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We need some advice regarding our setting.The relationship between us and a set of parents has completely broken down.They have complained to Ofsted about us,although after we completed a report back to Ofsted they were completely satisfied as to the actions taken by us.They do not acknowledge myself and my co-manager when we say hello.They deal with other members of staff only.The atmosphere has been extremely strained and we have done everything we have been advised to do for example invitations to improve relations however the parents have not accepted these.There have been other uncomfortable incidents such as the Father using very inappropriate language infront of other children and parents to describe something going on.Although not aimed at us personally this was not nice. We know longer wish to work with these parents but worry about the repicutions if we try to remove them from our setting.Can anyone give us some advice please? Thanks Elaine.

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Hi Elaine :o

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

I can sympathise with you on this one. I had a very similar situation a couple of years ago and was literally tearing my hair out! The parent in question continually made complaints to Ofsted, which they investigated each time and always found nothing.

 

Unfortunately i do not have any answers for you, i tried lots of different tactics - nothing changed, the parents concerned just continued to 'recruit' more parents to their silly group and even met in the evenings to discuss the nursery manager and i (nursery owner)!!

 

I just couldn't understand how these parents continued to use my nursery if they thought it was so bad and i actually wrote letters to them which stated, very politely of course, that i did not feel that i could continue to provide care for their children if they felt so unhappy.

 

Eventually the main parent did pull her children out, but still complained to Ofsted 3 times during the next year(pretending to be a parent who still attended the nursery) this took an awfully long time to disprove this but we got there in the end.

 

The only real advice i can give ids to record EVERYTHING that happens, even little things which may seem petty at the time, you may need this later.

 

I look forward to reading other peoples responses.

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Hi Elaine :o

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

I can sympathise with you on this one. I had a very similar situation a couple of years ago and was literally tearing my hair out! The parent in question continually made complaints to Ofsted, which they investigated each time and always found nothing.

 

Unfortunately i do not have any answers for you, i tried lots of different tactics - nothing changed, the parents concerned just continued to 'recruit' more parents to their silly group and even met in the evenings to discuss the nursery manager and i (nursery owner)!!

 

I just couldn't understand how these parents continued to use my nursery if they thought it was so bad and i actually wrote letters to them which stated, very politely of course, that i did not feel that i could continue to provide care for their children if they felt so unhappy.

 

Eventually the main parent did pull her children out, but still complained to Ofsted 3 times during the next year(pretending to be a parent who still attended the nursery) this took an awfully long time to disprove this but we got there in the end.

 

The only real advice i can give ids to record EVERYTHING that happens, even little things which may seem petty at the time, you may need this later.

 

I look forward to reading other peoples responses.

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Hi Lucy,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me.Sorry to hear that you had that experience.It is nice however to hear from someone who really knows how it feels.It has all been going on since now to long and we are even contemplating closing which i know is not the correct answer.You just feel like why am i bothering. We have all worked so hard to get the pre-school where it is but morale is low.

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Hi again :o

 

Please don't give up, this would please the parent more than anything. When is their child due to leave for school is it soon?

 

Have you spoken to the member of staff that the parent feels comfortable dealing with? Do they know what has sparked this off? Are the staff supporting you to the parent?

 

Our staff were more frightened of the parent than us and agreed to secretly give out letters to all other parents which contained how they felt about us and details of a meeting to be held to discuss who bad the nursery was!

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Welcome to the forum. Sorry you're having such a hard time.

 

My concern is that this other 'uncomfortable behaviour' you describe could be trying to provoke you into an argument. Some people seem to enjoy confrontation. It seems to me that, like children, they are testing the boundaries to see how far they can push you. So be careful, ignore this behaviour like you would a child's undesirable behaviour. Lucy's advise is very good about keeping a record though of all that goes on.

 

I have no experience of this so will leave it to others who do to best advise you as this is clearly very worrying for you. Can you speak the PLA or other body you might belong to for legal advise?

 

Hang in there, hopefully somebody will come along with some good advise. I really don't think you should have to endure this situation.

Edited by Deb
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Hi Pippadog, what a horrible thing to have happen, but unfortunatly not unique.

Some people find something they dont like and let it build, and the reasons may never be known.

Lucy has some good advice there. Record everything, in cases like this with gossip mongering, nothing is too small to record.

 

I had a parent whispering a few years ago about our afternoon provision. I didnt challenge her directly just included details of our pm sessions in our newsletter, very innocent but certain people who had listened to her knew exactly what I was doing. The parent left with my best wishes that the next setting was more suited to her requirements, and that her son liked it too. :o

 

I like Lucy's idea of the letter, express your regret at the thought of losing their child but that you will understand if they wish to leave considering the problems they feel they are having with the setting.

 

Another thing too. If they are talking to other staff but not you and your co-manager, it seems to me that the rules applying to most greviance policies I've read may not being followed. Do you have a greivance policy and procedure you could refer all parents to. It might help you to see where you can go and what you can do next. It might also remind staff who they do talk to how careful they should be, in fact if things they discuss with the other staff dont impact directly on their childs care or development I'd ask that any matters are directed to you.

 

Hope you find some answers. Above all, dont give in to this vicious display and dont give up your nursery, these parents wont be around forever, even if it feels like it. And carry on saying hello too, dont ever sink to their level :(xD

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Gosh I do feel for you. I have come home dispondant because a parent who has historically complained about everything (despite the fact that she has been a parent with the nursery for 7 years now!) has complained to me about the fact that we don't formally teach writing, and what harm would it do to place some dots on a piece of paper, and have their child draw over them - "like the nursery used to".

