Unsupervised over-8s in childcare settings in Wales
As you are aware there have been changes confirmed and now published in Wales to the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12. These come into force on the 1st April.
The revised Standard 24.8 states; The premises, including any outside play areas, are secure and children under the age of 8 are not able to leave unsupervised. Children aged 8 and over are only able to leave under arrangements which have been pre agreed with the parents. This does not apply to open access play provision.
We have been contacted by some members looking for guidance around allowing children to leave the setting unsupervised and what policies and procedures they need to have in place in order to best support the needs of children and families and be compliant with CSSIW.
PACEY would like to make it clear that if a child is not under the supervision of a childminder and has been allowed to leave the setting even if this has been pre-agreed with parents/carers this will not fall under care that can be covered by the childminder’s Public Liability Insurance. This is because in a pre-agreed agreement like this responsibility for the care of the child, and any incidents that occur, fall with the parent instead of the childminder and would be seen to fall outside of the contract. Individual childminders need to make a decision as to whether they wish to work with parents on agreements for over 8s, for example to walk to and from school unsupervised or to play away from the childminding setting and this is a personal choice for you to make in partnership with parents and the child.
It is good practice in this situation to ensure the following;
- Good working in partnership with parents and communication
- Consider the age and stage of development of the child before making any decisions
- Involve the child/ren in decisions being made
- Consider local issues and risks (ie. would they have to cross a busy road unsupervised.)
- Clear and implemented risk assessment processes and recording of these
- Policy/procedure on children leaving the setting and sharing of this with parents.
- Agreement and signed permission in place with any parents for each individual child to leave the setting that have been discussed and confirmed (with regular review of these). This would need to include agreed boundaries ie. timings , where children can play/walk to, what the child would do in an emergency etc.
- Parents need to be clear on their responsibilities under this agreement and that this falls outside of the contract
- Recording and documenting of any incidents/accidents
We have drafted some suggested wording for childminders to add to the agreement and signed permission form to support parent’s understanding.
‘by agreeing to the above arrangement I understand the childminder cannot be held responsible for the care of my child/ren while they are away from the childminding setting outside the supervision of the childminder and that this agreement falls outside of my/our contract with the childminder. I understand the overall responsibility for the child/ren falls with me/us as the parent/carer in these situations’