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The Whole Stupid Situation


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Hello everyone, I am going to have a rant.

I have just been reading posts about committees and packing away and low wages and the EYFS and village halls, its made me a bit mad- hence the rant.

Is it me or is it all wrong?

We have admitedly and proven by reasearch and experience, one of the most important jobs in a childs life- laying the foundations for life long learning and ensuring children feel secure and cared for and that they have equal opportunities and access to a rich learning environment and freedom for expression and choice and to have wonderful experiences that enrich their lives.

The government recognises this and wants to raise the standard of early years care and education and has proven this by creating a 10 year plan, producing the every child matters document, and the new EYFS and by providing the transformation fund to get everyone better trained and more qualified and by providing early years funding so all children can access it( and parents can go to work.)

And yet we are still being run by committees (who know nothing most of the time), we are still charities who have to raise money to buy resources. We are still running from delapidated, uninspiring village halls and the like, where we have to share facilities, we have to get a whole classroom out of a cupboard everyday and then put it away again a few hours later- which is soul destroying after a while.

The government wants us all to be outstanding and lets face it we would all love to be outstanding. I know I aspire to it- but realistically I am being let down constantly by the environment I am in and by the sheer amount of effort and time that goes into getting out and packing away (just think what we could do if we didnt have to do it? We may be able to prepare things for the day, we may be able to talk about what might happen and what has happened, we may be able to improve the level of service we give.) Just maybe!

The government and OFSTED demands reams of paperwork to prove everything we do, they want us to deliver a new framework- the EYFS, which is fantastic but who is going to pay me to do it all? To put all these systems in place, to ensure I am meeting all the requirements? I know the charity I work for can't really afford to pay me for all the hours I do, so I do essential work at home for free. Which is not right.

We are run by committees who are very difficult to come by and are a contstant headache, every year we have a new one who we have to explain everything to, walk them through their roles, then by the time they get the hang of it they're off and we have to start aver again with a new committee. And sometimes the committe is obstructive, interfering, not committed or not experienced enough. It's a ludicrous situation.

I don't know about anyone else but I know my wages are low, far far too low for the amount of work I do and the level of expertise and knowledge I hold and far too low for the responsibilities I have and for the importance of the job I do. I'm sure many of you feel the same.

Now think about the early years provision in your local primary school. Fully funded in all areas? Well paid teachers, well paid support staff, well paid secretaries, well paid everyone. Nice warm cosy environment that is exclusively theirs? They can set things up, hold experiments, display work on the walls and leave things on the side as a display. Nice playgounds, fields, outdoor shelters? Paid time away from the classroom for planning? Run by people who know what they are doing?

The answer is probably yes to all of it.

The differences are stark and yet we are all supposed to be the same now under the EYFS. Delivering the same framework, inspected to the same standards, enabling children to achieve the same, providing the same service.

How can it be the same?

Yet it can be the same.

But only because we, the poor relations, are so committed, so hardworking, so caring, so loyal and so dedicated to the jobs we do. Its because we know how important it is, we know the difference we make, we know the value of the relationships we build and the worthiness of the sacrifices we make.

But it isn't right and it definately isn't fair.

And the government need to do something soon, they know this problem exists, OFSTED knows this problems exists, it's recurrent and happening all over the country.

Yet they do nothing.

And we just plod along and muddle through and do the very best we can.

Thank you all for reading this.

Emma x

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((((((((((xxxx))))))))))) Well said.

 

Personally I think it 's the govenments long term aim to get rid of settings like ours, to get all children into some form of 'all day care' which = more tax from working parents and more tax from full time working staff.

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Oh Emma you rant away if it makes you feel better.

 

I'm sure there aren't many people who would disagree with most of what you say - except perhaps to say that there are committees who are as committed as you are and who do a good job.

 

That said, I have no experience of working with a committee! :o

 

Although I am a private group, I do operate from a village hall with all that entails. Yes I would love my own premises but to be honest I'm not sure I could afford it. I would love to be able to pay my staff more (they are undoubtedly worth at least twice what I pay them), and would love to be able to invest in all the great resources I see in the catalogues that I know would widen the opportunities and experiences we offer our children.

