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Chairs Child Hasn't Got A Place......


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Sort of venting but also wanted to make sure I am doing the right thing and ask your advice!

 

The situation is that we hand out registration forms to families in the area with children under 2 years, they fill them out (stating which days they want a place for their child) and pay a deposit, I then give them a receipt stating which days their child has a place on. All the forms were given to families in the area in January, but families already using the Pre-school had them 2 week earlier.

 

The chairlady has never returned the forms for her daughter who will be 2 soon, but 5 other families have (along with a deposit) and we are now full for 2 year olds. She is very unhappy!! :( We can fit her in for 1 morning but she would lose the place for 4 weeks in january then can have it back again (due to children turning 3 years)

 

She has phoned OFSTED to see if there is anything we can do - basically no we can't fit another child in! she now wants to look at opening an extra session, doing a volunteer parent scheme or restricting 2 year olds to 2 sessions a week so we can fit everyone @9ie her daughter xD ) in.

 

My view is that she hasn't returned the form - her fault not mine!! I will do what I can to fit her daughter in but I do not feel I can say to other families who reserved places "sorry you can only come 2 days now!" As for opening another session, I have always said I can not (due to own child care) work more sessions, but I will be on maternity leave for 1 year from September so she is thinking that whoever takes over would be able to run sessions everyday - fine by me but when I come back in Sept 2010 I will only work my current hours!! So that leave parent volunteers - we have never done this before I am worried that it wont work - does anyone else rely on parents? if so does it work? do you get let down a lot? and if so what do you do?? :o

 

Sorry this is lond winded but could do with other "professional" opinions!!

 

Many thanks

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My opinion is the same as yours - if she couln't be bothered to get her form in, tough! She was ideally placed to see how full you were getting, had the same opportunities - if not more - to get them in and obviously thought that the rules didn't apply to her!

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Yep, totally agree your chair person has made the error by not returning the paperwork and deposit. Is one way around it for her to take you up on the first available sessions you mention, then, when they are temporarily unavailable could she stay with her child at the sessions until a place comes free again? Does that make sense? Yes, it would push you over the statutory number but that may be ok with the parent being responsible for them.... check with Ofsted tho.... We have done this in the past.....

Also, we had triplets wanting to join but only had 2 places so Ofsted agreed we could exceed our registered number for a set period just to accommodate them. Had it in writing.

Hope this helps.

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I'm a chair and if I hadn't got my forms in I certainly wouldn't expect to get a place.

Definitely not your problem!

Sue.

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if the chair persons child attends the one day and a chair is willing to stay a second in theory when other children are off sick or on holiday the chairperson can leave her child and go home because you wont be over your numbers do you get what I mean

 

how oftern are you sessions 100% attendance? I tend to find there's almost always a child off sick or on holiday

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:o Mm, would she be so cross if it wasn't her child unable to get a place? I think not!

 

Totally agree with the others, if she couldn't get her forms in on time - tough!

 

Her role as Chair gave her an advantage in that she knew when the forms went out and the numbers of applications being received. Isn't it also part of the Chair's role to support the staff - not try to foist changes on them to suit herself.

 

I'm cross and I'm not even in your type of setting xD

 

Nona

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we would have done same as you,

 

parent volunteers would have to be regular and committed to be counted in ratio, not just come in one day occasionally, they are Ok as an extra hand but not in ratios..and we often found then inconsistant.. say tehy would be there but on the day either not turn up, or find a reason not to stay. Thye also have to be supoervised at all times with the children, unless you are going to get full CRBs and we would also ask for references for them all.

 

You could show willing and do as suggested, we have in the past, offer a place on a add hoc basis, we used to fill places of childrne who were known not be be attending though holiday or illness and 'sell on' the place, then the original parent had fees reduced for time off. Also have had one who used to telephone at 15 mins after start of session and would bring child in if we had spaces for a 2 hour session... not ideal but did show we were flexible if nothing else. All depends on the child though hwo may not settle without a routine.

