Policies and Procedures

Ofsted registered childminders work under the guidelines of the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance.  Section 3.3 quotes:

‘Childminders are not required to have policies and procedures.  However, they must be able to explain their policies and procedures to parents, carers, and others (for example Ofsted inspectors or the childminder agency with which they are registered) and ensure any assistants follow them’.

With the above in mind, it would be a good idea not to get too carried away with policies and procedures, and just focus on those that help your business run smoothly.  We like to think of them as Best Practice policies.  They can help parents/carers to informally understand your rules and how you run your setting when it comes to day-to-day things like sickness, payment of fees etc.  

Making a small selection of policies available can be especially helpful to a parent/carer who is visiting several childminders and can serve as a reminder of who you and your setting.  You may choose to put a selection of policies on your website if you have one and let parents know they are available if they wish to see them, so how you do this is entirely up to you.

When writing your policies and/or procedures think about who you are writing them for.  Is it yourself, the parents/carers, other professionals or a bit of everything?

Things to remember when writing these policies and procedures

 

·         Understand the difference between a policy and a procedure

·         Who is your audience?

·         Where might written policies/procedures not be practical for some?

·         English as an additional language

·         Dyslexia

·         Do you use a variety of ways to pass on this information?

·         Email only, written, both

  ·         Date them and set a date to revise them, usually 12 months or if            something changes    

·         Keep them professional

·         Write them yourself, they must be workable and relevant to you

·         Keep them short – bullet points are good

·         Be mindful of presentation

 

It may seem a good idea to put in lots of acronyms/abbreviations but maybe you are the only one that understands what this means.  By all means use acronyms as it does make life a little easier but ensure you start with the full name followed by the initials for further reference, i.e. Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Do parents/carers really read/need all of this paperwork?

All parents/carers are different, some will love your paperwork, whilst others are happy just to know what you’re doing and to trust you without needing to review all the paperwork involved.

However, you are running a professional childcare business and written policies and procedures help to show you are organised and clearly sets out the way you work to ensure things run smoothly and encourage that all important working relationship where information is shared.  For example a well worded sickness policy given at the start of the placement can avoid awkward occurrences of children being brought to you when they are clearly too ill to be anywhere but at home.  You can politely refer to your sickness policy if needed.  

When preparing any policy it is good practice to refer to any legal/statutory guidance, i.e. the EYFS, this makes your policy a lot more meaningful.  It says “this is what I have to do” not “this is what I thought I would do”. 

If you are going to refer to guidance, always make sure this is available for the parent/carer/other professional to see.

For instance, when writing a sick child policy you may wish to start with:

“As per the EYFS Section 3 it is my requirement to ensure all children ……………………….and I follow the guidance given by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) for exclusion times.  A copy of this is on display and also available for you to see upon request."

Your policies and procedures are simply lists/statements of things you do and do not do.

The examples below may be helpful when writing policies and procedures.  These are only recommendations and as we have mentioned, paperwork must be a reflection of you and your setting and whilst it’s tempting to copy, paste and print something from the Internet, it may be obvious that the policies are not your own.  

Firstly to avoid confusion let’s look at the difference between a policy and a procedure.

 

What is a Policy?

 

A Policy is a written statement about how you intend to work in relation to a particular aspect of childcare.  It describes the standards you aim to meet and the principles or methods you base your practise on. It may refer to legal requirements.

 

For Example:

All children and adults are treated with equal concern and are made to feel welcome in my home. I aim to offer a quality childcare service for parents and children. I recognise the need to set out reasonable and appropriate limits to help manage the behaviour of children in my care.

 

By providing a happy and safe environment the children in my care will be encouraged to develop social skills to help them be accepted and welcome in society as they grow up.

 

I endorse positive discipline as a more effective way of setting boundaries for children.

 

 

What is a Procedure?

 

A procedure is a written statement about how you plan to act in​ certain circumstances. It outlines a series of step-by-step actions you will carry out if certain situations arise.  Think of it as an "action".

 

For Example:

I keep up to date with behaviour management issues and relevant legislation by taking regular training and reading relevant publications.

 

All parents receive a copy of my policy.

 

I agree methods to manage children's behaviour with parents before they start with me. These are discussed during the initial visit.

