Financial Control


Financial records are kept such that: 

  • Puddleducks meets its legal and other statutory obligations, such as the requirements of the Charities Act, HM Revenue & Customs and common law. 
  • The Management Committee have proper financial control of the organisation.
  • Puddleducks meets its contractual obligations and requirements of funders.  

In order to ensure sufficient accounting records are kept for all transactions, the accounting records prepared will include: 

  • A cashbook reconciling and analysing all the transactions appearing on the bank accounts.
  • Appropriate payroll records as required by HMRC for PAYE purposes 

Accounts are drawn up at the end of each financial year within 3 months of the end of the year and presented to the next Annual General Meeting for formal approval.  

At the start of each financial year, the Management Committee will approve a budgeted income and expenditure forecast for the following year.  The Treasurer will provide an update at least quarterly against the budgetary forecast with appropriate remediation measures where necessary. 

The Trustees will appoint an appropriately qualified auditor/independent examiner to audit/examine the accounts for presentation to the next AGM.  The annual report, accounts and annual return will also be filed with the Charity Commission before the deadline as required. 

Good financial governance requires that the various responsibilities within the financial management of the organisation are separated. As a bookkeeper is employed to conduct the day to day management of the accounts, the Treasurer shall act on behalf of the Trustees to maintain oversight. 

In order to maintain separation of duties, and to comply with best practice as recommended by both the Charities Commission and Ofsted, the Treasurer shall review the bank statements and bank reconciliations on a regular basis and perform checks on the accounts at the end of the financial year. 


Puddleducks banks with The Co-Operative Bank plc at its London Street, Norwich Branch and accounts will be held in the name of Puddleducks Community Playgroup.  The name and purpose of those accounts are included as an annex to this policy. 

The bank mandate (list of people who can sign cheques on the organisation’s behalf) as annexed to this policy, will be approved and minuted by the Management Committee as will any changes to it. 

Puddleducks will require the bank to provide statements every month and these will be reconciled with the cash book by the Bookkeeper on a monthly basis and a note sent to the Treasurer confirming the reconciliation has been done and that all transactions are appropriately accounted for. The Treasurer will also receive duplicate bank statements direct from the bank and review these on a monthly basis. 

The Treasurer will check the cash book and bank reconciliation at least quarterly and provide a report to the committee confirming the status of that reconciliation and any discrepancies found. The Treasurer will discuss the financial performance of the organisation, including a budget update, with the Trustees at their meetings and minutes will be made as appropriate. 

Puddleducks will not use any other bank or financial institution or use overdraft facilities or loan finance without of the agreement of the Management Committee. Puddleducks will not use debit cards or other cards to either withdraw cash or make payments. Petty cash transactions are to be avoided where possible. 

Income Receipts 

Incoming post will be opened in group by staff, and the details noted in the post log book, before being passed to the Bookkeeper / Chair as appropriate. 

Puddleducks will issue invoices for all regular monies owed to it and reconcile all income received with those invoices.  All monies received will be recorded promptly in the cash analysis book and banked without delay (this includes income from Ducklings and Monkey Club). 

The Bookkeeper will provide the Treasurer with an aged debt report on a termly basis which the Treasurer will present to the Management Committee at their meetings for review and consideration if appropriate. 

Expenditure Payments 

The aim is to ensure that all expenditure is on Puddleducks' business and is properly authorised and that this can be demonstrated. The latest approved budget provides the cheque signatories with authority to spend up to the budgeted expenditure, not beyond it.   

  • The Bookkeeper will be responsible for holding the cheque book (unused and partly used cheque books) which should be kept under lock and key. 
  • Blank cheques will NEVER be signed.
  • The relevant payee's name will always be inserted on the cheque before signature and the cheque stub will always be properly completed. 
  • No cheques should be signed without original documentation. 

Purchase Orders 

Puddleducks’ requires all transactions for the provision of goods and services where the commitment is over £50, with the exception of rent and utilities, to be supported by a requisition, purchase order and signed delivery note.  The purchase order will be authorised in accordance with the Table of Delegated Authority.  Invoices will then be paid once a three-way match has been established. 


Every payment out of Puddleducks' bank accounts will be evidenced.  In the case of payment to suppliers this shall be by an original invoice (and not against a supplier's statement or final demand) which shall be matched to the original purchase order and a confirmation of the receipt of the goods or services. That original invoice will be retained by Puddleducks and filed. The cheque signatory should ensure that it is referenced with: 

  • Cheque number.
  • Date the cheque is drawn.
  • Amount of the cheque. 

For items to be paid by electronic transfer of funds, a Request for Electronic Payment form will be drawn up and signed and countersigned in accordance with the Table of Delegated Authorities.  Further, in the case of a request for payment to a new payee, the transaction will not be processed until the bookkeeper has confirmed that the payee’s identity and that the request for payment is accurate and in accordance with this policy. 

The only exceptions to cheques not being supported by an original invoice are items such as advanced booking fees for a future course, deposit for a venue, VAT, etc.  In these cases, a cheque requisition form will be used, a photocopy of the cheque kept and a receipt requested and matched against that check. 

Each Request for Electronic Payment or cheque will be signed by at least two people; the first signatory will be acting within the Table of Delegated Authority and the second signatory will be the Treasurer. 

Where Requests for Electronic Payment or cheques are to a person with delegated authority or to another person or organisation where the person has an interest, that person may not sign. 

If the Treasurer has a conflict of interest as outlined in the paragraph above, the role of independent checking will fall to the Vice Chair. 

Wages and Salaries 

There will be a clear trail to show the authority and reason for EVERY such payment; e.g. a cheque requisition form asking for payment to an employee, HMRC, etc where these do not form part of the normal monthly payroll process. All employees will be paid within the PAYE regime with appropriate statutory deductions made from wages and forwarded to HMRC. 

Employees will have contracts of employment stating their fixed hours. Timesheets for any additional hours worked will be prepared by the employee and approved by the lead practitioner and the administrator before being passed to the Bookkeeper for inclusion in the payroll. A summary of the monthly payroll payment will be reviewed by the Treasurer each month. 

All staff appointments/departures, wage rate and changes in contractual hours or other long-term changes to financial commitments will be authorised by The Management Committee who will minute the decision and date of that decision.  Any changes in short-term commitments will be made in accordance with the Table of Delegated authorities with line management approval.  

All personnel files will be kept securely in group, separate from the payroll records. 

Petty Cash 

Petty cash transactions will be kept to a minimum but where required, all payments made by cash will be from a cash float and not incoming cash and supported by documentation authorised as appropriate. All details will be recorded in the accounting records and reviewed as appropriate. 


Puddleducks will, if asked, reimburse expenditure paid for personally by staff and committee members, providing: 

  • Expenditure is evidenced by the original receipt
  • Reimbursement claims are made within 2 months of the original expenditure
  • Appropriate permissions have been sought in accordance with the Table of Delegated Authority. 

All staff expenses must be signed off with line management approval.  All committee expenses must be signed off in accordance with the Table of Delegated Authority. 

Grants and Fundraising 

All fundraising and grant applications undertaken on behalf of Puddleducks will be done in the name of Puddleducks with the prior approval of the Management Committee.  The Chair has the authority, in urgent situations, to act on behalf of the Management Committee.  In the event of using those powers, the Chair will provide a report to the next Management Committee meeting who will note the use of those powers. 

Where a grant is subject to conditions of financial control, the Chair and Treasurer may, at their joint discretion, order specific additional controls to those outlined in this policy.  The funds from that grant will be assigned to a specific and separate nominal account, against which those controls will apply. 

Reserves Policy 

It is the policy of the Trustees to maintain reserves sufficient in order to cover the following items: 

  1. meet redundancy liabilities should the preschool have to close;
  2. maintain a general contingency reserve equal to one term’s outgoings;
  3. establish a designated contingency fund, accumulating over time, to cover the estimated cost of moving premises; and
  4. invest in new toys and equipment as and when required. 

The reserves policy will be reviewed and amended by the committee as appropriate each year. The committee will monitor the actual level of reserves and compare with the target level on a regular basis but no less than once a year. 

In the event of reserves falling significantly below the target level, the committee will aim to restore the reserves as soon as possible by increasing fundraising, increasing earned income, or reducing expenditure. Similarly, if reserves are significantly above the target level, the committee will put in place a plan, as soon as possible, aiming to eliminate the excess within four years by spending money to enhance the quality of preschool provision, or otherwise further the aims of the  preschool, or by reducing fundraising. The committee will not, however, take any steps that might call into question the ability of Puddleducks to continue as a financially viable operation in the long term. In particular, it will not plan to use excess reserves to cover essential running costs. 

Acceptance of Liability 

Puddleducks does not accept liability for any financial commitment unless properly authorised as by the Table of Delegated Authority. 

Other Rules 

The Management Committee reserves the right to undertake and enforce disciplinary action against any member of staff of management committee that does not comply with this policy. 

Puddleducks will adhere to good practice in relation to its finances at all times, e.g. when relevant it will set up and maintain a fixed asset register stating the date of purchase, cost, serial numbers and normal location of assets. Additionally Puddleducks will maintain a property record of items of significant value, with an appropriate record of their use. 

Annex 1 – Table of Delegated Authority 

Management Committee (signatory to be Chair)              Including and over £250

Chair                                                                             Up to £250

Vice Chair                                                                     Up to £100

Lead Practitioner                                                           Up to £50

Other Practitioner                                                          Up to £10 

Annex 2 – Bank Accounts 

Puddleducks Playgroup,

Community Directplus Account,

Co-operative Bank.  

Fundraising Account:

Business Select Instant Access Account. 

Annex 3 – Bank Mandate 

Victoria Goff, Chair

Deborah Fiddeman, Administrator

Suzy Watson, Treasurer

Lin Goram, Committee member

Natasha Hall, Book-keeper


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 13th June 2015.


Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Vicky Goff, Committee Chair……………………………..

Partnership with Parents

We believe that children benefit most from early years education and care when parents and settings work together in partnership. Our aim is to support parents as their children's first and most important educators by involving them in their children's education and in the full life of the playgroup.


As a community-based, volunteer-run playgroup, Puddleducks depends on the goodwill, support and involvement of parents to keep going.  Membership of the playgroup carries expectations of parents for their support and commitment.




  1. We ensure ongoing dialogue with parents to improve our knowledge of the needs of their children and to support their families.  We inform all parents about how the setting is run and its policies through access to written information and through regular informal communication.


  1. We welcome parents’ contributions of their skills, knowledge and interests – for example we have in the past enjoyed visits by parents who are nurses and policemen, and we have visited one parent at her workplace (a Fire Station).  Please speak to a member of staff if you feel you could help in this way.


  1. We inform all parents of the systems for registering queries, complaints or suggestions and check to ensure these are understood.  All parents have access to our written complaints procedure.


  1. In compliance with the Welfare Requirements, the following documentation is in place:


  • Admissions policy.
  • Complaints procedure.
  • Record of complaints.
  • Developmental records of children.


Parent Helper Rota

  •  We operate a parent helper rota which is essential to the running of the group.  There are benefits to all concerned:


    • Your child feels special and enjoys sharing their group time with you.
    • You are able to see at first-hand how the group works, and how your child interacts with other children and adults at group. You can develop new skills, gather ideas for home activities and get to know the staff.
    • The playgroup benefits by gaining an extra pair of hands and has the opportunity to extend partnerships with parents.


  • You will not be left alone with children and you must not take children to the toilets unless you have a Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate for Puddleducks. For further details about what to do when it is your turn to help, please read the parent helper guidelines on the Puddleducks noticeboard in the Jubilee Room. Don’t hesitate to ask a member of staff if you are have any queries.


  • The Rota is displayed in the foyer for you to sign up for the sessions that are convenient for you. Please consider doing more than one session if your child attends more than 2 sessions a week.


  • We encourage all parents to take their turn on the rota.  If you yourself cannot attend, you may send a substitute (eg other family member (aged over 18), child-minder, friend).  


Other Parental Involvement 


  • We run fundraising activities throughout the year, including various fetes and fun days throughout the year, as well as events such as the Christmas and summer parties in session time.  Funds go directly to improving the provision, usually by purchasing new toys and equipment.  For all of these events we rely on the support and involvement of parents – please do help. 


  • The playgroup is managed by a committee of parents.  How the different responsibilities are allocated can vary but we currently have a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Health and Safety Co-ordinator, Fundraising Co-ordinator and Assistants, plus some general committee members.  Committee meetings are once a month during term time, in the evening, and we also have the occasional social evening.  You are very welcome to attend committee meetings (which are advertised in group and in the newsletters) and have your say in how things are run.  The Committee Annual General Meeting is every October, when we need to fill the positions of Committee members whose children have moved on to school.  The group cannot legally operate without a committee of willing volunteers, so please do get involved.  If you feel you would be able to help in any of these positions, please contact the Chair or Lead Practitioner at any time, or contact the person currently holding the position.


  • We maintain a list of “bank staff”, i.e. people willing to work the occasional session to cover staff absence.  Parents are encouraged to join the list of bank staff.  You will be paid an hourly rate (National Minimum Wage) and if it means your child has to attend group with you (when they would not normally come), you will not be charged. If you would be interested in joining the list please speak to a member of staff.




This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014.


Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Vicky Goff, Committee Chair………………………………


Observation and Assessment

At Puddleducks playgroup we believe that the themes, principles and practice from the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory and non-statutory documents are key to our work with young children and it is these that form the foundations on which our observations, assessments and planning are based.

EYFS key themes, principles and practice:

A Unique Child

Understand and observe each child’s development and learning, assess progress, plan for next steps.

Identify any needs for additional support.

Positive Relationships

Supportive of the child’s own efforts and independences.

Build on key person relationships.

Enabling environments

Rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching.

Learning and development

Ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas.

Foster the Characteristics of Effective Learning


The principle of the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance puts emphasis on the importance of observation and assessment. “In their interactions with children, practitioners should respond to their own day-to-day observations about children’s progress and observations that parents and carers share” Statutory Framework for the EYFS.

At Puddleducks playgroup we aim to meet the needs of all children and to support them in their development and learning. At Puddleducks we believe that children’s learning and development is best supported through play and we recognise the importance of the role of the adult in supporting children’s learning and we affirm a child’s parents as their first and most enduring educators.

At Puddleducks we aim to have knowledge of each child’s level of development and we will ensure that planning meets the diverse needs of all the children. We will support learning and development and celebrate the progress made in the children’s learning. We also value the contribution of and work in partnership with Parents and Carers.