 

I'm not sure how we can bring about change - but I do know we achieve fantastic results and outcomes for our children with very little means. I do often wonder why I do it all - especially when I'm up at three in the morning completing an assignment or laying awake at night planning my setting visit for EYPS. The cards we've received at the end of this term from parents telling us how grateful they are for all we do for their children remind me of the great job my team is doing, and that's why I strive so hard to increase my knowledge and improve our setting.

 

I'm not sure I agree with looby's suggestion that the Government wants rid of settings like ours: I think they view us as quality childcare on the cheap - if they were to close us all down it would be much, much more expensive for them to do what we do.

 

So the question is: how do we raise awareness of what we do with such little support from a Government who is relying so heavily on us to deliver their manifesto promises and policy initiatives?

 

Maz

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I totally agree and I'd like to know where the £819 million that Beverley Hughes promised to realse to early years is actually going to go!

 

Maybe that would answer the question - when is the government going to start taking early years seriously and empower us with the support and provision we need?

 

Lets pay these church halls a bit more to get a small outdoor area/large store/posters and items which are safely left out!

 

Lets pay the staff a little more than they would get if they were stacking shelves in the supermarket!

 

Lets value the workforce before we take it down a couple of pegs and make it feel undervalued!

 

Maybe if we feel strong enough we should consider making these points of view a worry for the government! It's just finding the time to lobby when you are trying to read the new EYFS (or maybe thats how they keep us quiet)! :o x

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I must admit that the income I am getting from the government e.g. pathfinder scheme, graduate leader and more recent grants for outside space/equipment is definately moving us in the right direction. (church hall pre-school) It means I am able to give staff a half decent pay rise in September and I am able to buy new storage units that we just push out each morning giving the children choice instead of setting up each area with one choice of construction, small world etc and also we have managed to get a small outside area. This was not available a couple of years ago and even though the amounts seem small they are making a huge amount of difference to us.

 

Totally agree about committees, I am sure and have seen good ones but my main experience has been negative and resulted in me taking it over privately. I think that as a private owner I have at least doubled the amount of work I put in but it's because it's mine and the staff put extra in because they feel valued. All the committee used to do was hold us back and complain about the amount of work!!!!!!!!!

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We were talking about some of this at work last week. We are lucky enough to have recently moved out of a church hall into a brilliant purpose built room with all new equipment and a great outdoor space (all funded by our local authority as part of the surestart inititative). We are still however an independant committee run preschool and at the agm last month the committee decided that we could not have a pay rise. They were concerned that as we are moving to 9-3 that we will be running at a loss in the afternoons until they are well established. We currently only have about 5 children booked in for each of the afternoon sessions.

While I can understand their point, it is really quite demoralising that I have 2 years experience and a level 3 qualification yet I am paid only minimum wage. My 20 year old son gets more for his part time bar job!!! The other staff members have much more experience than me but they only get about £1 an hour more. Even our childrens centre teacher is appalled at our wages and has offered to have a word with the chair of our committee.

I am quite lucky as my partner is the main earner and my wages are used for the little luxuries - although with prices rising as fast as they are, that may not be the case for much longer.

People who work in childcare are constantly being lectured about the importance of the job and the need for ongoing professional development but I wonder what the incentives are when wages are so dire? I love my job and get great satisfaction from seeing children progress - unfortunately the local supermarket wont accept this as payment when I do my shopping!!

 

Sally

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Oh couldn't agree more thats why I'm private.

I'm on a committee that is made up of setting managers and we have working parties looking into wages and premises so that when we go onto the flexible hours our funding will have to be paid differently from now as we are paid by the session.

The working group looking at the wages came up with the figure of £30 an hour for Managers !!!!!!!!!!! We have had such a laugh about it. Can you really see a Local Authority covering that sort of wage in the Grant money. It was a figure that was well worked out for the responsibility and type of work and hours that managers do.

Leaders were on £15/£20 per hour.

Can you imagine trying to squeeze that out of the £8.46 per session that we get.

Still we live with pipe dreams.

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we only charge £6 per session - so staff are on miniumum wage... to put the wages up we will need to put up session fees...As manager i only get £7.80 and thats at level 4 and currently doing the degree... i also don't get paid for paperwork done at home.. how many people would work for these wages... i agree with everything you have said... as for committee's they are a nightmare...they just don't understand what is involved in running the pre-school....the government really do need to look into this.... but i also agree that i have a feeling they are trying to do away with sessional pre-schools in church halls... and have more in schools and in children's centers...

