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School nursery increasing number of children and workload

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Seadream, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. Seadream

    Seadream New commenter

    I am a nursery teacher (jobshare) and since September my headteacher has allowed 2yr olds (turning 3 this term) to start and has increased the numbers so much that by April there will be over 70 children in the nursery with over 50 in one session. I am finding the increasing numbers and workload impossible to manage and cannot see how it is fair that I have to plan for, assess, track and manage over twice as many children as other teachers in the school. I have previously taught in several older year groups and have never had a workload like this before. I have a couple of TAs who are also key workers (but they don't get PPA and so I have to do all their assessing etc) to keep me in ratio but the job is getting out of hand!
    Any advice on how to manage this? I have vocalised how wrong I feel it is to have so many children in the nursery, but to the school, they're money. Feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown....
  2. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    It isn't unusual to have up to 52 per session with one teacher, although there should be another, in reality it often doesn't happen. My worst was 39 am and pm as the only teacher, and yes it ran me ragged.
    But you should have more than two TAs if you have more than 39 children per session. That's a statutory ratio (13 to 1) so if you are not meeting this, you should talk to the head.
    You can explain your concerns and ask for some non contact time for your TAs to support you with assessments and reports, after all it isn't equitable for you to have to write 70 reports hold 70 parent meetings etc without support.
    If you find your HT unsupportive you can seek advice from your union, but ultimately you may have to look for another job.
    nizebaby likes this.
  3. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    This sounds a terrible situation not only for you but the children too. How can you give quality nursery teaching and learning in this set up. it sounds like your Headteacher doesn't value nursery education at all and sees it more as baby minding. I presume you were the nursery teacher before the two year olds started being omitted so the whole job has basically changed with the ages and numbers. You definitely need more and experienced Early Years TAs. They should be fully involved in keeping up with observations and assessments with you as teacher overseeing them. Are the TAs you have good at their job or could they do with more training?
    Do you have an Early Years Leader in school to support you or are you the leader. If the Head is no support is there a Deputy who could help fight your corner. You say you job share so is there another teacher who is feeling equally exasperated and you can fight this together? If you are a normal state primary school can you contact the LEA Early Years advisor to come in and help your case with the Headteacher.
  4. Nt31

    Nt31 New commenter

    It’s a couple of years since I worked in EYFS but isn’t the ratio for 2 year olds 1:4? Their needs are very different to 3 year olds. I think the total number of children you are responsible for is ridiculous. Surely you should also have another teacher too. EYFS is governed by Infant class size regulations of 1:30. Contact your LA EYFS team( if you still have one) for advice on legal ratios.
  5. Seadream

    Seadream New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. The staff ratios are correct (although impossible to manage when nappies are being changed and children being taken out for first aid). Our HT doesn't understand what the problem is as he gets great feedback and the nursery is growing (!) I think I may speak to my Union or an Early Years Advisor as another poster has suggested.
  6. Seadream

    Seadream New commenter

    I'm in a job share so 2 of us as one teacher. It is very tricky with 2yr olds now - always one member of staff toileting them! The EYFS class size nly applies t reception unfortunately. I will see if I can track down an EYFS team though! Thanks for the advice.
  7. Seadream

    Seadream New commenter

    Thanks for your reply and understanding. I started a year ago with a maximum number of children per session at 30 and just 3yr olds. My jobshare and I have been very vocal over how we did not think it viable t increase numbers and bring in 2yr olds but it has happened regardless. My Early Years Leader isn't greata either, unfortunately - she's never taught nursery and thinks that they're just smaller versions of her 4-5yr olds... My TAs are very inexperienced (1 or 2 years in school each) and need lots of support still. We ask for PPA for them but are told it's not possible to cover them. I will absolutely contact an Early Years Advisor - can I do this independently of my Head etc do you know? Thanks
  8. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    Oh dear it sounds an even worse situation with inexperienced TAs as well. Have they had any training in obs and assessment to really understand and value it too. I don't quite understand how the ratio of staff can be right when you say you sometimes have over 50 attending with just you as the teacher and 2 TAs? . I am sure you can contact your Early Years advisor yourself for support if you are not getting any support from school. You should be able to find their details on your County website. In our area we used to have termly network meetings after school for the local area Early Years staff to get together and share ideas but also we sometimes had a talk on an area of interest by an Advisor and you could talk to them informally and they could give you suggestions, I wondered whether you had anything like this in your area. If not I would just contact them by email or phone in the first instance. They are there to advise and should support as well.
  9. Seadream

    Seadream New commenter

    We will have over 50 in one session after Easter - currently up to 36, They will get more staff in but will only get the cheapest. Unfortunately it's all about money - Govt cuts have hit the schol hard... I'll get on to an Early Years advisor though!

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