top of page

4.1 The role of the key person and settling-in

‘Each child must be assigned a key person’ (EYFS 2021)

Policy statement

Young children need to form a secure attachment to a key person when they join the setting to feel safe, happy, and eager to participate and learn.

We believe that children settle best when they have a key person to relate to, who knows them and their parents well, and who can meet their individual needs. We are committed to the key person approach which benefits the child, the parents, the staff and the setting. It encourages secure relationships which support children to thrive, gives parents confidence and makes the setting a happy place to attend or work in.


We want children to feel safe, stimulated, and happy in the setting and to feel secure and comfortable with our staff. We also want parents to have confidence in both their children's well-being and their role as active partners with our setting. We aim to make our setting a welcoming place where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of children and their families.


These procedures set out a model for developing a key person approach that promotes effective and positive relationships for children.




  • We allocate a key person before the child starts.  It is not the responsibility of the child to choose their own key person.

  • The key person is responsible for:

  • Providing an induction for the family, alongside the Manager, and for settling the child into our setting.

  • Completing relevant forms with parents, including consent forms, alongside the Administrator, and ensuring they are filed in the correct place.

  • Completing the two-year check.

  • Offering unconditional regard for the child and being non-judgemental.

  • Working with the parents to plan and deliver a personalised plan for the child’s well-being, care and learning.

  • Acting as the key contact for the parents.

  • Completing developmental records and for sharing information on a regular basis with the child’s parents to keep those records up to date, reflecting the full picture of the child in our setting and at home.

  • Termly monitoring of progress. 

  • Having links with other carers involved with the child and co-ordinating the sharing of appropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.

  • Encouraging positive relationships with other children in the setting.


The number of children for each key person considers the individual needs of children and the capacity of the key person to manage their cohort; it is also influenced by part-time places and part time staff. The setting manager/administrator should aim for consistency i.e., matching part-time staff to part-time children; full-time children should not be divided between key persons during the week.

  • Photographs of key persons and their key children is clearly displayed on the buses in the entrance hall.

  • We promote the role of the key person as the child’s primary carer in our setting, and as the basis for establishing relationships with other adults and children.


  • Key persons are the first point of contact for parents with regard to matters concerning their child and any concerns parents may have are addressed with the key person in the first instance.

  • Key persons support parents in their role as the child’s first and most enduring educators.

  • The key person is responsible for the child’s developmental records, completing the progress check at age two, and for sharing information about progress with the child’s parents.

Learning and development

  • The key person helps to ensure that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs. This is achieved through regular observations and assessments of children, using information gathered about their achievements, interests and learning styles to plan for each individual child’s learning and development.

  • If a child’s progress in any of the prime areas gives cause for concern, the key person must discuss this with the setting manager or SENCO and the child’s parents.




Safeguarding children

  • The key person has a responsibility towards their key children to report any concern about their development, welfare or child protection matter to the setting manager and to follow the procedures in this respect.

  • Regular supervision with the setting manager provides further opportunities to discuss the progress and welfare of key children



  • Before a child starts to attend our setting, we use a variety of ways to provide his/her parents with information. These include written information (including our prospectus, welcome pack and policies), new parent evenings and individual meetings with parents.

  • Where possible parents are offered a home visit with their child’s key worker and the Manager or Deputy for them to meet and to familiarise the child with their key worker.

  • During the half-term before a child is enrolled, we provide opportunities for the child and his/her parents to visit the setting.

  • The key person, along with the rest of the team welcomes and looks after the child and his/her parents at the child's first session and during the settling-in process.

  • We hold a new parent information evening before the child starts.  Here, we will complete with his/her parents, the child's registration records, and any relevant paperwork.

  • Included in this is a form where the parents contribute to the child’s baseline, sharing their thoughts on their child’s development.

  • We will work with the parents to settle their child and will tailor the settling in process according to the individual family needs. 

  • Younger children will take longer to settle in, as will children who have not previously spent time away from home. Children who have had a period of absence may also need their parent to be on hand to re- settle them.

  • We judge a child to be settled when they have formed a relationship with their key person; for example, the child looks for the key person when he/she arrives, goes to them for comfort, and seems pleased to be with them. The child is also familiar with where things are and is pleased to see other children and participate in activities.

  • When parents leave, we ask them to say goodbye to their child and explain that they will be coming back, and when.

  • We recognise that some children will settle more readily than others, but that some children who appear to settle rapidly are not ready to be left.

  • We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them to settle any quicker. We believe that a child's distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the setting.

  • If we feel the child is not settling in, this would be discussed with the parents and together we will work on settling the child.  This is especially the case with very young children.

  • Within the first four to six weeks of starting, we complete a baseline assessment to establish the child’s starting points in their development.


The progress check at age two

  • The key person carries out the progress check at age two in accordance with any local procedures that are in place and referring to the guidance A Know How Guide: The EYFS progress check at age two.

  • The progress check aims to review the child’s development and ensures that parents have a clear picture of their child’s development.

  • Within the progress check, the key person will note areas where the child is progressing well and identify areas where progress is less than expected.

  • The progress check will describe the actions that will be taken by us to address any developmental concerns (including working with other professionals where appropriate) as agreed with the parent(s).

  • The key person will plan activities to meet the child’s needs within the setting and will support parents to understand the child’s needs in order to enhance their development at home.

bottom of page