 

good luck

 

Inge

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I dont think volunteers can be counted in ratio anyhow :o You could tell her that restricting 2 year olds to 2 sessions so that you cold take more numbers of 2 yr olds is something you could implement in the future if the committe wish (after vote) but it is too short notice now.

Andrea

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good point there...

any changes would have to go to committee and be voted on.... and major changes possibly to an AGM.. We went to AGM when we wanted to change session times, add sessions etc. as it affects all the parents not just one.

 

We also had to do a questionaiire to find out if parents wanted it first, to justify any changes and show it was parents wishes.

 

Inge

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I was trying to work out why I found this so amusing!

 

Yes I've got it ......... I am 'sick to death' of parents not completing and returning essential paperwork!!!

 

Do they imagine we produce this stuff for the sake of our health?!

 

I have had a parent this week asking me to not send a 'daily contact' book home with her child because and I quote "I can't handle it, I find it too difficult to remember to bring it back in and I never find the time to add anything anyway"!!! (Should point out here that she is not a working mum - and she often wants to have long and irrelevant conversations 'at the door')!

 

There I feel better for that!

 

Sunnyday

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I dont think volunteers can be counted in ratio anyhow :o You could tell her that restricting 2 year olds to 2 sessions so that you cold take more numbers of 2 yr olds is something you could implement in the future if the committe wish (after vote) but it is too short notice now.

Andrea

 

volunteers can be counted as staff alot of settings keep costs down using volunteers to keep the adult ratios up

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I've had similar sunnyday. Mine complained she had enough to do with her other children, older and younger to bother with middle one!

 

To original post though I too agree. If committee members can't stick to the rules who can we expect to stick to them!

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Sadly committee members can be the worst many are there for their own benefit and gains -I had the chair's daughter turn up on Monday (not her day), "because you are doing something nice it is not fair for her to miss out is it"!

 

"Yes it is fair - beacuse you don't come any other Monday and we are doing different bits all week. Don't worry I'll take an extra one- I've only workedout rotas, ratios and group - No problem".

 

Love Them :o

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Thank you for your replies.

 

We are now holding a meeting next week and I have said I will try to come up with a few ideas which may help to fit in all the children who would like a place! - going to be difficult but basically the options are volunteers or extra days!

 

The chair has just had the cheek to say "the situation is not all your fault I told you to send the forms out" xD so my reply "oh don't worry, I know non of this is my fault, or the mums who sent their forms back!" :o

 

Urm... i suppose this is the problem with parent committees! - sounds like a few of you have had problems too!

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I would definitely ensure this item is on the next committee agenda if possible. Make sure everyone is clear that the Chair didn't return her paperwork and take the next step as a committee - that is, what the next step is.... absolves you of any responsibility....

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it is difficult

 

but i agree you have your policy ? yes

therefore you have not been in the wrong here

stick with what you beleive is right

 

parnets and paper ?????????????????????????????? couldnt agree more sunnyday

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As far as your personal situation is concerned darlinbud, it is clear that when you come back from maternity leave you can only be expected to return to your existing terms and conditions - the setting might offer you extra hours but you are not obliged to accept those terms. It may be that the person who takes on your maternity leave cover might be interested in continuing to do the extra hours your Chair wants, but that would be a matter for the committee to decide, and to negotiate with her. If it were me I would make it very clear in writing that when you return to work after the end of your maternity leave that you would only be able to work for your contracted hours.

 

As for the Chair, she sounds a lot like me - I have a huge pile of paperwork to be dealt with but one which never seems to get any smaller. Most times this isn't a problem but sometimes it does turn around and bite you - and your Chair has found out to her cost that some bits of paper are more important than others. I'll bet she is also as embarrassed as hell - I can only imagine that she is cross with herself too and that may be coming out in the way she has chosen to tackle the problem. So the situation will need careful handling to prevent it becoming personal!

 

You've got some great advice here: from asking Ofsted about temporarily increasing your numbers (but would you do this for any other parent, I wonder?), to the Chair accepting a place for her child on the basis that she can take up places left by children who are sick or absent.

