Dicky Birds
Dicky Birds
Dicky Birds
Dicky Birds

Health & Safety

This page describes Dicky Birds’ approach to Health and Safety.  

As you would expect, we take health and safety extremely seriously.  Our approach to assessing and managing risk is unusually stringent for nursery settings and some of our approaches may, at first sight, seem overly cautious (not allowing food play in any of our nurseries for example).  

But we have very good reasons for taking risk assessment, and in particular food safety, so seriously.  In 2012 there was a tragic accident at one of our nurseries in which a child choked on a piece of raw jelly.  The accident had a very profound effect on everyone connected with Dicky Birds and the approach we take to identifying and managing risk.  Please read the following post by Rachel Berry (Owner of Dicky Birds Nurseries) for more information about the accident and changes that have been made in the four years since: Why I have banned ‘free-flow’ and food play from all of my nurseries.

Over the last four years we have re-evaluated how best we might reduce risk in Dicky Birds. Due to the unpredictability of children risk can never be completely removed from any nursery setting however our aim is to constantly be reflective and to do our utmost to reduce this risk to an acceptable level.

Below are just some of the measures we have put in place as part of our ongoing commitment to risk management.

  • Food Play: We felt that having food play gave children mixed, and often conflicting, messages. For example at meal times we would teach the children to eat their food and not to play with it but during food play we would say the exact opposite. Playdough has also been removed from our nurseries as it is widely held opinion that this substance is not suitable for children under the age of 5.
  • IOSH training:  All of our Nursery Managers and Senior Managers have either already completed this course or have a place booked for training in the near future. This intensive 4-day course ensures that all of our managers have a clear understanding of how to identify risk and how to manage it effectively.
  • Risk Registers: These registers record all new equipment and ensure that they are properly located within the age appropriate room. Through this system we ensure that all resources are thoroughly risk assessed at our Head Office beforehand as well as strictly limiting the type of stationery and personal items that can be brought into the nursery.
  • Comprehensive Risk Assessments and Training: Our risk assessments are updated throughout the year but are also further scrutinised through an extensive annual review. As a company we are very reflective with our practices and routinely arrange refresher courses on risk assessment alongside year-round on-the-job training for all of our staff.
  • First Aid: It is our aim to have at least 80% of our staff fully First Aid trained as standard. It is necessary for each individual member of staff to renew this training every 3 years.
  • Retention Of Staff: To aid with the continuity of care for the children, we are always keen to retain our best and brightest members of staff so as to keep our staff turnover to an absolute minimum. Considerable thought is put into how best to achieve our targets and this ensures that the investment in skills as well as the training given to our staff continues to benefit the nursery.  
  • Monthly Incident & Accident Reporting: This system allows us to analyse the need to implement any changes or whether a piece of equipment needs to be further reviewed. We continually evaluate the latest trends to ensure that all of our staff are able to manage resources and child behaviour in the best possible way.
  • Allergy & Medication Audits: As part of our ongoing commitment to our Allergy and Medication policies we carry out detailed audits every 2 months.
  • Spot Health & Safety Checks: These checks are carried out by the Nursery Owner and/or our Health & Safety Support Team to ensure that all of our premises are kept safe and secure. We also employ an external Health & Safety provider to conduct additional audits.
  • Building Checks: These inspections are carried out by our Maintenance & Facilities Manager with the aim of identifying and putting in place preventative measures before issues can arise.  In addition, all of our outside climbing frames are well maintained and routinely checked to ensure that they remain a smooth, solid and sturdy place to play.
  • Quick Reference Sheets: You may notice we have detailed and informative tags strapped to most of our nursery equipment. This is to enable our staff to quickly crosscheck that the equipment they are using is age appropriate to the group. Each and every new resource will have this detailed information provided as a standard procedure.  

This list will continue to grow as we update and monitor how best we can make our nurseries as safe, secure and happy a place as possible. 

Childhood Vaccinations - Immunising your child before joining a nursery setting

At Dicky Birds we strongly recommend that children attending a group setting, such as a nursery, are vaccinated against childhood illnesses in accordance with the Government’s health policy and guidelines.

Please bear in mind that there is plenty of evidence that vaccinations do much more good than harm and that vaccines will protect your child as well as other children at the nursery against a wide range of serious illnesses.

Children who are not vaccinated are at an increased risk of catching these childhood illnesses however, once your child has been vaccinated, the risk is substantially reduced.

If you decide not to vaccinate your child against some or all of these childhood illnesses, we would like to arrange for you to meet with us to discuss your choices and how we can best work with you and your family.

For further information about childhood vaccinations please see the NHS Choices website.

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