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Help - I'm Getting A Petition To Exclude A Child.


tess
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Help - i have a planned commitee meeting tomorrow morning and I have been given a tip off - that several parents are going to come in and hand in a petition that we must exclude a little boy .

 

To say I'm livid is an understatement - the lad is a very lively three year old, who to be fair has some behavioural issues. When he's in we give him a member of staff, have plan in place - but one parent has decided her little girl is scared of him ( he screaches and unfortunatley has bitten this week- not her!) and he can't stay.

 

But I have just spent the last 2 days with his mum and she is fantastic, she admits she lost and struggling - has taken away advice, booked appointments and we have got her on a parenting course to start in feb. Really is great when there are so many that deny there is a problem.

 

We have spoken to several parents today that have approached us - they have wanted full details of his problem, what I was talking to his mum about, a copy of his behavioural plan! - Very nicely they have been declined and reminded about confidentiality.

 

Any ideas, has anyone else had a petition to kick out a 3 year old?

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Any ideas, has anyone else had a petition to kick out a 3 year old?

No, I can't say that I have. My first point of call would be my Local Authority to provide the back up I'd need to handle this effectively. Clearly you have a duty to meet this child's individual needs, and I wonder how these parents would react if you wanted to exclude their child because they had a medical need or were in nappies?

 

In your opinion, is the group managing this child's behaviour effectively and does he pose a real threat to himself or the other children? In any case your committee will probably have to make the decision about whether to exclude or not - but they should be aware of the real possibility that they might find themselves on the wrong end of a discrimination claim under the Disability Discrimination Act...

 

Sorry I can't be more helpful - I hope you get the expert advice and support you need.

 

Maz

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Hi this is dreadful, poor little boy and his mum must feel dreadful. Maz has given great advice - the needs of this child are so important and you obviously have planned support in place. Your early years advisor will help you with this and they may well be able to get some funding so the child can have some 1-1 for a short period of time. No parent has the right to create a petition - just like living in the dark ages...................... let us know how you get on tomorrow. Dot :o

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This is such a difficult one, many different peoples values and beliefs regarding behaviour, the causes, the management and to agree the appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviours.

I'm guessing the setting doesn't have an exclusion policy in place. (We had one, our policy was that we didn't exclude at this age, but that's a big explanation to how we got to that consensus of agreement).

 

As time is short, it doesn't really give the committee members, staff, or any other 'decision' makers to come up with an agreed course of action. I would suggest that you ask that the committee acknowledge to the 'instigater' the handing in of the petition and inform this person that the matter will be thoroughly investigated with consideration to legal requirements, assessment of the risks to children under your health and safety risk assessments policy, the rights of the child (possibly under the disabilities Act and or united nations conventions of childrens' rights which you are legally required to follow) etc. This will give you all the time to

1/ compile an exclusion policy if you haven't got one ( including all stakeholders opinions) or review excisting exclusion policy in reference to this particular individual childs needs.

 

2/ Carry out a fair investigation based on factual (objective) evidence and therefore not base decisions on subjective information.

 

Possibly also discuss how staff will support the child who is 'scared' of this boy, how best to manage the parents reaction to this situation. ( I personally feel (a subjective comment here) that the parent compiling the petition is using 'a petition' in a bullying manner. Maybe the committee may want to ask her to follow the complaints and grievances procedure in this matter.

 

I would also suggest that if this child is funded then the committee should get advice on what the LEA's policy is regarding exclusion, as this may have to be followed as a requirement of receiving educational funding.

 

So, I don't think any decisions can be made at tomorrows meeting, acknowledge receipt of the petition, give a timescale for when you will respond and offer the parent (handing in the petition) support in helping her daughter to gain the confidence and strategies relevant to her age, that she requires when experiencing challenging social situations. (of which every child, at this age, experiences)

 

Hope this helps. Please feel free if you want to to print off my response and take along to your meeting.

 

Peggy

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Thanks - we really are putting every step in place to meet his behaviour. I think the other parents have noticed him more because since Jan he is in five days a week.