 

 

Confidentiality Policy/Procedure

Why do I need this?

As well as your own confidential records, childminders will have/need to hold lots of personal information on children and families.  Some of this is 'must know' and some is 'need to know only' information that parents/carers may or may not choose to share with you.

Parents/carers must be assured that they are giving this information secure knowledge that you will keep it safe and confidential.  Ofsted want to know that you understand the importance of keeping information, where you store it and that you aware of your legal obligations regarding how long information has to be stored for.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

  • Where you store information, is it secure?
  • Is it paper based or on the computer?
  • Use of your phone/camera or other device
  • Are you registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)? www.ICO.org.uk
  • Data Protection Act 1998 quotes – This defines UK law on processing of data on identifiable living people.  Most of it does not apply to domestic/personal use like keeping an address book but you have to comply with this act if you are holding personal data on someone else.
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • How long do you have to keep certain records?
  • In the event of a child protection issue you would have to share information with other parties.
  • All information kept on the child is available for parents to see upon request​

 

Complaints Policy/Procedure

Why do I need this?

You may think that this is not necessary and might expect that if a parent/carer was unhappy they would come and speak to you.  This is certainly something you should encourage to avoid any misunderstandings and help to ensure things can be clarified to avoid a formal complaint.  However, this is not always the case and you have a duty to ensure parents are made aware of your complaints procedures.

You must also evidence how you deal with any complaints made against you.

 

Things to consider in your policy/procedure:

  • Section 3.74 in the EYFS
  • Paperwork you have in place, i.e. contracts, parents welcome packs, copies of policies, permission forms etc.
  • Your open-door approach
  • Any other policies that help this (working in partnership)
  • Your obligation to investigate and respond to a complaint within 28 days of receiving it
  • Posters signposting parents to Ofsted – refer to ‘concerns and complaints about childcare providers’ on the Ofsted website.
  • How and where you record the complaint
  • What’s included on this form
    • Name, date, time, any action taken, final outcome
  • Do you/would you take legal advice

 

 

Working in Partnership with Parents and Other Professionals

Why do I need this?

Working in partnership is an important part of being a childminder.  You work in partnership everyday with parents and/or other professionals and as such you have to ensure you are fulfilling the terms of your registration.

If you are not fully working in partnership it can have a devastating effect on the everyday running of your setting.  Getting this right helps you to provide a happy, safe and stable environment for the children and having policies and procedures will ensure that this is effortless.  It is a great way to let parents know that you are actually working with them and that you both want the same thing for their child.

This is one of the most important things to establish from the very outset. As parents and families are in your home ground rules and what is expected from both parties must be clear to keep the relationship professional at all times.  This policy works well alongside a complaints procedure as it is part of working together.

 

Things to consider in your Policy/Procedure

EYFS Statutory guidance Page 5 Introduction 1 - 3 states “The EYFS seeks to provide partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers."

  • What does partnership working mean to you
  • How do you incorporate parents’ wishes
  • How you are going to encourage parents to contribute
  • The paperwork you have, i.e. contracts, record forms
  • Other policies – behaviour management, settling in, sick child, late payment etc.
  • What kind of contact you will have on a daily/termly basis
  • How you inform parents about the EYFS
  • Refer to the guidance, and also have a copy on display http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2015/01/EYFS_Parents_Guide-amended1.pdf
  • All learning and development records are made available to parents upon request
  • Parent’s questionnaires
  • Children’s questionnaires
  • Newsletters
  • Notice Board Information
  • Review of paperwork
  • Two way flow of information
  • Expectation on how you are updated on changes, i.e. emergency contacts, telephone numbers, significant developments.
  • How your setting supports children with SEND
  • How you record anything of significance, i.e. accidents and incidents (refer to separate policy if you have them)

 

Safeguarding/Child Protection Policy

 

Why do I need this?

Quite simply, to ensure that you are doing everything possible to safeguard children.

Safeguarding and welfare has its own section in the EYFS, Section 3.  Everything you do in your setting will refer to this and it plays a major part of your inspections.  Ofsted will want to see that there is no compromise in this area.  You do not write safeguarding procedures for reporting/referring allegations or concerns, they are written by the Local Authority Safeguarding Children’s Board.  You can access them on-line via your Local Authority website.  These are the procedures you would follow in the event of a child protection issue/complaint.