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I must admit that the income I am getting from the government e.g. pathfinder scheme, graduate leader and more recent grants for outside space/equipment is definately moving us in the right direction. (church hall pre-school)

 

But those grants etc are only open to full daycare.. we cannot get any of them!

 

with EYPS in every setting and 1:13 ratios .. as planned...(only half the staff with same income! hey more wage available.. but at what cost...)

 

Nuff said...

 

Inge

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Hmm I'm glad I started this!! Keep your thoughts coming 'cause the more I think about it and the more I read about other people's experiences the more reassured I am that it's not just me. It knocks your confidence when you don't ever seem to get anywhere and things never seem to get any better. I can see how things should be I just don't know how to get there:)

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But those grants etc are only open to full daycare.. we cannot get any of them!

 

Are you sure you can't access them? I was under the impression that most were available to all providers........? Denise does actually say she is ' a church hall pre-school'.

 

Just a thought,

 

Sue

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I do think that maybe I am lucky at the moment as we are over subscribed and there seems to be a real need in the area I work for the hours we are open.

 

We are a pre-school but have opened extended hours to offer flexibility to parents that takes us to 4 hours, decided to register for full day care in case we wanted to further our opening times which we shall be doing in September to two full days (9.30 - 3.00).

 

The graduate leader scheme is open to those who are working towards or already have a graduate leader in place and the equipment/outdoor space grant also says that you need to either have a graduate or have a plan of how you plan to get one.

 

Even though I am an EYP I refuse the 1:13 ratio as any risk assessment in my setting would say it is ludicruous. I am supernumerary and will remain so as long as financially viable.

 

So I think what I was trying to say is that whereas 2 years ago we were committee run pre-school with mostly unqualified staff and struggling with numbers, we are now after much hard work a private pre-school with all staff either got or working towards a level 3 qualification and a waiting list that has meant we have opened more sessions. The extra funding we have received have allowed us to get on training courses, raise the standards of the pre-school, in turn this has led to us justifying raising our fees and accessing lots of extra funds to make this viable. So for us it has been a step in the right direction but I am sure it is not the case for everybody and I would still love to actually pay the staff MORE and actually pay myself for the hours I work not just the sessions.

 

My worry is what will happen when they stop the extra grants but fingers crossed for the next three years we will hopefully be ok.

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Nope sue .. we cannot get grants..even though we do have a graduate leader just starting EYPS...... even though we are open 6 hours a day and offer 2 sessions a day we are still not classed as full day and not eligible...we are still sessional!!! been like this for 6 years so far.. ineligable for lots and unable to change!!

 

One way EYFS works for us after several years we are able to go for full day care.. but this is still in the balance at mo.

 

Inge

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I am new on here and this is my first post

 

We are in a village hall and get out and put away equipment everyday, it would be great to have our own place and have looked into it but to no avail at the moment.

 

Committiees are a nightmare. You either have one that wants to be involved in everything or not at all. We would love to not have a committee but we would have to buy all the equipment from the PLA!!! and someone has to take on the responsibility

 

We were sessional care with 2 sessions a day for 2 days a week, then a couple of years ago we started a lunch club and had to become full day care to do it. Because of this we can excess funding for a member of staff who as started a degree course, this as been of benifit to the group and to her.

 

Its never easy but we keep going for the sake of the children who you see grow and develop and leave us ready for school

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Guest MaryEMac

I agree with everything that has been said. We are a committee run group ( great committee at the mo) but we share with an out of school club. So we can't leave displays out and can't really extend our hours. Don't get me wrong, we get on well with the out of school club and rub along quite nicely. Today tho, their leader told us that her adviser had told her that as we are a shared premises we should share our resources and equipment. Hang on a minute, we did a lot of fundraising to be able to buy that equipment, which is aimed at pre-school children and she wants us to let up to 11year olds access our stuff as and when they like. I should coco, I know the children that go to that club and they have no respect for any thing in that room.

Sorry Emma, didn't mean to hi-jack your post but you hit a nerve with your post and I had to get it off my chest. So many obstacles are put in our way aren't they?

