PROTOCOL TO APPLY FOR A VARIANCE FROM THE REGISTRATION AND INSPECTION STANDARDS Ap 2
CHILD PROTECTION GUIDELINES Ap 3
CONTENTS OF FIRST AID BOX Ap 4
FIRE PROCEDURES FOR SMALL CHILDREN Ap 5
QUALIFICATIONS FOR STAFF Ap 6
POLICY ON TRANSMITTABLE DISEASES Ap 7
EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES, STANDARDS AND INSPECTION CRITERIA FOR PROVISION FOR CHILDREN FROM BIRTH TO FIVE YEARS
The provisions which govern the registration of Early Childhood Services (ECS) are set out in THE EDUCATION ACT 2002. ECS Providers must be registered with the MINISTRY OF EDUCATION under the Act and comply with any requirements imposed by the EDUCATION ACT 2002. These provisions are designed to ensure that all service providers offer a safe and stimulating environment in which children can play and learn according to their individual needs.
With these primary responsibilities in mind, the following ECS Standards have been drawn up. The MINISTRY OF EDUCATION and The MINISTRY OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT have the responsibility for ensuring that all ECS Providers meet these standards.
For the purpose of this document the term Early Childhood Centre will be used to refer to all facilities which provide learning support, care and development services to children under the age of five including pre-schools and day care centres.
The “registered provider” is whoever is causing the ECS to be provided and may therefore be a person, a partnership, a group, a church, a committee, a non-governmental organisation or a company. Care will need to be taken to ensure that any application is made correctly as the registered provider ultimately bears the legal responsibility.
The following list of statements represents the minimum standards to be applied by the MINISTRY OF EDUCATION and MINISTRY OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT in deciding on the suitability of ECS provision for registration under the EDUCATION ACT. They constitute the basis of the requirements imposed by the EDUCATION ACT 2002 on registered providers of ECS.
Prior to registration, applicants must be able to demonstrate how these Standards are to be met.
Inspection of registered ECS is the method of ensuring that providers continue to adhere to the standards contained in this document. The MINISTRY OF EDUCATION has a duty under the Act to inspect each provision annually. It is a requirement of registration that the registered provider co-operates with the Inspection Unit in arranging a date each year for the formal inspection within two months of the date first proposed.
It is acknowledged that some provision already exceeds these minimum standards. The role of the inspectors under the EDUCATION ACT will be to encourage initiatives and practice developments which aim to improve standards.
Where existing provision falls short of the standards, the role of the inspectors will be to negotiate changes with the registered providers within realistic, jointly agreed time scales.
The approach to registration and inspection will be in the context of the wider framework of the EDUCATION ACT and the regulations and guidance governing its implementation.
The MINISTRY of EDUCATION has approved a policy of ‘evenhandedness’. This means that the standards required are the same for the governmental and the independent and non-governmental sectors. All will be inspected by these Standards and expected to comply.
It is the responsibility of the registered provider to ensure compliance with the statutory requirements of the legislation listed below.
(LAWS THAT APPLY eg Public Health, Child Welfare, Environmental Health, Building Regulations, Fire etc).
The EC Standards aim for a consistent level of practice within ECS provision. There must, however, be scope for a degree of flexibility in the application of the Standards. This can be achieved via a variance that can permit an individual provider to depart from the generally accepted Standard, where there is sufficient justification in order to fulfill the aims of the provision. (See Appendix 2)
Any request for a variance to a ECS Standard must be made on the appropriate form by the service provider. The overriding criteria for consideration will be the welfare and best interest of the children.
A variance can be made which will remain valid for the foreseeable future where this supports the aims and objectives of the provision. In other circumstances a variance can be made for a time limited period for example to allow time for already existing provision to improve its standards without having to cease operating.
Registration and inspection fees will be required.
The requirements for the registration of all ECS provision in the country are:
Section 1: Staffing
Personal Suitability of Registered Providers, Supervisory Staff/Teachers in charge and Staff Members.
1.1.1 The Education Act 2002 requires that the government has to satisfy itself that anyone who either applies for, or is registered to be an ECS provider is ‘fit’ to do so; furthermore that any person employed or living in the premises is ‘fit to be in the proximity’ of young children.