 

And in fairness his behaviour has become more interesting - but we have learnt how to manage this, he's having a bad week(late nights etc ). But parents have now opened up and I now have the whole picture and we are addressing home and pre-school working together and even got the new dad on board today!

 

I totally agree Peggy and the petition is treated as a written complaint, I'm currently going through our policies.

 

I also agree that it is bullying - the little boys parent is scared, she is young and pregnent and has been approached already by a parent and so we have arranged for her to collect him early and to come straight back if approached. It's really sad.

 

We have been trying to support the ittle girl who is scared, we are convinced deeper issues going on-key person with her lots, at lunch but Mum will not open up, panic attacks at snack table and this was not recently

 

Really upset as don't want to give up on this lad, but can I guarantee he won't bite another, no. But then again we can't guarantee that with any child.

 

todays society is soo sad.

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Following on from Peggy's great advice, I agree that you could treat the petition as a complaint and use the complaints procedure as the format for resolving this issue.

 

I'm getting angrier the more I think about this. I think you probably need to have a good long think about how you'll handle this at the meeting tomorrow. I certainly wouldn't get drawn into a public discussion about the issues raised: as Peggy says it is enough to acknowledge receipt and say it will be dealt with.

 

More importantly (and more delicately) you'll need to think very carefully about what you're going to say to mum about all this. How horrid for her to have to deal with this as well as what she's already going through.

 

The world can be a very harsh place. :o

 

Maz

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Just to say I will be thinking of you tomorrow and hope that you can all find a way through this delicate situation.

We had a situation where a child in Reception was excluded for a week but this decision was made as a result of his behaviour not as a result of pressure from parents!!! Sometimes I think parents need a gentle reminder of who is in charge here and why rather than them thinking they can stamp their feet and we all jump!!! If it was a child doing this we all know how we would react.

 

Take care, try and get some sleep tonight and will be thinking of you tomorrow. Let us know how you get on

 

Nicky Sussex :oxD

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Hi All - just read the replies on this - feel so cross about this - poor little boy and his mum - on a wider note it would be great if all of society could give a little bit more care to those around us rather than condeming - wouldn't it of been great if the parents creating the petition could of asked the little boy's mum round for a coffee to offer her support ..................... For mum to have to come in early to pick up the child to avoid other parents seems to me that she is the victim here - here ends the rant, feel like I need to apply to "grumpy old women" have an opinion on everything this week........................ :o

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Just possibly one further suggestion to accompany the good advice above Tess. You may feel angry and defensive of the child and his mother, but try to put those feelings to one side while you're talking to any parents who may bring this petition or complaint to you tomorrow. The cooler and more rational you can be, the more effective you can be. You can acknowledge the problems, and re-assure the parents that you're talking to the parent and have been taking steps to avoid problems recurring. But if you begin to ask them how they'd feel etc., you'll lose the high ground and it will end up as a scrap.

 

It's difficult I know, when you can see the unfairness of their vigilante style approach, but keeping your cool is probably the most important thing you can do - which I'm sure you're already aware of! :o

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Have you tried arranging a meeting with the parents who have put the petition together... we had something similiar a couple of years ago... a group of parents didn't want a certain child in the pre-school because of his behaviour, one little girl was so scared of him she would wet herself.... i took the parents i knew were behind the petition to one side and had a meeting with them, i got them to explain why they had put the petition together, i explained about the child's problems and how we were dealing with them, i employed a member of staff to stay with the behaviour child and we discussed strategies to help the child who was wetting herself..... i asked them to think about how they would feel if it was their child..... after this meeting the parents all agreed that the child should stay.... a couple of years later the child who was wetting herself and the behaviour child sit next to each other at snack......

 

Good luck just remain calm and try and see things from all angles, these parents are only trying to protect their children you just need to try and get them on your side and see things from another point of view..... good luck

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I have been in almost the same situation - and I still feel so angry about it. Does no one have any tolerance towards others who have different temperaments / dispositions or specific difficulties!

