More staff for nurseries

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Current advice on reducing teachers' workload does not seem to consider nursery class teachers with 50 part-time children and one nursery nurse.

Foundation stage record-keeping now includes keeping Post-it notes, writing observations, and using these assessments to write targets for children on daily plans, plus recording all the stages of the early learning goals.

Multiply this by 50, and the workload is immense.

There is no one to record,take on photo-copying, displays, stock ordering etc, but the teacher. All the planning is done by the teacher, whereas parallel primary teachers share the planning.

Unlike primary helpers with older children, who can leave the classroom during the day to carry out such tasks, the nursery nurse must be with the children at all times, and every minute of her time is taken up with the social needs of the children, and also carrying out observations and assessments.

In addition, the "outside classroom" has to be planned and set up every day requiring an early start for both staff.

Whereas infants have assemblies which teachers do not attend, nursery children do not attend these, therefore the teacher has only her lunch hour or time after school to do everything. The burden is lighter in big nursery schools where there are many more staff to share the workload.

As a nursery nurse for more than 25 years, I have often wondered who decided classes can function with one adult per 13 children. It is an unsafe ratio, no matter how qualified the staff, and it makes no allowance for a reduction in workload.

C Charles 5 Garrard Close Chislehurst, Kent

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