  • To develop good relationships between a child’s parents/carer and their key person to ensure that information about the child is shared effectively.
  • To ensure that learning is a shared process, children learn most effectively when supported by a knowledgeable and trusted adult and when they are actively involved and interested.
  • To ensure that all children feel included, secure and valued.
  • To make sure that we build on what children already know and can do.
  • To develop the expertise of our practitioners so that they know how to respond effectively to the observations they make.


Information is gathered from the parent/carer when their child starts at Puddleducks, this information along with observation of the child forms the basis of the Early Assessment Review (EAR) which is completed withinthe first six weeks of a child joining Puddleducks. Observations are shared with the parent/carer through the child’s learning journey.

The means used to facilitate the two way sharing information are listed below:

Registration document- this collects information regarding the child’s health, family circumstances, cultural background, linguistic needs and additional information

All about me document-this collects information about the child’s likes and dislikes what they can do, special names for items, special comforters, favourite toys. This helps practitioners to ensure a smooth transition into the setting and helps the child to feel like they are known to those caring for them.

Parent’s evenings-Parents/carers are invited to meet with the child’s key person to talk about progress that is being made and to celebrate their achievements. Parents/carers will be invited to look at the child’s learning journey, discuss their progress and make comments to add to the learning journey.

Come and play sessions-Parents/carers have the opportunity to come to Puddleducks to take part in activities and share learning experiences with their child.

Home link activities and newsletters-Parents are asked to contribute to the child’s learning journey, filling in a “Look what I have been doing” sheet which is then added to the learning journey, encouraging children to look at their books and talk about the things they have done.

Ongoing Observations

Observation is the most productive form of information gathering. All key persons within the setting are responsible for recording, in an ongoing way, the significant steps that children make in their learning and development.

These observations will be recorded as soon after they are made as possible and, where appropriate they will be linked to the Early Years Foundation stage using the printed EYFS stickers and will show children using the Characteristics of Effective Learning. The Characteristics of Effective Learning support the adults to understand how a child is choosing to learn and what motivates and interests them.

Key persons will carry out observations of individual children where necessary, this will give them the opportunity to focus on what a child already knows and can do and also to plan the next steps in the child’s learning.

The next steps will be built into the planning of the learning environment and also planning of the specific child’s individual needs

Children with additional needs are supported within our observations and assessment system. Where necessary additional observations are carried out. These are then used to provide appropriately differentiated learning experiences or used in formal assessment of SEN to provide extra support for individual children, where necessary.

Learning Story’s

Each child at Puddleducks has a learning story. This is their own personal celebration of the developments they have made and of the experiences that they have enjoyed. It is contributed to by the child’s key person, other staff members, parents/carers and the children themselves. It is shared regularly with the child and with their Parents.


An Early Assessment Review is completed within the first six weeks of a child joining Puddleducks. This allows the key person to ascertain child’s starting points. The Early Assessment Review looks mainly at the child’s development within the three prime areas of development.

Two Year Development Check

The EYFS requires that parents must be supplied with a short written summary of their child’s development in the three prime learning and development areas of the EYFS: Personal, social, emotional development; Physical development and Communication and language; when the child is age between 24-36 months. The aim of the progress check is to:

  • review a child’s progress
  • ensure parents have a clear picture of their child’s development
  • enable practitioners to have an understanding of the child’s needs and plan activities to meet their needs
  • help parents to understand the child’s needs and with support from their key person, enhance the development at home
  • to note areas where a child is progressing well and to identify any areas where progress is less than expected: and
  • describe actions that the setting intends to take to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate)

A learning and development summary is produced in the final term before a child makes the transition into a Reception class, this transition report outlines the child’s strengths and development. They are shared with the child’s parents and a copy given to them with the child’s completed learning story.

A copy of the learning and development summary is sent to the reception class teachers, so that they can see the child’s development and learning whilst they have been at Puddleducks.


All planning covers the seven areas of the EYFS and the Characteristics of Effective Learning and values each area as being equally important, all planning includes both indoor and outdoor provision, all planning is supported by playgroup staff to ensure the quality of provision.

Long termplanning is met through continuous provision both indoors and outdoors; these areas are enhanced based on the on-going observations and assessments of the children. Planning sheets are on display and are added to and altered where necessary.

Medium termplans cover approximately six weeks and are used to introduce predictable interests such as seasons, festivals, travel, people who help us. With plans for provision of resources to enhance areas, types of opportunities children may be introduced to, visits and visitors.

Short termplans are carried out weekly and reflect the observations made by staff regarding current interests and development needs of the children. Provision may be planned for in a focus activity that allows for observation of individual children.

Monitoring and evaluation

Learning story’s are monitored on a regular basis by the Lead Practitioner and the Education Coordinator to ensure appropriate records of photographic and written observations are being made and that links to the EYFS and the Characteristics of effective Learning are clear.

Staff involvement in the planning allows for all to be involved and at staff meeting s the activities and the learning provision is evaluated and reviewed.

Peer observations by the Lead Practitioner provides regular feedback regarding the quality of the provision, information from these observations are fed back to the staff during supervisions and staff meetings to support professional development and continued development of the provision.

Special educational Needs/Inclusion

Children identified as having specific special educational needs which require provision that is additional to or different from other children will have individual learning plans and SMART targets; these will be drawn up in consultation with the child’s key person, the Parents/Carer and the SENCo.

This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee held on the 12th January 2015

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by

Victoria Goff, Committee Chair……………………………………………………………

Staffing, Recruitment and Employment

We provide a staffing ratio in line with the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Welfare Requirements to ensure that children have sufficient individual attention and to guarantee care and education of a high quality.  Our staff are appropriately qualified and we carry out Disclosure and Barring Service checks in accordance with statutory requirements.  We are committed to recruiting and employing staff in accordance with all relevant legislation and best practice.


  • We maintain as an absolute minimum the statutory ratios of adult to child (i.e. for children aged two years of age, 1 adult to 4 children; and for children aged 3 or above, 1 adult to 8 children). A minimum of two staff members will be present when children are on the premises.
  • Staff hold regular meetings to undertake curriculum planning and to discuss children’s progress, their achievements and any difficulties that may arise from time to time.  We operate a key person system, so each child has a member of staff allocated to them (see the Settling In and Key Person Policy).
  • In addition to our Lead Practitioner, Deputy Practitioner and four Assistant Practitioners, we also maintain a list of “bank staff” to cover staff absence (eg through sickness or training).



Puddleducks is committed to providing the best possible care to its children and to safeguarding and promoting welfare of young children. Puddleducks is also committed to providing a supportive working environment for all its members of staff. Puddleducks recognises that, in order to achieve these aims, it is of fundamental importance to attract, recruit and retain staffs who share this commitment.


The aim of the Puddleducks recruitment policy is as follows:

•  to ensure that the best possible staff are recruited

•  to ensure that all job applicants are considered equitably and consistently

•  to ensure that no job applicant is treated unfairly on any grounds including

   race, colour, nationality, ethic or national origin, religion or religious belief,

   sex or sexual orientation, marital status, disability and age

•  to ensure compliance with all relevant recommendations and guidance

   including the recommendations of the Department for Education and Skills

   (DfES) in “safeguarding children: safer recruitment and selection in education

   settings” and the code of practice published by the Disclosure and Barring Service


•  to ensure that the Puddleducks meet its commitment to safeguarding and

   promoting the welfare of children by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks.

Recruitment and Selection Procedure

All applicants for employment will be required to complete an application form containing questions about their academic and employment history and their suitability for the role. A curriculum vitae will not be accepted in place of the completed application form. Any Candidate who submits a curriculum vitae will be

asked to complete an application form. Applicants will receive a job description and person specification for the role applied for. The applicant may then be invited to spend some time at Puddleducks on an informal

basis prior to attending a formal interview at which his/her relevant skills and experience will be discussed in more detail.

If it is decided to make an offer of employment following the formal interview, any such offer will be subject to:

•  the agreement of a mutually acceptable start date and signing of a contract

    incorporating the Puddleducks standard terms and conditions of employment

•  the receipt of two references (one of which should be from the applicant’s

   most recent employer) which Puddleducks consider satisfactory

•  the receipt of a satisfactory enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

If the above conditions are satisfied and the offer is accepted then the applicant will be issued with a contract of employment as confirmation of employment. All appointments are subject to a six months probationary period during which the notice period to terminate the employment for whatever reason, by either the employee or Puddleducks is 4 weeks. Puddleducks also reserves the right to extend this probationary period should it deem this necessary.

Pre – employment checks

In accordance with the recommendations of the DfEs in “safeguarding children; safer recruitment and selection in education settings” Puddleducks carry out a number of pre-employment checks in respect of all prospective employees.

Verification of identity and address

All applicants who are invited to an interview will be required to bring the following evidence of identity, address and qualifications:

•  current driving licence or passport or full birth certificate

•   two utility bills or statements (from different sources) showing their name and

    home address

•  documentation confirming their national insurance number (P45, P60 or

   national insurance card)

•  documents confirming any educational and professional qualifications

   referred to in their application form.

Where an applicant claims to have changed his/her name by deed poll or any other mechanism (e.g. marriage, adoption) he/she will be required to provide documentary evidence of the change.


All offers of employment will be subject to the receipt of a minimum of two satisfactory references, one of which should be from the applicant’s current or most recent employer. If the current/most recent employment does/did not involve work with children, then the second referee should be from the employer with whom the applicant most recently worked with children. Neither referee should be a relative. All referees will be asked whether they believe the applicant is suitable for the job for which they have applied and whether they have any reason to believe that the applicant is unsuitable to work with children. All referees will be sent a copy of the

job description and a person specification for the role.

If the referee is a current or previous employer, they will also be asked to confirm

the following:

• the applicant’s dates of employment, salary, job title/duties, reason for leaving,

  performance, sickness and disciplinary record

• whether the applicant has ever been the subject of disciplinary procedures

  involving issues related to the safety and welfare of children

• whether any allegations or concerns have been raised about the applicant that

  relates to the safety and welfare of children or young people or behaviour

  towards children or young people.

Puddleducks will only accept references obtained directly from the referee. It will not rely on references or testimonials provided by the applicant or an open reference or testimonials.

Puddleducks will compare all references with any information given on the application form. Any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the information will be taken up with the applicant before any appointment is confirmed.

Criminal Record Check

Due to the nature of the work, Puddleducks applies for criminal record certificates from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in respect of all prospective staff members, directors and volunteers. Puddleducks will always request an Enhanced Disclosure as described below:

• an Enhanced Disclosure will contain details of all convictions on record  including current and spent convictions (including those which are defined

  as “spent” under the rehabilitation of offenders Act 1974) together with details of any cautions, reprimands or warning held on the Police National

  Computer. It may also contain non-conviction information from local police records which a chief police officer thinks may be relevant in

  connection with the matter in question.

• If the individual is applying for a position working with children, it will also reveal whether he/she is barred from working with children by virtue

  of his/her inclusion on the lists of those considered unsuitable to work with children maintained by the DfES and the department of health.

Retention and security of disclosure information

Puddleducks policy is to observe the guidance issued or supported by the DBS on the use of disclosure information. In particular, Puddleducks will:

• store disclosure information and other confidential documents issued by the CRB in locked cabinets, access to which will be restricted to specific members of staff

• not retain disclosure information or any associated correspondence for longer than is necessary. In most cases Puddleducks will not retain such information for longer than 6 months.

• Ensure that any disclosure information is destroyed by suitably secure means such as shredding

• Prohibit the photocopying or scanning of any disclosure information

Retention of records

If the applicant is appointed, Puddleducks will retain any relevant information provided on their application form (together with any attachments) on their personnel file. If the applicant is unsuccessful, all documentation relating to the application will normally be confidentially destroyed after six months unless the applicant specially requests Puddleducks to keep their details on file.


If an applicant has any queries on how to complete the application form or any other matter they should contact Puddleducks.

Staff Recruitment and Vetting

  • 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 our imposing conditions or requirements that are not justifiable.
  • All staff vacancies will be advertised on the Norfolk County Council pages on the internet, on the playgroup notice board and on relevant notice boards in the village.  If possible, an advert will also appear in a local newspaper.  A full job description, details of job qualifications and application form will be sent to anyone answering the advertisement.  Applications must be made in writing.  Potential applicants may observe the playgroup and familiarise themselves with its policies before making a formal application. All applications will be acknowledged.  The interview panel will consist of at least one member of the Committee and one staff representative with advice from Early Years and OFSTED if needed.
  • All new staff are given induction training within one week of beginning employment. This will cover child protection, health and safety and food hygiene. New staff are provided with a copy of the policies and procedures, and all staff is expected to be familiar with this document.
  • A three-month trial period will be agreed for all new members of staff. After successful completion of this probationary period, a permanent contract of employment will be issued. Each member of staff will be given the disciplinary and grievance procedure with the contract of employment. Wages are reviewed annually in June.
  • The Committee Chair informs OFSTED promptly of any changes to the Committee membership or of Lead Practitioner.

Staff qualifications, training and development

  • Our Lead Practitioner must hold the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Pre-School Practice or an equivalent qualification.  A minimum of half the other staff working in any given session hold the Level 2 qualification or equivalent. 
  • All staff will be given information on, and are expected to attend, relevant training courses for their professional development. The playgroup will reimburse the full cost of attending relevant training where appropriate, provided it is agreed with the Committee in advance.  The employee will be expected to pay back the cost of any course attended if she/he ceases to be employed by the playgroup during a period of time to be agreed by the Committee before the course starts.
  • All staff have job descriptions which set out their roles and responsibilities.
  • All staff will have an annual appraisal which is recorded in writing.  All staff are required to complete a self-assessment form as part of this process.
  • Supervision will be on going with the Lead Practitioner during the term to review progress toward appraisal objectives
  • Staff may not have children attending playgroup during the sessions in which they are working, except under exceptional circumstances (at the discretion of the Committee and subject to a review period). Exceptions to this rule will be made in the case of an emergency; in such cases, the child of the emergency staff member will be exempt from payment for that session.


Induction Procedure 

As an early years setting we are committed to ensuring that all adults that look after children, or are having unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so.

At Puddleducks we realise that our staff are our most important asset and we will ensure that they are given initial training to allow them to fulfill their role and to support and encourage ongoing learning and development with both in-house and external training.

