Adult : child ratios in mixed-age services
Services must meet the adult:child ratios set out in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. In certain cases, spare capacity for children under 2 years old can be offset against the number of children aged 2 and over.
|Level of compliance||Main audience||Other|
The Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 (issued under Section 636 of the Education and Training Act 2020) have specific requirements for adult:child ratios at early learning services (Schedule 2(external link)). Regulation 44A provides flexibility for mixed-age services in some circumstances.
- What does Regulation 44A mean?
- What if my service only operates with children under 2 years old?
- Does Regulation 44A affect funding?
- Example of applying Regulation 44A
- Further information
Regulation 44A is part of the regulations for early childhood education. It outlines how services can take spare capacity in the under 2 age group into account when determining the staff required for children aged 2 and over.
The intention of this regulation is to provide flexibility to support mixed-age services manage adult:child ratios where there is spare capacity in the group of children under the age of 2 years old.
Spare under-2 capacity is determined when the number of children under-2 attending is not a threshold number. A threshold number is a multiple of 5. When this applies, children aged 2 or over can be counted in the under-2 ratios.
One likely application of Regulation 44A is in the situation where a service would have required another teacher because a child turned 2, even though the total number of children remained the same. Regulation 44A allows the newly turned 2 year old child to be counted in the under-2 ratio count until the 'space' in the 2 or over ratio count becomes available.
There may be cases where a child turns 2 years old and does not immediately transition to a service that caters for children 2 years old or over. In these cases you should meet ratios for mixed age services, and can apply Regulation 44A if you have spare capacity in the under 2 age group.
Any spare capacity in the under 2 age group filled by a child that has turned 2 years old will be funded at the 2 or over funding rate.
Services cannot operate with more than the maximum number of children stated on the Certificate of Licence issued to the centre.
The Ministry has discretion under regulation 22(5) to impose additional requirements about supervision being provided to children attending/participating in the service.
For example, an all-day centre might be licensed for 30 children of mixed ages. This includes a maximum of up to 10 children under 2 years old.
The service currently has 20 children aged 2 years or over. To meet ratio requirements, four staff members are required: two staff members for the children aged under 2 years old, and two staff members for the children aged 2 or over.
Then one of the children has a birthday and turns 2 years old. This brings the total to 21 children over 2 years old, and 9 under 2 years old. According to ratio regulations in Schedule 2, this means another adult would be required.
However, the service can apply Regulation 44A, so that the newly turned 2 year old can remain counted as an under 2 for ratio purposes. This means the centre does not require another adult.
Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback