Staffing policy

Statement of Intent

Polstead Preschool is committed to placing the best interests of children’s welfare, care and development at the centre of all staffing matters.

Procedures

  • The Preschool Supervisor will arrange regular staff meetings where all staff are able to discuss and contribute in a positive manner. The Preschool Supervisor should encourage staff to contribute to the development and quality of the programme of activities provided.
  • Members of staff are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a professional, courteous, helpful, warm and consistent manner.
  • Members of staff are expected to display both knowledge and understanding of multi-cultural issues and inclusion, and a commitment to treating all children as individuals and with equal concern and respect.
  • Members of staff will ensure that their dress and personal appearance are appropriate for working with children and have an awareness of health and safety issues.
  • Personal mobiles must be switched off and not used during working hours. If staff need to receive an emergency call, the person calling them should use the main Preschool number. See our Mobile Phones policy.

Terms and Conditions

Preschool is committed to promoting family friendly employment practices to help staff balance work and family commitments. The Preschool will make every effort to be flexible with staff and to promote harmonious working relations.

Preschool will work with staff and their representatives to ensure that all employment legislation and regulations – including Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Parental Leave, Statutory Sick Pay and Working Time Regulations - are abided by.

In return, Preschool expects honesty, loyalty and diligence from its staff.

All staff will have written employment contracts, including rates and levels of pay and other terms and conditions, which are the responsibility of the Committee - in particular the Chair, Treasurer and Staff Liaison Officer.

All staff have job descriptions, which set out their staff roles and responsibilities.

We work towards offering equality of opportunity by using non-discriminatory procedures for staff recruitment and selection. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. Applicants will be considered on the basis of their suitability for the post, regardless of marital status, age, gender, culture, religious belief, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. Applicants will not be placed at a disadvantage by the Preschool imposing conditions or requirements that are not justifiable.

We support the work of our staff by holding regular supervision meetings and annual appraisals.

Qualifications, Experience and Safety Checks

The Preschool Supervisor and all staff (including students and volunteers) will be suitably qualified, have relevant experience and have undergone an identity check and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure.

Preschool will not employ staff or volunteers who have been convicted of an offence or have been the subject of an order that disqualifies them from registration under regulations made under schedule 9A of the Children Act 1989. A person who has not undergone a DBS disclosure, but who is on the premises (such as a member of staff awaiting the result of a DBS check) will not be left unsupervised with a child.

The Preschool Supervisor will have an appropriate qualification to the post along with at least two years’ experience of working in a early years setting. At least half of the rest of our staff will hold a relevant level 2 qualification, or higher qualification. Appropriate qualifications as defined by the Department for Education.

Standards of Behaviour

Under no circumstances should any arguments or disagreements between members of staff occur in the presence of children or parents/carers.

No smoking, alcohol or drug use is allowed on the premises. See the Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs policy.

No bullying, swearing, harassment or victimisation will be tolerated on the premises.

Offensive behaviour such as sexist or racist language or harassment will not be tolerated.

All staff are expected to treat everyone respectfully at all times and inappropriate behaviour may lead to disciplinary action.

Staff disciplinary procedures

Minor disagreements

Minor disagreements among staff, or between staff and the Committee, can usually be resolved at the regular staff management meeting or informally by discussion.

Disciplinary action

A more serious situation arises when a dispute cannot be resolved, or when the Committee is dissatisfied with the conduct or activities of a member of staff.

Any disciplinary matter will normally be dealt with using the following procedure:

  • Step 1 - details of grounds for action and invitation to meeting

    The Committee must prepare a statement of the member of staff’s alleged conduct or characteristics, or other circumstances, which have led to the contemplation of dismissing or taking disciplinary action against the member of staff.

    The statement and date of the disciplinary meeting must be sent to the member of staff prior to the meeting.

    The member of staff should be provided with a reasonable amount of time to consider his/her response to the statement.

  • Step 2 - the disciplinary meeting

    A disciplinary meeting must take place before action is taken, except where the disciplinary action in question consists of suspension. At the meeting, the Committee should ensure that the circumstances of the complaint against the member of staff are discussed.

    The Committee must write to the member of staff to explain the conduct or capability, which may result in dismissal or other disciplinary action.