We provide an induction for all staff, bank staff, students and volunteers in order to fully brief them about the playgroup setting, the families we serve, our policies and procedures, EYFS and daily practice within the setting. Bank staff, Students and volunteers will be given induction training that is relevant to their role and length of stay. See Student policy

To ensure that the new staff member is not overloaded with too much information once they start, the induction process should be spread over a time based on the individual’s needs; this could last up to six months. It is important to remember that each individual will have different requirements for their induction process depending on their experience / personality, e.g. school or college students may be less aware of health and safety issues or of safeguarding and confidentiality; those returning to work after a carer break or long term sickness may feel out of touch with changes and developments that will have taken place in the education sector. It is important in these cases to hold a meeting to ascertain where they feel they will need the support and where they feel their strengths lie.

In any new role there is a huge amount to learn as a new starter. In an early year setting this increase dramatically to include a huge amount of policies and procedures which are used on a daily basis, children’s names, individual needs, requirements, interests, personalities, parents names and key staff in the setting, e.g. Safeguarding lead, SENCO, First aiders .

Regular meetings and contact are important, showing you are there to support the new team member and it ensures you know how they are settling in to the team.

The Lead Practitioner inducts all new staff, bank staff, volunteers and students. The Chair of the management committee inducts the Lead Practitioner.

We follow an induction process for all new staff, bank staff, students and volunteers, which includes the following:

  • All new staff will be given a written copy of the induction procedure
  • Introductions to all staff, bank staff, students and volunteers that are in the setting and where possible this will include the Management Committee and their role
  • New members of staff, bank staff, students and volunteers will be given a copy of the policies and procedures. They will be asked to specifically read the policies on Behaviour Management, Health and Safety, Confidentiality, Social Networking and Safeguarding and to familiarise themselves with the others with in the policy and procedure document.
  • A copy of the staff code of conduct will be given and discussed, once read it will be signed
  • Tour of  the setting in order to familiarise them with the layout and the location of necessary equipment and facilities
  • Health and Safety and fire procedures explained
  • Safeguarding policy and procedure explained, Safeguarding Lead Practitioners are identified and referral charts are identified
  • Introduction to Parents and carers, especially families of allocated key children where appropriate
  • We operate a key person system and once settled and confident; a small group of children will be assigned to the staff member for observation and recording of significant learning into the child’s learning story.
  • Supervision and appraisal systems are explained and dates for reviews are given.
  • During the induction period the individual must demonstrate understanding and compliance with policies, procedures, tasks and routines.

Staff who are returning to work having had time off for maternity leave or long term sickness will be requested to attend a return to work meeting at a mutually convenient time. A full recap of the induction procedure will be completed to refresh and remind the returning staff member of safe working practice. Any updates on policies and procedures will be communicated; any training updates and changes will be discussed along with any changes to the EYFS and the working practices within the setting.


Student Placement


Puddleducks Playgroup recognises that qualifications and training make an important contribution to the quality of the care we provide. As part of our commitment to quality we offer placements to students undertaking Early Years qualifications and training. We also offer placements for school pupils on work experience. We aim to provide for students on placement with us, experiences which contribute to the successful completion of their studies and which provide examples of quality Early Years practice, care and education.


  1. We require students on qualification courses to meet the ‘suitable people’ requirements of Ofsted and have DBS checks carried out. Students with DBS checks will be permitted to support children in the toilet area.
  2. Unless approved by Ofsted, students must have a member of staff with them at all times and will not be permitted to take children to the toilet or otherwise be alone with children.
  3. We require students in our setting to have a sufficient understanding and use of English to contribute to the well-being of children in our care.
  4. We require schools placing students under the age of 17 years with the setting to vouch for their good character.
  5. We supervise students under the age of 17 years at all times and do not allow them to have unsupervised access to children.
  6. Students undertaking qualification courses who are placed in our setting on a short term basis are not counted in our staffing ratio.
  7. Trainee staff employed by the setting and students over the age of 17 may be included in the ratio if they are deemed competent and responsible.
  8. Students who are placed with us on a long term placement may be given the role of key person if they are deemed competent. They will be responsible for carrying out observations and recording the child’s development and learning in the learning journey.
  9. We take out employers’ liability insurance and public liability insurance, which covers both trainees and voluntary helpers.
  10. A full risk assessment will be carried out and where the student is under the age of seventeen it will be shared with their Parent/guardian.
  11. We require students to keep to our Confidentiality Policy and to sign the staff code of conduct.
  12. Students will be given a copy of the playgroups aims and objectives, the job role of an assistant practitioner and the role of a key person.
  13. Parents and Carers will be informed when we have students with in the setting.
  14. We co-operate with students tutors in order to help students to fulfill the requirements of their course.
  15. We provide students, at the first session of their placement, with a short induction on how our setting is managed, how our sessions are organised, health and safety requirements, fire evacuation procedures, safeguarding and our policies and procedures.
  16. We make the needs of the children paramount by not admitting students in numbers that hinder the essential work of the setting.
  17. We ensure trainees and students placed with us are engaged in bona fide Early Years training, which provides the necessary background understanding  of children’s development and activities
  18. .Students will be asked to keep mobile phones in the cupboard and not to use camera phones to taking pictures of the children.
  19. Parental permission will be sort if the student wishes to carry out specific learning tasks with children
  20. Staff will assist with any enquiries a student may have, where this does not breech confidentiality requirements
  21. The student should not answer the telephone
  22. The student should not open the door to permit anyone into the playgroup
  23. The student should not administer first aid or medicines, except in an emergency situation, providing they are qualified to do so.



When working at Puddleducks you are expected to dress appropriately, cleanly and tidily. Your appearance will reflect Puddleducks and the way the Playgroup is viewed by parents.

  • Staff should wear enclosed comfortable shoes.
  • Staff should wear the Puddleducks polo t shirts and fleeces provided.
  • Puddleducks provide a uniform for staff in the form of Polo t-shirts and fleeces, numbers of which depend on working hours.
  • Replacement uniform will be provided approximately every 18 months. Lost or damaged uniform must be replaced by the member of staff, unless the damage has occurred at work.
  • Excessive jewellery or make up is inappropriate and may be a health hazard.
  • Please where ever possible cover any visible tattoos and keep piercings to a minimum.


Staff Absence

Puddleducks recognises that employees may be absent from the setting for a variety of reasons. To ensure that all staff are treated in a consistent and equitable manner, this policy provides the framework for dealing with such circumstances. 


  • Any sickness/absence must be reported to the Lead/Deputy Practitioner by 7.30am by phoning their personal phone (all staff should have a note of these numbers). They must give a clear indication of the nature of sickness/absence and a likely return date.
  • The Lead/Deputy Practitioner is required to make every effort to ensure cover for Puddleducks.
  • Any sickness absence of less than seven days requires an employee to complete a 'Self Certificate' available from any Doctor's Surgery or downloadable from
  • Sickness absence which exceeds seven days requires an employee to obtain a 'Fit Note' from their GP.
  • Compassionate Leave – depending on the circumstances and for close family up to 2 weeks can be taken after discussion with the Lead Practitioner and Committee Chair.
  • Absence for attending funerals of none close family members is at the discretion of Lead Practitioner and Committee Chair.
  • Holiday may not be taken during term time, unless it’s an exceptional circumstance and following discussion with the Lead Practitioner and approval by the Committee Chair.
  • Where possible, doctors, dentist, optician, hospital appointments should be made out of normal working hours.

Please refer to individual staff contracts for further information on absence.


Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure

This procedure is to be followed when the Lead Practitioner or Management Committee is dissatisfied with the conduct or performance of an employee.

At all stages in the process the employee will be informed of the complaint against them and the possible action that may be taken.  At any disciplinary meetings or hearings the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a representative of their choice.  Both the employee and their representative will have the right to ask questions and present evidence.

The first stage in the process will be for the Lead Practitioner or Management Committee Chair to meet with the employee to discuss the conduct or performance in question.  The outcome of the meeting will be either:-

  1. No further action to be taken
  2. A verbal warning. This will be noted in the employee’s personnel record.

If a warning was issued the Committee Chair will explain, the action required to correct the complaint, the time scale in which this should be completed and the action to be taken if there is no improvement.  The employee should also be made aware of their right of appeal.

The next stage in the process will take place if the employee fails to improve either their conduct, performance or both whichever is in question.  In this situation the employee will be interviewed by the Committee Chair and given the opportunity to state their case. The outcome of the meeting will be either:-

  1. No further action to be taken.
  2. A written warning.  A copy of this will be kept on the employee’s personnel record for six months.

If a warning is issued, it will give clear details of the complaint. It will state the action required to rectify the situation, the time scale for doing so and the action that will be taken if the situation is not improved.  The employee should also be made aware of their right of appeal.

The final stage in the process will take place if the employee still fails to improve their conduct or performance.  The employee will again be interviewed by the Committee Chair and given the opportunity to state their case.  The outcome of the meeting will be either:-

  1. No further action to be taken.
  2. Notice of termination of employment.

Where termination of employment is the outcome the employee will be given, in writing, notice of dismissal, stating the allegations against them, and giving details of the right of appeal.

If gross misconduct is suspected, the employee will be suspended on full, part or no pay – depending on the nature of the offence – while the matter is investigated by the Management Committee.  Any such investigations will take place wherever possible within 14 working days of the employee’s suspension. The employee will have the right to attend a meeting with the Management Committee and have representation as set out in the second paragraph.

The employee will be informed of the date of the hearing, the allegations against them and the possible actions that may be taken which are:-

  1. To terminate the contract
  2. To impose any other disciplinary action
  3. To take no further action

The following are examples of the type of behavior that could be considered gross misconduct:

  • Racist or sexist behavior
  • Racial or sexual harassment
  • Drunkenness
  • Drug taking
  • Violence
  • Dishonesty
  • Bullying
  • Persistent failure to comply with reasonable requests or instruction of management
  • Bringing the organisation into disrepute


At each stage of the disciplinary process the employee has the right of appeal against any disciplinary action.  The employee must give notice in writing of their intention to appeal, stating the grounds for appeal within 7 working days of the decision being made.

The appeal will be heard wherever possible within14 working days of the employee’s notice being given.  The Management Committee will normally hear the appeal and the employee has the right to be accompanied by a representative of their choice.  The appeal may confirm, alter or reject the original decision.

Grievance Procedure

This procedure is intended to be simple and easy to understand and aims to settle any grievance fairly and as quickly as possible.

If an employee is dissatisfied they must have the opportunity for prompt discussion with the Leading Practitioner or the Management Committee Chair. If the grievance persists, a panel should be set up for the purpose of further discussion, at which the employee may, if they wish be accompanied by a representative of their choice.

There is a right of appeal at this level and a colleague or trade union representative may also accompany the employee.



This policy has been implemented to provide clarification of some points regarding private babysitting arrangements between staff and parents/carers. 


  • The Pre-school will not be responsible for any private babysitting arrangement or agreements made between staff and parents/carers.
  • Out of hours babysitting arrangements must not interfere with a staff members employment at the Pre-school.


  • Confidentiality by staff regarding other staff and children at the Pre-school must be adhered to and respected at all times.
  • The Pre-school will not be held responsible for any health and safety or other issues that may arise from these private arrangements.
  • No member of staff will take a child away from the setting unless they are a named person on the child’s records.
  • The babysitter is not covered by their Puddleducks DBS check or any Insurance whilst babysitting.
  • Parents must sign a disclaimer form before employing a member of Puddleducks staff for babysitting. The babysitter is responsible for this.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by, Vicky Goff, Committee Chair………………………………..

  1. We are committed to delivering a high quality pre-school service.  In line with that commitment we encourage employees and volunteers with serious concerns about any aspect of the playgroup's work to come forward and voice those concerns. This policy provides individuals with protection from victimisation or punishment should they raise a genuine concern about misconduct or malpractice within the playgroup.
  1. This policy is not a substitution or alternative to the playgroup’s Grievance Procedure or Complaints Policy.  It is intended to encourage individuals to be open and honest within the playgroup and feel that it is safe and acceptable to raise any concerns.  These concerns may be about something that is:
  • A criminal offence e.g. theft, fraud, false claims etc.
  • A failure to comply with legal standards and regulations
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • A health and safety risk
  • A deliberate concealment of information about any of the above
  1. An employee or volunteer who, acting in good faith, wishes to raise a concern should report the matter to the Lead Practitioner who will advise the employee or volunteer of the action she will take.  Concerns should be investigated and resolved as quickly as possible.
  1. If an employee or volunteer feels the matter cannot be discussed with the Lead Practitioner, he or she should report it to the Committee Chair of the playgroup committee.  The Committee Chair will decide, in consultation with others where necessary, what action is to be taken.  This may include whether the issue raised can be dealt with through the playgroup’s own Grievance Procedure.
  1. Confidentiality will be maintained wherever possible and the employee or volunteer will not suffer any personal detriment as a result of raising any genuine concern about misconduct or malpractice within the playgroup.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 19th June 2012.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Becky Juette, Committee Chair……………………………


Special Educational Needs (SEN) & Looked After Children (LAC)

Puddleducks Playgroup believes that ALL children are individuals with their own personalities. It is our aim to offer a wide range of activities that encourage and promote development in all areas in order to help them fill their full potential. A child will require special education needs (SEN) if interventions are put in place that are additional to or different from those already provided as part of the setting curriculum.


Special educational needs and/or disability (SEN) that affects a child’s ability to learn can include their:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Sensory and/or physical needs.


Our aim at Puddleducks is to provide appropriate learning opportunities for all children in the community, whatever their needs may be.

We are committed to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) SEN Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Needs, the Disability Act 2001 and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) (1995), which state that you cannot discriminate against a child with disabilities and that reasonable adjustments must be made so that the setting and its activities are accessible.

  • Use our best endeavors to make sure a child with SEN and/or disability get the support they need.
  • Ensure that children with SEN and/or disability engage in activities of school alongside children that do not have SEN and/or disability.
  • Designate a key worker to be responsible for coordinating SEN provision (the SEN support or SENCO)
  • Inform parents when special educational provisions are being implemented for their child.
  • To foster a high level of communication with parents/ carers/ staff/ other professional agencies.
  • Recognise that children with SEN and/or disability are individuals and their needs are met.


There is no selection to enter the playgroup. Children with SEN and/or disabilities have the same opportunity to attend as children without SEN/disabilities. Every effort will be made to meet the individual needs of a child with SEN and/or disabilities. The SENCO will be made aware of the child’s needs at the admission stage.


The playgroup building is on ground level with flat access to the main entrance.  There is ramped access to the grassed outside play area, which is fenced in.

All activities are accessible by the children from low level tables to self-selection trolleys to encourage independent exploring and learning.

Roles and Responsibilities

Within the playgroup we have a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), who can give support and advice to the rest of the team. The SENCO also acts as a contact with any outside agency who might be involved. Our SENCO is Sarah Webster.