 

Mary :o

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Something I have been wondering, as I understand it as of September sessional day care is no more, and we all become full day care and as such will we be able to access the funding mentioned?

 

Incidently we have just applied and received a variation order from Ofsted to increase our hours slightly which means that we are registered as full day care providers anyway.

 

With regard to committees, my 18 years experience with them has been largely good, made some great friends, the bad experiences are in the minority (thankfully, I would not want to repeat them). Our current committee are great but as has been said, every year we have to go through the steep learning curve with new members and it is a huge, sometimes overwhelming responsibility for parents, whilst being a hugely satsifying experience at the same time, and there must be a better way of managing our groups. Perhaps parents could still be involved by coming in to help at sessions and fundraising for extra luxury equipment because it's a great way to make lasting friendships and utilize their wealth of talent.

 

As for pay, we have to say 'we're worth it' to as many people who are listening. We have had a 3.8 per cent pay rise this year, but two years ago we had nothing.

 

Maz posted a something from the IPPR (sic) a while ago about low wages in early years - well worth reading on this very subject.

 

When we go on these training course, perhaps we should ask the providers who is going to pay for the extra work, maybe they can pass on the message to the powers that be if they hear it enough times.

 

 

Welcome Sue1973 by the way, congratulations on making your first post.

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Are you sure you can't access them? I was under the impression that most were available to all providers........? Denise does actually say she is ' a church hall pre-school'.

 

 

There is very little of either the transformation fund or Graduate Leader funding available to sessional preschools especially if they already have a graduate. My Lea advisor said eventually it would be available but there is nothing at present.

 

Al

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Hello everyone, I am going to have a rant.

I have just been reading posts about committees and packing away and low wages and the EYFS and village halls, its made me a bit mad- hence the rant.

Is it me or is it all wrong?

We have admitedly and proven by reasearch and experience, one of the most important jobs in a childs life- laying the foundations for life long learning and ensuring children feel secure and cared for and that they have equal opportunities and access to a rich learning environment and freedom for expression and choice and to have wonderful experiences that enrich their lives.

The government recognises this and wants to raise the standard of early years care and education and has proven this by creating a 10 year plan, producing the every child matters document, and the new EYFS and by providing the transformation fund to get everyone better trained and more qualified and by providing early years funding so all children can access it( and parents can go to work.)

And yet we are still being run by committees (who know nothing most of the time), we are still charities who have to raise money to buy resources. We are still running from delapidated, uninspiring village halls and the like, where we have to share facilities, we have to get a whole classroom out of a cupboard everyday and then put it away again a few hours later- which is soul destroying after a while.

The government wants us all to be outstanding and lets face it we would all love to be outstanding. I know I aspire to it- but realistically I am being let down constantly by the environment I am in and by the sheer amount of effort and time that goes into getting out and packing away (just think what we could do if we didnt have to do it? We may be able to prepare things for the day, we may be able to talk about what might happen and what has happened, we may be able to improve the level of service we give.) Just maybe!

The government and OFSTED demands reams of paperwork to prove everything we do, they want us to deliver a new framework- the EYFS, which is fantastic but who is going to pay me to do it all? To put all these systems in place, to ensure I am meeting all the requirements? I know the charity I work for can't really afford to pay me for all the hours I do, so I do essential work at home for free. Which is not right.

We are run by committees who are very difficult to come by and are a contstant headache, every year we have a new one who we have to explain everything to, walk them through their roles, then by the time they get the hang of it they're off and we have to start aver again with a new committee. And sometimes the committe is obstructive, interfering, not committed or not experienced enough. It's a ludicrous situation.

I don't know about anyone else but I know my wages are low, far far too low for the amount of work I do and the level of expertise and knowledge I hold and far too low for the responsibilities I have and for the importance of the job I do. I'm sure many of you feel the same.

Now think about the early years provision in your local primary school. Fully funded in all areas? Well paid teachers, well paid support staff, well paid secretaries, well paid everyone. Nice warm cosy environment that is exclusively theirs? They can set things up, hold experiments, display work on the walls and leave things on the side as a display. Nice playgounds, fields, outdoor shelters? Paid time away from the classroom for planning? Run by people who know what they are doing?

The answer is probably yes to all of it.

The differences are stark and yet we are all supposed to be the same now under the EYFS. Delivering the same framework, inspected to the same standards, enabling children to achieve the same, providing the same service.

