Recommended adult to child ratios
There is no specific guidance about supervision ratios for organisations that are not in the education or early years sectors. We’ve put together some best practice guidance to help other organisations work out how many adults are needed to supervise children safely.
We recommend having at least two adults present when working with or supervising children and young people. We recommend the following adult to child ratios as the minimum numbers to help keep children safe:
- 0 - 2 years - one adult to three children
- 2 - 3 years - one adult to four children
- 4 - 8 years - one adult to six children
- 9 - 12 years - one adult to eight children
- 13 - 18 years - one adult to ten children
Depending on the needs and abilities of the children, and the nature of the activity, you may need to have more adults than the minimum.
We recommend having at least two adults present, even with smaller groups.
If young people are helping to supervise younger children only people aged 18 or over should be included as adults when calculating adult to child ratios.
Children with additional needs or disabilities
If you are working with children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) you may need more supervision than the minimum ratios above.
For each activity you should undertake a risk assessment to help you decide on supervision ratios. The assessment should take into account children and young people’s behaviour, ability and mobility. As far as possible, include input from children and young people and their parents and carers in risk assessments to ensure children’s needs are met.
> Learn more about protecting d/Deaf and disabled young people
If the group has both boys and girls there should be at least one male and one female responsible adult supervising visits to the toilet.
Adults who haven't previously volunteered and haven't had the necessary vetting checks shouldn't be left alone with children or take them to the toilet unaccompanied.
In larger groups of children, encourage groups to take a comfort break together with one responsible adult while the other adult(s) supervises the remaining children and keep a head count.
First aid ratios
We recommend that at least one adult is trained in first aid.
If you're running one-off events you will need to carry out a first-aid and medical risk assessment. Many organisations provide medical services but ensure the organisation you select is competent, trained in first aid and able to cope with the demands of your event.
When travelling with children and young people the recommended adult to child ratio can vary depending on:
- size of the group
- age of the children, their behaviours and needs
- size of the vehicle that you are travelling in.
If you are travelling in a vehicle it is recommended that there is one adult driving and one adult supervising the children. Larger groups and vehicles will require more adults to ensure adequate supervision. Think about having one adult driving and at least one adult supervising the children, depending on the size of the group.