The setting SENCO will:

  • Ensure parents/carers are closely involved throughout with their child development.
  • Liaise with professionals.
  • Ensure all practitioners in the setting understand their responsibilities to children with SEN and/or disability and the settings approach to identifying and meeting SEN.
  • Advise and support colleagues.
  • Ensure evidence based interventions are in place correctly.
  • Take the lead in monitoring and reviewing any action taken to support the child.
  • Ensure that appropriate records are taken for the child gradual approach and those needing an educational health and care plan (EHC) – see below.

Gradual Approach

The process SENCO will take:

Assess: SENCO, the child’s key worker and the child’s parents/carers will meet to discuss the child’s development.

Plan: SENCO and the key worker will decide if new strategies are needed or if an Evidence Based Intervention is required. Parents/carers will have a copy to sign.

Do: The key worker to implement the plan with the SENCO’s support.

Review: SENCO, the key worker and the parents/carers to review the effectiveness of the interventions, the impact on the child’s progress. This may be a continual progress and should be used more than once to determine if a referral is needed to request outside agencies support.

Not all children with SEN and/or disability require outside agencies support. 

Educational Health and Care Plan (EHC)

A child with SEN and/or disability may be referred for an educational health and care plan by the setting or outside agencies if despite all the intervention and support it is believed the child has not made expected progress. This will be carried out through the local authorities with the parents/carers permission.


We provide resources (human and financial) to implement our SEN policy, and provide in-service training for practitioners as appropriate.


We will respect parents/carers rights to confidentiality when supporting a child with SEN and/or disability

  • We will always discuss any possible referrals to other services with parents to seek their agreement before making such referrals.
  • All meetings with parents regarding their child will be done in private and on the premises.
  • Information regarding a child with SEN and/or disability and their families will only be shared with staff members that need to know.

Partnerships – Children

  • Children are involved in their own learning.
  • Children are encouraged to celebrate their own success and that of others.
  • Wow moments and stickers are used for achievements.
  • Children are asked how they would like to be helped.
  • Children are encouraged to comment on activities they like and recourses they would like out in the room.

Partnerships- Parents/Carers

  • We work closely with parents/carers of children with SEN and/or disability to create and maintain a positive partnership.
  • We ensure parents/carers are informed at all stages of the gradual approach for their child’s education.

Partnerships – External Support Agencies

  • We are committed to effective joint working with external support agencies.
  • The setting links with agencies appropriate to the child’s needs.
  • The setting will use advice from other agencies to provide suitable strategies/targets for children.

Statement for Special Educational Needs

  •  If the LA decides that there is sufficient need for a statutory assessment, evidence will need to be collected by the setting. The LA may request that the setting write an assessment. If the LA considers the need for a statement of special educational needs as appropriate, they will make a statement and arrange, monitor and review the provision.


Family Support Process (FSP)

  • The FSP is used to identify early support needs for children who are at risk of underachieving in one or more areas outlined in the Every Child Matters five outcomes.
  • It is designated for use in situations where a child has an additional need that required the support of more than one practitioner or more than one agency.
  • The key principle of FSP is to empower families and so agreement must be obtained from parents/carers.


Transition Procedures

  • Supporting the transition of a child with additional needs from the current placement to a new placement is an important part of the work of the setting SENCO in liaison with the Early Years SEN Advisory Teacher.
  • Successful transition for a child with additional needs means that they can be appropriately supported immediately upon starting at their new setting/school and will enable them to continue learning as effectively as possible.
  • A transition meeting is held at the setting in the term before transition takes place.
  • An Early Years SEN Transition Form containing relevant paperwork, is completed at the meeting.
  • Agreement is discussed and obtained from the parents/carers.
  • The Early Years SEN Transition Form, along with any relevant paperwork, is sent to next placement.
  • We liaise the child’s next placement to arrange visits to the setting, if necessary and if possible.


Looked After Children Policy

Statement of intent

Puddleducks recognise that children and young people become ‘Looked After’ either if they have been taken into Care by the local authority, or have been accommodated by the local authority (a voluntary care arrangement). Most Looked After Children (LAC) will be living in foster homes but a smaller number may be in a children’s home, living with a relative or even be placed back at home with their natural parent(s).


We aim to provide quality education for every child, based on equality of opportunity, access and outcomes. Puddleducks recognises that, nationally, there is considerable educational underachievement of Looked After Children, when compared with their peers, and is committed to implementing the principles and practice, as outlined in DfEE Circular 0269/2000 and DfEE/DOH Guidance 2000 and the Children Act (2004). The Children Act places a duty to safeguard Looked After Children, to promote their educational achievements and to ensure that they are able to “achieve and reach their full potential”. The Guidance recognises the collective responsibility of local authorities and Pre-schools to achieve good parenting and sets out six principles:

•    Prioritising education.

•    Having high expectations.

•    Inclusion – changing and challenging attitudes.

•    Achieving continuity and stability.

•    Early intervention – priority action.

•    Listening to children.

The Guidance also introduced two key measures:

•    To ensure designated Looked After Child co-ordinators are nominated in every setting.

•    To ensure Personal Education Plans (PEPs) are in place for all Looked After Children. Puddleducks Management Committee is committed to ensuring that nominated LAC co-ordinators are enabled to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Role and Responsibility of the LAC co-ordinator

The current nominated LAC co-ordinator's are Sarah Webster and Stephanie James. The LAC co-ordinator should:

•    Be an advocate for Looked After Children.

•    Ensure a smooth and welcoming induction for the child and carer/s (and parent/s where possible). Note any specific requirements, including care status.

•    Ensure that a Personal Education Plan is completed (within 20 days of entering care or joining a new Pre-school). This should be prepared with the child and the carer/s (and parent/s if possible), in liaison with the social worker and other relevant support workers/agencies. Where appropriate, the PEP should take account of any Individual Educational Plan (IEP), Pastoral Support Plan (PSP), Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP), career plan or any other relevant plans. The PEP should inform and be reviewed.

•    Ensure that each Looked After Child has an identified member of staff that they can talk to.

•    Co-ordinate support for the child in the Pre-school and liaise with other professionals and carers as necessary.

•    Ensure all staff and the Chair to the Management Committee receive relevant information and training.

•    Ensure confidentiality for individual children and only share personal information on a need to know basis.

•    Provide written information to assist planning or review meetings and ensure attendance as far as possible.

•    Seek urgent meetings with relevant parties where the child is experiencing difficulties and/or is in danger of being excluded.


Role and Responsibilities of all Staff


•    As with all children, have high aspirations and celebrate the educational and personal achievement of Looked After Children.

•    Be familiar with the Guidance on Looked After Children and respond appropriately to requests for information to support the completion of PEPs and other documentation needed as part of review meetings.

•    Liaise with the nominated co-ordinator where a Looked After Child is experiencing difficulty.

Role and Responsibility of the Puddleducks Management Committee


The Puddleducks Management Committee will:

•    Ensure that admission criteria prioritise Looked After Children, according to the Code of Practice on Admissions.

•    Ensure all Committee Members are fully aware of the legal requirements and Guidance for Looked After Children.

•    Ensure that there is a named nominated co-ordinator for Looked After Children.

•    Nominate a Committee Member who links with the nominated staff co-ordinator, receives regular progress reports and provides feedback to the Management Committee.

•    For child protection and confidentiality reasons, ensure that information will be collected and reported in ways that preserve the anonymity, and respect the confidentiality of the children concerned.

•    Review the effective implementation of this policy, preferably annually and at least every three years.

•    Ensure that the Pre-school’s other policies and procedures give Looked After Children equal access in respect of:

  • Admission to Pre-school.
  • The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
  • Additional educational support where this is needed.


 •    The Lead Practitioner, nominated co-ordinator and Inclusion Officer will be responsible for ensuring that all members of staff are briefed on the regulations and practice outlined in the guidance from the Department of further education and skills (DfES) and Department of Health (DoH).

•    The Pre-school Management Committee will ensure that the nominated co-ordinator attends the relevant training days relating to Looked After Children.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Vicky Goff, Committee Chair……………………………..

Ofsted’s Role

Ofsted stands for Offices for ‘Standards in Education’.

Ofsted is a non-ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992. Ofsted are well known for their relation to school inspections, however inspectors on behalf of Ofsted also inspect childcare facilities.

Ofsted provides a framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which is the framework which ensures your children will be kept safe, healthy and help them thrive whilst at Puddleducks.

The aim of the EYFS is to help young children achieve more by staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being by:

  • Setting the Standards for the learning, development and care young children should experience when attending the setting. Ensuring every child makes progress and that no child gets left behind.
  • Providing for equality of opportunity and anti-discrimination practice. Ensuring that every child is included and not discriminated against.
  • Creating the framework for partnership working between parents/carers and professionals and between all the settings the child may attend.
  • Improving quality and consistency in the early years sector through a universal set of standards.
  • Laying a secure foundation for future learning. Through development and learning that is planned around the child’s individual needs and interests, by using ongoing observational assessments.

For more information on this please go to:

Ofsted's role is to ensure that we provide the highest standards of childcare possible. The inspectors on behalf of Ofsted examine Puddleducks, its facilities and the childcare provided by our staff. They then provide judgements and recommendations.

Judgements and Recommendations

Inspectors on behalf of Ofsted judge the overall effectiveness of the preschool, taking account of the four key judgements outlined below. Inspectors also evaluate how well the preschool promotes the childrens’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and the extent to which the education provided meets the needs of the range of children at the preschool, and in particular, the needs of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs.

Inspectors are required to report on the quality of education provided in the preschool and must, in particular, cover:

  • The achievement of children at the playgroup.
  • The quality of teaching at the preschool.
  • The quality of leadership in and management of the preschool.
  • The behaviour and safety of children at the preschool.

All school inspections carried out on behalf of Ofsted use the same grading scale:

  • Grade 1 - Outstanding
  • Grade 2 – Good
  • Grade 3 – Satisfactory
  • Grade 4 – Inadequate.

They provide recommendations in any area that could be improved upon.

Inspectors come to Puddleducks giving us very little or no notice at all. The reasoning behind this is that they want to see our playgroup as it actually is and not as we ‘want' to be seen. This ensures the feedback we receive and the feedback you receive is as honest as possible.

Puddleducks welcome these statutory inspections. These inspections not only help identify our strengths and development areas, but also give us the opportunity to shine.

To view Puddleducks reports please follow the link:

Childcare Complaints Commitment

Ofsted’s childcare complaints commitment gives parents and carers up-to-date access to complaints information; they do not need to wait for an inspection to take place to get this information.

When they investigate a complaint, they do not seek to prove or disprove it. The aim of the investigation is to see if the provider is meeting the requirements of registration and their conditions of registration.

Under the commitment they:

  • Publish complaints information when they or the provider has had to take action to remain compliant with the requirements of registration, including details of all the concerns shared with them.
  • Publish new complaints information on a provider’s page on their website.
  • This is separate from our inspection reports and is published as soon as they have completed an investigation. They started doing this with the latest round of inspections that began in September 2008.
  • Remove complaints information from their website five years after the closure of the complaint’s investigation.

They include information about complaints received between 2004 and September 2008 in a provider’s inspection report.

They can make complaints information available on request for people who cannot access their website. They can send the information in writing or provide it over the telephone; you can call them on 0300 123 1231.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 19th June 2012.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Becky Juette, Committee Chair…………………………….


Settling In and Key Persons

Our aim is for the children to feel safe, stimulated and happy in the setting and to feel secure and comfortable with staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children's well-being and their role as active partners with the setting.


We aim to make the setting a welcoming environment where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of children and their families.


The key person role is set out in the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Each setting must offer a key person for each child.


  1.  We allocate a key person when a child starts.
  2. The key person is responsible for the induction of the family and for settling the child into our setting.
  3. The key person acts as the key contact for the parents and has links with other carers involved with the child, such as a child-minder, and co-ordinates the sharing of appropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.
  4. A key person is responsible for developmental records and for sharing information on a regular basis with the child’s parents to keep those records up-to-date, reflecting the full picture of the child in our setting and at home.

Settling In


  1. Before a child starts to attend, we use a variety of ways to provide his/her parents with information. These include written information (including our prospectus and policies), and inviting them into group to view photos of activities, displays of the children’s work and information on the noticeboards.
  2. We allocate a key person to each child and his/her family when she/he starts to attend; the key person welcomes and looks after the child and his/her parents at the child's first session and during the settling-in process.
  3. We use a pre-start visit and the first session at which a child attends to explain and complete with his/her parents the child's registration records.
  4. When a child starts to attend, we explain the process of settling-in with his/her parents and jointly decide on the best way to help the child to settle into the setting.  The first session is free, and we have an expectation that the parent or carer will stay for all of the first session. After that gradually taking time away from the child, increasing this as and when the child is able to cope.  When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and when.
  5. We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child's distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.  We reserve the right not to accept a child into the setting without a parent or carer if the child finds it distressing to be left. This is especially the case with very young children.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 11th March 2014.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by

Victoria Goff, Committee Chair……………………………….

Healthy Eating, Food and Drink Policy

Healthy Eating, Food and Drink Policy

Puddleducks regard snack and meal times as an important part of the children's day. We believe that the sharing of food is a fundamental experience for all people, a primary way to nurture and celebrate cultural diversity and an excellent bridge for building friendships. Eating represents a social time for children and adults and helps children to learn about healthy eating.

We promote healthy eating and at snack and meal times, we encourage nutritious food, which meets the children's individual dietary needs.  


We follow these procedures to promote healthy eating during sessions;


Please also see our Managing Children with Allergies Policy.

  • Before a child starts to attend Puddleducks the parent fills in a child information form. On this form there is a section on the child’s dietary needs and to tell us about allergies, including food allergies.
  • We implement systems so the child only receives what the parent sends for them to eat at lunch time.
  • In order to protect children with food allergies we discourage children from sharing or swapping their food.
  • We take care not to have food containing nuts brought into Puddleducks, by asking parents not send any food containing nuts. We are particularly vigilant if there is a child in group with the allergy.

