We meet the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, ensuring that our staff and volunteers are appropriately qualified, and we carry out checks for criminal and other records through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in accordance with statutory requirements.
Vetting and staff selection
- We work towards offering equality of opportunity by using non-discriminatory procedures for staff recruitment and selection.
- All our staff have job descriptions, which set out their roles and responsibilities.
- We welcome applications from all sections of the community. Applicants will be considered on the basis of their suitability for the post, regardless of disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, sex, age, marriage or civil partnership. Applicants will not be placed at a disadvantage by our imposing conditions or requirements that are not justifiable.
- We follow the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and Ofsted guidance on checking the suitability of all staff and volunteers who will have unsupervised access to children. This includes obtaining references and ensuring they have a satisfactory enhanced criminal records check with barred list(s) check through the DBS. This is in accordance with requirements under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) and the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) for the vetting and barring scheme.
- Individuals must be subscribed to the DBS Update Service. We carry out a status check of their DBS certificate, after checking their identity and viewing their original enhanced DBS certificate to ensure that it does not reveal any information that would affect their suitability for the post. If individuals do not have the DBS update service in place prior to commencing work, this must be done along with the new DBS check.
- We keep all records relating to the employment of our staff and volunteers; in particular those demonstrating that suitability checks have been done, including the date of issue, name, type of DBS check and unique reference number from the DBS certificate, along with details of our suitability decision.
- We require that all our staff and volunteers keep their DBS check up-to-date by subscribing to the DBS Update Service throughout the duration of their employment with us.
- Our staff are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders, reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children – whether received before, or at any time during, their employment with us.
- We obtain consent from our staff and volunteers to carry out on-going status checks of the Update Service to establish that their DBS certificate is up-to-date for the duration of their employment with us.
- Where we become aware of any relevant information which may lead to the disqualification of an employee, we will take appropriate action to ensure the safety of children. In the event of disqualification, that person’s employment with us will be terminated.
Notifying Ofsted of changes
- We inform Ofsted of any changes to our Registered Person (trustees/directors) and/or our manager.
Training and staff development
- Our manager and senior practitioners are all qualified to Level 3 or above. Our manager has an Level 3 NNEB, FdA in Early Childhood Education and BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies. All other staff are qualified to at least level 3, with some also having higher level qualifications.
- We currently have one member of staff that hold a level 2 and one member of staff who is a Teaching Assistant.
- We provide regular professional development and training for all our staff both through internal training and a variety of outside agencies and online opportunities.
- We provide our staff with induction training in the first week of their employment. This induction includes our Health and Safety Policy and Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy. Other policies and procedures are introduced within an induction plan.
- We support the work of our staff by holding regular supervision meetings.
- We are committed to recruiting, appointing and employing staff in accordance with all relevant legislation and best practice.
Staff taking medication/other substances
- If a member of staff is taking medication which may affect their ability to care for children, we ensure that they seek further medical advice. Our staff will only work directly with the children if medical advice confirms that the medication is unlikely to impair their ability to look after children properly.
- Staff medication on the premises will be stored securely and kept out of reach of the children at all times.
- If we have reason to believe that a member of our staff is under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that may affect their ability to care for children, they will not be allowed to work directly with the children and further action will be taken.
Managing staff absences and contingency plans for emergencies
- Our manager organises our staff annual leave so that ratios are not compromised.
- Where our staff are unwell and take sick leave in accordance with their contract of employment, we organise cover to ensure ratios are maintained.
- Sick leave is monitored and action is taken where necessary, in accordance with the individual’s contract of employment.
Entitlement to leave (and pay) for antenatal appointments is as follows:
- Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. For a first baby, women can expect to have up to 10 antenatal appointments and will need to show documentation confirming appointments to their employer after their first appointment. If an employee has previously had a baby then they may have about seven antenatal appointments.
- Fathers, partners and civil partners of pregnant women are entitled to unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments.
- Surrogate parents could also be entitled to attend two unpaid antenatal appointments if they expect to satisfy the conditions, and intend to apply, for a Parental Order for the child.
- Employees who are adopting a child are entitled to take paid time off too. The main adopter is allowed to take paid time off for up to five adoption appointments and their partner is entitled to take unpaid time off for up to two appointments.
- Time off for each appointment is capped at six and a half hours. If longer is required, this will need to be taken as annual leave.
An employee or agency worker (after 12 weeks in the same role) has a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected child if he or she:
- is the husband or civil partner of the pregnant woman
- lives with the pregnant woman in an enduring family relationship, although is not her parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle
- is the father of the expected child
- is an intended parent in a surrogacy situation who meets certain conditions (for example, is a potential applicant for a Parental Order in respect of the expected child)
Time off for the pregnant employee is not restricted to medical appointments and could include other antenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, such as relaxation classes and parenting classes. You must show the setting an appointment card which shows that the appointment has been made.
In order to claim the right to any level of maternity leave and/or pay, you are required to:
- advise the early years setting of the fact that you are pregnant
- provide medical evidence from a registered medical practitioner or midwife stating the Expected Week of Confinement (EWC), such as your MATB1 (this will be required for the purpose of claiming Statutory Maternity Pay)
- provide written notice of when you intend to start taking maternity leave and/or pay by the end of the 15th week before the EWC
The office manager/ manager can provide full details of what you are required to do and your entitlements, including the obligation to take at least two weeks’ maternity leave following the birth of your child.