 

I never a petition as such but a group of parents stormed in on us after a session ended - threatening to take their children out unless a child was excluded. Child sounds very similar. I told them that we did our utmost to support every child and would do the same for their children if they also had difficulties - said we were not allowed to exclude children and wouldnt want to etc etc. They also wanted to know exactly what we were doing about the child...and I would not tell them and again said i would not pass on details about their children either!

 

Committee didnt support staff - they called a meeting and wanted all the parents there and I knew they were aiming to exclude so I called in our foundation stage advisor who had a word with the chair and told her she could not have an open meeting about a child and could not exclude - I'd already told them that of course but who listens to some one with 10 years experience!!

 

FSA also decided to speak with the 'gang' so they could hear from a proffessional that what I had said was right....and that we had been following her advice and our policies to the letter.

It also meant that we got more support more quickly from the advisors end...funding for extra one to one worker etc.

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Good luck at the meeting. I definitely agree to keep cool and simply acknowledge receipt of the petition/complaint and as peggy said, state it will be considered in light of legislation, etc. I must say we are lucky to have very supportive parents at our setting who are happy to discuss concerns but understand we cannot breach confidentiality and recognize that sometimes their own child can be over sensitive to or exacerbate the behaviour (not that this is always the case I know). Keep us updated.

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Just wanted to wish you all the best for tommorrow. What a challenging situation for you!! I don't think I can offer any further advice. I feel very angry with these parents but as steve says I would try to put that to one side. What the parents need is reasurance that their children are looked after and kept safe - perhaps you could give them copies of your behaviour management policy and your equal opportunities policy?

hope it goes well for you :o

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I was asked to sign an exclusion policy as a parent several years ago and needless to say refused. The petition was organised by one very determined and persuasive mum, some of the other mum's signed to get her of their backs. I was a regular parent helper and told them I had never seen anything that would warrant an exclusion; my own daughter adored this child, who as it turned out was on the Autistic Spectrum. He had one-to-one support and his only 'crime' was to give enthusiatic hugs, so I told the other mums if they volunteered to help they could see this for themselves. The petition wasn't handed in as some of the mums removed their names or refused to sign.

Good luck tomorrow.

Karrie

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FSA also decided to speak with the 'gang' so they could hear from a proffessional that what I had said was right....and that we had been following her advice and our policies to the letter.

 

This comment so underlines the fact that parents don't recognise 'Preschool staff' as professionals. And just an afterthought, is the workforce so undermined by constant 'other professionals' input and advice, that we don't even recognise our own profession status.?

So, a morning mantra for everyone " I am a professional, and I'm worth this recognition" (repeat three times, every morning) then whenever Ofsted, advisors, Area Senco's, QA Officers, etc etc etc enter your settings you will remember you are speaking to them AS AN EQUAL. xD

 

Sorry, off on a bit of a tangent here, but underlying this thread is the need to have te strength of mind to 'handle' bullyish behaviour. Often when I travelled to work in my car, as I approached my preschool, I would play, full blast, Bobby Browns' hit 'My Perogative' It set me in the right frame of mind to deal with staff, parents and everyday managerial tasks. (Shame I forgot to play it on one particular Ofsted day, but that's a different story) :o

 

My Perogative U Tube (get past the initial chat). The context is not about work but the assertive tone of the track and some of the liyrics helped me feel that I had the strength to deal with anyone who questioned my work ethics and my decisions based on these ethics.

 

 

Peggy

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Love the example, Peggy!

 

Terrific advice here - I've come in late, but I hope all went well. Please let us know :o

 

I had this years ago when I ran a playgroup - even a member of staff was agitating for exclusion - but we stood firm and in the end it was sorted. He was just an enthusiastic small child, and people so often lose sight of the fact that at 3 they are little more than babies.

 

Sad.

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Guest MaryEMac

Have only just caught this thread and I was horrified when I read it. I cannot offer any advice but I will be thinking about you and hope that everytrhing goes well today.

