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Help I Need Some Help! Please


beth1
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I have started my new job preschool manager of a preschool playgroup.

 

Background:

 

The preschool has been running since the 1970's as a committee run playgroup. The setting runs on a sessional basis 5 monrings a week. Recenlty the last manager left at chrismas taking the planning sytem with them! The deputy(level 3 studying level 4) as been acting manager for the last 3 months and has managed to do a fairly good job. The other assistants are fairly new and only 2 have level 3, 1 level 2 and 4 trainees with one waiting to start NVQ 2 in Sept 08.

 

Now this morning I spent most of my time trying to find paper work in which some where missing and other questions poped up in my head and I wasn't sure what to do.

 

There seeem to be no proper operational plan, can you tell me what needs to be in it?

 

There lack of a key person system and staff are unsure what to do. More work for me to do! :o

 

How does the waiting list work? first registered or by age?

 

There is no planning system, OFSTED due in June/July 08 and not sure weither to start a fesh with the new EYFS or to mix between the B23/FS and EYFS? This is taking into account that some of the staff have no or very little planning experinces.

 

On top of this I have make an A5 side of notes and I am going to be chairing my first staff meeting, agghhhh anyone have ideas to help me (such a long time since I was in one never mind chairing it! xD )to share with me please?

 

Overall the staff I met this morning where happy to see me as they have been muddling along for the last couple of months. I think it needs me in to ensure good and postive practice in the preschool. :( I am going to give it my best shot and I am looking forward to the chalenges ahead.

 

Sorry for the ton of questions but I need to have some sort of action plan in place just incase Mrs 'O' wanders through the door in the near future! My luck would be at the start of the new term. :(

 

 

Beth

Edited by beth1
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I'm glad your first day was ok although it seems like you have turned up at the right time!!

 

Easiest question to answer: WAITING LIST

 

It should state in your admissions policy how this is handled and on what criteria you admit first.

Get back to me if you don't have one or it doesn't say.

 

Next easiest: OPERATIONAL PLAN

 

Basically everthing. My operational plan is split into the 5 outcomes of the ofsted report (section 5 entitled Organisation). Each has a file and within it contains all evidence of the 5 outcomes. All paper work should fit in somewhere. Include lots of photos as well. SEF can then be completed from these folders and evidence can be taken by ofsted to look at over night if required.

 

PLANNING

 

I personally would go on to use EYFS to plan, but if Mrs Ofsted is due in before Sept you may want to reconsider.

 

STAFF MEETING

 

Praise the good stuff being done and discuss what you have observed. Try to keep moral up and take cakes!!

 

Remember you have only just arrived and you can only do so much at one time. List what you want to do in priority, delegate what you can and don't stress.

 

Hope this has helped a little.

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our waiting list is done by whos been on list the longest and wahat we say in our policies.

 

Do not start EYFS if you are due to be Ofsteded!!!!!!!

 

do not worry about your staff meeting just have an agenda with notes at the ready - you will be fine .

 

good luck :o

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Welcome to committee run playgroups!! :o

 

Firstly, dont worry about the planning system disappearing, you will want something that works for you and all the team so making one you are all happy with will be a good idea, it will also help those who have no planning experience to see the hows and whys. From what I've read on here Ofsted are happy to see that you are thinking about EYFS but will still inspect to BTT and FS so you'll need a mixture. Its probably a good time to be devising a new system, get the bugs sorted out in time for September.

 

Your operational plan should contain everything to do with the pre-school. Copies of the policies, or at least information on where they are kept, the pre-schools ethos, sessions, staff team, committee roles and responsibilities, curriculum, events, relly a folder which says how you run, and what your overall aims as a group is.

 

The waiting list should by age, those who reach your starting age first are offered the available space (in a busy year we used to use the same catchment are as the local primary school) If someone new moves into the area or suddenly decides to put their name down, those waiting longest would have priority, but you'd have to see how its traditionally been doen and amend it if needed. Remember to think about the ratios with your under and over threes, you probably would have but I've just taken over the placement register at playgroup and its a consideration I'd forgotten about!

 

I'd use the staff meeting to get to know each other, tell them how you envisage you all working together and how roles will be developed. Ask them for their ideas, I found when I took over playgroup that the staff had great ideas which they hadnt wanted to try before. I used to say 'YES' to everything, even the things that I knew wouldnt work, (the only way to learn is through trying) we had a time scale of maybe a term or half term depending on what the idea was and then it was reviewed by all the staff, altered or dropped! It made for a enthusiastic team, who were always prepared to try new things.

 

Tackle one thing at a time though and the paperwork will steadly shrink to a managebale mountain!

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Lots of good advice already given: it does sound as if you've got your work cut out for you. I'm sure you'll rise to the challenge.

 

With regard to EYFS/BTTM/FSC, how much work do you have to do? Are you literally having to start from scratch and build a planning system? If so, and if it were me I'd ring Ofsted and ask for some guidance. If you are having to set up a system from scratch I think it would be really unfair on you to have to start from the old system and begin again in September with the new.

