Does a nursery have to have Policies and Procedures?
I realise this is a rhetorical question and you know the answer is yes. As well as being good practice, both Ofsted and the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) require all settings to have a set of policies and procedures and to ensure that staff are given training about them and that they are accessible and explained to parents.
As well as these requirements, you will find that they are essential for the smooth running of your business and the welfare of anyone involved in your setting.
What can Policies and Procedures bring to a nursery?
Policies and procedures will help you maintain a consistently professional organisation and have the ability to provide an outstanding quality provision by making clear to staff and parents what sort of setting you are and what actions you take to make sure that this happens.
When policies and procedures are well thought out and, most importantly, implemented they provide common understanding and agreement on how things should be done within the setting. Policies and procedures provide clear instructions and guidelines on what must be done in a particular set of circumstances or with regard to a particular issue and eliminate any risk of ambiguity or upset. Any policy or procedure created for your setting should reflect best practice and be compliant.
Policies and procedures will also help with the induction of new staff and families as they are able to familiarise themselves with the setting’s practices and provides them with information about what to expect from your Nursery thus allowing a more efficient and effective organisation.
How to start developing Policies and Procedures?
When starting to look at the policies and procedures for your setting, the whole process of determining and writing these can seem exceptionally daunting but it really doesn’t need to be at all.
From our experience we encourage nurseries to keep the following points at the front of their minds when shaping their documents:-
- What is the main aim of the policy and what do you want it to achieve?
- What are the external requirements e.g. legislation, compliance, best practice guidelines etc.?
- What are your requirements for children, parents, staff or for management?
- How can you ensure that your company values will be translated into practice on a daily basis?
- Are they reasonable and practical whilst still covering all bases?
- Do they give guidance and tools for implementation as well as rules?
- Are they in a format which can be easily updated and accessed at all times?
When putting together our HR policies and procedures for the Early Years sector, we felt very strongly that it was vital to involve all those who participate in the day to day running of a childcare setting e.g. staff, parents and of course, the children.
It is integral that the policies and procedures are compliant, however the feedback and opinions we gathered have been invaluable and we are exceptionally proud of the HR policies and procedures we have developed specifically for childcare settings.
We would strongly encourage anyone starting to look at their policies and procedures to follow the same course and ensure that yours are specifically tailored to the needs of the Early Years sector and your organisation.
The importance of reviewing and monitoring your policies and procedures
By having clear, concise, relevant and regularly updated policies and procedures they will help to ensure the well-being of all families, children, staff and anyone who is connected to the setting and help to create a more harmonious environment.
All policies and procedures are working documents used on a daily basis, therefore it is important that once developed, they are widely communicated and regularly monitored and reviewed to reflect legislation and compliance requirements. This helps you to learn from experience and as your nursery grows and evolves so will your policies and procedures.
Staff and parents will feel secure knowing that policies are regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet all the needs of those working in the setting, and take into account the possible changes that could have happened in the Early Years Sector and law.
If you are a new setting or an existing one that would like any assistance with your HR documents then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We have created a library of HR policies and procedures tailored specifically to the Early Years sector. Through our secure, online system, we are able to update your documents 365 days per year and keep you informed of any changes that have been made automatically.
If you have any feedback on this blog or have any other comments to add we would love to hear from you.
The Nursery HR People