 

Mary

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Hi I had Ofsted here yesterday for our inspection got a GOOD yippee. I am in the same situation and the inspector advised that I wrote to Ofsted to explain the situation so far, just in case the parent puts in a complaint. with how I am dealing with the problem My case is slightly different as it is with after school facility, the inspector was here for preschool and after school inspection. Good Luch I sent my letter to Ofsted today XX

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Being devils advocate here but what about the feelings of the parents who have gone to the trouble of the petition. They must feel desperate to go to these lengths. Have they contacted you verbally to complain? Has it really just come out of the blue?

 

Thinking back to when my little girl was having a terrible time at school due to another little girl. I went through all the normal procedures and nothing was done. I had to write to the chair of governors of the school to get any action. All was resolved amicably.

 

Just a thought?

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Thinking back to when my little girl was having a terrible time at school due to another little girl. I went through all the normal procedures and nothing was done. I had to write to the chair of governors of the school to get any action. All was resolved amicably.

This is a valid point, greenteaaddict - every child's needs must be met. However the focus must be on enabling (and trusting) the staff team to manage the situation, and obtaining the right support to enable all the children to make good progress and have a happy time at nursery. If parents feel that staff are not managing children's behaviour in pre-school then they have a right to make a complaint about this and have their complaint investigated. However they can never have the right to insist on a child being excluded - just because a few people can recruit others to their cause doesn't make it a just cause.

 

I hope I never have to face something like this - truly awful.

 

Maz

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FSA also decided to speak with the 'gang' so they could hear from a proffessional that what I had said was right....and that we had been following her advice and our policies to the letter.

 

This comment so underlines the fact that parents don't recognise 'Preschool staff' as professionals. And just an afterthought, is the workforce so undermined by constant 'other professionals' input and advice, that we don't even recognise our own profession status.?

So, a morning mantra for everyone " I am a professional, and I'm worth this recognition" (repeat three times, every morning) then whenever Ofsted, advisors, Area Senco's, QA Officers, etc etc etc enter your settings you will remember you are speaking to them AS AN EQUAL. :o

 

I agree Peggy....parents do question us more than they might if we were 'proper' xD 'teachers / educators and often seem to take our advice with a pinch of salt.

 

Though to be fair the FSA in this scenario was not saying they were 'better' than us - I did regard myself as a proffessional and still do but probably not 'equal'. ...we don't have the support (financial, governmental or whatever) that others do.

Its like speaking to a brick wall sometimes - it was only that the parents were not happy with my explanations that forced the FSA to speak to them as an outsider and they were more likely to listen then - emergency measures really.... I was getting nowhere!!

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This is a valid point, greenteaaddict - every child's needs must be met. However the focus must be on enabling (and trusting) the staff team to manage the situation, and obtaining the right support to enable all the children to make good progress and have a happy time at nursery. If parents feel that staff are not managing children's behaviour in pre-school then they have a right to make a complaint about this and have their complaint investigated. However they can never have the right to insist on a child being excluded - just because a few people can recruit others to their cause doesn't make it a just cause.

 

I hope I never have to face something like this - truly awful.

 

Maz

 

Yes I agree but the point I am making I suppose is that there are two sides to every story and we only know one side. I find it strange that this petition has arisen without any prior complaints being made. It sounds more like desperation from the parent involved. No one will listen so I will lodge a petition.

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No one will listen so I will lodge a petition.

 

While I agree to a certain extent some years ago I was on the receiving end of a petition to remove a child. The school had worked very closely with all parents, but one parent was adamant that in his words "she wasn't fit to be with normal children" :o . The child had SEN and could be extremely fidgety and had no awareness of space (sometimes she would swing her legs and accidentally kick the child opposite at the dinner table, the chairs were too high and sometimes the dinner staff forgot to put her on the end, other times she would stand on people on the carpet trying to sit in a space that was too small) but one parent blew the situation out of all proportion and bullied the others into signing a petition simply because he wasn't getting his own way over the issue.

Edited by Marion
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