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Am I over reacting?

10 replies

Mattlehat · 09/07/2014 09:54

Hi
My son goes to a nursery 4 days a week for full days.
In the past 2 weeks there has been two occaisons when child to staff ratios have been exceeded in the room where my son is. Each time I have mentioned it to both the staff in the room (they said it was not a problem as there was another worker on a break close by) and the management (they went and did something about it straight away).
My son seems really happy at the nursery but then he wouldn't know if the rules were being broken or not and the workers in his room are really good but seem oblivious to the rules.
My wife and I have been discussing what to do, should we change his nursery, report it to Ofsted etc. Their previous Ofsted report was not very good either but we chose to continue our sons childcare there based on how happy he seemed to be but now we are having doubts about their ability to follow the rules which is worrying.
What would other people do in this situation?

OP posts:
OutragedFromLeeds · 09/07/2014 19:27

I think you will find that a lot of nurseries exceed ratios during staff breaks. It's too expensive to employ someone just to cover breaks. You could look at other nurseries in your area and ask how they deal with staff breaks. Local authority nurseries will be best because they're not trying to make a profit.

myusername1 · 09/07/2014 19:31

Yes, probably, but it depends on the circumstances- these are presumably just moments when you happen to be in to collect/drop off, so you don't see it happen for extended periods? (And are you sure about the ratios/ages of every child?) You can't expect all staff to be in the room with all the children all the time - they need to accompany kids to the loo, do nappies, be with one or more in the sleep room, collect the food from the kitchen, pass a message on to next door/manager, take a loo break themselves or drink etc. There are times when the kids need less supervision, e.g. all sitting around the table for snack, or half are sleeping, and this is a good time to do some of the above, or other tasks which need to doing and are impossible in busy times... As long as the absent member of staff is at hand, it's not necessarily a terrible thing...

Buttercup27 · 09/07/2014 19:35

Are you sure they are over ratio? It depends on what qualifications someone has, as to how many children they can look after.
When I worked I a nursery I was all 13 children as I am a qualified teacher. So on the days I worked we only needed 2 members of staff in my room. But on my days off they needed 3 for the same number of children. To a parent who didn't know the rules it could look like every day I worked we were over ratio.

Cindy34 · 09/07/2014 20:46

Ratio is not on a per room basis, or at least it was not when I worked in nurseries. I feel it should be done that way but alas the regulator did not agree with me.

I feel you are right to question it, put a complaint in to the nursery in writing, if that is not responded to in a satisfactory way then escalate it to the regulator. However be aware that the ratio may not be on a per room basis, though I think some wording was changed in more recent EYFS about children needing to be in sight or hearing of staff, so someone on their break I don't think would count.

Read the EYFS framework, quote the relevant bit in your complaint to the nursery, then see what action they take.

Good nurseries have more staff than minimum ratio.

Cindy34 · 09/07/2014 20:47

EYFS 2014 - assuming you are in England.

Cindy34 · 09/07/2014 20:51

From EYFS 2014 - bottom of page 21.

3.28
Staffing arrangements must meet the needs of all children and ensure their safety. Providers must ensure that children are adequately supervised and decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met. Providers must inform parents and/or carers about staff deployment, and, when relevant and practical, aim to involve them in these decisions. Children must usually be within sight and hearing of staff and always within sight or hearing.


So you can ask the nursery to tell you about staff deployment.

Loletta · 09/07/2014 21:23

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Victoria2002 · 14/07/2014 21:03

I worked and trained in several nurseries and it's common practice to exceed ratios. Tricks include moving staff from room to room while showing prospective parents round and counting trainees/volunteers (in some situations they should not be counted), having no breaks allowed during Ofsted inspections... I also toured a nursery where the manager had an office off one room with a glass door so they were counted even though they stayed there 90% of the time doing paperwork. I think you should turn up enexpectedly and you should complain but you will struggle to find a new nursery that doesn't do the same.

Poolbirthx2 · 21/07/2014 09:49

I would definitely put a complaint in to the nursery.
We pay nursery fees, which are very expensive, an therefor expect the correct number of staff

HeyN0nny · 01/08/2014 19:59

Staff ratios at my DC's nursery always allow for contingency - so they can always take a child for an extra day at no notice, don't need cover for illness, etc. This comes at a price - about £10 per day extra compared to other local Outstanding nurseries. Something to think about...

(It wasn't the reason we chose it - DC1 was there, similar prices to others, but they often found themselves in the situation you describe so increased staff and prices - but we were committed by then...)

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