Parents/carers need to be assured that they can leave their child in your care and know that they will be safe and secure.  It is important that parents/carers understand that this plays a major part of your childminding practice and that it is not just a policy promising to keep children safe It is everything you/they do from signing permission forms, to having a lost child procedure and everything in between.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

This is a working document which you should re-visit regularly.  It is your responsibility to keep up to date with any new legislation/training and be continually reassuring parents/carers that you have everything in place to safeguard their children.  Remember child protection is part of safeguarding, they are not the same thing. 

You could have a heading which states which policies/procedures fall under safeguarding or you could have them in a separate safeguarding folder.  You may wish to start with:-

“As an Ofsted registered childminder it is my duty to ensure that all children in my care are kept healthy, safe and secure.  I follow the guidance in Section 3 of the EYFS – "The safeguarding and welfare requirements" to ensure that this is carried out to the best of my ability”

Please find below my policies and procedures under this section.

Child Protection 3.4 – 3.8 Incl.

  • How you remain alert to any issues for concern
  • Training is up to date and in accordance with your local authority guidelines
  • You can identify, understand and respond to the signs of abuse
  • You recognise inappropriate behaviour of others (see separate policy)
  • LSCB Referring Safeguarding Concerns procedures are followed
  • You would know what to do/who to report to in the event of an allegation being made against you, your assistant(s) and/or anyone in your household
  • Everyone aged 16 or over has DBS checks
  • Aware of Safer Recruitment guidelines
  • You refer to guidance’s such as ‘Working together to safeguard children 2013’
  • Guidance is available for them to see
  • Other agencies you use i.e. NSPCC
  • How you record and report concerns
  • Recording existing injuries
  • Confidentiality

Include under own headings

Use of Mobile phones, cameras and other devices

  • What are the procedures?
  • How do you implement these?

Visitors and Older children

  • Mobile phones and cameras
  • Visitor’s book
  • Identification
  • Visits are kept to minimum
  • Children not left alone unsupervised
  • Emergency people only
  • Use of Internet and passwords

Whistleblowing/Unacceptable behaviour of adults – Section 3.6

  • You understand how to identify
  • How to report and where to report
  • List signs of inappropriate behaviour which would give cause for concern
  • Social media and the use of by yourself and others

Smoking

  • You run non-smoking premises
  • No one is allowed to smoke in your house or around children
  • Do not take children to smoky environments

 

Lost Child Policy/Procedures

Why do I need this?

Parents who choose childminders know that you will regularly be going out and about with the children, taking them to groups, parks, farms etc. and enriching their learning and development.

Lots of parents choose childminders for that very reason as the flexibility is like no other form of childcare.  As such, they will assume you have stringent procedures in place to keep their children safe.  Having robust procedures is a good way of letting them know you have given this serious thought and all safety measures are in place.  However, children can often become distracted and may wander off.  This is an unthinkable situation but there must be plans in place for this unlikely event.

We have found many policies and procedures tell parents what will happen when a child gets lost.  A more effective policy should state clearly the procedures that are in place to avoid this ever happening.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

Home

  • Doors are always locked with key in safe place
  • Children not permitted to leave my home without me or their parents
  • Children are forbidden to answer the door
  • We abide by our house rules

Out of the Home

  • I do not go to busy places
  • I always go with another adult if taking groups of children on outings
  • Do you use high visibility vests/contact cards
  • Do you use fluorescent bracelets with my mobile number on for each child
  • How do you give safety advice appropriate for their age
  • Do you set a  meeting point
  • Children are always within sight of me
  • Children are never left unattended in a vehicle

In the unlikely event of a child wandering off whilst in my care I will:

  • Ensure all other children are accounted for
  • Check the immediate vicinity
  • Alert police and as applicable—security guards, shop staff etc.
  • Alert Parents or if they are not contactable, their emergency contacts
  • Inform Ofsted

 

Health and Safety Policy/Procedures

 

Why do I need this?

