FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How do we recruit our staff?
Staff recruitment and retention across the childcare sector can be difficult, with high attrition rates and considerable staff turnover. We try to minimise staff turnover by supporting staff professional development and above all providing a supportive and friendly working environment.
We advertise vacancies locally and also use reputable agencies.
Staff are recruited for their cultural fit as well as for their skills and capabilities. We assess their behaviours, skills and capabilities through one-to-one interviews and an evaluation by the whole team during a half day working in the nursery. We also ensure that new staff have two good quality references, including one from their most recent employer.
2. Are all staff DBS/CRB checked?
All of our staff have a current enhanced DBS/CRB (Disclosure and barring/Criminal Record Bureau) check to ensure their suitability to work with children. The only exceptions are staff who have just joined us and students on placement from the local colleges. In these temporary situations staff and/or students are never left unsupervised with the children at any time.
3. How do you train your staff?
All staff receive Safeguarding Children Level 1 and Paediatric First Aid training within their first few months with us. We all attend safeguarding training together every two years, and every January, we hold Paediatric First Aid courses at the nursery.
Staff attend regular meetings either for the whole nursery or specifically for their room. These meetings are used to discuss operational matters, policies and practices. In addition, we provide staff with a list of training courses provided by the local authority and NDNA each term and fully support their attendance at these.
4. How do we ensure that our staff perform?
Staff have an annual performance appraisal and a development review and a more informal mid-year review. During the reviews their performance is evaluated against goals they had set themselves and any gaps are identified.
Gaps are then addressed through a combination of one-to-one coaching, specific training courses, weekly reviews and seeking additional qualifications.
If a member of staff still fails to meet the expected standards they will be subject to the performance management and disciplinary processes outlined in our HR employment manual.
5. How experienced are the Nursery Managers?
The Manager holds a degree in Early Years and brings with her over 20 years’ experience within a nursery setting. The Deputy Manager is qualified to NVQ level 3 in Childcare and Education and is also working towards further qualification as well as holding a range of other related qualifications, with a number of years of experience in a nursery setting.
6. What is your ratio of students to qualified staff?
Typically the Baby Room, Toddler Room and Pre-School Room will each have one student (Assistant Nursery Nurse) qualifying to NVQ level 2 or 3 in Childcare Learning and Development.
7. What is your ratio of staff to children in each room?
We strictly follow Ofsted’s ratio requirements, and more often than not, exceed them.
Our staffing ratios are as follows:
Baby Room: We have at least 1 member of staff for every three babies.
Toddler Room: We have at least 1 member of staff for every three children under the age of 2 and at least 1 member of staff for every four children over the age of 2.
Pre-School Room: We have at least 1 member of staff for every four children over the age of 2 and at least 1 member of staff for every eight children over the age of 3.
8. Can we really look after three babies on a 1:3 ratio? – It’s hard enough looking after one!
The staff are solely focused on caring for your children and as they work in a team supporting one another, they are able to ensure that the babies within their care are well looked after (fed, nappy changed etc…), entertained and stimulated throughout the day.
9. How will we help your child settle in to the nursery?
We offer a complimentary two week settling in period before your child’s start date. We find this really helps the child to feel at home and form bonds with staff and ensures parents are comfortable leaving their child on their first proper day. This also allows staff to get to know the child and understand how to put them at ease and distract them if they are upset when they are dropped off.
The first session is 1 hour long and you are asked to attend with your child to fill in some forms and provide us with information about your child.
We also use a two week transition period when children move between rooms at the nursery. This follows a period of visits and play time in the new room. This helps to ensure that each child is settled and happy in their new room.
10. Are you open earlier than 8am or later than 6pm?
The opening times of 8am to 6pm has to be strictly adhered to due to the registration regulations that are in place for this nursery and also insurance purposes.
11. When will we call you?
If your child has a raised temperature, we will call you before we administer Calpol to ensure that your child hasn’t already received a dose and to keep you informed. If your child’s temperature doesn’t drop or they require Calpol again that day, we will call you to collect your child.
We will call you to collect your child if they vomit or have two loose stools during the day, or if they come down with any of the common childhood illnesses (e.g. chicken pox, conjunctivitis).
In addition, we will call you and let you know if your child has a bump or bruise that may concern you on collection.
You are free to call the nursery whenever you need to check on your child.
12. What extra-curricular activities do you have?
We have regular visits from:
- Totstars – sports session for Pre-School children
- Sing and Sign – for all children
- Musical Bumps – singing with actions and musical instruments for all children
- Mango Tree – African drumming for Pre-School children
- ZooLab – animal handling sessions with unusual animals for all children
- Dance with the Dynamic Theatre and Arts Academy – Dance sessions for toddlers and pre school
- French classes – language sessions designed especially for pre-school age children
13. How often do you have Parents’ Evenings?
We hold Parents’ Evenings twice a year. This gives you an opportunity to talk about your child, look through your child’s file with their key person and find out they enjoy doing at nursery. Such conversations do not need to wait until Parent’s Evening though!
Parents are also invited in to nursery for “Make and Bake” sessions when they can spend time with their child at nursery and take part in some fun activities. We also hold a nativity play party at Christmas and a school leavers’ party in the summer.
14. How do we prepare children for going to “big” school?
In the few months before leaving, children in our Pre-School room spend time talking about going to school, what it will be like? who will take them? what uniform they will wear? etc, we read stories together about going to school, which initiate conversations from the children, and discuss any fears or concerns they may have and the excitement of going to ‘big school’! Nearer the time the role play area is turned into a classroom, which gives the children the opportunity to dress up in uniforms, pack their ‘book bags’ and act out what they feel will happen when they go to school. We also visit local schools for the children to get a feel for what being in a classroom is like.