    The outcome of the disciplinary meeting must be confirmed in writing, to include the member of staff’s right of appeal against the decision.

  • Step 3 – appeal

    At each stage of the disciplinary procedure, the member of staff must be told s/he has the right to appeal against any disciplinary action, and that the appeal must be made in writing to the Chair within 5 days of a disciplinary interview.

    The member of staff will have the opportunity to appeal against any penalty issued at the disciplinary meeting. If the member of staff wishes to appeal then s/he should submit the appeal in writing within a set time period (5 days) of receiving the letter confirming the outcome of the disciplinary meeting, giving full details of the grounds for appeal.

At every stage the member of staff should be given reasonable notice (5 days) that a disciplinary hearing is due to take place to give her/him the opportunity to prepare her/his case, and s/he should be offered the opportunity to be accompanied by a colleague or union representative if s/he wishes. The disciplinary panel should consist of the Chair and two nominated Committee colleagues, who should ensure that confidentiality is maintained within the panel.

Modified statutory procedure

In very exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to dismiss a member of staff without holding a disciplinary meeting i.e. where instant dismissal is justified and necessary. Such cases will be rare (because even in most cases of gross misconduct, investigation is usually justified, coupled with suspension) and will normally only apply to cases of gross misconduct, where the conduct or breach of duty brings Preschool into disrepute.

In such circumstances the following procedure will apply:

  • Step 1 - statement of grounds for action

    The Committee must set out in writing the member of staff’s alleged misconduct which has led to the dismissal, what the basis was for thinking at the time of the dismissal that the member of staff is guilty of the alleged misconduct, and the member of staff’s right to appeal against dismissal within a limited time period (5 days). This statement or a copy of it should be sent to the member of staff.

  • Step 2 - appeal

    If the member of staff wishes to appeal, s/he must inform Preschool in writing.

    If the member of staff informs Preschool of her/his wish to appeal, the Committee must invite her/him to attend a meeting. The member of staff must take all reasonable steps to attend the meeting. After the appeal meeting, the Committee must inform the member of staff of the final decision.

Disciplinary penalties

The Committee can issue a range of penalties depending on the circumstances of the case. However, a member of staff should not be dismissed for a first offence unless it constitutes gross misconduct.

1. First formal warning

  • i. The member of staff will be interviewed by the disciplinary panel who will explain the complaint.
  • ii. The member of staff will be given full opportunity to state her/his case.
  • iii. After careful consideration by the disciplinary panel, and if the warning is considered to be appropriate, the member of staff needs to be told:
    • the nature of her/his failings
    • what action should be taken to correct the conduct or performance
    • that s/he will be given reasonable time to rectify matters
    • what training needs and/or support have been identified, with timescales for implementation
    • what mitigating circumstances have been taken into account in reaching the decision
    • that if s/he fails to improve, then further action will be taken
    • that a record of the warning will be kept
    • that s/he has a right to appeal against the decision

2. Formal written warning

If the member of staff fails to correct her/his conduct and further action is necessary, or if the original offence is considered too serious to warrant an initial oral warning:

  • i. The member of staff will be interviewed by the disciplinary panel who will explain the complaint and give the member of staff an opportunity to state her/his case. Reasonable time must be allowed for the member of staff to prepare her/his case.
  • ii. If a further formal warning is considered to be appropriate, this will be explained to the member of staff and a letter confirming this decision will be sent to the member of staff.
  • iii. The letter will:
    • a. contain a clear reprimand and the reasons for it
    • b. explain what corrective action is required and what reasonable time is given for improvement
    • c. state what training needs and/or support have been identified, with timescales for implementation
    • d. make clear what mitigating circumstances have been taken into account in reaching the decision
    • e. warn that failure to improve will result in further disciplinary action which could result in a final written warning and, if unheeded, ultimately to dismissal with appropriate notice
    • f. explain that s/he has a right to appeal against the decision

3. Final written warning

If the member of staff fails to correct her/his conduct and further action is necessary, or if the original offence is considered too serious to warrant any initial warnings:

  • i. The member of staff will be interviewed and given the opportunity to state her/his case. Reasonable time must be allowed for the member of staff to prepare her/his case.
  • ii. If a final warning is considered to be appropriate, this will be explained to the member of staff and a letter confirming this decision will be sent to the member of staff.
  • iii. The letter will:
    • a. contain a clear reprimand and the reasons for it
    • b. explain what corrective action is required and what reasonable time is given for improvement
    • c. state what training needs and or support have been identified, with timescales for implementation
    • d. make clear what mitigating circumstances have been taken into account in reaching the decision
    • e. warn that failure to improve will result in further disciplinary action which could result in dismissal
    • f. explain that s/he has a right to appeal against the decision

4. Dismissal

If the member of staff still fails to correct her/his conduct, then:

  • i. the member of staff will be interviewed as before
  • ii. if the decision is to dismiss, the member of staff will be given notice of dismissal, stating the reasons for dismissal and giving details of the right to appeal. If the progress is satisfactory within the time given to rectify matters, the record of warnings will be removed from the member of staff’s personal file.

Suspension

If the circumstances appear to potentially warrant dismissal or the circumstances of the case are considered to constitute gross misconduct, a member of staff may be suspended with pay while investigations are being made. These should consist of obtaining written statements from all witnesses to the disciplinary incident, and from
the member of staff who is being disciplined. Obviously these investigations should be carried out within as short a time as possible.

Hearing appeals

The appeal hearing should be heard, if possible within 10 days of receipt of the appeal. Two or three Committee members - not, if possible, those involved in the initial disciplinary procedures - will serve as an Appeals
Panel. The member of staff may take a work colleague or trade union official to speak for her/him.

  • a. The member of staff will explain why s/he is dissatisfied and may be asked questions.
  • b. The Preschool Supervisor or Chair will be asked to put forward her/his point of view and may be asked questions.
  • c. Witnesses may be heard and may be questioned by the Appeals Panel and by the member of staff and the Preschool Supervisor or Chair.
  • d. The Panel will consider the matter and make known its decision.

A written record of the meeting will be kept.

Time scales

Each step and action under the disciplinary procedure must be taken without unreasonable delay. Consideration should be given to timings and locations of meetings to ensure that the member of staff and her/his representative are able to attend. For cases that result in dismissal, two reasonable attempts by Preschool to arrange a meeting will normally be sufficient if they prove abortive because of the member of staff’s non-attendance. If a member of staff is not able to attend the first disciplinary meeting arranged then s/he will be required to provide an alternative date to take place within 5 days of the original date given by Preschool.

Staff to Children Ratios

Preschool is conscious of the importance of maintaining adequate staff to child ratios, ensuring that children are cared for safely and given adequate attention and support.

The Preschool Supervisor/Committee will ensure that there are always at least two members of staff on duty on the premises at any given time, at least one member of staff holds a full and relevant level 3 qualification and at least half of all other staff hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification.

The Committee/Preschool Supervisor will further ensure that suitable and sufficient contingency plans are in place to cover emergencies, unexpected staff absences, staff breaks, holidays and sickness.

For children aged two:

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every 4 children

For children aged three and over where a person with Qualified Teacher Status, Early Years Professional Status, Early Years Teacher Status or another suitable level 6 qualification is working directly with the children:

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every 13 children

For children aged three and over where a person with Qualified Teacher Status, Early Years Professional Status, Early Years Teacher Status or another suitable level 6 qualification is not working directly with the children:

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every 8 children

Confidentiality

Staff have a right to privacy, as do children and their parents/carers. Personal details should not be discussed except in exceptional circumstances. Staff will not talk about individual incidents or the behaviour of children in front of parents/carers and other children.

Under no circumstances should staff provide any information about children to any branch of the media. All media enquires should be passed in the first instance to the Committee/Preschool Supervisor.

Hours of work

Contracted working hours and normal working days are specified in the contract of employment.

As opening hours and staffing levels vary depending on the number of children contracted to attend, Preschool reserves the right to vary the number of hours, the days and times that staff are expected to work. Decisions such as this will always be made in consultation with staff and with a minimum of two weeks’ notice.

Hours of work are categorised as follows:

  • Morning sessions: 08:30 to 12:00 Monday to Friday during term time (17.5 hours per week).
  • Afternoon sessions: 12:00 to 15:00 Monday to Friday during term time (15 hours per week).
  • Meetings: 15:00 to 15:30 Monday and Friday during term time (2 hours per week).
  • Administration: Some staff members have administrative responsibilities to support the successful running of the Preschool (These hours vary per individual but are normally between 2 and 4 hours per week).