 

It will be interesting to see what the Committee decides to do - but you need to re-iterate that your systems are fit for purpose, that you followed procedure and that the only way this situation could have been avoided would have been for the paperwork to have been returned on time.

 

Good luck - let us know how things go!

 

Maz

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That's a considered and well-balanced reply Maz - makes mine look extremely bad-tempered.

 

Do you never get cross/frustrated by parent's inability to return important paperwork?! If this is the case I may well start referring to you as St.Maz!!!

 

Sunnyday

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Do you never get cross/frustrated by parent's inability to return important paperwork?! If this is the case I may well start referring to you as St.Maz!!!

Actually I rarely get frustrated by parents - although they probably are frustrated by my laid back attitude sometimes. xD I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable but this is one of my particular soapbox issues. I think it is easy to forget how difficult being a parent can be - I am the first to say that if there is a list somewhere of delinquent parents then I'm probably on top of it. I'm the one who always forgets to send back letters, whose children don't have PE kit when they need it or who turn up in uniform for a mufti day. I don't set out to be completely useless, but somehow there are always so many other things to do...

 

So when I hear people moaning about how parents can't be bothered or aren't interested I recognise that my children's teachers will probably have spoken about me in similar terms and I know how it feels to be judged in this way. I might not be a particularly good parent in their eyes but I have done the best I could with what I had at the time. We're all a product of our own upbringing and I try always to give people the benefit of the doubt. In the absence of knowledge which helps me understand why they do things the way they do, I try to focus on how I can organise things so that the problem doesn't arise in future.

 

So if I know a parent is likely to lose a piece of paper I don't actually let them take it home - I get them to fill it in on the spot. I minimise the amount of information needed to go into a form by using mailmerge to insert the information I already have so that it is easier to complete. Generally I try to keep the amount of forms to be filled in to a bare minimum - just as I have trained myself to ask Why Am I Talking? I also ask if I really need this piece of paper signed and returned. But that's also to reduce my workload too. :o

 

But I'm no Saint, sunnyday. When people need a rant about something a parent has done or said, I am usually the first to say "yes but don't forget ..." and I know it is extremely irritating for people who just want to vent their spleen and get it off their chest! And if you were the lady I gave a tongue lashing to yesterday at the Exhibition you would know that I am prone to extreme bad-temper myself! :(

 

I also moderate what I say on here because I always ask myself what a parent might feel if they stumbled across my posts - my identity here is as much a part of my professional life as is how I conduct myself at work.

 

Maz

 

PS Sorry - seem to have hijacked darlinbud's thread. :(

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Thanks Maz - that is a great attitude to have and I know that I certainly wouldn't have won any 'Outstanding Parent' award!!!

 

I think I may be producing a little too much paperwork and will look at this carefully - I am desperately trying to evidence 'Parents as Partners' - it's difficult to get it right - or is that just me?

 

Apologies to darlinbud - but hopefully you will have found our ramblings entertaining!!!

 

Sunnyday

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I think I may be producing a little too much paperwork and will look at this carefully - I am desperately trying to evidence 'Parents as Partners' - it's difficult to get it right - or is that just me?

No, I think you're right - I think the whole 'parents as partners' thing is difficult to get right, let alone evidence. In theory voluntary/committee groups should find this easier than us private groups but that isn't always necessarily so.

 

I'm trying to work on the individual level to see how I can work with each parent rather than seeing them as a 'body'. So whilst we've just introduced home/school books for all children (we've been trialling them for a limited number of children up until now), how each family uses them is individual. So I have one family who never take their book home but read it everyday and I have another who writes an essay each week to tell us what the child has been doing. Each is fine with me: it has to work for them otherwise they won't use them at all.

 

I think for me its about having a variety of measures and methods in place so that you can 'hit' as many targets as possible - so that parents can become involved on their own terms and in ways that are meaningful for them!

 

Now if only one of them would write my SEF for me - that would be true parent partnership, I'd say! :o

 

Maz

 

PS - sorry darlinbud. In the words of Britney Spears "oops! I did it again!" xD

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Thank you Maz - I am reassured that I am not the only one struggling/trying hard to 'get things right'.