Snack and Lunch Times

  • We organise snack and meal times so they are social occasions in which the children and staff participate.
  • We use snack and meal times to help the children develop independence through making choices with food and drink.
  • We provide a healthy snack for all children that includes fruit, vegetables, rice cakes, bread sticks etc
  • There is fresh drinking water available at all times for the children. We inform the children that they can ask for water at any time during their session.
  • We inform parents about the storage facilities for food during sessions.
  • For children who want to drink milk at snack or meal times we provide full fat milk.
  • Packed lunches are stored on a trolley and parents are advised to pack any foods that need refrigerating with a cooler ice pack.
  • We actively encourage children to wash their hands before eating.
  • We actively inform parents what is considered a healthy snack or lunch. We provide a list of foods which are acceptable to be brought into group as a way of encouraging them to provide healthy food.
  • We include foods from the diet of each of the children’s cultural backgrounds, providing children with familiar foods and introducing them to new ones.

The Role of Parent/Carers

We understand at Puddleducks that the primary role in children’s healthy eating education lies with the parent/carer. We wish to build a positive and supportive relationship with the parent/carers of children at our playgroup through mutual understanding, trust and cooperation.

In promoting this objective we will;

  • Inform parents/carer of our healthy eating policy and practice.
  • Encourage parents/carers to be involved in reviewing the policy and making modifications as necessary.
  • Inform parents/carers about the best practice known with regard to healthy eating, so they can support the key messages being given to children at Puddleducks.

Sun Protection Policy


Puddleducks Playgroup takes the health and safety of the children in its care very seriously. We acknowledge the advice given by Cancer Research UK and its SunSmart Campaign, which can be viewed in full at

What to bring to group


  • A clearly named sun hat (wide brim or legionnaires that protect the neck). Some can be provided by Puddleducks for the session time.
  • Clearly named sun cream, which must be placed in the basket near the shoe trolley, not left in their bag.
  • Light weight suitable clothes, preferably covering the shoulders.
  • Please make sure the child has sun cream already applied when arriving for their session.

Out door play in the sun


  • We help educate the children on safe behaviour in the sun.
  • In accordance with the Cancer Research UK guidance we recommend the use of only Factor 15 or above sun cream.
  • Ensuring, when possible, that all outdoor play takes place outside of the hottest time of day.
  • We will provide a shaded area for the children to play.
  • Ensuring that the children can access the indoor play area at all times.
  • Ensuring that fresh cold water is available to the children at all times during hot weather and that they know where to get it from.
  • Ensure that sun safe behaviour is modelled by all staff. Wearing sun cream and sun hats when outdoors. This provides a positive role model for the children.
  • All skin types should be treated the same, regardless of the possible higher tolerance to sun exposure.

Indoor Shoe Policy


We have adopted an indoor shoe policy at Puddleducks Playgroup to keep our rugs and play areas clean.

Children are asked to bring a named pair of slippers/indoor shoes with them. They may leave them at Puddleducks keeping them paired together with a named peg.

There is a shoe trolley provided to keep the shoes safe and to store out door shoes during session times.

Nappy Changing and Intimate Care


Adults, including volunteers, may only accompany children to the toilet if the Disclosure and Barring Service has checked them.

Staff wear disposable gloves and aprons when nappy changing and if appropriate when assisting a child using the toilet. Staff must also wash their hands before and after these procedures.

After each nappy change the mat is disinfected. Soiled or wet nappies are put in the nappy dispenser provided and disposed of in a separate waste container. The toilet areas are checked and cleaned regularly throughout the day. Floors are regularly cleaned. Any potties used are emptied immediately, disinfected and wiped ready for the next use.

Children are asked and encouraged to wash their hands with soap and running water after toileting. Paper towels are used to dry hands and thrown away after use; these are disposed of in a separate waste container provided by the village hall. Any soaps, wipes, lotions etc provided are suitable for the children and those with sensitive skins.

Accidental soiling or wetting

Wet or soiled clothes are placed in a securely tied labeled plastic bag to be taken home by parents or carers. Unless the parent has agreed for the items to be disposed of.  Clean, dry clothing is kept at Puddleducks in case of accidents but we encourage parents and carers to provide a change of clothes.

Any spills or soiling is immediately cleaned from floors using a designated mop and bucket with the correct floor cleaner and antibacterial solution. Any toys or equipment affected by wetting or soiling is taken away and disinfected.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Vicky Goff, Committee Chair………………………………

Behaviour Management

Policy statement

We believe that children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations for their behaviour.

Children need to learn to consider the views and feelings, needs and rights, of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example. The principles that underpin how we achieve positive and considerate behaviour exist within the programme for promoting personal, social and emotional development.


We have named people who have overall responsibility for our programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development, including issues concerning behaviour.  They are Sarah Webster and Stephanie James.


  1. We require the named person to:
  • keep herself up-to-date with legislation, research and thinking on promoting positive behaviour and on handling children's behaviour where it may require additional support;
  • access relevant sources of expertise on promoting positive behaviour within the programme for supporting personal, social and emotional development; and
  • feed back to other staff the learning points from training courses she has attended.
  1. We require all staff, volunteers and students to provide a positive model of behaviour by treating children, parents and one another with friendliness, care and courtesy.
  2. We work in partnership with children's parents.  Parents are regularly informed about their children's behaviour by their key person.  We work with parents to address recurring inconsiderate behaviour, using our observation records to help us to understand the cause and to decide jointly how to respond appropriately.


Strategies with children who engage in inconsiderate behaviour

  1. We require all staff, volunteers and students to use positive strategies for handling any inconsiderate behaviour, by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for the children's ages and stages of development. Such solutions might include, for example, acknowledgement of feelings, explanation as to what was not acceptable and supporting children to gain control of their feelings so that they can learn a more appropriate response.
  2. We ensure that there are enough popular toys and resources and sufficient activities available so that children are meaningfully occupied without the need for unnecessary conflict over sharing and waiting for turns.
  3. We acknowledge considerate behaviour such as kindness and willingness to share.
  4. We avoid creating situations in which children receive adult attention only in return for inconsiderate behaviour.
  5. When children behave in inconsiderate ways, we help them to understand the outcomes of their action and support them in learning how to cope more appropriately.
  6. We never send children out of the room by themselves, nor do we use a ‘naughty chair’ or a ‘time out’ strategy that excludes children from the group.
  7. We never use physical punishment, such as smacking or shaking. Children are never threatened with these.
  8. We do not use techniques intended to single out and humiliate individual children.
  9. We use physical restraint, such as holding, only to prevent physical injury to children or adults and/or serious damage to property.
  10. Details of such an event (what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of witnesses) are brought to the attention of our Lead Practitioner and are recorded in the child’s personal file.  The child’s parent is informed on the same day.
  11. In cases of serious misbehaviour, such as racial or other abuse, we make clear immediately the unacceptability of the behaviour and attitudes, by means of explanations rather than personal blame.
  12. We do not shout or raise our voices in a threatening way to respond to children's inconsiderate behaviour. 


Hurtful Behaviour

  1. We take hurtful behaviour very seriously. Most children under the age of five will at some stage hurt or say something hurtful to another child, especially if their emotions are high at the time, but it is not helpful to label this behaviour as ‘bullying’. For children under five, hurtful behaviour is momentary, spontaneous and often without cognisance of the feelings of the person whom they have hurt.
  2. We recognise that young children behave in hurtful ways towards others because they have not yet developed the means to manage intense feelings that sometimes overwhelm them.
  3. We will help them manage these feelings as they have neither the biological means nor the cognitive means to do this for themselves. We do this by offering support, calming the child who is angry as well as the one who has been hurt by the behaviour.  We help a child to understand the effect that their hurtful behaviour has had on another child; we do not force children to say sorry, but encourage this where it is clear that they are genuinely sorry and wish to show this to the person they have hurt.
  4. When hurtful behaviour becomes problematic, we work with parents to identify the cause and find a solution together.



We want to insure that every child is safe while in our care.  Our program provides an environment that encourages and promotes cooperative interaction, respect for others, and non-aggressive problem solving between the children. 

Biting is a normal stage of development for young children who are still developing their language skills.  It is usually a temporary condition. Many toddlers go through biting other toddlers for many different reasons; they might be over tired, frustrated, experimenting or

trying to seek attention of peers or carers. Sometimes biting occurs for no apparent reason.

Staff will maintain close and constant supervision of the children at all times.

Dealing with the bitten child


  • The child who has been bitten should be comforted and a cold compress applied to the affected area.
  • The Lead Practitioner will be consulted to ascertain if further medical treatment is necessary.
  • When the child is collected, the Lead Practitioner should explain to the parent/carer the procedures that will be taken to minimize the risk of this happening again.
  • The name of the child who bit should not be disclosed to the parents/carers of the child who has been bitten.
  • Staff should be aware that if the child is old enough they are likely to tell their parents/carers who was responsible for biting them.

Dealing with the child who has bitten 

  • The member of staff who witnessed the incident should remove the child with a firm ‘No’. Clearly show the child their disapproval by the manner and tone of their voice.
  • In order for the child to understand that the behaviour is not acceptable it is important that the member of staff does not respond in an amused, approving or neutral way.
  • The child should be encouraged to apologise.
  • The child needs to understand what they have done wrong and how they have made the other child feel.
  • The parent/ carer needs to be informed of the incident.

 After the incident 

  • An incident form needs to be filled in by the member of staff who witnessed the incident.
  • The Key Person will immediately take responsibility for close observation of this child and share relevant and up to date information with the team.
  • If the incident reoccurs then;

The Key Carer should approach the parents/carers. This should lead to an ongoing, concerted and co-operative effort between home and the Pre-School.

This should be done in a tactful, sensitive and supportive way.

In extreme cases 

If the child continues to bite and despite every attempt by Pre-School to prevent this it does not stop, then the parents/carers need to be advised that it may be appropriate for the child to be taken out of Pre-School for a short period of time.

Sometimes this change of environment and routine can break the cycle. 


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 19th June 2012.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Becky Juette, Committee Chair………………………………



Definition: ‘Confidential information is information of some sensitivity, which is not already lawfully in the public domain or readily available from another public source, and which has been shared in a relationship where the person giving the information understood it would not be shared with others.’ (Information Sharing: Practitioners’ Guide)

In our setting, staff and committee can be said to have a ‘confidential relationship’ with families. It is our intention to respect the privacy of children and their parents and carers, while ensuring that they access high quality early years care and education in our setting. We aim to ensure that all parents and carers can share their information in the confidence that it will only be used to enhance the welfare of their children. There are record keeping systems in place that meet legal requirements; means of storing and sharing that information take place within the framework of the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.

  1. All parents can see the details kept about their child and themselves on request.
  1. Children’s profiles are kept in the setting for parents to access. Parents are told that profiles are passed to other settings and that these relate to the child’s development and achievements.  See on the next page the “Fair Processing Notice” issued by the Local Education Authority.
  1. Parents will not be given access to the information kept on other children and their families.  The only exception to this is that parents’ phone numbers will appear on the parent helper rota form, to enable parents to swap dates if necessary.Some parents sometimes share information about themselves with other parents as well as staff; the setting cannot be held responsible if information is shared beyond those parents whom the person has ‘confided’ in.
  1. Feedback given to parents on their children’s progress will be given directly to the parents unless they state a third party can be involved e.g. a child minder or nanny.
  1. Staff, students and visitors to the playgroup will be made aware of the importance of confidentiality of information and their responsibility within the playgroup. Such information will be passed on during induction training.
  1. Staff will never share information with first time callers, e.g. a first call purporting to be from Social Services must be checked out thoroughly by taking the name and job role of the caller and then phoning back on the office number to confirm their details before releasing any information.
  1. Information about individual members of staff will not be given out to anyone without permission of that staff member except in case of child protection.
  1. Data protection regulations will be followed.  We keep all records securely.

Fair Processing Notice



Early Years Settings, Schools, Local Authorities (LAs), the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) (the government department which deals with education and children’s services), the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted),  and the National Assessment Agency (NAA) all process information on children and pupils in order to help administer education and children’s services and in doing so have to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.  This means, among other things, that the data held about children must only be used for specific purposes allowed by law.  This policy sets out the types of data held, why that data is held, and to whom it may be passed on.

The Early Years Setting holds information on children in order to support their development, to monitor their progress, to provide appropriate pastoral care, and to assess how well the Setting as awhole is doing.  This information includes contact details, attendance information, characteristics such as ethnic group, special educational needs and any relevant medical information.  From time to time Early Years Settings are required to pass on some of this data to LAs, the DCSF and to agencies that are prescribed by law, such as QCA and Ofsted.  In particular, at age five an assessment is made of all children (the Foundation Stage Profile) and this information is passed to the Local Authority and receiving maintained school.

The Local Authority (LA) uses information about children for whom it provides services to carry out specific functions for which it is responsible.  For example, the Local Authority will make an assessment of any special educational needs the child may have.  It also uses the information to derive statistics to inform various decisions.  The statistics are used in such a way that individual children cannot be identified from them. 

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) uses information about children to administer national assessments such as the Foundation Stage Profile.  Any results passed on to the DCSF are used to compile statistics on trends and patterns in levels of development.  The QCA can use the information to evaluate the effectiveness of the national curriculum and the associated assessment arrangements, and to ensure that these are continually improved.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills and Ofsted do not routinely process any information about individual children. However, whilst Ofsted holds no records of individual children’s progress, it does use information about the achievement of groups of children to help inform its judgements about the quality of education in Early Years Settings.   

The National Assessment Agency (NAA) uses information for those, relatively few, Settings undertaking the Foundation Stage Profile.  The resulting data is passed on to the NAA which also uses information in working with schools, the QCA, and Awarding Bodies, for ensuring an efficient and effective assessment system covering all age ranges is delivered nationally.

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) use information about children and pupils for research and statistical purposes, to allocate funds, to inform, influence and improve education policy and to monitor the performance of the education and children’s services as a whole.  The DCSF will feed back to LAs information about children for a variety of purposes that will include data checking exercises, and use in self-evaluation analyses.

Information about children may be held to provide comprehensive information back to LAs to support their day to day business.  The DCSF may also use contact details from these sources to obtain samples for statistical surveys: these surveys may be carried out by research agencies working under contract to the Department and participation in such surveys is usually voluntary.  The Department may also match data from these sources to data obtained from statistical surveys.

The DCSF may also disclose individual child and pupil information to independent researchers into the educational achievements of pupils who have a legitimate need for it for their research, but each case will be determined on its merits and subject to the approval of the Department’s Chief Statistician.

The Children Act 2004 permits the disclosure of information from registered childcare providers for inclusion on Contact Point.  The purposes of ContactPoint are to:-

  • help practitioners working with children quickly identify a child with whom they have contact;
  • determine whether that child is getting the universal services (education, primary health care) to which he or she is entitled; 
  • enable earlier identification of needs and earlier, more effective action to address these needs by providing a tool to help practitioners identify which other practitioners are involved with a particular child;  and
  • encourage better communication and closer working between practitioners.

ContactPoint will hold for each child or young person in England (up to their 18th birthday):

  • basic identifying information:  name, address, gender, date of birth and an identifying number;
  • name and contact details for a child’s parent or carer;
  • contact details for services involved with a child:  as a minimum educational setting (e.g. school) and primary medical practitioner (e.g. GP Practice) but also other services where appropriate;  and
  • the facility to indicate if a practitioner is a lead professional for a child and/or if an assessment under the Common Assessment Framework has been completed.

ContactPoint will NOT contain any case information (such as case notes, assessments, attendance, exam results, medical records or subjective observations).

Access will be strictly limited to those who need it to do their job.  All authorised users must have undergone relevant mandatory training, have security clearance and have a user name, a password, a PIN and a security token to access ContactPoint.  To ensure high standards of accuracy, information on ContactPoint will be drawn from a number of existing systems, including the termly School Census from which pupils’ home address will be collected.

For further information go to

Children, as data subjects, have certain rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, including a general right of access to personal data held on them, with parents exercising this right on their behalf if they are too young to do so themselves.  If you wish to access the personal data held about your child, please contact the relevant organisation in writing:

  • the Early Years Setting or the Local Authority at: Norfolk County Council, Children’s Services, FOI Request, County Hall, Norwich, NR1 2DL
  • the QCA’s Data Protection Officer at QCA, 83 Piccadilly, LONDON, W1J 8QA;
  • Ofsted’s Data Protection Officer at Alexandra House, 33 Kingsway, London WC2B 6SE;
  • the NAA Data Protection Officer at NAA, 29 Bolton Street, London W1J 8BT;
  • the DCSF’s Data Protection Officer at DCSF, Caxton House, Tothill Street, LONDON, SW1H 9NA.

In order to fulfill their responsibilities under the Act the organisation may, before responding to this request, seek proof of the requestor’s identity and any further information required to locate the personal data requested.

This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 19th June 2012.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Becky Juette, Committee Chair……………………………….

Complaints and Comments

Policy statement


We believe that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes. We welcome suggestions on how to improve our setting and will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about the running of the setting. We anticipate that most concerns will be resolved quickly by an informal approach to the appropriate member of staff. If this does not achieve the desired result, we have a set of procedures for dealing with concerns. We aim to bring all concerns about the running of our setting to a satisfactory conclusion for all of the parties involved.




Making a complaint


Stage 1

Any parent who has a concern about an aspect of the setting's provision talks over, first of all, his/her concerns with the Lead Practitioner.  Most complaints should be resolved amicably and informally at this stage.

Stage 2

If this does not have a satisfactory outcome, or if the problem recurs, the parent moves to this stage of the procedure by putting the concerns or complaint in writing to the Lead Practitioner or the Committee Chair. 

When the investigation into the complaint is completed, the Lead Practitioner meets with the parent to discuss the outcome.  Parents will be informed of the outcome of the investigation within 28 days of making the complaint.

  • When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Record.


Stage 3

If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, he or she requests a meeting with the Lead Practitioner and the Committee Chair. The parent may have a friend or partner present if required.

An agreed written record of the discussion is made as well as any decision or action to take as a result. All of the parties present at the meeting sign the record and receive a copy of it.  This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded. When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Record.


Stage 4

If at the stage three meeting the parent and setting cannot reach agreement, an external mediator would be invited to help to settle the complaint. This person should be acceptable to both parties, listen to both sides and offer advice.  A mediator has no legal powers but can help to define the problem, review the action so far and suggest further ways in which it might be resolved.

Staff or volunteers within the Pre-school Learning Alliance would be appropriate persons to be invited to act as mediators.

The mediator would keep all discussions confidential. S/he may hold separate meetings with the setting personnel (staff and the Committee Chair) and the parent, if this is decided to be helpful. The mediator would keep an agreed written record of any meetings that are held and of any advice s/he gives.

Stage 5

When the mediator has concluded her/his investigations, a final meeting between the parent, Lead Practitioner and the Committee Chair would be held. The purpose of this meeting would be to reach a decision on the action to be taken to deal with the complaint. The mediator's advice would be used to reach this conclusion. The mediator would be present at the meeting if all parties think this would help a decision to be reached.

A record of this meeting, including the decision on the action to be taken, would be made.  Everyone present at the meeting would sign the record and receive a copy of it.  This signed record would signify that the procedure has concluded.

The role of the Office for Standards in Education, Early Years Directorate (Ofsted) and the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board

Parents may approach Ofsted directly at any stage of this complaints procedure. In addition, where there seems to be a possible breach of the setting's registration requirements, it is essential to involve Ofsted as the registering and inspection body with a duty to ensure the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage are adhered to.

The number to call Ofsted with regard to a complaint is 08456 014772. This number is displayed on our setting's notice board.

If a child appears to be at risk, our setting follows the procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board in our local authority.

In these cases, both the parent and setting are informed and the setting leader works with Ofsted or the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to ensure a proper investigation of the complaint, followed by appropriate action.


All settings are required to keep a 'summary log' of all complaints that reach stage two or beyond. This is to be made available to parents as well as to Ofsted inspectors.  This record will include the date, the circumstances of the complaint and how the complaint was managed.

Regulations require all complaints are investigated and that providers give an account of the findings of the investigation into the complaint and any action taken to the complainant within 28 days of the complaint.

Instructions on Completing the Complaints Record

Complaints records must be shared with any parent who asks to see them as well as with Ofsted. Therefore the form must be completed in a confidential manner; this means that the name of the person making the complaint or any person (adult or child) that relate to the complaint must not be named.

Source of complaint:

Record who made the complaint. Where people complain direct to Ofsted they will normally refer the complaint to the setting in the first instance. Where Ofsted carries out an investigation into our continued suitability to provide childcare following a complaint, Ofsted will tell us of the outcome of their investigation. Where this happens, a complaint record should be completed showing Ofsted as the source and include the Ofsted complaint number (if known).

Nature of the complaint:

The complaints record sheet is intended only for complaints relating to the EYFS requirement. Refer to the EYFS requirements and the accompanying guidance if unsure as to which standard(s) to tick. All details associated with the complaint must be recorded using “child A” “staff member B” etc so as to assure confidentiality.


How it was dealt with:

We must provide information on how we investigated the complaint. The following information must be recorded:

  1. the process that we took to ensure that the complaint was fully investigated, such as interviews, reviews of records.
  2. who was involved in the investigation without identifying any individuals named in the complaint including staff or any child.
  3. any referrals you made to an external agency, for example local authority environmental health departments or social services.

Actions and Outcomes:

We must provide details about the outcome of our investigation and record the following information:

  1. any action(s) identified
  2. any actions set or taken by Ofsted
  3. any action taken by another external agency, where their permission is given to do so
  4. the outcome of the investigation identifying any areas where we feel we could make improvements to the provision of childcare
  5. if we dismissed any members of staff following the investigation and under what circumstances. If we dismiss a member of staff for misconduct, because they placed a child at risk of significant harm we must ring Ofsted on 08456 404040 for advice and assistance as the individual may need to be included on the Protection of Children Act (POCA) list.

Sharing a copy of the record with parents:

We must share an account of the findings of the investigation and of any action taken, or intended to be taken, as a result of the investigation with parents at the setting. This information must be shared within 28 days of the date of the complaint. This may be achieved by sharing the complaint record form. If we think it appropriate, or if the parent who made the complaint requests it, they shall receive a separate letter giving more details regarding the complaint.


Puddleducks Playgroup Complaints Record

Date of Complaint:

Source of Complaint

Parent (in writing inc e-mail)


Parent (in person)


Parent (phone call)


Staff Member




Ofsted (inc complaint no. if known)


Other (please state)

Nature of Complaint: Refer to EYFS requirements

Please tick all standards which the complaint refers to

Learning and Development requirements:


Welfare requirements:


i. The early learning goals


i. Child Protection and promoting children’s welfare


ii. The educational programmes


ii. Suitable people


iii. The assessment arrangements


iii. Suitable premises, environment and equipment


iv. Organisation


v. Documentation


Please give details of the complaint:


How the Complaint was dealt with:

Internal investigation


Investigation by Ofsted


Investigation other agencies

Please state:


Please give details of any internal investigation or attach any outcome letter from Ofsted:

Actions and Outcomes (please specify)

Internal actions


Actions agreed with Ofsted


Changes to conditions of registration


Other action taken by Ofsted


No Action


Actions imposed or agreed with other agencies


Please give details


Has a copy of this record been shared with Parents?





Name of recorder:

Outcome notified to complainant within 28 days?





Date completed:


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 19th June 2012.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Becky Juette, Committee Chair………………………………..

Equality and Diversity
  1. We are committed to valuing diversity by providing equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all children and families. We aim to:
  • Provide a secure environment in which all our children can flourish and in which all contributions are valid;
  • Include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity;
  • Provide positive non-stereotyping information about gender roles, diverse ethnic and cultural groups and people with disabilities;
  • Improve our knowledge and understanding of issues of anti-discriminatory practice, promoting equality and valuing diversity; and
  • Make inclusion a thread which runs through all of the activities of the setting.
  1. The legal framework for this policy is the Race Relations Act 1976, Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, Sex Discrimination Act 1986, Children Act 1989 and Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001.
  1. The staff member with responsibility for equality and diversity (ENCO) issues is Kimberly Hailey.

Our setting is open to all members of the community. 

  1. We advertise our services widely.
  2. We reflect the diversity of members of our society in our publicity and promotional materials.
  3. We provide information in clear, concise language, whether in spoken or written form.
  4. We base our admissions policy on a fair system.
  5. We do not discriminate against a child or their family, or prevent entry to our setting, on the basis of colour, ethnicity, religion or social background, such as being a member of a travelling community or an asylum seeker.  We do not discriminate against a child with a disability or refuse a child entry to our setting because of any disability.
  6. We develop an action plan to ensure that people with disabilities can participate successfully in the services offered by the setting and in the curriculum offered.
  7. We take action against any discriminatory behaviour by staff or parents. Displaying of openly racist insignia, distribution of racist material, name-calling or threatening behaviour are unacceptable on or around the premises and will be dealt with in the strongest manner.


  1. Posts are advertised and all applicants are judged against explicit and fair criteria.
  2. Applicants are welcome from all backgrounds and posts are open to all.
  3. We may use the exemption clauses of the Race Relations Act and the Sex Discrimination Act where this is necessary to enable the service to best meet the needs of the community.
  4. The applicant who best meets the criteria is offered the post, subject to references and checks by the Criminal Records Bureau. This ensures fairness in the selection process.
  5. All job descriptions include a commitment to equality and diversity as part of their specifications.
  6. We monitor our application process to ensure that it is fair and accessible.


  1. We seek out training opportunities for staff to enable them to develop anti-discriminatory and inclusive practices, which enable all children to flourish.
  2. We review our practices to ensure that we are fully implementing our policy for equality, diversity and inclusion.


  1. The curriculum offered in the setting encourages children to develop positive attitudes about themselves as well as to people who are different from themselves. It encourages children to empathise with others and to begin to develop the skills of critical thinking. We do this by:
  • Making children feel valued and good about themselves;
  • Ensuring that children have equality of access to learning;
  • Recognising the different learning styles of girls and boys, making appropriate provision within the curriculum to ensure each child receives the widest possible opportunity to develop their skills and abilities.
  • Positively reflecting a range of communities in the choice of resources;
  • Avoiding stereotypes or derogatory images in the selection of books or other visual materials;
  • Celebrating a range of festivals;
  • Creating an environment of mutual respect and tolerance;
  • Helping children to understand that discriminatory behaviour and remarks are hurtful and unacceptable;
  • Ensuring we pay attention to the individual needs of all children, and stretch and challenge the most able;
  • Ensuring that the curriculum offered is inclusive of children with special educational needs and children with disabilities;
  • Ensuring that children learning English as an additional language have full access to the curriculum and are supported in their learning.

Valuing Diversity in families 

  1. We welcome the diversity of family lifestyles and work within all families.
  2. We encourage children to contribute stories of their everyday life to the setting.
  3. We encourage parents/carers to take part in the life of the setting and to contribute fully.
  4. We offer a flexible payment system for families of differing means, e.g. we allow monthly staged payments of fees by standing order, and process Early Years funding for 3 and 4 year olds on behalf of parents.
  5. For families who speak languages in addition to English, we will discuss with the parents how best to support their child in group.  They will be given a “key words” sheet to record any important words the child may use in another language relating to core needs such as eating or toileting, which will be shared with all staff. We will encourage the parents to share information about their customs and festivals, and we will seek to integrate this into the curriculum. We will also encourage the families to bring items relating to their home culture to the daily “show and tell” sessions.



  1. All parents are welcome to attend the monthly Management Committee meetings to ensure that all families who wish to may be involved in the running of the setting.
  2. Information about meetings is communicated in a variety of ways – written, verbal and in translation (where necessary) to ensure that all parents have information about and access to the meetings.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Victoria Goff, Committee Chair……………………………….

Safety and Security of Children and Staff


General safety and security

Policy statement


We maintain the highest possible security of our premises to ensure that each child is safely cared for during their time with us.



Children's personal safety

  • We ensure all employed staff has been checked for criminal records by an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service.  Individuals who do not hold a DBS certificate will never have unsupervised access to children.
  • Children are supervised by adults at all times.
  • Whenever children are on the premises at least two adults are present.


  • Systems are in place for the safe arrival and departure of children. Our systems prevent unauthorised access to our premises and prevent children from leaving our premises unnoticed.
  • The times of the children's arrivals and departures are recorded.
  • The arrival and departure times of staff, volunteers and visitors are recorded.



Uncollected child

Policy statement

In the event that a child is not collected by an authorised adult at the end of a session/day, we put into practice agreed procedures to ensure the child is cared for safely by an experienced and qualified practitioner who is known to the child. 