 

However, your issue really puts mine into perspective.

 

Let us know what you decide - and please don't close because of it.

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Hi again,

We will have this child for another year and the sibling due in september.This could go on for some time! There doesn't seem to be any protection for pre-schools and staff in these circumstances its all about the parents which allows parents who wish to act unreasonably to continue it seems for as long as they want.

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As others have said, this is by no means uncommon, so take heart!

 

A nursery where I used to work (a very good one, too!!) had constant Ofsted complaints by one family over the most trivial matters. All complaints were consistently disproved to the extent that O suggested they were becoming puzzled by the parents attitude (to the parent) and Owner wrote, much as Lucy suggested to say that if our service was really so bad, then maybe the time had come for the parting of the ways - which actually happened!! Oh, the relief!! No other custom affected, either :o

 

Similarly, at my old pre-school, recently, a parent complained to Ofsted alleging the Supervisor was hitting the children. After much distress etc the parent admitted this was a total fabrication, but the damage was done and my ex-colleague left childcare altogether! xD

 

Stay strong!! we're with you

 

Sue

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This makes me so angry. I really feel for you.

If they are going to be there for that length of time you can't let it go on. Get in touch with the PSLA or your Early Years advisor. You will have all the details written down. If the parents are using inappropriate language infront of other children they should not be allowed on the premises. Don't allow them to make you feel like this.

Have any of your other parents said anything?

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Thank-you everyone for your comments they are a great support. We have spoken to the PLSA our quality mentor, inclusion team,parents in parnership and any-one else we could get on the phone!

 

Every-one agrees that we shouldn't have to put up with this but it is difficult because it would be excluding the child. I am still awaiting a response from a very helpful child care officer.

 

 

Elaine :o

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Some parents are just never happy unless they can complain... having been investigated twice for similar complaints over the last year, know that documentation and writing down over everything really does help. no matter how small or trivial it may seem, we wrote notes on every conversation , all complaints were documented and signed by staff and parent formally even if they said 'no don't want to make it formal' we still did complaint form, with any actions or follow through and conversations over it.

 

One parent also did not want to deal with me, the fact that I did not respond how she wanted no matter how much she provoked me caused her to become even more difficult. Luckily in my case other staff who she would deal with took over reporting all back to me and i was removed from the 'loop' as far as she was aware, eventually when investigations etc completed and no action letter she calmed down and has since apologised but that was unusual.

 

the fact that the child was still there actually worked in our favour as Ofsted said if they were that worried they would remove the child! i did actually say to one that it was their choice where they and their children and if they felt we were not right perhaps somewhere else would be....but she still stayed with us!! just got angry at me saying that she had a choice, she seemed to think she had to send child to us.

 

Our second case recently, child was removed and has already been in another setting and removed only 4 weeks later! but parent continues to cause problems gossiping to others about us all of which is untrue. Luckily only one parent has moved her child because of this and others who know us have become extremely defensive and will challenge anyone gossiping, so much so we are almost full for September which is unheard of at that time of year!

 

Remain calm when dealing with them, do nothing to antagonise them, show that you are trying to compromise and when speaking to anyone do not comment on how difficult the parents have been, document all to show that you are trying to be reasonable and listen to their complaints/issues, recording them to show you take it as seriously.

 

we had support from early years advisors too which helped and developed a parental agreement to include how we expect parents to behave in the setting with a option to refuse parent on the premises (not child they can arrange for someone else to bring them) if we feel it appropriate (language or behaviour not appropriate). they all have to sign this before starting...i got the agreement from the forum and adapted it to our needs.

Ofsted have seen this and are happy with the content.

 

good luck

 

Inge

Edited by Inge
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Hi Inge,

 

 

Thankyou for that info.would it be possible for you to let see this or guide me to where i can find this parental agreement.

 

 

 

MANY THANKS.

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Hi Pippadog,

 

What you have to remember is you can't please everyone. I have had a similar situation, lost sleep over it, doubted myself and abilities. I tried everything to make peace with this parent but to no avail. She finally pulled her child out of my pre school, it was the child I felt sorry for as I soon found out from a neighbouring pre school that I was the 4th pre school she had complained to.

Some people in this world are aound purely to make everyone elses life difficult. Luckily this is in the minority.

Put a parental agreement in place. I actually have a parent contract that has a section on parent conduct and about the importance for the child that we all work together in partnership. All parents must sign before their child attend.

And WRITE everything down. Have a meeting with this parent, but have a witness.If you are seen to be doing everything in your power to work in partnership with the parent but to no avail, you then have grounds to ask them and unfortunately the child to leave.

In situations like this, never find yourself in a position where it is just you and them. A witness is very valuable.

 

Think of all the happy, contented children and parents.

 

Stiff upper lip and it will pass.

 

Net x :o

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If the situation really is that bad, maybe you could send a letter to all parents informing them that recently a bout of slanderous comments had been passed on with regards to the nursery that were untrue and very hurtful to all staff and that if any parent had a query, complaint or compliment that they are free to talk with you at their convenience. Sometimes the other parents just need putting in the picture on how petty these things are, and legal terms like slander and victimisation which this is, can be all the deterant you need.

 

I really hope you get this all sorted out, but maybe to ease your concience about the children, complile a list of nurseries and childminders within in a reasonable distance that they could go to. or ask the early years team to step in and facilitate the communication to find out what the real problem is. That said, there are parents who just like to be the centre of attention!

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