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What Would You Do


marley
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Hello

Well its the AGM of our committee tonight and the chair wants to stay on as do about 4 other parents...think there are 2 new parents that may disagree about this so it may all kick off tonight!

Anyway as you all know the background of our pre-school..finances dire...hours just been cut again etc today was a nightmare.

 

Had 20 children, 4 under 3yrs and 3 staff (oh and out of that only 4 girls!). ...so running on min ratio all the time. What with toileting, trying to sort out parent queries, dealing with behaviour issues and 3 children who have yet to settle (crying etc...parents just left) it was a nightmare. All staff have had no time to do any obs for ages, or really managing to do anything constructive. We just feel like glorified babysitters.

 

At the end of the sesion only 2 children picked up by parents rest came to lunch club (incorrect numbers for lunch club..worked out by chair so supervisor got into trouble with school... so instead of 2 staff going to school for lunch, had to take 3 staff to cover). This left no-one to tidy up at the end of the session! came back at 12.45 with it all to do. Supervisor busy with parent me and deputy had appointments at 1.15pm. Bear in mind we are only paid until 12.45 (big ban on overtime) we did as much as we could but there was still lots to do. Supervisor was child minding in the afternoon and also could not stay. We tried to contact chair about it but nothing....so we left it :oxD:( :( The womens institute will have a fit :(

 

I think we have all just had enough. There's doing that extra bit that you dont mind (ie not paid for staff/planning meetings or keyworker files) but now they are really taking the .....!!! we have tried to speak to the comm about our concerns numerous times, even written an official letter about this but to no avail. Have spoken to PVI teacher who is talking to PLA but they are mainly concerned about the finance not the staff at the mo(well they write it down but dont do anything). Is there any other way we can get the comm to listen. We are hoping that some new members may heed what we are saying.

 

Do we carry on hoping the finances will get better and maybe we get more staff? The fees have all gone up but they say that they will still be in debt after this term. They have told me i am not able to buy scrapbooks for the childrens learning journals or any binders for their files (im paying for them myelf) Still not had photos back from last term. Can we refuse to start doing keyworker things? I know sounds awful but perhaps it needs this drastic action?

 

In previous years for this amount of children there have been 5 staff. One parent said that our major competitor (private pre-school) now charges the same as we do and their ratios are much better. I think the only reason we are getting so many children is that we are heavily attached to the primary school and parents think if they get their child in with us it gets them a place at school (very, very good school).

 

Our new deputy (from nursery background) just cant believe how things are with us. She is also getting frutrated that we are not doing what we should be doing. This has been going on for ages. We do have a student come in and help and i great but Supervisor unable to help her out, she tries to do obs but keeps getting dragged into it all just to keep us going.

 

Also just found out that deputy has 2 week hol coming up and is due to go for operation. So you can imagine what im thinking...AGENCY!! Comm has already warned parents that we can not open if we have to use agency as we cant afford it (needless to say parents were not pleased about this). Chair knows about all of this has not told the rest of the comm, has not advertised yet for a SENCO (ours resigned giving 4 weeks notice at end of last term...being covered by myself and job share although I am thinking of going for it...am i mad??!!) and still has got no qualified bank staff.

 

Think thats about it..... :wacko: Glad to get it all off my chest and written down!

 

Apparently the move to school in sept is still going ahead. Although they have yet to get OFSTEd in to look at room size and numbers of children allowed etc. I did quick calc and it came out at 15 so by rights could be out of job in sept as they will not be able to afford 3 staff for that eh? If they want to be in by sept I would have thought they should be finding out for sure as we will also have to reduce our numbers (currently about 20 per day).

 

Thanks for reading. Not sure what else we can do really. Just keep going as we are and hope we dont get OFSTED that all I can say!

 

Totally fed up...but chuffed as my second assignmnet for my diploma in pre-school practice came back a B grade and it was a tough one (planning).

 

Going slowly mad I think.... xD :rolleyes: :unsure:

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Marley, what a bad time you are having. We had an awful day today, but not even on the same scale to the day you have had by the sound of things. How do you cope with 3 staff and 20 children. Especially if 4 of them are under 3. When one of you is changing a nappy or helping with toileting then you must be under staffed. mrsW.

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marley I really feel for you - your group is clearly up against it and really the staff team is subsidising the group in order to keep it afloat. Your children and families are lucky to have you all.

 

I'm glad in a way that you've begun to assert yourselves and that in cases like today's you have done what you could, tried to get extra support and then when you realised none was forthcoming, you walked away knowing you'd done all you could. Perhaps when the WI complain your committee will be forced to do something constructive about your situation. Its hard to make a stand I know, because ultimately the children will suffer. However you shouldn't really be paying for things such as scrap books out of your own money - in effect you're only masking the situation because parents will not be aware that the finances are so dire that everyday basics like these can't be afforded. Perhaps it is time to make a stand here too?

