Although the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework gives guidance to childcare providers on staffing, it is quite limited and non-prescriptive. The relevant paragraphs that childcare providers should be aware of are 3.9-3.27. We have picked out some of the main points and listed them here, but providers should adhere to all of the requirements as shown in the EYFS framework. Childcare providers in the maintained sector i.e. school nurseries, should adhere to the EYFS requirements and also follow the policies and procedures set out in the Schools HR policies and guidance section.
1) Providers must have effective systems in place to ensure that anyone likely to have contact with children in their setting is suitable.
2) An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check must be obtained for everyone working or living on the premises aged 16 and over. Childcare settings (excluding childminders) must record information about staff qualifications and the identity checks and vetting processes completed.
3) Providers must never allow a person without an enhanced DBS to have unsupervised contact with children. As a person's Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) certificate expires (the old name for a DBS check), they need to apply for a new DBS check and, ideally, pay to sign up to the DBS update service. Childminders must sign up to the update service, otherwise they will be made to re-apply for the DBS by Ofsted, and pay again.
The DBS update service allows a provider to check a person's criminal record status regularly. If staff do sign up to the update service, there is no need to renew the certificate every three years. There is no official expiry date on a DBS certificate, which is why they brought in the update service. Further information can be found in a factsheet produced by the Department for Education (DfE).
4) Practitioners must not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may affect their ability to care for children. Medical advice should be sought if practitioners are prescribed medication.
5) All staff must receive induction training, regular appraisals and supervisions.
6) Providers must ensure that staff have sufficient understanding and use of English.
7) In group settings, the manager must hold at least a full and relevant level 3 qualification and at least half of all other staff must hold at least a full and relevant level 2 qualification. The manager should have at least two years’ experience of working in an early years setting, or have at least two years’ other suitable experience. The provider must ensure there is a named deputy who, in their judgement, is capable and qualified to take charge in the manager’s absence.
In order to ascertain whether or not qualifications are relevant, and to ensure you are meeting your statutory requirements, please use the Early Years Qualification checker provided by the Department for Education (DfE). We advise you use the checker for all existing staff, and whenever you receive applications from prospective practitioners.
8) If a childminder employs an assistant, Ofsted will carry out the relevant checks. Ofsted will need to be notified and an EY2 form filled out online. Employing an assistant will only increase the number of children a childminder can look after if the premises meets the space requirements (paragraph 3.56 of the EYFS framework). Assistants should also have regular supervisions and appraisals. If a childminder intends to leave children alone with the assistant, the assistant must have a Paediatric First Aid certificate and written permission must be obtained from the parents. Children can only be left alone with an assistant for a maximum of two hours a day. Logged-in users can download below a step by step guide to support you in recruiting assistants.
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