 

As per the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance 2014 it is my duty to ensure that all children are kept healthy, safe and secure.  The way I do this is as follows:-

  • I create a high quality setting which is welcoming, safe and stimulating
  • All necessary steps are taken to keep children safe and well
  • I ensure the suitability of all adults who have contact with the children
  • I have stringent positive behaviour management policies (see separate policy)
  • I keep and maintain all records safely and securely
  • I have a valid 12 hour paediatric first aid training certificate
  • I keep my safeguarding training up to date
  • I follow procedures given to me by the LSCB
  • I understand signs and symptoms of child abuse and how and when to record and report
  • I am aware of inappropriate behaviour of other adults
  • All adults are DBS checked
  • I understand procedures for recruiting others to work with children
  • I never exceed adult/child ratios
  • I do not take or allow any other adult working with the children to take any medication that may affect my care of the children
  • I keep up to date with current legislation and my own continual professional development
  • I understand how to administer and store medicines correctly (see separate policy)
  • I understand the importance of food hygiene and implement the following:-
    • Separate chopping boards
    • Store food at correct temperature in the fridge and in suitable packaging/containers
    • Keep uncooked meats at bottom of fridge
    • Cook all food thoroughly
    • Understand about the 14 Allergens
    • Use a thermometer when re-heating food
    • Ensure all areas are clean when preparing food
    • Ensure hand washing before and after food preparation
    • Ensure children understand importance of hand hygiene
    • Use sterilising equipment correctly
  • I record any information regarding dietary requirements for children
  • I ensure all meals are healthy and snacks and drinks are provided as necessary
  • I have stringent procedures in place for the recording of accidents and incidents (see separate policy)
  • I record any existing injury that a child may present with
  • I ensure my premises are ready to receive children and do a risk assessment each morning before children arrive
  • Premises comply with all the safety regulations required under my Ofsted inspection
  • I have thorough fire evacuation procedures
  • I record all fire evacuations undertaken with all children
  • I ensure all smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors are working
  • Fire blanket located in the kitchen
  • Fire evacuation floor plan on display
  • Exits are kept clear of obstruction
  • Doors and windows have sufficient locks
  • Car is insured, MOT’d and all seats are checked regularly
  • Equipment and resources are checked for safety and anything broken will either be fixed or replaced
  • I ensure all toys are age appropriate
  • All children are taught the importance of road safety (age appropriate)
  • I risk assess all outside play areas and outdoor activities are planned in advance for their safety
  • Sleeping children are checked regularly
  • Baby monitors are in place
  • Toilet facilities are kept clean
  • Potties are cleaned after every use as are changing mats
  • I use disposable gloves for dealing with bodily fluids
  • Disposal of nappies and waste is done correctly
  • I have adequate public liability insurance
  • Parents are asked to sign permission forms where required
  • I keep a daily register on all children noting times of arrival and departure

 

Accidents and incidents Policy/Procedure

 

Why do I need this?

Parents/carers understand that children do have accidents, what they want to know is that you are competent to deal with the accident whether it is minor or something that may need more attention.  A parent/carer wants to know that you would have complete control in a serious situation especially as most childminders are lone workers and will normally have other children present.  This policy and procedure is good for partnership working and for displaying your competence as a childcare professional.

Things to consider in your policy/procedures:

  • First aid training
  • First aid box appropriate for use
  • Documents kept with children’s GP/medical information
  • How you keep this up to date
  • How you ensure you are aware of any special requests from parents
  • Any health issues
  • A child's vaccinations records
  • How you will keep a child calm and comforted
  • Where are parents emergency contact numbers kept.
  • Procedures for taking child to hospital
  • What written records you would keep
  • Your emergency contact(s)
  • Who you would report a major incident to.

 

Administering of Medicines

 

Why do I need this?

A parent/carer wants to feel assured that should their child become unwell whilst in your care that you would not only know what to do but that you have robust procedures in place.  It is essential that you meet the legal requirements set out in the EYFS.

We are all aware of how children can deteriorate rapidly, they’re fine one minute and have a high temperature the next.  However, medicating a child is not something that should be done lightly and if you do not have the correct procedures you would find yourself facing a safeguarding issue.