 

Can I ask you something: do you and your colleagues feel the care you are able to give the children is seriously compromised by the number of staff available? My concern would be that should anything happen to a child and there were insufficient staff to have prevented it or to deal with it effectively, the results for everyone would be devastating.

 

Do you have a 'whistle blowing' policy? If not, I would seriously consider writing another letter to the committee stating your concerns and stating that if no satisfactory response is received from the committee by a certain date then you will be contacting Ofsted to voice your worries directly to them. Of course this may be a way of writing your resignation letter (unless you have a whistle blowing policy when you should be protected), but it sounds to me as if you're all at the end of your tether anyway. You mention talking to your advisory teacher - do you have a separate early years advisory team as well? I can't believe that your advisory teacher has passed on your concerns but nothing has happened - there may be a 'half way' measure of formally complaining to the Local Authority before Ofsted, but it all depends on how worried you are about the children's welfare.

 

I take it none of you feels brave enough to bring these issues up under Any Other Business at the meeting? If someone is then the rest of the team must be prepared to back up what is being said and stand together as a team. I think the time has come to band together and make it very clear that things need to change.

 

Good luck - let us know how things go!

 

Maz

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I hope you all DO manage to make a stand at the meeting, this situation obviously can't go on and a vote of no confidence in the current chair needs to be made, I would think

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I can only back up what Maz has said (and I seem to be following her round the forum doing that at the moment! :o ). If things are so dire then the staff need to voice it in the strongest of terms at the committee meeting and all be prepared to back each other up. If it brought up at a meeting then it has to be minuted, which means that the onus is firmly with the committee. I am a little worried that if something dreadful did happen, the committee and parents could still turn round and put the blame on the staff for not flagging it up as an urgent concern. I too would not do anything more than contracted and paid for at the moment until the basic issues are addressed.

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Hi Marley

Oh well your not the only one going mad ! I think I did years ago !

 

I know where your coming from our group is a bit manic at the moment say the least, the only difference we are financially ok (I think !) but we will see when it gets to the Autumn term.

 

We have plenty of staff but some only work one or two days which isn't ideal when you are trying to work the Keyperson system. We may also have to let go (in fact I think she will just leave) a lady that has been working at the preschool for 25 years as she isn't willing to do any training. Its made us all sad xD , as she is a very able person and has sooo much experience, but because dosen't have a level two we will not be able to count her in our ratios from sept.

 

I know your work collegues frustration, we all just seem to be running around like headless chickens getting no where, just not enough hours in the day or money to finance anything.

 

We are due an inspection any day now (god help us) and I know we will be deemed inadequate but its not for want of trying to do better. We continue on for the children.....

 

Well done to you on your assignment ! :o

 

Motherclangerx

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firstly , I think you did as much as you could with a difficult situation... maybe they will actually listen when jobs dont get finished and complaints come in from a third party. I still feel if finances are that bad, and they obviously are that they should ask for volunteers to set up and tidy away to help staff every day, they need to realise that you are their employees and not volunteers and while willing to help cannot be expected to continue doing so very much for free.

 

They also need to get their act together - if they continue to overbook places it definitely compromises ratios.

 

and as maz says need to dstop subsidising them, by buying items, they do not appreciate it and it does not show how really bad the financial situatuion is. I think it is really sad that a group with lots of children, who should be profitable/ break even, is having this problem. Understandable for one with no children but this does not seem to be the case, just bad financial management.

 

think staff have to get together and make a stand, once again giving all grievences, and reasons etc.

 

will be interesting to see if other parents come forward for committee.

 

good luck,

 

Inge

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Hi Marley

 

I wasn't going to add a reply as I have no experience of committee run groups (thank goodness!) but then found myself thinking about you and your problems as I was doing jobs round the house!

 

Some excellent advice already - I also think that you need to air your grievances - shame that you and your colleagues haven't got together to decide what you are going to say ahead of the meeting.

 

Your committee are at fault for allowing your finances to become so dire - you really, really should not be paying for things out of your own pocket - are they aware that that is what you have been doing?

 

Working with minimum ratios is just awful for you - this is something that never happens in my group.

 

Why are parents leaving children that are upset - do you have a settling in policy - again this is not something I would be happy about - a distressed child can neither play nor learn - how can you comfort them when you are working to minimum ratios - especially as you have four 'tinies' - all sounds 'unbearable' to me.

 

As for the cleaning up situation - I say good for you!

 

Well done with your studies - I really hope your meeting goes well and that you have an opportunity to get your points across - stay calm if you possibly can - people will take you far more seriously if you are able to remain calm.

 

Take care

Sunnyday

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I didn't want to not reply but I can only reiterate what everyone else has said. As you know I am also in a similar group (but not with the problems) and I can see why you have bought things out of your pocket. I do often but at the end of the day I feel my committee really appreciate that and do their best to ensure we are not working at minimum ratios, etc so swings and roundabouts really! I understand that sometimes you want to do for the sakes of the children and so they don't suffer.