How can it be the same?

Yet it can be the same.

But only because we, the poor relations, are so committed, so hardworking, so caring, so loyal and so dedicated to the jobs we do. Its because we know how important it is, we know the difference we make, we know the value of the relationships we build and the worthiness of the sacrifices we make.

But it isn't right and it definately isn't fair.

And the government need to do something soon, they know this problem exists, OFSTED knows this problems exists, it's recurrent and happening all over the country.

Yet they do nothing.

And we just plod along and muddle through and do the very best we can.

Thank you all for reading this.

Emma x

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good morning! just to give you a viewpoint from school - I have just spent two terms working in sheer luxury, in just the situation that you speak of. The building and resources were first rate, with a never ending supply of excellent resources, etc. However, starting in September I am in a very different setting. The huge noticeboards (hand painted black and yellow by a clearly drunk and blindfolded former teacher!) are literally hanging from the wall, and shelves are balanced precariously on brackets waiting to be knocked off. The walls are mouldy with flaking paint but (as I was told) at least I have new blinds at the windows! trust me - there are many different levels of "quality" childcare, including the situation that I am now in - where as the only teacher in the school with 30 years of nursery nursing before teaching qualifications and the only teacher in school with EYPS I am being placed in a year 6 class, because they are too difficult for anyone else to deal with. Very frustrating.

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with EYPS in every setting and 1:13 ratios .. as planned...(only half the staff with same income! hey more wage available.. but at what cost...)

At the moment there is only a plan to have an EYP in every full day care setting by 2015 - if you're sessional you won't need to have one. Mind you, the 1:13 ratio might be quite attractive for some groups! :o

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Hi All -all the comments on this are brilliant - being the worker of the most wonderful hall (not), and with my limited time in this line of work - it is the people who are with the kids that make the most difference, not the building or the resources - I have had more fun this year with masking tape and a cardboard box than any other resource available - the quality of staff in early years is brilliant in my setting and from all the posts on here you guys are brill too - so for all you hall user out there or those in not the greatest of environments - you are all doing a great !!!!!!!!! Dot :oxD

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Dot, I was thinking that myself about the endless fun and learning a child gets just with a cardboard box. xD

I have visited some CC's which have had £thousands spent on equipment/resources/furniture but unfortunately no room to swing the proverbial cat, and so many 'labels' in it's language rich environment that you couldn't see the equipment for the 'chair', 'table', 'wall', etc signs :(:(

 

Many moons ago I worked in a committee run setting and I likened it to the local corner shop changing ownership every year, how could each successive owner build on the previous owners work? How could any long term aims be known, let alone achieved? Constant change in management, however hard each individual committee member works, can only result in short term successes. So compared to a sustained management structure that builds on achievements, learns from past mistakes, and progresses at an uninterrupted pace for the long term it will never really enable the quality provision that our children deserve. Don't get me wrong, it is the situation that is limiting NOT the people who work tirelessly on committees or those supporting committee members.

 

The main reason I closed my preschool was because after 20+ years experience I could not compromise my principles of what I believe to be the best for our children and follow a system that is gradually institutionalising our young. ( a compulsory curriculum for under 5's). I became less tolerant of all the many chiefs (advisors) and the lack of local and central government regard for the indians (my workforce). I felt patronized by people telling me (and my experienced staff) how I should teach children to learn and develop. I began to feel undermined after continuously attending workshops/training which consisted of powerpoint presentation read out to me ( most information I'd read all on my own at home) and no real answers to my questions, given half a chance to ask them. (or maybe it was just that I didn't like the answers). Long gone, it seemed, were the 'practical' workshops I enjoyed and were so inspired by when I first trained in early years.

I felt suffocated and stifled, spending my time justifying my every breath, not just to Ofsted but to advisory teachers, SENCO's, equal opps officers, grant administrators, et al. Nothing ever seemed good enough for my jury and executioners, I felt like the early years catch phrase is 'could do better', or 'satisfactory' (with a sneer).

When observed by these 'advisors / Inspectors, it felt that although the children were participating in something very worthwhile this also meant that whilst they were doing that, then this duly meant they were not doing something else, therefore I could never offer (in their eyes) all of the 'goods' all of the time. I'll explain, a child engaged in a fascinating cookery experience, focusing on the textures and smells and the advisor would 'judge' that I hadn't exploited the mathematical potential of the activity. :o . So, yet another day feeling undermined.

