How to work out ratios

Guidance on complying with EYFS ratios in your setting

Lisa Holmes avatar
Written by Lisa Holmes
Updated over a week ago

Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out whether you have the ratio space available to take on more children in your tiney home.

As a registered Early Years provider, you have to comply with the staff : child ratios set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. This is to ensure the safety of the children in your care.

The bottom line is that you may care for a maximum of six children under the age of eight at any one time. Of these six children, a maximum of three may be young children and only one under one year old. A child is a young child up until 1st September following his or her fifth birthday These ratios include your own children who haven’t yet started school, even if there are other adults on the premises during business ours, unless they’re registered as an assistant with tiney.

We've provided this handy ratio management chart to help you to keep within your ratios when working out scheduling and your availability for new business.

What if I want to care for twin babies or offer after school care for an older sibling?

In some circumstances, exceptions can be made to the usual ratios. For example, you could care for twin babies under one year old provided you can demonstrate to parents and us that you are able to meet their needs.

Similarly, if you want to provide before or after school care for a four or five year old sibling of a younger child in your setting and you already have three under fives, you can do so provided you can demonstrate to the parents and us that you’re able to meet all children’s needs. You can apply for tiney for ratio exceptions - see here for more information.

How does working with an assistant impact my ratios?

If your setting is full, but you want to offer more places, you could decide to work with a tiney assistant. Each tiney assistant enables you to work with an additional six children under eight years old and the same restrictions around the ages of children apply to your assistant, as well as you. Remember that only tiney assistants aged 17 years old and over can be included in your ratios.

When it comes to offering a place to a new child, you’ll need to ensure you can provide high quality care to all the children in your care, as well as check you’ll still be within staff : child ratios. Useful questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do I have enough indoor space, furniture and equipment?

  • How will I ensure each child reaches their potential in my tiney home?

  • How will I organise the day so that all children benefit from my time?

  • How will I manage outings, whether it’s a regular trip to the local park or further afield?

    You can read more around EYFS ratios on our blog here.

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