 

Please don't use 'dirty words' i.e. SEF in your posts!!!!!

 

The mum in question has 'rattled my cage' this week - she is in fact one of my favourite mums! But this week she has consistently 'arrived' and 'picked up' late, has told me she can't cope with 'daily contact book', took her child's 'Learning Journey' folder home on Monday - I reminded her on Friday that I would like it back - she said "oh, yes it's in the car" - clearly that is where it had been all week!!! (Still haven't got it back - sigh)!

 

Do you think I should change my user name from Sunnyday to Grumpyhead!!!

 

Sorry darlinbud - but sort of relevant - maybe!

 

(I am intrigued by your user name - is it connected to your location? - if so we are fairly close neighbours!)

 

Sunnyday

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Sorry darlinbud - but sort of relevant - maybe!

 

(I am intrigued by your user name - is it connected to your location? - if so we are fairly close neighbours!)

 

Sunnyday

 

No need to say sorry - it's all relevent really! and Maz's responce did make me think - Am I being harsh?, although actually don't think I am but did make me think!! :o and I really dont want to upset or ruffle feathers so to speak so will bear her words in mind when talking to this mum!

 

My username is a bit of a soppy one! (BLUSH!!) my hubby is a londoner and I've always called him "darlin" in a cockney accent and he has always called me "bud" (i have no idea why?) so that has stuck as a username I seem to use on everything!! Do you live near somewhere called Darlinbud?? if so what a cute name! xD:( We live in Derbyshire.

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Maz, you've inspired me! From now on I won't give bits of paper to the Mum I know loses them, just ask her to complete & sign it while she's here. If I then file it IMMEDIATELY in the appropriate place it'll save me hours chasing it up or trying to find it :o

 

Years ago I attended a Franklin time management training course and the (only!) thing that stuck in my mind was "DO IT NOW!"

 

If you can answer, sign or deal with something as soon as you have read it, then do so. Apparently if you don't and put it to one side to deal with later you end up reading it, on average, 3 times before you action it.

 

When my daughter was at primary school the staff laughed when I signed trip forms etc on the playground as soon as they were handed to me. Now she's at high school and it takes days before she even remembvers to give letters to me and I'm the parent who's forgotten to return the slip to say I received her school report xD

 

I'm definitely re-joining the "do it now!" club

 

Nona

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Interesting, informative and thought provoking reading as usual. :o:(

 

Have you come up with any more ideas for next weeks meeting yet darlinbud?

 

I'm thinking if numbers are so high, and demand is in effect not being met, maybe this is a good time for the committee to look into extending hours if possible and whether to do this just for the 'busy' summer term, and/or see if the extra hours will still be sustainable/ required come September term. The employment issues if hours are extended are the committees concern, as is their obligation to make available your current contract on return from maternity leave.

 

Agree with Maz re: Parents and paperwork, as I read your first post the thought in my head was why didn't anyone remind her? (that's assuming no-one did) and I don't necessarily mean this was your responsibility darlinbud, others within the setting / committee must have known she had a 2 yr old due to start soon.

 

I, as a parent, did the proverbial look in my childrens schoolbags on the Sunday night before they returned to the school on the Monday after Easter hols xD , goes without saying we missed a few 'activity' opportunities laid on over the Easter break and spent Sunday evening after supper rushing to get the homework done. :( :wacko:

 

Credit where credit due, forms were given out in plenty of time, I have at the moment on my desk an 8 page form (foster care related) which arrived by post on Friday, which I opened today, which has to be completed and returned to sender by Tuesday. xD :rolleyes:

I have always found though tat if forms are sent out too early some people do need a reminder about a week or two before deadline date as if they are like me they get filed away to the not urgent do that later never gets done without a reminder pile of papers. :(

 

Let us know how the meeting goes. :unsure:

 

Peggy

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Hmmm, some people are just too clever for their own good!!!

 

 

ooh, does that mean I'm clever? I thought Kent as well, a lovely village called Pluckley where the Darling Buds of May was filmed. :oxD

 

Peggy

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