The DfE says that ratios of staff to pupils specified in the EYFS framework apply at all times, including breaks and lunchtimes.
See the report link opposite ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (page 17 onwards).
For children aged three and over in maintained nurseries or nursery classes in maintained schools (except in reception classes), the requirement is that:
- There must be at least one member of staff for every 13 children
- At least one member of staff must be a ‘school teacher’
- At least one member of staff must hold a relevant level-3 qualification
The required presence of a ‘school teacher’ is an addition to the 2012 statutory framework. However, the revised EYFS does not change the position on breaks, short-term absence and non-contact time.
The minimum ratio (one member of staff for every 13 children) must be maintained, but teachers are not necessarily required to be present during breaks and lunchtimes.
Headteachers should exercise their professional judgement in determining what cover is required.
Staff to pupil ratios at breaks for children outside the EYFS:
The DfE does not set a minimum supervision ratio for breaks and lunchtimes for pupils who are no longer in the EYFS. This includes reception classes in which the majority of children will reach the age of five, six, or seven during the course of the school year.
The number and type of staff (teachers, teaching assistants or midday supervisors) on duty at any one time should be determined after a risk assessment. There is no specific requirement for staff on duty to be qualified teachers or support staff with certain qualifications. However, this should be taken into account in the risk assessment.
For other Key Stages, and in most reception classes, the number of staff on duty should be determined by a risk assessment.