  • Parents of children starting at Group are asked to provide the following specific information which is recorded on our Registration Form:
  • Home address and telephone number - if the parents do not have a telephone, an alternative number must be given, perhaps a neighbour or close relative.
  • Place of work, address and telephone number (if applicable).
  • Mobile telephone number (if applicable).
  • Names, addresses, telephone numbers and signatures of adults who are authorised by the parents to collect their child from the setting, for example a child-minder or grandparent.
  • Who has parental responsibility for the child.
  • Information about any person who does not have legal access to the child.
  • Parents/carers are contacted at home or at work.  If this is unsuccessful, the adults who are authorised by the parents to collect their child from the setting - and whose telephone numbers are recorded on the Registration Form - are contacted.  All reasonable attempts are made to contact the parents or nominated carers.
  • The child does not leave the premises with anyone other than those named on the Registration Form or in their file.
  • If no-one collects the child after one hour and there is no-one who can be contacted to collect the child, we apply the procedures for uncollected children.
  • We contact our local authority children’s social services care team on 0844 8008014.
  • The child stays at setting in the care of two fully-vetted staff until the child is safely collected either by the parents or by a social care worker.
  • Social Care will aim to find the parent or relative if they are unable to do so, the child will become looked after by the local authority.
  • Under no circumstances do staff go to look for the parent, nor do they take the child home with them.
  • On occasions when parents are aware that they will not be at home or in their usual place of work, they inform us in writing of how they can be contacted.
  • On occasions when parents or the persons normally authorised to collect the child are not able to collect the child, they provide us with written details of the name, address and telephone number of the person who will be collecting their child.  We agree with parents how to verify the identity of the person who is to collect their child.
  • If parents are not able to collect the child as planned, they must inform us so that we can begin to take back-up measures.  We provide parents with our contact telephone number.
  • We inform parents that we apply our child protection procedures as set out in our child protection policy in the event that their children are not collected from setting by an authorised adult within one hour after the setting has closed and the staff can no longer supervise the child on our premises.
  • If a child is not collected at the end of the session/day, we follow the following procedures:
  • A full written report of the incident is recorded in the child’s file.
  • Depending on circumstances, we reserve the right to charge parents for the additional hours worked by our staff.

NB Late collection of your child will result in a charge of £5 for every 15 minutes after the session has ended that the child remains in the setting. The charge will be invoiced to the Parent/Carer.



Missing child

Policy statement

Children’s safety is maintained as the highest priority at all times both on and off premises. Every attempt is made through carrying out the outings procedure and the exit/entrance procedure to ensure the security of children is maintained at all times.  In the unlikely event of a child going missing, our missing child procedure is followed.




  • As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing the staff member alerts the Lead Practitioner. The Lead Practitioner talks to the staff to find out when and where the child was last seen.
  • The Lead Practitioner carries out a thorough search of the building and garden.
  • The register is checked to make sure no other child has also gone astray.
  • Doors and gates are checked to see if there has been a breach of security whereby a child could wander out.
  • If the child is not found, the parent is contacted and the missing child is reported to the police.
  • The Lead Practitioner contacts the Committee Chair and reports the incident. The Committee Chair, with the Management Committee, carries out an investigation and may come to the setting immediately.


Supervision of children on outings and visits


Playgroup outings are usually within the village (eg nature walks, trips to the church Christmas service, or to the farm shop), but occasionally there is a trip further afield (eg to the Fire Station).  The following points will always apply to such outings.  Please note, however, that the annual summer outing (eg to the zoo) does not fall into the same category: staff do not play any part in the trip and children remain the responsibility of their parents/carers at all times on that day.




  • Parents sign a general consent on registration for their children to be taken out as a part of the daily activities of the setting.
  • Parents are always asked to sign specific consent forms before major outings.
  • A risk assessment is carried out before an outing takes place.
  • Our adult to child ratio is high, normally one adult to two children, depending on their age, sensibility and type of venue as well as how it is to be reached.
  • Named children are assigned to individual staff to ensure each child is individually supervised, to ensure no child goes astray, and that there is no unauthorised access to children.
  • Staff take a mobile phone on outings, and supplies of tissues, wipes, pants etc as well as a mini first aid pack, snacks and water. The amount of equipment will vary and be consistent with the venue and the number of children as well as how long they will be out for.
  • Staff take a list of children with them with contact numbers of parents/carers.
  • A minimum of two staff should accompany children on outings.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Victoria Goff, Committee Chair……………………………….


Health and Safety

Health and safety general standards

Policy statement

Our overall objective within this policy is to make the contents of this document intrinsic to our working practices on a day to day basis.

  • To provide adequate control of the health and safety risks arising from our work activities.
  • To regularly review any risks and check that control measures remain adequate.
  • To consult with all employees on all matters affecting their health and safety.
  • To provide and maintain safe equipment.
  • To ensure safe handling use and storage of any substances.
  • To provide the necessary instruction, training, information and supervision for all staff, to ensure the competence of all staff.
  • To prevent accidents/ill health through good risk assessment processes and
  • To create a culture of ‘thinking safety’ where staff regularly bring forward any observations/concerns.
  • To provide adequate funds to rectify any health and safety issues.
  • To review and revise this policy as necessary at regular intervals.
  • Overall and final responsibility for health and safety matters resides with the Management Committee.  Day-to-day responsibility for ensuring this policy is put into practice is delegated to the Lead Practitioner. Sarah Webster and Janice Howard lead on this; they are competent to carry out these responsibilities, having undertaken relevant training and regularly update their knowledge and understanding.  All employees have to co-operate with supervisors and managers on health and safety matters; not interfere with anything provided to safeguard their health and safety; take reasonable care of their own health and safety; and report all health and safety concerns to Sarah Webster and Janice Howard.
  • We display the necessary health and safety poster on the Puddleducks noticeboard in group.
  • We have public liability insurance and employers' liability insurance.  The certificate for public liability insurance is displayed in the noticeboard box that hangs next to the front door when we are open.


Awareness Raising


  • Our induction training for staff includes a clear explanation of health and safety issues so that they are able to adhere to our policy and procedures as they understand their shared responsibility for health and safety.  The induction training covers matters of employee well-being, including safe lifting and the storage of potentially dangerous substances.  Records are kept of these induction training sessions and new staff and volunteers are asked to sign the records to confirm that they have taken part.
  • As necessary, health and safety training is included in the annual training plans of staff, and health and safety is discussed regularly at staff meetings.
  • We operate a no smoking policy.

Safety of adults

  • Sarah Webster and Janice Howard will provide adults with health and safety advice and induction training.
  • Details of sickness of staff and their involvement in accidents are passed to the Bookkeeper/Administrator, who maintains a record.  The records are reviewed regularly to identify any issues that need to be addressed.
  • We keep a record of all substances such as cleaning chemicals that may be hazardous to health (COSHH records). This states what the risks are, what to do if they have contact with eyes or skin or are ingested, and where they are stored.
  • We keep all cleaning chemicals in their original containers.

Risk Assessment

  • Risk assessments will be undertaken by Lead Practitioner, and the findings of the assessments will be reported to the Committee.  Assessments will be reviewed annually by Sarah Webster and Janice Howard and the Committee member with responsibility for Health and Safety issues, as part of the annual audit of health and safety management and practices. 
  • The Lead Practitioner will be responsible for identifying all substances that need a COSHH assessment; for undertaking COSHH assessments; for ensuring actions identified in the assessments are implemented; and for ensuring that all relevant adults are informed.


  • All resources and materials from which children select are stored safely.
  • All equipment and resources are stored or stacked safely to prevent them accidentally falling or collapsing.

Outdoor area

  • Our outdoor area is securely fenced.  It is checked for safety and cleared of rubbish before it is used.
  • All outdoor activities are supervised at all times.

Activities and resources

  • Before purchase or loan, equipment and resources are checked to ensure that they are safe for the ages and stages of the children attending the setting.
  • The layout of play equipment allows adults and children to move safely and freely between activities.
  • All materials, including paint and glue, are non-toxic.
  • Sand is clean and suitable for children's play.
  • Physical play is constantly supervised.
  • Children learn about health, safety and personal hygiene through the activities we provide and the routines we follow.
  • Any faulty equipment is removed from use and is repaired. If it cannot be repaired it is discarded.
  • Large pieces of equipment are discarded only with the consent of the Lead Practitioner and the Committee Chair.

Fire safety and emergency evacuation

  • The Village Hall Committee is responsible for ensuring that fire safety risk assessments are undertaken, and for checking fire extinguishers.  We hold a copy of the fire safety risk assessment.
  • Our staff members responsible for ensuring fire safety within sessions are Sarah Webster and Janice Howard.
  • Escape routes are kept clear and checked by staff every day.
  • Smoke alarms are tested by staff once a term, and this is recorded in the fire log book.  The fire log book is filled in promptly and is kept in the kitchen.

Emergency evacuation procedure

  • The Lead Practitioner is responsible for conducting the fire drills. There will be sufficient drills to ensure that all new children and adults experience one within a few weeks of their arrival, and a minimum of nine spread throughout the year.
  • Prior to the drill the children will have received an explanation of how to evacuate the building and will also have listened to the whistle being blown three times. The explanation will be calm to avoid creating fear. Staff are responsible for evacuating the children and a designated member of staff is responsible for taking the register and first aid box outside. The supervisor picks up the register and leads the children calmly to the exit door.  When a second member of staff joins her, the supervisor leads the children to the assembly point and the second member of staff counts out the children.  Meanwhile a third member of staff is checking the toilets, kitchen and hall and fetching the phone, first aid kit and records of parental contact details.  This is the last person out. The assembly point is on the basketball hard court area behind the Jubilee Room garden. In bad weather the children will be taken to the shelter of the Village Hall.  As soon as the assembly point is reached, a full register shall be taken.  In the event of a real fire, the supervisor calls the Fire Brigade.
  • The date and time of each fire drill will be recorded in the fire log book, along with details of how long it took, whether there were any problems that delayed evacuation and any further action taken to improve the drill procedure.

Recording and reporting of accidents and incidents

(Including procedure for reporting to HSE, RIDDOR)

Policy Statement

We follow the guidelines of the Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR) for the reporting of accidents and incidents. Child protection matters or behavioural incidents between children are NOT regarded as incidents and there are separate procedures for this.


Our accident book is kept safely and is accessible to all staff, who know how to complete it.

  • When there is any injury requiring general practitioner or hospital treatment to a child, parent, volunteer or visitor; where there is a death of a child or adult on the premises; or where there is a “dangerous occurrence” (eg an event that causes injury or fatalities or one that does not cause an accident but could have done, such as a gas leak), the Committee Chair will notify Ofsted and make a report to the Health and Safety Executive using the format for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR).  We also record the incident our Incident Book.
  • The Incident Book will also include details of
  • break in, burglary, theft of personal or the setting's property;
  • an intruder gaining unauthorised access to the premises;
  • fire, flood, gas leak or electrical failure;
  • attack on member of staff or parent on the premises or nearby;
  • any racist incident involving staff or family on the centre's premises;
  • death of a child, and
  • a terrorist attack, or threat of one.
  • In the Incident Book we record the date and time of the incident, nature of the event, who was affected, what was done about it - or if it was reported to the police, and if so a crime number. Any follow up, or insurance claim made, should also be recorded.

Our incident book

  • We have ready access to telephone numbers for emergency services, including local police.  We also ensure we have contact details for the person responsible for the Jubilee Room. 


Food hygiene

Policy statement

We maintain the highest possible food hygiene standards with regard to the purchase, storage, preparation and serving of food.

We are registered as a food provider with the local authority Environmental Health Department.



  • At least one member of staff has an up to date Food Hygiene Certificate.
  • Food is stored at correct temperatures and is checked to ensure it is in-date and not subject to contamination by pests, rodents or mould.
  • Food preparation areas are cleaned before use as well as after use.
  • There are separate facilities for hand-washing and for washing up.
  • Cleaning materials and other dangerous materials are stored out of children's reach.
  • Children do not have unsupervised access to the kitchen.
  • When children take part in cooking activities, they are supervised at all times.
  • They understand the importance of hand washing and simple hygiene rules.
  • They are kept away from hot surfaces and hot water.
  • They do not have unsupervised access to electrical equipment such as blenders etc.

Administering medicines

Policy statement

While it is not our policy to care for sick children, who should be at home until they are well enough to return to the setting, if it is absolutely necessary we will agree to administer medication as part of maintaining their health and well-being or when they are recovering from an illness.

In many cases, it is possible for children’s GP’s to prescribe medicine that can be taken at home in the morning and evening.

If a child has been prescribed antibiotics or a medication s/he has not had before, it is advised that the parent keeps the child at home for the first 48 hours to ensure no adverse effect as well as to give time for the medication to take effect.

These procedures are written in line with current guidance in ‘Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings’; the Lead Practitioner is responsible for ensuring all staff understand and follow these procedures.

The key person is responsible for the correct administration of medication to children for whom they are the key person. This includes ensuring that parent consent forms have been completed, that medicines are stored correctly and that records are kept according to procedures. In the absence of the key person, the Lead Practitioner is responsible for the overseeing of administering medication.


  • Children taking prescribed medication must be well enough to attend the setting.
  • Only prescribed medication is administered. It must be in-date and prescribed for the current condition.  If it needs to be refrigerated, parents must also supply a plastic box for it to be stored in, inside the fridge.
  • Children's prescribed medicines are stored in their original containers, are clearly labeled and are inaccessible to the children.
  • Parents give prior written permission for the administration of medication. The staff receiving the medication must ask the parent to sign a consent form stating the following information. No medication may be given without these details being provided:
  • full name of child and date of birth;
  • name of medication and strength;
  • who prescribed it;
  • dosage to be given in the setting;
  • how the medication should be stored and expiry date;
  • any possible side effects that may be expected should be noted; and
  • signature, printed name of parent and date.
  • The administration is recorded accurately each time it is given and is signed by staff. Parents sign the record book to acknowledge the administration of a medicine. The medication record book records:
  • name of child;
  • name and strength of medication;
  • the date and time of dose;
  • dose given and method; and is
  • signed by key person/Lead Practitioner; and is verified by parent signature at the end of the session.

Storage of medicines


  • All medication is stored safely in the kitchen, out of reach of children.
  • The child’s key person is responsible for ensuring medicine is handed back at the end of the day to the parent.
  • If the administration of prescribed medication requires medical knowledge, individual training is provided for the relevant member of staff by a health professional.

Managing children with allergies, or who are sick or infectious

(Including reporting notifiable diseases)

Policy statement

We provide care for healthy children and promote health through identifying allergies and preventing contact with the allergenic substance and through preventing cross infection of viruses and bacterial infections.

Procedures for children with allergies

  • When parents start their children at the setting they are asked if their child suffers from any known allergies. This is recorded on the registration form.
  • If a child has an allergy, a risk assessment form is completed to detail the following:
  • The allergen (i.e. the substance, material or living creature the child is allergic to such as nuts, eggs, bee stings, cats etc).
  • The nature of the allergic reactions e.g. anaphylactic shock reaction, including rash, reddening of skin, swelling, breathing problems etc.
  • What to do in case of allergic reactions, any medication used and how it is to be used (e.g. Epipen).
  • Control measures – such as how the child can be prevented from contact with the allergen.
  • This form is kept in the child’s personal file and a copy is displayed where staff can see it.
  • Parents train staff in how to administer special medication in the event of an allergic reaction.
  • Generally, no nuts or nut products are used within the setting.
  • Parents are made aware so that no nut or nut products are accidentally brought in, for example to a party.

