son goes to as they are often over ratio. When I brought it up with the manager a couple of months ago her response was that they do have an agency they can use when short staffed but the owner does not like using them because it is too expensive hmm My response was tough I expect them to be used.

Dropped my son off yesterday to find there was a grand total of 2 staff and the manager to look after 12 children. 4 were under 2 and the rest over 2. Things have not improved which is why i have reported them. Im also now looking for alternative childcare!

Jojo1983 Fri 09-Sep-11 11:45:28

In the nursery where I work we have a rule that no member of staff is left on their own ever!
Ratios are there for a reason and any nursery who cant keep to them is not a good nursery imo. We use Bank staff who work within our nursery and the other branches within the area and never use agency as they dont know the children and we dont know them.
Ratios are always maintained even at the busier times (drop offs, lunch times and pick ups) we have lunch covers who cover the staff lunches and if I ment to go home at 4.30 but we have too many children I will stay until I can legally leave.

why5am Tue 13-Sep-11 21:50:37

I think the legal ratio requirements are not about being in the same building but about being in direct supervision of the children i.e. in the same room See Appendix 2 for the legal requirements.
I hope the manager takes it seriously and acts. It's something I'd be concerned about. We've just moved our daughter from a nursery that had complaints about ratios registered with Ofsted (who found it to be an issue on an unannounced visit). It wasn't something I'd seen at pick-up but turns out was one of many issues at that nursery..

MummyNic Sat 17-Sep-11 21:34:24

Yep, that's quite clear: ratio of staff in direct contact with children and they must still be in ratio regardless of breaks, sickness & holidays etc. Very black and White.
Nursery haven't got back to me (not surprised)! Going to try & talk to manager rather than deputy.
Interestingly the appendix also says that staff talking to parents (so pick up & drop off times) should not be included in ratio - I guess because they can't be actively supervising... So when I picked him up there was technically no one watching the 7 children!! angry

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