Ratios and twins - new DfE advice (6.18)
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  1. #1
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    Default Ratios and twins - new DfE advice (6.18)

    DfE advice re. adult:child ratios and twins (June 2018)

    Scenario presented to DfE: a childminder has 2 early years children on roll and has been approached by a parent who needs childcare for twins. What can s/he do?

    DfE reply:

    Paragraph 3.42 in the EYFS states that:

    “If a childminder can demonstrate to parents and/or carers and Ofsted inspectors … that the individual needs of all the children are being met, exceptions to the usual ratios can be made, for example, when childminders are caring for sibling babies, or when caring for their own baby, or to maintain continuity of care. But in all circumstances, the total number of children under the age of eight being cared for must not exceed six.”

    DfE state: ‘This means that in the scenario you describe it would be possible for a childminder to care for the twins as well as the other two other young children as long as the total number of children under the age of eight does not exceed 6.’

    This is new advice from DfE – as we know in the past we have always been told that we cannot have more than 3 children under 5 for what has traditionally been called ‘new business’ ie new children rather than continuity of care.

    I note that the DfE guidance which stated we could not take twins without 2 spaces has recently disappeared from the Foundation Years website. The document ‘Frequently Asked Questions: Childminder Ratios’ (I have a copy in my computer files – happy to share on request) contained the following scenario:

    Twins and ratios - If a childminder only has one space left can he/she take on twins?

    No. The ratio cap for a childminder can never exceed six children, even if there is a continuity of care request in relation to caring for twins. The 1:6 ratio must always take priority for safety and welfare reasons. Any provider who exceeds the maximum number of six children at any one time is operating in breach of the requirements of registration. This is likely to affect the outcome of an Ofsted inspection.

    I also note EYFS requirement 3.30 which states: ‘Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made.’ The key word here – from Ofsted’s point of view – has always been ‘exceptionally’. Inspectors say that it must be an exception – not the norm.

    My advice is to treat this latest information from DfE with extreme caution. Ofsted have always said that, regardless of the wording in the EYFS or advice taken before variations are organised, they will robustly observe every provider and ensure the care and learning needs of every child are being met. If they feel that a childminder is failing to support the children to a ‘good’ or better level, they will downgrade using ‘over ratios’ as a reason.

    Thank you Rebecca Martland for engaging with DfE

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  3. #2
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    many many many moons ago, I was given permission by Ofsted to take on twin babies, when I only had one baby/under 5 space available. so I then had 4 mindees under 5. I still only had a total of 6 under 8 though ( including my own children! )

    I was told I was given permission because I was experienced, trained and had lots of twin experience ( it was my 'speciality' as a nanny )



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