Applicants for registration as providers of ECS will be required to furnish the names and addresses of two referees who can provide evidence of business competence and personal integrity.
In the case of an application from a company, committee or group, a list of the Board of Directors, officers or members of the group will be required, and a clear statement of who will hold responsibility for ensuring that the standards are met. This list will need to be updated annually.
Before appointment, the Royal Grenada Police Force will vet all staff members and anyone who lives or works on the premises used, or who may come into regular contact with the children. This applies to such persons aged 16 years and over. The Royal Grenada Police Force will provide Certificates of Character to suitable applicants. Certificates of character should be reviewed on an annual basis.
Consideration will be given to any cautions, convictions or bindovers that have been disclosed and may subsequently be a reason for not registering. In the event of an ECS being proposed in an applicant’s own home, checks will be made on every member of the applicant’s household aged 16 years and over and any person aged 16 years and over who may come into regular contact with the children in the applicant’s own home.
Applicants are advised that it is extremely unlikely that they would be registered if they, or any person coming into regular contact with children on the premises has ever been convicted of any offence listed in the CHILD PROTECTION ACT 1998. These are offences against children. Registration will also need to be considered very carefully if the applicant or anyone mentioned above has been convicted of any offence of a sexual nature or any serious violence or drugs related offence.
Registered providers /supervisors and each member of staff must be able to demonstrate that they can cope emotionally and physically with the varying demands of caring for young children. They are required to have good health, physically and emotionally sound mind and character. Members of staff should be creative, flexible and energetic. Staff will be asked to complete a health statement that will need to be signed by their General Practitioner. Registered providers must ensure all the staff members recruited are able to meet this requirement.
Registered providers/supervisors must have a practical understanding of the needs and behaviour of children. Registered providers/managers must ensure any staff they recruit, are suitable to care for, or come into regular contact with, children.
The registered provider's/supervisor’s attitude to discipline and control will be discussed by the inspector. In addition their views on the importance of allowing children’s individuality to be expressed and meeting their individual needs with regard to gender, religion, language, ability and cultural identity will be sought.
Registered providers must be committed to providing an environment in which children can develop positive attitudes to differences of culture, language, religion, gender, and ability. They must appoint staff members who are able to carry out this commitment.
Staff may only work in ECS from the age of 16 to 60 years.
1.2 Levels of Staffing
The staffing ratio required will depend on the qualifications and experience of the staff employed, but will not be less than:
Birth to 1year 1 : 4 Desirable: 1:3
1-2 years 1 : 5 Desirable: 1:4
2-3 years 1 : 6 Desirable: 1:5
3-5 years 1 : 12 Desirable: 1:10
Where children with special needs are attending, higher staff ratios may be necessary and will be negotiated on an individual basis.
Where the service provided exceeds 3 hours in a day, and is provided outside of term time, there must be sufficient staff to provide the required ratios to cover staff breaks, shifts, sickness and holidays. Staffing ratios should be maintained at all times. Where this is not possible over lunch breaks, managers must ensure that the ratios are sufficient to enable the children to be cared for safely. Low supervision activities should be scheduled and there must be options to call on members of staff that are on a break, if they are needed.
There must be a minimum of two staff on the premises at all times, however few children are present. One of these members of staff must be qualified and nominated as the designated person in charge.
The supervisor must not be counted in staff/child ratios if the ECS has more than 20 places. If a setting has between 20 and 30 places and the proprietor takes an active part in the day to day management of the setting an individual agreement can be made whereby the supervisor can be counted in the ratios for 50% of their time.
Support staff employed as administrators, cleaners, cooks or handypersons must not routinely be counted in staffing ratios. There must be sufficient support staff employed to avoid staff having to carry out tasks that are inappropriate to their role and responsibilities. Regular volunteers, or parents/guardians who are regularly supporting employed staff on a rota basis, may be included in the overall ratio, but at least half of the staff must be qualified (see 1 . 3)
The Royal Grenada Police Force must be informed of the proposed appointment of all staff prior to confirmation of their position, so that appropriate checks can be made. This also applies to regular volunteers.