There is lots of information available to offer parents but be very clear to them that they have a responsibility to you also when it comes to medication.  For example, if they have given their child a dose of Calpol just before they came to you it is essential that they let you know the time and the dose given as it is imperative that a child is not double dosed by mistake.  Ensure you are aware of all medication that the child is allergic to, even down to plasters.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

  • EYFS Section 3.44 – 3.46
  • Include effective systems to support children with medical needs
  • Any extra training you have regarding this
  • Have you been trained to use an Epi-pen
  • What written records you will keep
  • Written permissions from parents before/after
  • Children who are ill or infections and steps you take to prevent spread (see sick child policy)
  • First aid training up to date
  • Medication is prescribed for child by doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist
  • Medicines containing aspirin only be given if prescribed by doctor
  • Medicine only be administered with written permission
  • This information is kept securely
  • All information given by parents/carers on any long-term medication needed
  • Storage of medicines (keep cold is different to keep refrigerated)
  • All medication is kept out of reach of all children
  • Medicine has child’s name on, is in date.
  • Procedures if child becomes ill that parents MUST adhere to

 

Uncollected Child

 

Why do I need this?

Occasionally parents/carers can become a little distracted with their busy lives and this can lead to them being late collecting their children.

If you are working in partnership with the parents this should not be a cause for concern and you will have verbal/written agreements between you that on rare occasions and as long as you are kept informed, is not going to cause a big problem.  It is good practice to have a separate policy on late collection.

Uncollected children and being collected late are two separate issues and should therefore be dealt with as such.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

  • At what point (maximum time allowed) you will alert the authorities
  • How many times will you attempt to contact the emergency contact persons (minimum of three recommended)
  • Exactly what your procedures are if all attempts fail
  • Exactly who you will be contacting
  • How you will keep a child’s distress to a minimum

You may wish to include a sub-heading covering significant events, i.e. terrorist attacks where parents and contacts just cannot be reached.

A parent/carer needs to be reassured that should this happen you will keep their child with you until such times that they can be collected and that you will not contact the authorities.  This may mean you have to offer overnight care for continuity of care but Ofsted must be informed of this.

 

Late Collection/Drop off of a Child

Why do I need this?

We are all aware that sometimes life just does not run smoothly.  This can lead to problems and complications for you as a childminder if parents/carers are continually late either dropping off and/or collecting their children.

It is good practice to be crystal clear from the beginning that whilst this is not a big problem on the odd occasion, this should not become a regular thing.

This policy is a great way to gently let parents know that you also have things to do and places to be as it is easy for them to forget that you also have routines that you need to stick to and that you work with several families and indeed have your own to consider.

If this is happening regularly you may wish to speak to the parent/carer and suggest that you look at the contract and change the times if this can fit into your day.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

  • You are kept up to date regularly if this is going to happen
  • A parent may have to meet you somewhere if they are going to be late in the morning
  • Your commitment to school drop-offs/collections
  • How you would deal with a situation if you had an important appointment to get to yourself
  • Your late collection fee (to be put into your contract)

 

Settling in Policy/Procedure

Why do I need this?

Some parents/carers may have never left their child before with anyone other than close family.  Always try and position yourself in their shoes and think how you would want this to be dealt with if this were your child.  Parents/carers need lots of reassurance here that you are capable but also caring.

Having robust procedures in place will help you to settle a child and therefore help to keep your happy ship.  Where possible ensure all children are part of the settling in process which helps them to bond with the new children and indeed will make them feel special at the same time.

This is a best practice policy and procedure and helps parents understand the methods you use whilst ensureing them that you are taking into account their wishes.

Things to consider in your policy/procedure

  • The maximum length of time for setting in (can be flexible within reason)
  • Your charges for settling in period
  • You work in partnership with parents regarding this process
  • Your recommendations on how long parents should stay
  • Have a declining time-line for this
  • Ensure parents always say goodbye to a child and not sneak off
  • How you will help a child to settle, e.g. favourite toys, activity, comforter etc
  • Settling in contract is in place before the contract goes live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To contact us at the BCMA please email:

info@bromleycma.org.uk

or for training requirements  or consultation

enquiries@

figchildcaretraining.co.uk

 

 

 

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