Regulations and National Minimum Standards: Day care and play

Regulations and National Minimum Standards for providing care for children up to 12 years.

These regulations outline what a care provider must do by law to provide a care service in Wales. On 1 April 2016 these were updated to reflect changes to childcare regulations.

Temporary amendment to Standard 13.6 (DC) of National Minimum Standards for Regulated Child Care 2012

On 11 June 2015, Welsh Government made changes to Standard 13.6 (DC) in relation to holiday play schemes. Detailed information about these changes is available on the Welsh Government website. (External link)

National Minimum Standards (NMS) for Regulated Childcare from 1 April 2016

  • Day care staff ratios

    In day care, the minimum staffing ratios for children over the age of 8 have been amended to allow one adult to care for up to 10 children aged 8 to 12 years.

    There are no changes to the ratios for children under the age of 8.

  • Open access play staff ratios

    The minimum staffing ratio in open access play provision of 1:13* for children aged under 8 has not changed. Children under 5 do not generally attend such provision and ratios may need to be higher for schemes which operate in public parks.

    For children aged 8 to 12, staffing ratios should be sufficient and proportionate, contributing to a positive environment for all children attending.  Staffing ratios should reflect the circumstances of the service, including the site and level of activities undertaken, how risks are managed, the experience and qualifications of staff, community context, age and abilities of the children attending and allow for contingency in case of emergencies. The ratio of persons with current first aid qualifications will need to reflect these circumstances.

    The responsibility for setting ratios in the new Standard rests with the service, and will depend on the diverse circumstances that may apply in the provision of open access play you operate.

  • Space requirements

    Standards for those providers caring for children aged under 8 remain unchanged. For children aged 8 to 12, the indoor playing space/s must provide at least 2.3 sq metres minimum per child.

    In calculating the space requirement for all age groups, you can designate a number of rooms in your premises.

    This will not include toilets and in day care will also not include storage areas, thoroughfares, dedicated staff areas, cloakrooms, utility rooms, and kitchens.

  • Qualifications

    For services looking after children aged 8 to 12, a lead-in time of 3 to 5 years will be given to enable practitioners to achieve any required qualifications for working with older children.

    This means that if, as a result of the extension of registration, you are unable to meet the standards in respect of qualifications set out in the NMS e.g. Standard 13.6(DC) relating to the Person in Charge, or Standard 13.7(DC) relating to other staff, a lead-in time will be allowed to enable you to work towards the qualification.


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