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School Nursery Staffing

(22 Posts)
Mistoffelees Thu 02-Nov-17 21:09:47

Does anyone else run a 26 place nursery with 2 members of staff? It's my first year doing it this way (have always had 3 before) and we just feel like we're not delivering best practice. Any advice on how to make things run smoothly, how to do free flow in and outside for example, would be greatly appreciated.

BackforGood Fri 03-Nov-17 01:05:25

I don't, but that is the normal ratio if one of the members of staff has QTS.
1:13 with a teacher in charge (usually a school Nursery) or 1:8 if not (usually a PVI)

How you do freeflow is usually dictated by the physical layout of your room / outside space

Mistoffelees Fri 03-Nov-17 07:15:45

Yes I know it's the 'normal' ratio but all other nurseries I have worked in (and this one previously) or had a chance to visit have at least 3 members of staff. Our room is kind of a T shape with direct outdoor access but toilets separate so we have found it necessary for us to be either all in or all out.

insancerre Fri 03-Nov-17 07:26:24

You can't do free flow with 2 members of staff, it's not safe
You need another person
Can you be predominantly based outside so time spent inside is limited?

Mistoffelees Fri 03-Nov-17 07:35:37

I'm glad you've said that insancerre I thought I'd missed something. The only problem with being outside the majority of the time is toileting, we still have lots in the afternoons who need changing and one or two in the mornings who don't make it in time so that leaves one person outside on their own, not within shouting distance of any support if anyone falls over or something. We have been told that within this year's (and likely next year's) budget there is no money for an additional member of staff.

Littlefish Fri 03-Nov-17 20:52:35

Could you investigate having a student from a local college? They wouldn't count in ratios, but would at least be an extra pair of hands to support the adults.

Alternatively, would there be enough money in the budget to pay for an apprentice? I don't know the legalities of counting them in ratio though.

Mistoffelees Fri 03-Nov-17 21:44:11

We are first on the list for if a uni student requests a placement but the three so far have asked for key stage 1. Will double check we have links with the college.
We are working with a deficit I believe so I imagine even an apprentice wouldn't be possible.
Luckily everyone in school is very supportive if we need to grab them in desperate situations e.g. when one child had an accident and another had a bumped head but this doesn't help with the day to day running of things. I feel like we're only just able to ensure the children are safe and happy and that our environment isn't completely trashed let alone have time for all the lovely interactions that might actually help the children to progress.

Maidupmum Sat 04-Nov-17 12:40:21

A sign of the times I’m afraid. Schools can’t magic extra money out of thin air and have to work within the constraints of the budget they have 😞

Mistoffelees Sat 04-Nov-17 13:53:25

I know, I'm not blaming the school (although it would have been nice to have this information when I agreed to take on the role) but I am desperate for ideas on how to do more than the bare minimum with the children whilst still maintaining that bare minimum!

AlcoholicsUnanimous Sat 04-Nov-17 13:55:40

We have 3 members of staff for 39. No advice, delivering the bare minimum is all that's achievable at this ratio I'm afraid.

ChanandlerBongsNeighbour Sat 04-Nov-17 14:08:54

I have two staff for 26 in school nursery. Works well as we have a good layout, the outside area borders one whole side of the classroom which is floor to ceiling glass so one in one out during free flow is fine.

Am new though and am used to four staff for 45 so it’s taking some getting used to having only two pairs of hands but working ok so far!

insancerre Sat 04-Nov-17 14:10:45

advertise for a volunteer?
There are people who would jump at the opportunity to gain experience,

ElizabethShaw Sat 04-Nov-17 14:18:28

Students and volunteers can count in ratios.

I have done this (well 2 adults with 20, but still the same indoor/outdoor issue) and we couldn't safely do freeflow. It meant having a set routine eg play, circle time, snack, everyone goes for a wee/nappy changes, outside, lunch. What do reception do? Can you be outside at the same time so at least there is an extra adult if a child needs the toilet etc?

MyOtherProfile Sat 04-Nov-17 14:21:43

It really does depend on your layout. What is yours like? Can the indoor person not do toileting so they are indoors with the I door children plus loos? We did it but it is hard and we lobbied constantly for an extra TA. The ratios are madness. Just because someone has QTS doesn't make them magically able to juggle more kids.

Mistoffelees Sat 04-Nov-17 22:19:02

Thanks all, I will ask about advertising for volunteers, I hadn't even thought of that!
We do sometimes go out at the same time as reception and will hopefully do that more once the children are settled but we've been advised by our phase leader that we will still need 2 people inside due to our layout so the only alternative is to shut an area, this is likely to include our construction, mark making (although do have opportunities in other areas), maths games, small world and computers/interactive whiteboard.
Part of the problem is that the toilets are quite separate so there's no way to keep an eye on the classroom when you're in the toilets, other settings I have worked at have had a large open doorway directly into the toilets off the main classroom, in our case the toilets are down a corridor through a door.

calamityjam Sat 04-Nov-17 22:34:55

I'm doing a degree in working with the children and families and desperate for a nursery placement. You're not in the Manchester area are you op?

Mistoffelees Sat 04-Nov-17 22:41:53

Afraid not calamity, most places are usually desperate for volunteers though, have you approached local schools already?

Mistoffelees Sat 04-Nov-17 22:43:56

I do feel a little bit that using volunteers to essentially replace a paid member of staff (and buying resources form my own money which I'm doing all the time) kind of masks the problem but with no likelihood of more money this year I think it's what we're going to have to do!

MaybeDoctor Tue 07-Nov-17 09:23:24

I wonder if some physical/structural changes might help? Eg. Extra door, window or hatch.

Would come out of a capital budget rather than staffing.

Perhaps have a chat with the site manager?

flowers as it is difficult to handle.

Mistoffelees Wed 08-Nov-17 22:16:15

Thanks Maybe, structural changes would definitely help and can think of one which might be doable. Will have a chat with our finance officer to see what could be done.
Thanks for the flowers too, been feeling so crap this week because I know I can be much better teacher than what I am managing at the moment sad

Tanaqui Tue 14-Nov-17 07:23:51

Basically, I think it would be easier and the children would benefit more in this case if you did go for a more traditional structure as described above- I know you would lose the benefits of free flow, but you could deliver more quality interactions. Would your slt be okay with that though?

Mistoffelees Tue 14-Nov-17 07:40:28

That's essentially what we're doing Tanaqui but I don't feel like it's helping us because there are a few children who could really do with being outside the whole session so we tend to spend a lot of time telling those children to have walking feet and settling them to tasks. Equally we can't all be outside the whole session because of the toileting issues, it would just leave one person even more on their own with all the children when the other is changing.

To be fair mornings are now much better and I'm beginning to see how it will work so long as my colleague is open to doing fewer one to one activities with the children (which she hasn't been so far but I'll keep working on her!) But afternoons as always are a completely different kettle of fish!

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