Following on from PACEY’s spring conference (June 2015), where the issue of child ratios for childminders was raised, Ofsted has helped clarify the issue and has shared the following guidance.
The EYFS provides the standard ratios but also recognises circumstances where these ratios can change so that the needs of children and their families are met. Paragraphs 3.30 and 3.42 advise that: ‘exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, exceptions to the ratios may be made’. For example exceptions can be made when childminders are caring for sibling babies or when caring for their own baby. There may also be other adjustments to the ratios, for example where children need continuity of care.
This means that sometimes I may have more than 3 preschool children by myself but not more than 6 under 8’s. On each of these occasions I will risk assess the situation before committing to the extra cover.
I will take into account:
The ages of the children I will be minding.
The total number of children I would be minding.
How they interact together.
The amount of time I will have extra children.
What I will be doing and where I need to go (i.e. school runs)
Normally this would be under the “need continuity of care” where a parent needs extra hours here and there. Should I need to go over on a permanent basis on a particular day I will speak to the parents of the children it would affect. I will not agree to extra hours if I do not feel I can provide the care and attention each child needs.