 

What a waste of time and effort for something that you'll use for four months - surely Mrs Ofsted could make an exception?

 

Shiny's advice about taking things slowly and a step at a time is very sound. All I would add is that you need to bear in mind where the staff are now. You need the grand vision of where you want the group to go but you might need several very small steps along the way in order to get there. Can you hear the experience talking?? :o

 

Keep us abreast of progress Beth: we're all routing for you!

 

Maz

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My main advice would be not to make too many changes too soon. One thing at a time and ensure everybody is happy with what is happening and understands it.

As for planning-if you are starting from scratch it would seem pointless setting up everything under the old system. I would, for the time being, work on a weekly basis and start looking at how you will plan for September onwards. That way you are not going to be duplicating work for yourself.

At your staff meeting ensure somebody takes minutes, especially about your planning so that you have evidence for OFSTED should they turn up. Don't try and do them yourself as you will end up not doing them. And just make sure everybody feels involved.

Good luck with it all.

Linda

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Hve you got a PLA or early years worker you can ask for advice? I took on a very spilt staff team, although team is definitly NOT the right word! My no.1 priority was to get us to be able to work together in harmony, the PLA helped me after that and with regulatory stuff.

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lots of good advice given..

 

our operational plan is a few sheets saying where the relevant document or evidence can be found.. be in a policy book, or planning, or minutes of meetings, etc, as a start it may be easier to do this and add to it as you go along, you would also then find out what is missing or not easily found.

 

I always find listening to the staff and asking opinions on all changes and ideas i may have works well, I always ask about changes and take into consideration thier ideas..always easier to get cooperation if they feel part of everything , but if you really feel strongly about something and feel need to take charge explain why. It will happen.

(recently changed roles and our new manager is causing problems by telling them rather than consulting on changes... staff have been very open in coming to me even it it causes me more problems tacking it, I did ask if they ever did this about me, comment was didn't need to as you listened and they all felt able to come to you".. a lovely compliment)

 

Things like admissions and when / how will be in your policies.. if not you will have to go to committee to sort it out, any policy changes or additions need to be agreed by the committee and put to an AGM or emergency general meeting to get them passed and get them implemented, can take time but they are the registered persons so need to be involved. So it will be up to the committee to say how they want waiting list to be run.. ours is also by age so if a child moves into the area they can be offered a place if we have one over a child who has been on waiting list but not actually old enough to start yet.

 

as said planning will evolve ours is in a mess at the moment as we keep trying something which should be better and have adapted it about 5 times since christmas!! Staff keep adding what would make it easier to read understand show what we need to etc etc so we keep trying it all.. we will get there so will you. Perhaps build on what they have been using for a few months and let it evolve , it that way you are showing that you appreciate their work and willing to help develop it

 

Ok probably lots more you will ask over the next few months, just take your time, one thing at a time, and enjoy the job!!

 

Inge

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Thank you soo much for your help. I am in the process of getting an action plan ready for next term to work through. We are also supported by the PLA.

 

Yes there is no planning at all, last manager took it away and never returned it! :o So we have to start from scratch, I have got the summer term approx 14 weeks to sort things out, with OFSTED possibley due on the last week of term and thats if they don't turn up sooner or decide that we can wait until the first few weeks of September (you can never tell with them). I will talk to the chair person to see if they know who to contact for advice and support as this I think is needed.

 

Waiting list thats good to know the deputy thought that it should be on age unless someone turns ups and requests a place then the longest people would get it. I will have to hunt around for the evidence in the policies (something else that needs updating!)

 

Operational planing thanks for the information and the website Shiny will be lots of reading to do.

 

The key person system needs sorting out everything is a mess, staff are unsure what to do, the files are a completely out of date and we are having parents meeting at the end of April. So thats another thing that needs urgent attention. As anyone got an example of what you do for your key person files please.

 

The operational plan, the key person system and a simple planning system is going to take top priorty as these are the I think are the most important things to sort out after Easter. Good job I have 2 weeks off to sort things out along with trying to complete 1 assigment and start another one, I have 3 to do by May 08.

 

 

Beth

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Just wante dto say that if you feel the policies need updating and are involved with the PLA, they have a very useful publication which gives you a comprehensive policy for just about everything. You can then adapt them to suit your group by omitting or developing different areas. I find having the policies in place helpful as then everyone knows what they should be doing. Perhaps have your staff help to review them and then pass them to committee for approval, as then your staff will know them inside out and feel they have ownership of them.

 

Good luck

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Hi Beth

 

Well you have an awful lot to get your teeth into, but if you are anything like me who loves a challenge and likes to work under pressure, it is an exciting time :o

 

I cannot really expand on the excellent advice already given, but i would just say to expect Ofsted at any time, it isn't always necessarily to the month they last inspected.

 

Due to Ofsted turning up, i think the Operational Plan is most important as it is statutory under the day care standards. You will find that as you are compiling the other things such as policies / routines / daily organisation will be sorted at the same time.

 

Good Luck xD

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Sorry forgot to ask, how many children do you have each session?

 

Is your deputy counted in to ratios?