Insurance requirements for children with allergies and disabilities.

  • The insurance will automatically include children with any disability or allergy but certain procedures must be strictly adhered to as set out below. For children suffering life threatening conditions, or requiring invasive treatments; written confirmation from the insurance provider must be obtained to extend the insurance.

Procedures for children who are sick or infectious

  • If children appear unwell during the day – have a temperature, sickness, diarrhoea or pains, particularly in the head or stomach – the Lead Practitioner calls the parents and asks them to collect the child, or send a known carer to collect on their behalf.
  • If a child has a temperature, they are kept cool, by removing top clothing, sponging his/her head with cool water, but kept away from draughts.
  • In extreme cases of emergency the child should be taken to hospital and the parent informed.
  • We may refuse admittance to children who have a temperature, sickness and diarrhoea or a contagious infection or disease.
  • Where children have been prescribed antibiotics, parents are asked to keep them at home for 48 hours before returning to the setting.
  • We have a list of excludable illnesses and current exclusion times. If your child becomes ill with any of the illnesses listed, please inform a staff member.
  • Notes to be sent home to parents when cases of a particular illness/disease are in group, including head lice. In particular those which can cause particular risk to pregnant mothers.

Reporting of ‘notifiable diseases’


  • If a child or adult is diagnosed suffering from a notifiable disease under the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 1988, the GP will report this to the Health Protection Agency.
  • When we become aware, or are formally informed of, a notifiable disease, the Lead Practitioner informs Ofsted and acts on any advice given by the Health Protection Agency.


First aid

Policy statement

In our setting staff are able to take action to apply first aid treatment in the event of an accident involving a child or adult. At least one member of staff with current first aid training is on the premises or on an outing at any one time. The first aid qualification includes first aid training for infants and young children.


The First Aid Kit

Our first aid kit complies with the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 and contains the following items only:

  • Triangular bandages x 4.
  • Sterile, Non adherent dressing x 7
  • Composite pack containing 20 assorted (individually-wrapped) plasters 1.
  • Sterile pad with bandage x 3
  • Conforming bandage x 2
  • Crepe Bandage x 1
  • Microporous Tape 10m x 1
  • Sterile Eye Pad x 2
  • Saline Eye Wash 20ml x 4
  • Sterile Saline Cleansing Wipes x 6
  • Instant Cold Pack (Disposable) x 1
  • Resuscitation Face Shield x 1
  • Safety pins x 6
  • Plastic Apron x 1
  • Disposable Gloves x 3
  • Scissors x 1
  • Guidance leaflet x 1.

In addition to the first aid equipment, each box should be supplied with:

  • a children’s forehead ‘strip’ thermometer.
  • The first aid box is easily accessible to adults and is kept out of the reach of children.
  • No un-prescribed medication is given to children, parents or staff.
  • At the time of admission to the setting, parents' written permission for emergency medical advice or treatment is sought.  Parents sign and date their written approval.
  • Parents sign a consent form at registration allowing staff to take their child to the nearest Accident and Emergency unit to be examined, treated or admitted as necessary on the understanding that parents have been informed and are on their way to the hospital.


This policy was adopted at a meeting of Puddleducks Playgroup Management Committee, held on 8th December 2014.

Signed on behalf of the Management Committee by Vicky Goff, Committee Chair……………………………….


Illness - Guidance on when children can return to playgroup following a contagious illness




Chicken pox

Until all vesicles have crusted over.

Conjunctivitis (‘pink eye’)


Gastroenteritis/ Diarrhoea and/or Vomiting

Exclusion until 48 hours from last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.

Glandular fever


Hand Foot and Mouth

No exclusion necessary so long as the child is feeling well.

Head lice


Hepatitis A (yellow jaundice)

Seven days after onset of jaundice or other symptoms if jaundice not present.


Exclusion until well.


Until lesions are crusted and healed or 48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment


Four days from onset of rash.

Meningitis and meningococcal disease

Until completely recovered.


Five days from onset of swelling..



Rubella (German measles)

Four days from onset of rash.


Until the day after treatment.

Scarlet Fever (scarlatina)

Until 24 hours after treatment.

Slapped Cheek (Fifth disease)


Whooping cough

Five days from starting antibiotic treatment or 21 days from the onset of illness if no antibiotic treatment.

Admissions and Fees
  1. 1.    Admissions and Fees


Puddleducks Playgroup is registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) to provide care for children from 2 years old until they are eligible to start Primary Education. Puddleducks is a community organisation, run by a committee of volunteers. Children can start after their second birthday, subject to the availability of places. A waiting list is operated.  Children who are not toilet trained may be admitted, however you must provide all that is needed to change your child’s nappy.


Children's names may be placed on the waiting list at any time and parents are advised to contact the playgroup to do this on 01508571285 or via email to  


Early registration helps us to administer our admissions policy fairly and allows us to plan needs of our area. However, registration does not mean a definite place.


Where possible, preferences for morning, afternoon, full day, Breakfast club and lunch club sessions will be accommodated but this is subject to available places.  


Parents are contacted the term before their child is due to start and invited to visit the Playgroup and participate in a session with their child. During this visit registration and permission forms will be given. A deposit is not charged to secure the child’s place once offered.

We aim to identify all children that may attract any additional funding such as EYPP, DAF, SEND Inclusion Fund and any locally available funding streams with a view to submit a claim/application to support and improve their outcomes.

Please refer to the SEND/Inclusion Policy concerning the SEND support on offer to children and how we support families to choose the right setting for their child with SEND.

  1. 2.    Sessions


Currently the sessions are as follows:


All sessions are for mixed age group children 2 to 4-year olds.

Sessions can be split into a morning session, morning sessions with lunch club, afternoon session and a full day session.


  • Morning sessions run 9.00 – 12.00
  • Morning session with lunch club run 9.00 – 13.30
  • Afternoon sessions run 12.30 – 15.30
  • Full day sessions run 9.00 – 15.30


We also offer a breakfast club across all 5 mornings which begins at 8.00am. There will be an extra charge for provision of breakfast, and an early drop off at 8.30 without breakfast. See Breakfast club policy.


  1. 3.    Waiting List Guidelines


The catchment area includes; Mulbarton, Bracon Ash, Swardeston, East Carlton and Swainsthorpe.


Playgroup is frequently over-subscribed, and places will be allocated in the following order of priority:


  1. Children within the catchment area who already have a sibling currently attending the group. Please note that we do not automatically reserve places for younger siblings. Parents should not forget to add brothers and/or sisters to the waiting list.


  1. Other new entrants: Children living within our catchment area. Within this group, places will be allocated according to the length of time children have spent on the waiting list and whether the parents intend to apply for a place at Mulbarton Infant School for the child concerned.


  1. Should there be a shortage of spaces, priority will be given to 3-year-old funded children, in order to ensure that they are prepared for their transition to Mulbarton Infant School.


  1. Children from outside our catchment area who are cared for by carers living or working within our catchment area, e.g. local child-minders, grandparents.


We accept other children from outside our catchment area when there are places available after allocation according to the guidelines set out above.


Children in the following categories take precedence over the children on the waiting list:


  1. 1.    “Looked after children" and those in the care of Norfolk County Council.


  1. 2.    Children with special needs, who have been referred to us by another agency (including the health and education authorities or social services).


  1. 3.    Children from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families.


The guidelines set out above relate to new admissions only.


  1. 4.    Fees


The fees per session are £4.00 per hour, therefore sessions are £12.00 for 3 hours. All day sessions are £26.00. Lunch club on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is £6.00. Breakfast Club £4.00 plus extra charge for breakfast if provided. Early drop off, at 8.30 is charged at £2.00

There is no registration fee once a childcare place has been offered.

Early Education funding is offered within the national parameters –

  • no session to be longer than 10 hours
  • no minimum session length (subject to the requirements of registration on the Ofsted Early Years Register)
  • not before 6.00am or after 8.00pm
  • a maximum of two sites in a single day

We will work with parents to ensure that as far as possible the hours/sessions that can be taken as funding provision are convenient for parents’ working hours.


Puddleducks Playgroup is listed with Norfolk County Council as an approved provider for funded two, three- and four-year olds.


Government funding is intended to cover the cost to deliver 15 or 30 hours a week of high quality, flexible childcare only. It is not intended to cover the cost of meals, consumables, additional hours or additional services.





The early Years funding entitlements will be delivered consistently so that all children accessing any of the funding entitlements will receive the same quality and access to provision, regardless of whether they opt to pay for optional hours, services, meals or consumables.


In offering these early learning and childcare places Puddleducks Playgroup is committed to:

  • Not requiring parents/carers to pay any fees for this free entitlement.
  • Not charging top up fees. Parents/carers will not be charged a top up fee to recover income where the Nursery’s hourly rate is greater than the rate received from Norfolk County Council.
  • Not imposing conditions on parents/carers wishing to take up the funded entitlement.
  • Agreeing to meet the conditions of the Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities - March 2017 and the Early Years Entitlements: Operational Guidance for Local Authorities and Providers - April 2017


Two-Year-Old Funding

This funding is presently aimed at those most economically disadvantaged families. Therefore, this funding is not available to all two-year-old children. To be eligible for this funding, families must meet criteria determined by the Department of Education.

Currently the criteria for accessing two-year-old funding is:

The child: 

  • Is looked after by the local authority
  • Has left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order
  • Is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan 

Or the family is in receipt of at least one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • Tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (this is the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)  


A child born in the period

Will become eligible for a funded place

1st April to 31st August

1st September following child’s 2nd birthday

(Autumn school term)

1st September to 31st December

1st January following child’s 2nd birthday

(Spring school term)

1st January to 31st March

1st April following child’s 2nd birthday

(Summer school term)


Three and Four-Year-Old Funding

Puddleducks Playgroup supports the entitlement to Early years education funding for 15- and 30-hours early years provision for three- and four-year olds.

Universal 15 hours provision is available from the term following a child’s third birthday up until they reach compulsory school age, for every child, irrespective of background or family circumstances.

Regulations prescribe that children become eligible for the early year’s funding provision on the dates set out below:


A child born in the period

Will become eligible for a free place

1st April to 31st August

1st September following child’s 3rd birthday

(Autumn school term)

1st September to 31st December

1st January following child’s 3rd birthday

(Spring school term)

1st January to 31st March

1st April following child’s 3rd birthday

(Summer school term)


We offer the 30 hours funding, to those families who meet the criteria set by the Government.


  • Do register early if you think you are eligible (see below) for the EXTENDED funded hours AND let us know if you are going to be accessing these extra hours or not
  • We will contact you prior to the start of every academic term, to parents of all children who will be in receipt of Govt Funding for the following term to explain how your child’s current sessions would work with the funding and what your monthly bill will be
  • If you wish to change these sessions, then you will need to request this in writing to Puddleducks Playgroup. Current booked sessions are given priority and any changes are subject to availability.
  • Each term, you will be asked to sign a new Parent Declaration Form confirming how many funded hours you wish to access.


Eligibility for Extended Funding Offer

Parents apply via a HMRC online portal called Childcare Choices at

So, you will need to create a Government Gateway account if you don’t have one

HMRC Childcare Choices provides you with an ID code to determine your eligibility

You give TCG this ID code plus your NI number, address and child’s DOB and your written consent for us to check these.

We verify this code with Norfolk CC

Parent must reconfirm eligibility with HMRC every 3 months when prompted by text and/or email

There is a grace period of one term if you become ineligible.

It is important that you apply the term before your child turns 3 - if you do not have your code in time for the first eligible term you will need to wait for the following term!!

Any problems with setting up then please ring Childcare Service Customer Interaction Centre on 0300 123 4097

For more information go to


Tax-free Childcare

Parents can also apply for Tax-free Childcare, which operates a bit like a voucher scheme. For every £8 a parent pays in the Govt contributes £2. The limit per annum is £2,000.

The criteria are broadly similar to the 30 hours (for working parents).

They are introducing it as the childcare voucher schemes are gradually being phased out.

It is not available to parents in receipt of Tax Credits, Universal Credit or existing Vouchers. (you can’t do both TFC and Vouchers).

For more information go to

As part of the registration process, parents/carers will be required to provide documentation to evidence their child’s date of birth. This is to confirm they have reached the eligible age for the Early Years funding entitlements. A copy will not be retained but may be requested again later.

Your child will become eligible for Government Early Year funding for 15 or 30 hours per week from the term after their 3rd birthday. We will inform you when your child has become eligible.

If your child attends more than 15 or 30 hours a fee will need to be paid for extra hours attended.

Parents/carers are not required to pay any fees for the Early Education entitlement.

There is no charge for the following –

  • Cost of Meals and Snacks
  • Consumables

Conditions are not imposed on parents/carers wishing to access the funded entitlement.

Taking up of additional services will not be made a condition of receiving the free entitlement.

A charge will be made for additional childcare services over and above the funded entitlement.

The payment of fees is due within the first two weeks following issue of the bill on a termly basis.

There is no refund of fees in the event of illness or other absence.

Late or non-payment of fees will result in a child losing their place at Playgroup until such time as all outstanding fees are paid and providing the space is still available. If difficulties arise please contact with either the Book-Keeper  or the Chair of the Management Committee The matter will be treated in the strictest confidence. Please note that families experiencing financial hardship may be exempt from fees at the discretion of the management committee to whom written application must be made, evidence may be requested.

Puddleducks are also able to provide spaces for funded 2-year olds. If you think you may qualify for this, please go to for more information.

A discount will be offered to parents with more than one child at Puddleducks, i.e. twins or the younger sibling/s of a funded or fee-paying child. In this instance, the second child/ren will receive a reduction of 50 pence per hour, making the cost of a three-hour session £10.50.

Please note that this reduction only applies to the child's sibling/s; the usual hourly rate of £4.00 will apply to the first child. This policy will be applied even if the first child is fully funded.

Notice period - a half-term's notice is required when a child is leaving Playgroup, enabling the place to be offered to someone else.

In the event of emergency closure, fees will not be refunded. Puddleducks closes in line with Mulbarton Primary school or at the discretion of the Chair of the Management Committee.

In the event of closure due to the room being used as a Polling Station, fees will be deducted from the next bill.