Westward School

Settling In and Key Person Policy


We want every child to feel safe and confident here at Westward within a special relationship with a key person for the child to thrive. We create a welcoming environment where children settle quickly, providing individual care to the child by working closely with parents. 

We recognise that for some children and parents, starting a new setting can be a worrying time. We make sure we have robust settling in procedures and a key person approach for us to get to know the child and parents, giving them the reassurance to feel safe. 

As outlined in the EYFS: ‘Each child must be assigned a key person. Their role is to help ensure that every child's care is tailored to meet their individual needs, to help the child become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with parents.' (EYFS, 2012, p.18)


We start the settling in process before entry as we recognise this as a crucial time to build relationships and establish a two-way dialogue.

  • We provide parents with all the relevant information before a child starts.
  • New parents meeting – to meet all the Early Years team, find out about the curriculum and if the parents choose, to walk around the setting.
  • All relevant policies and procedures are explained during these information sharing opportunities and are available on our website and Early Years notice board.
  • We explain the settling in process to parents, however we are flexible to meet the parent’s and child’s needs. We recognise that different children may require different ways to be settled, the length of the process may be different, but we work with the parents to devise a strategy together.
  • Opportunities are available for the child, with the parent, to visit prior to starting. This occurs towards the end of the Summer Term for new families into Reception and in the weeks leading up to starting Nursery for new Nursery families. Parents may stay and play if they wish. We encourage at least one visit, but cater to the individual child. This visit provides an opportunity to get to know the staff, talk about the individual child, any particular needs and familiarise themselves with the setting. Home visits are also carried out in Nursery and Reception. The key person is also available to visit the child’s current nursery to interact and meet the child.
  • Parents are asked to complete registration forms and ‘All about me’ sheets, for the adults to get to know and help the child to settle more easily.  
  • As most of our nursery children enter Reception, the class teacher and teaching assistant already know the children and parents. The Nursery and Reception staff liaise to share information to ensure a settled transition.
  • In Nursery, the settling in process is gradual and flexible. Parents are encouraged to be available, spending time where needed,  but then gradually moving away when their child is ready, remaining nearby and readily contactable. During these early times, some sessions may be shorter. In Reception, children start together.
  • Every child in Nursery is assigned a key person during the initial stages who helps the child to become familiar with the setting and develops a close relationship with them and the parents. In Reception the teacher and teaching assistant both help to help children feel safe, secure and settled
  • Each adult has a small group of children with whom they spend time and get to really know personally and build these close relationships. They provide the care, individual attention and support that the individual child requires.
  • When allocating the key person, rotas are considered and also children’s choices are respected as they are often drawn to an adult. The children also have a second key person in case of absentees. The second person in Nursery is Mrs Lawrence.
  • The key person helps the child to settle in gradually. They greet the child in the morning. At the end of the day, the key person can tell the parents about the child’s day.
  • During the settling-in period the key person spends time with the child looking at the child’s learning journey which is started at home.
  • During the first days in Reception, children are shown where their own personal drawer is and peg. Lots of group opportunities are provided to develop the children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development skills.
  • If the child is distressed in the morning and after being soothed by the key person, the school manager telephones the parent to reassure them that the child has settled.
  • The key person meets that child’s needs, e.g., personal needs (toileting); providing comfort if they are upset; supporting them with their independence skills (dressing, undressing); supporting their behaviour.
  • The key person is the main point of contact with the child’s parents by liaising and talking with them about the particular child. The key person also takes responsibility for the group’s learning journeys. They carry out observations of their children and together with the parents create this portfolio which is regularly shared and progress discussed. Reports are also produced and shared with parents.
  • Times are planned during the settling in period and throughout the time that they are with us to talk with the parents to get to know the child well.
  • Together with the other early years staff, observations are shared in order to plan for the child’s next steps.
  • Any children who attend after school care and/or breakfast club are cared for by Early Years practitioners.


Policy last updated: August 2017