 

If not, are you able to delegate tasks such as working out key carer groups and sorting waiting list?

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We are a 24 place preschool for children from 2 to 5 years old, 5 mornings per week. Each day (apart from Friday) we have a minimum of 6 staff including me in. The ratio needs organising better as no one seems to know what is going on with staffing. The ratio is 1:4 for 2 to 3 years old and 1:8 for 3-5 years old.

 

We have a list of children which in itself is confusing. So for example we had in 24 children 10 were 2-3 and 14 where 3-5 so that worked out at 3 staff for the 2-3 and 2 staff for the 3-5 years old making me in princple supernumeray? Now I am confused! :o

 

I don't know why I am nervios of doing chairing the staff meeting. I though I had an example of an old staff meeting proforma but now I cannot find it. Oh well I will see how it goes, the staff want to talk about key person system, planning and other things.

 

 

Beth

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Hi Beth

 

I think I would start working on the EYFS as it would seem a waste of time and energy learning stuff that will be out of date. I would think you could justify that with Ofsted too.

 

Sort our priorities, best thing you can do is to start thinking about your self evaluation form that Ofsted will want to see or ask you to complete when they arrive. Your SEF can then show Ofsted what you and your staff have highlighted as requiring attention and how you are going to do it. It does not necessarily have to show that you have come up with ideas for everything just that you recognise there is work to do. Rome was not built in a day.

 

Also if you look in the resources section you will find example keyworker policies and booklets that could explain to staff what their responsibilities are.

 

Do a forum search to find information on the operational plan - mine is set out in 5 files under the outcomes and subdivided into the standards, there is a thread somewhere about what exactly goes in what section down to policies etc. However as that is about to change with the EYFS I think if I were about to start from scratch I would be inclined to set it out under the 4 themes of the EYFS.

 

Good luck, seek opinions from staff, get them involved and make it a team effort.

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Hi there,

 

we are a sessional pre-school who run 5 sessions a week with 24 children aged 2-5 too.

 

I've not read everything as I'm rushing about so as a start if ti helps here is our policy and procedure booklet which we hand out to parents..its a small offering, will try to catch up and offer other help later x

policy___procedures.doc

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HI ya

I was in the exact same boat as you begining of this school year , i took on supervisor role of a commitiee run playgroup having worked in full day care for 5 years it was a total change for me i had all new staff etc and we had no plans or obs files etc left so i can really relate to where you are coming from, we are working well now and are now using the EYFS . I had all the same questions as you but we got there eventually! I think from my oppinion take it slowly and implement different things one thing at a time i found it worked the best.

Best of luck !!!

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Quick question:

 

Can I have more than one file for the operational plan?

For example one for policy/procidures, staff details in the welcome area mainly for the parents. One for everything else - a list of policies that state where they area, staff meetings, apprials, supervisions and other things like staff set up and deploment rotas, newsletters etc. This file would be based around the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters.

 

Can you tell I have been searching on the forum for inspration.

 

Thanks

 

 

Beth

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Our operational plan covers lots of folders and found in several places, it is used to point where to find the required info rather than all of it in one folder. ie we have a staff folder, a policy folder, Senco info, prospectus etc but it is documented briefly in operational plan where to find them and with policies has a list of what is there, who is on staff, etc.

 

never had a problem doing it this way with Osfted.

 

Inge

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Hi Beth,

Just wanted to echo what most of the other wise owls have already posted and to add my congratulations on getting a new job, even though it sounds challenging!

 

You say that the deputy is studying for her level 4 - does she need to do anything specific for her course (implementing a key worker system or creating a planning format...?) You could delegate one of the key tasks to her or speak to her to see if there is an area that she is particularly interested in - I think that this will show that you value her as a team member, respect the skills and expertise she has and also show that you are not going to come in as manager and dictate to the team, although as manager you have to have that authority and final say.

 

Don't worry about the staff meeting either - you could write an agenda with things on that you want to cover and then send it round to see if the staff members want to add anything (this obviously has plus and minus points depending on the staff team!)

 

Keep us informed!

RB x

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hi Beth, i too found myself in a similar situation when taking over as supervisor in my Pre-school last Easter, i knew lots needed doing as no planning, etc was in place and knew Ofsted were due after september, when they turned up in october i explained my situation and showed her all of the changes that i had made ( keep lots of notes of changes and dates) and shared all of my visions with her, she was very sympathetic and could see that i had a mountain to climb. nearly 1 year on and with a very supportive deputy supervisor working alongside me we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! take it slowly and my advise would be to go for the new EYFS, this was approved by my inspector as she was glad that we were using something rather than nothing plus it gives you a very good place to start and loads of info!!

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A warm welcome from me too Debatwrittle! Don't think you can sneak in without a welcoming ceremony!! :oxD:(

Edited by Guest
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Yes Debatwrittle...very sneaky of you so heres a quiet

 

 

HELLO and WELCOME!!

 

In the meantime, please do consider getting your EYAT (Early Years Advisory Teacher) in to help you, some are pretty invaluable in helping out in situations like this x

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