Provision of a safe environment is essential to the well-being of children and adults. Good quality care includes taking steps to prevent accidents, being prepared to deal with emergencies if and when they occur and educating children about safety matters.
All staff working on the premises are responsible for ensuring theirs and the children’s safety. All safety concerns should be reported immediately and dealt with appropriately to ensure that it does not pose a risk. For example by removing equipment or blocking off an area temporarily. The Childcare Services Managers and the Project Director are ultimately responsible for children’s safety and all concerns should be reported to them.
When there are children on the premises there should always be a minimum of two workers present. It is essential that the staffing ratios as set out in the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements (found in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage) are adhered to –
0 - 2 year olds 1:3
2 - 3 year olds 1:4
3 - 5 year olds 1:8
Whilst in our care children should be supervised at all times. Staff will be deployed within the nursery to ensure that they meet the staff:child ratios and qualifications/experience will also be taken into consideration. The environment is set up to ensure that all areas of the nursery can be supervised and children can be seen at all times. Some activities will be monitored closer than others, for example climbing equipment and water play will always have close supervision and staff support where as other activities may be available for children to access more independently. Staff will use their knowledge and experience to decide on the level of supervision needed for each activity based on children’s individual needs and stages of development. Staff should always assess the risk of an activity before carrying it out for example if there are not enough staff in the room to safely supervise free flow indoor/outdoor play then this should not be offered at this time.
All of the nurseries/centres operate an electronically operated door entry system for the security of its users. It is important that parents/carers take their child into nursery and “hand over” their child to a member of staff when they arrive. The child’s arrival time will then be entered into the attendance register for safety reasons. When children leave the nursery, their leaving time is recorded signed by staff. Childcare staff complete regular headcounts and record this so that everyone is aware of how many children are in the room at any one time. Staff must be informed in advance if someone other than the parent/carer will be collecting the child from nursery (if this is someone that collects of a regular basis and we are aware of this arrangement it may not be necessary to inform us each time). Only adults who are named on the consent form in the child’s record are able to collect children from nursery. If we have not met this person before the nursery and/or reception staff will ask for the password or some form of ID to confirm who they are. If we have not been informed of them coming then were will ring and confirm with the parent/carer. Once we know the person on the consent form we will not need to ask them for the password or ID again. In an emergency the parent/carer may give verbal consent for a person not on the consent to collect (this will be one off consent unless they add them to the consent form). The parent/carer will need to inform the nursery of the person’s name and give them the password. If someone arrives to collect the child who is not on the consent and the parents/carers haven’t informed the nursery they will not be allowed to collect the child until this has been confirmed with the parent/carer. Only the person with parental responsibility can consent to someone collecting their child. No one under the age of 16 can collect nursery children
If a parent/carer fails to collect their child from nursery/ASC, every attempt should be made to locate them. We will begin to contact parents/carers if the child has not been collected within 10 minutes of the session finishing. If this is unsuccessful, staff should contact the “emergency contact numbers” on the child’s collection/consent form. We will continue to try and make contact for up to 30 minutes after the session finish time (more time may be given if necessary in the middle of the day if the child can be cared for whilst we wait). If contact is made and an arrangement is agreed then a senior member of staff and one other should wait with the child until they are collected. If it is not possible to arrange for any collection, the senior member of staff on site will contact Social Care. When parents/carers are on the premises, before “handing over” their child or after collecting their child, they are responsible for their child. This includes ensuring their safety and managing their behaviour.
Should a child become lost or missing, the following action will be taken: The Childcare Services Manager and Project Director will be alerted and given details of when and where the child was last seen. Staff should ensure the safety of the remaining children with regard to appropriate supervision and security. One, or preferably, two members of staff should search the premises, building or area in the immediate vicinity. If a child cannot be found within five minutes, the police and parents will be informed by the Childcare Services Manager or Project Director. Meanwhile staff will continue to search. When the situation has been resolved, the Childcare Services Manager and Project Director will investigate the incident, which will be reported to OFSTED, (Office for Standards in Education) To minimise the risk of children going missing staff should be vigilant at all times by doing regular headcounts, maintaining clear registers and ensuring that the environment remains secure.
We are committed to incorporating visits to the children’s activities to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the immediate and wider environment. Visits should be available to all children and should be organised accordingly. Particular consideration should be given, especially when selecting venues and organising transport, to any children with sensory impairment, physical disabilities or additional needs. In order to ensure safety on outing the following adult:child ratio should be adhered to: The general rule is:
0 - 3 year olds 1:2 3 - 5 year olds 1:3 5 - 8 year olds 1:5
In case of any outdoor activity, a member of staff will have made a preliminary visit to the venue. This visit is essential for safety reasons and is an opportunity to carry out a risk assessment in order to cater for any eventuality. All staff who are responsible for taking children on outing should make sure that they are aware of the risks and what should be done to prevent or minimize risks by reading the risk assessment. If transport by coach or minibus is to be involved, the organiser will check that the vehicle(s) and the operators comply with the statutory requirements and with any other requirements laid down by OFSTED or Greenfields. For emergencies staff should always take a centre phone and contact details and also a first aid kit. Regular headcounts must take place and with larger groups each member of staff should be responsible for a small group to make headcounts more manageable. Permission should be gained from parents/carers prior to taking the children out of the centre. For outings in the local community parent/carers will be asked to give blanket consent at induction. For all other trips which are further away from the centre and may require transport further signed consent will be gained.
When collecting and delivering children from local schools as part of Greenfields after school club and wrap around care program, the following procedures are observed:
If a child is booked into the After School Club and is not waiting when staff arrive at the school, they will enquire at the school office and in the child’s classroom. If they are unable to locate the child they must contact Greenfields and the parents will be contacted immediately.
Certain incidents may take place which staff feel should be recorded. These include any incident outside the usual childcare operation which is considered to be significant.
When such an incident occurs, an Incident Form (GF/C/20) will be completed and passed to the Childcare Services Manager who will decide if any further action should be taken.
Children will be taught about safety and protecting themselves at every opportunity during their time at nursery. Staff will take into consideration children’s level of understanding and their stage of development in order to encourage them to become independent and keep themselves safe. As children get older it is important for them to understand why they should or should not do something in order to make safe choices in the future. Age appropriate explanations will be incorporated into activities to give them practical examples. During their time at nursery children will be encouraged to take risks and solve challenges for themselves to encourage independence and progress in development. Childcare staff will ensure that this can take place in a safe environment and with adequate supervision and support. However when learning to be independent children may hurt themselves or others. This is not the desired outcome and will be managed in a way that risk is minimized.