 

Finishing my soapbox on a more positive note, beyond all the complaints and despair I feel that there is hope for all our young children because of the dedication, principles, and quest for knowledge from all the educators of this forum (and those who haven't found the forum yet). You will all carry on what I have chosen to leave, and you will all succeed because of your hard work, dedication and thirst for more knowledge. And I hope that when you feel dissalusioned (spl) with it all you will look at just one child, one of many, who is in your setting, or leaving for 'big school' and see that all you have done is worthwhile.

 

Quotes:

"Housework is a breeze, cooking is a pleasant diversion. Putting up a retaining wall is a lark. But teaching is like climbing a mountain" Fawn M. Brodie

 

"The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher." Elbert Hubbard

 

"Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart" Howard G Hendricks

 

"What the pupils want to learn is as important as what the teachers want to teach" Lois. E Lebar.

 

(My favourite)

"Reading and writing, arithmatic, and grammer do not consitute education, any more than a knife and fork, and spoon constitute a dinner" John Lubbock

 

 

Peggy

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WEll said everyone, Peggy after 14+ years in this business I am starting to feel as you did. As for training dont get me started on that! I was on a I-CAN curse the other week (communication & lnaguage) and most of it I have heard before and some of it I found the notes from a course I had done 8 years ago and it was all exactly the same, and yes it was all delivered via a powerpoint presentation.

 

As for the grants, I think perhaps different LA's are delivering/awarding them in different ways. Where I am we cannot apply for the graduate fund as we are not open for 4 or more hours. We are however able to apply for an outdoor/ equipment grant (including buying/revamping land) from September. This is open to all settingsm in our borough.

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I'm just wondering if its entirely a coincidence that the word 'rant' makes up most of 'grant'?

 

 

:oxD You never cease to amaze me with your wit and wisdom, I think only you Maz could make that observation. well done, made me laugh. :(

 

Peggy

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Wow what a topic! We are at present trying to persuade our village hall to let us extend on their small hall(they have a large one too) We have the funds as someone generously left us a fair sum 4 years ago. We originally wanted to move to the local primary school got planning permission etc and tried to gain a small grant to complete the move and were turned down numerous times by numerous organisations. Mainly due to not having the the local Parish council support! (traffic issues)

 

The Village Hall trustees however are not happy about us having an extension and 'you Pre-school people' as they call us (charming) just want every thing. Why can't you just carry on as you are. Always wanting things...... its horrendous. all we want is to be able to have something to call our own to out up the children's pictures to display their work. Oh and not to have to fit all our resources into one dangerous cupboard. We have had no support from the local authority with respect to grants or advise. Its a nightmare, beginning to wish we were not left any money!

 

I must say though we have a fantastic supportive committee, was sad to hear that lots of you haven't. You always get some that are more committed than others but on the whole ours do a fab job.

 

Lisax

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As for training dont get me started on that! I was on a I-CAN curse the other week

 

Forgive me Lynne but could you tell me where I can get on this course, cos I think I'd be quite good at it! :o In fact after today, probably an expert!

 

Seriously though part 1 of a recent two part observation and assessment course was the same as one part of a previous course attended some 4 years ago. And Peggy I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it exceedingly annoying for the provider to simply read from their notes, in such a uninspiring way - I can do that myself. Usually we've had to dash to the course, straight from work and expected to stay awake in a warm stuffy room - often in our own time.

 

Having spent much of last week catching up on admin, we went into the setting today to try to decide how we are going to implement the EYFS, working from 8.45 till 4.00 then come home to spend hours dealing with some of the things that have cropped up, and writing a list of the things we still need to do and defintely in my own time. I must be barking mad!! Feeling totally stupid for doing it.

 

Already I have had to look at the 'thank you letters' pinned on my workstation just for moments like this when I need to be reminded why on earth I am doing this.

 

One little girl, drew a picture for each member of staff at the end of term and Mum scribed her thoughts for each note..I can just hear her saying 'I think you like talking to my Mummy. I like you, you're my teacher and - you're my best person.'

 

It helps to know that you've made a difference to someone!

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