Early Years Policies and Procedures
Ofsted requires all settings to have a set of policies and procedures. These requirements are detailed in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Guidance.
Policies and procedures help and guide all staff working in the setting. They ensure and endorse the well-being of all families, children, staff, volunteers and everyone who is connected to the setting. When policies and procedures are well thought out and, most importantly, implemented they provide common understanding and agreement on how things should be done at the setting. Procedures provide clear instructions and guidelines on what should/must be done in a particular set of circumstances or with regard to a particular issue.
Policies and procedures help new staff and families to familiarise themselves with the setting's practices and gives them information about what to expect from the setting. Policies should be 'living' documents that must be regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet all the needs of those working in the setting, and take into account the possible changes that have happened in the setting and within the wider community.
To summarise; good, well thought out and implemented policies and procedures:
- Ensure good practice;
- Help to establish a professional and effective organisation;
- Provide consistency amongst staff, parents and children;
- Can prevent any ambiguity about how particular situations/issues should be handled in the setting;
- Provide clear information about what to do when there are concerns or when things go wrong;
- Promote harmony among staff; and
- Lead to a more efficient and effective delivery of service.
Policies should be clear and concise and revised regularly to make sure they reflect best practice. Writing these can seem daunting but they are essential for the smooth running of your business and the welfare of children, staff, parents and carers and those with overall legal responsibility for the organisation.
Colleagues in Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service (EYCS) have written guidance documents to help early years and home-based childcare settings in Surrey to create a policies and procedures folder, which you may also find useful in developing policies and procedures for your early years provision.