As long as prior written consent to checks is received by the Royal Grenada Police Force, new staff members may take up employment pending the outcome of the checks. If these checks indicate anything that would be contrary to the interests of children then the individual concerned would be contacted to discuss and/or confirm the details. If decided by the Royal Grenada Police Force that this person was “unfit to be in the proximity of children under five”, it would be expected that employment or placement at the ECS would be terminated.
The registered provider/supervisor must maintain staffing levels and have a strategy for emergency cover.
Any difficulties experienced by the registered provider/supervisor with regard to staffing and the adequacy of staff cover must be discussed with the Royal Grenada Police Force who may approve temporary arrangements.
When children of staff attend the setting, care should be taken to ensure that they are of an appropriate age so that they are safe and that the member of staff can carry out his or her duties towards the other children properly.
Qualifications of Staff
At least half the staff must be appropriately qualified and experienced in working with children less than five years of age whenever children are being cared for in the setting.
The Supervisor must be qualified as specified by the government as appropriate for the ECS. Appropriate knowledge or experience must include:
Organisational and financial management procedures
Health and safety
Food hygiene practices
Child protection issues
Working co-operatively with parents/guardians, families and the community.
Staff with food handling responsibilities must hold a relevant Food Handler's Certificate
All staff must have an understanding of quality in child-care and education practice as set out in these standards.
It is desirable that the registered provider will be experienced in child-care. If this is not the case, or the registered provider does not wish to be the supervisor, responsibilities between him or her and the supervisor must be clarified as follows:
The registered provider is responsible, by the act of registration, for ensuring that the ECS Standards are implemented on site.
The supervisor is responsible for standards of daily care and education in the setting. The supervisor should also encourage and support the education and training of non-qualified staff and also ensure that appropriate training opportunities are available to all.
For all other responsibilities, the differing roles should be clearly defined. Both supervisors and registered providers must have some input into decisions on staff recruitment and budgets.
Where the registered provider is a group, committee, organisation or company it must be made clear which designated person has the responsibility for overseeing the setting and how this will be carried out.
Specialist support to meet children’s medical, speech and language or behavioural needs may be required, and it will be necessary for staff to liaise with relevant colleagues in other services.
1.3.7 For employment as a –Pre-Primary teacher a person must have passed in at least 4 GCE or CXC
any other subjects or qualifications accepted by the Education Advisory Council. Caregiver for
providing care and development in the day care centres must have TVET Levels 1&2 or the
1.4 Personnel Practice
The registered provider must have a written personnel policy, setting out recruitment and selection procedures.
All staff must have a contract of employment and a job description. This must specify general and specific duties and accountability. There must be written disciplinary and grieviance procedures. A form of written agreement must also be available for regular volunteers and students.
An induction process must take place that introduces new staff/volunteers/students to colleagues, children, parents/guardians, relevant agencies, policies and procedures. An induction pack is desirable to facilitate this.
The registered provider and supervisor/teacher in charge must ensure effective communication systems are in place to check they are meeting the aims of their setting. They will need both to plan ahead and to review the past. The systems should include staff meetings and individual supervision or appraisal.
The Supervisor/Teacher in charge must be concerned with providing a high quality service, and must, therefore, demonstrate at the annual inspection visit:
A system of planning and decision making which allows the views of all relevant persons to be heard
Awareness of the need for staff to be able to work with and share respect for the families of the children attending the ECS
Awareness of the need to work with other agencies such as Health and Community organisations
A knowledge of relevant legislative requirements
1.5 Written policies and procedures
The setting must have clearly written policies and procedures, which are used to clarify and reinforce expectations and responsibilities of staff and thereby maintain good standards of practice. These should include: All staff must have full understanding of the policies, procedures, standards and regulations for early childhood settings. They will also need to have a full understanding of international agreements related to children’s development eg Coalition on the Rights of the Child.
Admissions (settling in) and Transition (moving on)
Materials, equipment and room arrangement
Daily routine, including before and after school arrangements
Curriculum statement and policies
Assessment (observation, record keeping, planning)
Meal times and supervision of breaks
Partnership with parents/guardians (including PTA)