Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services
Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.
ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.
Hospital-based services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.
For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.
The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.2 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.
HS11 Noise levels
Health and safety practices criterion 11
All practicable steps are taken to ensure that noise levels in any ECE Activity Room do not unduly interfere with normal speech and/or communication, or cause any child attending distress or harm.
The criterion aims to uphold the health and wellbeing of children by ensuring that steps are taken when necessary to manage high noise levels in day to day operation (as in the case of ongoing construction next to the Activity Room).
Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.
Managing noise levels will benefit everyone at the service. Establish expectations with children about what is an acceptable level of noise inside.
You can create quieter spaces for children simply by using low partitions.
Beware of environmental noise from outside the service such as road works or construction nearby and try to ensure that the negative effect is reduced where possible.