What are the appropriate supervision ratios for adults working with children?

When looking to hire staff to work with children, you need to consider all the requirements and responsibilities the position holds. As children need special care, there are certain requirements in terms of how many adults are needed to supervise a group of children to ensure an appropriate level of care and supervision.

It is vital that there are enough staff to supervise children; equally, it is important that these staff are suitably qualified to be looking after the children in the first place. The number of adults deemed appropriate for looking after children depends on the activities planned and the duration of these activities, amongst other things.

Experience and insurance

Other considerations include the competence of the staff, the location requirements, any special medical issues, and any equipment needed. Staff need to understand their responsibilities and what is expected of them. They also need to have the right level of insurance for different activities and awareness of appropriate codes of practice.

In many instances, it is also a requirement to have a basic DBS check. This is a background check to make sure the person is deemed an acceptable person to have contact with children in a role of responsibility. It is easy to get this type of check from organisations such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/.

Recommended adult to child ratios

It is always best to have two adults present, whatever the age group or group size. Only people over the age of 18 should be classed as adults when using young people to supervise small children, with younger teenagers not usually appropriate for this role. There are stricter guidelines for dealing with toilet trips, travelling trips and first aid ratios.
It is recommended that two adults are present as a minimum when working with children and young people, with different ratios for different age groups. For ages zero to three years, one adult to every three children is recommended; for two- to three-year-olds, you should aim to have one adult to every four children; for four- to eight-year-olds, you should have one adult to every six children; for nine- to 12-year-olds, you need one adult to every eight children; and for children aged 13 to 18, you only need one adult to every 10 children.
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