Sessional staff are expected to complete the required EYFS observation paperwork at the end of each session. No additional payments are made for writing up time and this has been taken into consideration when setting hourly pay rates.

Employees may be requested to cover additional sessions in the event of staff absence. Any additional sessions worked must be authorised by the Preschool Supervisor.

Preschool will only pay overtime in exceptional circumstances and staff must obtain the authorisation of the Preschool Supervisor before undertaking any additional non-sessional hours. If a member of staff feels that they are unable to complete their essential duties during their contracted hours then it is their responsibility to raise this with the Preschool Supervisor or with a member of the Management Committee.

Staff will not be paid for attendance at non-mandatory training sessions except in exceptional circumstances and with the authorisation of the Management Committee.

Salaries

Initial pay levels are stated in the contract of employment.

Staff will be paid a monthly salary, calculated by multiplying current hourly rates by regular working hours and number of working weeks, with holiday pay calculated for the year and added on top before dividing by 12.

The Preschool Supervisor will inform the Treasurer of any additional hours worked or to be worked by staff members in a particular calendar month by the 26th of the respective month. These will be paid at the hourly rate as specified in the contract of employment.

Notification of any future changes to salary, including the payment of increments and general increases, are either contained in monthly pay statements or notified separately in writing.

Salaries are paid monthly in arrears by bank transfer on the last Friday of each month.

Employees should notify the Treasurer by the second to last Friday of the month if their bank or building society account details change.

Holidays

Staff on term time only contracts

  • Employment is on a term time only basis and staff are not required to attend work during the school holidays.
  • Each member of staff is entitled to an allocation of paid holiday equivalent to 5.6 weeks in accordance with statutory requirements. All holiday must be taken outside of term time and the pay for this will be calculated and incorporated into the annual salary.
  • Paid holiday allocations are calculated as follows:
    • ((Normal working hours per week x 39 term weeks) / 46.4 working weeks in the year) x 5.6 holiday weeks
  • Employees are not required to specify which weeks they wish to take as paid holiday.
  • For newly appointed staff and to those leaving employment midway through the leave year, annual leave entitlement will be pro-rated accordingly.
  • Leave during term time will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and by prior arrangement with the Preschool Supervisor and the Management Committee, giving a minimum of one month’s notice. For periods of leave up to two days, staff will be expected to work with the Preschool Supervisor to identify suitable opportunities to make up this time by working additional sessions within that half term period. For longer periods, unpaid leave may be more appropriate but this must be negotiated in advance with the Management Committee.

Staff on 52 week contracts

  • Each member of staff is entitled to an allocation of paid holiday equivalent to 5.6 weeks in accordance with statutory requirements.
  • Holidays must be requested at least one month in advance and in writing using the form provided.
  • Holiday can be taken at the discretion of the staff member, subject to the approval of the Preschool Supervisor, who will not unreasonably withhold consent. However, the Preschool Supervisor reserves the right to refuse requested holiday if it seriously conflicts with or disrupts the operation of Preschool. Employees are expected to take into account and avoid periods of peak activity when planning their holidays.

Absences

Staff should negotiate statutory annual leave with the Preschool Supervisor in all cases giving as much notice as possible. Staff should take annual leave during holiday time and not in term time whenever possible.

Absences due to Sickness

If staff are unable to attend work due to illness or other medical condition, they must contact the Preschool Supervisor in the first instance prior to the start of the working day.

Staff should indicate why they are unable to attend work and when they expect to return.

On returning to work, staff should complete a self-certification form for any sickness absence (see appendix XX).

A return to work interview will take place by the Chair or the Preschool Supervisor on the staff member’s first day back at work.

Three sessions per term are allowed at full pay. Absences of 4 or more days continuously (including weekends or bank holidays) may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. For absences of longer than 7 days in a continuous period, a doctor’s certificate must be submitted.

The Preschool Supervisor will keep records of all sick-leave, other absences and lateness, which will be shared with the Staff Liaison Officer and other appropriate committee members where necessary.

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