We request that you notify your line manager of your pregnancy as early as possible. Following notification, your line manager will confirm full maternity entitlements including paid and unpaid leave, and time off for antenatal care. This will also enable us to make any necessary arrangements for your safety at work during the pregnancy.
Keeping in touch days
You may carry out up to 10 days’ work for the early years setting during your statutory maternity leave period without bringing your maternity leave to an end. The purpose of this provision is to allow you to ‘keep in touch’ with the workplace. Work includes any work done under the contract of employment and may include training or any activity aimed at keeping in touch. Any work carried out in the course of a day constitutes one day’s work.
Returning to Work
Should you wish to return to work before the end of your full period of maternity leave, you must give at least 8 weeks’ notice in writing of the new date of your return. If you decide not to return to work you are required to give written notice as detailed in your contract of employment.
Eligible employees can choose to take either one or two consecutive weeks’ paternity leave, paid at the Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) flat rate, during the weeks immediately following their child’s birth. If you have average weekly earnings below the lower earnings limit for National Insurance purposes, you will not qualify for SPP.
You will need to satisfy the following conditions in order to qualify for ordinary paternity leave. You must:
- have, or expect to have, responsibility for the child’s upbringing
- be the biological father of the child, and/or the mother’s husband or partner; or be the adopter’s spouse or partner
- have worked continuously for the setting for 26 weeks leading into the 15th week before the baby is due, or, if you are adopting, the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child
- be taking the time off to support the mother and/or care for the baby
Paternity leave must be completed within 56 days of the actual date of birth of the child or the adopted child’s placement. You will be required to inform your line manager of your intention to take paternity leave by the 15th week before the baby is expected, or within seven days of you being notified by your adoption agency that you have been matched with a child (unless this is not reasonably practicable).
You are required to provide a self-certificate (government forms SC3 for parents and SC4 for adopters, available online from HMRC) as evidence that you meet these eligibility conditions. By providing a completed self-certificate, you will be able to satisfy both the notice and evidence conditions for paternity leave and pay.
Adoption leave and pay
Adoption leave and pay will be available to:
- eligible employees who adopt
- one member of a couple where a couple adopt jointly (the couple may choose which partner takes adoption leave)
The other member of a couple who are adopting jointly, or the partner of an individual who adopts a child, may be entitled to paternity leave and pay. Paid adoption leave and paid paternity leave are available where an approved adoption agency notifies the adopter of a match with a child. To qualify for adoption leave, you must:
- be newly matched with a child for adoption by an approved agency (adoption leave and pay are not available in circumstances where a child is not newly matched for adoption, for example, when a step-parent is adopting a partner’s child)
- have worked continuously for the early years setting for 26 weeks leading into the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child for adoption
During your adoption leave, you may be entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay. If you have average weekly earnings below the lower earnings limit for National Insurance purposes, you will not qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay. Those who do not qualify can obtain information about additional financial support from the local Jobcentre Plus.
You will be required to inform the early years setting of your intention to take adoption leave within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child for adoption, unless this is not reasonably practicable. You will need to inform the early years setting as to:
- when the child is expected to be placed with you
- when you want your adoption leave to start
- the date you expect payments of Statutory Adoption Pay to start, at least 28 days in advance, unless this is not reasonably practicable
You are also required to provide the early years setting with a matching certificate from your adoption agency as documentary evidence of your entitlement to Statutory Adoption Pay. Your line managers can also ask for this certificate as proof of entitlement to adoption leave. It is your responsibility to ask the adoption agency for a completed matching certificate.
Shared parental leave
Shared Parental Leave and Pay for mothers, fathers and adopters is designed to encourage parents and adopters to share leave around their child’s birth or placement.
If you are a new mother and eligible for Shared Parental Leave, you can choose to end your maternity leave and take the remaining leave entitlement in blocks, with periods of work in between. Eligible partners can also share the balance of the maternity leave. Shared Parental Leave is also available to adoptive and Parental Order parents.
Parents are entitled to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave per child, to be taken before the child’s eighteenth birthday.
To qualify for parental leave, you must have completed one year’s continuous service with the early years setting.
If you have taken part of your parental leave with a previous employer then you may only take the balance of the parental leave due. In this case, we may request evidence of the amount of parental leave already taken with one or more previous employers.
Dependants’ leave (emergency leave)
You have the right to take a reasonable period of time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, and not to be dismissed or victimised for doing so. Circumstances where you can take time off include:
- when the dependant is unexpectedly ill (including mental illness), gives birth or is injured or assaulted
- to make care arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured
- when a dependant dies
- when a dependant’s school or nursery is unexpectedly closed
- when care arrangements are unexpectedly withdrawn
A dependant is a person (adult or child), who regularly and continuously relies on the employee to provide the sole or principal care required. The employee need not be related to the dependant but must live in the same household. In cases of illness or where arrangements break down, if the employee is the principal carer or is relied upon in an emergency, then the dependant need not live in the same household. Dependency leave cannot be granted where an employee normally provides care only on an ad hoc basis.
In addition, dependency leave cannot be granted where it would be reasonable to expect the carer to have made appropriate arrangements to cover the situation that has arisen.
It must be sufficiently serious to require care as an essential necessity, not as a preference. Dependency leave will not be granted where:
- the childminder is on holiday or is not available for any reason where advance notice would be expected to be provided
- the school or nursery is closed for the holidays
- appointments with the hospital, doctor or dentist are planned (i.e. known in advance)
This is not an exhaustive list.