 

If we ever have a day where we are working to ratio we find we have to leave observations, etc for that day but we are lucky in that it is rare so some still get done during the week. As you say at the moment you are all really just glorified babysitters, and whilst you are maintaining the care of the children to the best of your abilities, I think you should raise questions about whether the children are really benefiting from attending the setting. I don't mean that as a criticism of you or the other staff but as a criticism of the management of the group. If a complaint were to be made to Ofsted I think they would look very negatively on the setting for the same reasons as you are worried.

 

I think Maz's suggestion of trying to find a "half way" complaint procedure before approaching Ofsted might be useful.

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Hi all

 

Ok so will stop buying stuff (hate to look unprofessioanl tho :( ). We do have a whistle blowing policy so will look into that more :o

 

Are the children benefitting from our setting? i would say at the moment...no. We play with them, take care of them, but as for providing an education Im not sure..too busy doing the caring.

 

As for leaving the children....parents were the ones that said he'll be alright in 5 mins which to be fair they were until something kicked off again and you know what its like...when one starts the rest follow. Its hard with majority boys too (no disrespect but its a more physical environment). Deputy still finding her feet too.

 

Just spoke to supervisor as we have both calmed down a bit after the stress of the afternoon. After I left this afternoon supervisor and a friend tidied up but they told the chair that it was unfair. We have decided that as we think things may kick off tonight re new comm that we will leave our staffing issues until the new comm start. Then we will write another official letter,and attend a commitee meeting as a team and ask it to be logged in the minutes (mind you last time we asked staffing to be logged they didnt do it!). I know exactly why they wont get any extra staff all due to money. Last time me and supervisor had a meeting with chair (comm meetings are VERY confrontational and me and supervisor said we would never attend on our own. Have had all 12 of them not listening to the 2 of us and getting very annoyed with us!) we asked her to get the comm to draw up a rota to help with tidying up (majority dont work) but they have never done it so it is still down to us. tThen on top of that we get grief off the WI when they find the cups have been put in the wrong cupboard (new member of staff). You have to laugh as its truely ridiculous xD but when you have had a day like to day you honestly feel like saying stuff it i dont get paid enough (or at all!) for this.

 

Will let you know how tonight goes...actually having a bloke as vice chair (hopefully!)

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Your issues all seem to be based around lack of funding and I can't help wondering why. Your setting appears to be full and working on minimum staff also fees have gone up so where is the money going. Can you see the budget and budget forecasts? A setting has to be viable with clear budgets for all to see and understand. This does not seem to be happening in your setting leading to unhappiness and frustration. Your committee must understand that you need to have money available for equipment and you need to know what you are allocated. Does there need to be more transparency within your setting so that aall involved understand the challenges each of you are facing.

Good luck

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Hi all

Well sure you all want to know.

Chair is last years chair, vice is a new MAN, secretary is new, treasurer is old vice chair. There are about another 6 new people doing various posts and 3 of the old comm staying on. The chair had to go into finances and with increase of fees etc they will about break even at end of this term. Me and supervisor then told them exactly what it is like at pre-school, 2 new member fully supported us saying they had observed when parent help how were were struggling to deliver any kind of curriculum and that it was in no way our fault and that we were doing our very best! New vice (man) said staff were most important resource and wanted it noted that as soon as finances were able then this should be refelected by employing more staff, paying for meetings etc.t !|He queried why we had no banks staff sorted when it had been highlighted as issue at last years AGM, and in fact he actually said in hindsight it would have been cheaper to employ a staff member than pay agency costs of 7k.

Another new comm member queried why chair staying on, why other comm members (old ones that stayed on) have removed their children to private pre-school and therefore not supporting the pre-school she is comm member of and why does she want to stay on as comm member (this resulted in heated argument about not supporting pre-school, parent choice, no-one else to do it etc!!).

 

Already me and supervisor see conflict ahead. We didnt get involved in any of that just wanted the staff issues logged.

 

We'll see how this one does :o

Edited by marley
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sounds like you have a good vice chair there who is wanting to help staff and stand up for you. He realises some of the financial side of balancing expenditure over income, and staffing. With staff sorted out I hope it stays consistent for a while to help everything balance out a bit.

 

There will be conflict but the new parents are very right to ask why be on committee and not send your child to that setting.. not a done thing in my view. It shows lack of support for the setting . As to no one else to do it.. you actually dont need 12 on committee we often had 5 members which was out minimum, 12 was maximum allowed, so if they left would still be enough numbers.

 

 

My one BIG question is who voted on the old members back to the committee, they need a proposer and seconder to be there, and I believe these need to be parents of children in the group, should not be each other if they have no children in the group...

 

give it time it will hopefully sort itself out, but that doesnt help you at the moment.

 

Inge

Edited by Inge
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Just a quick one Ing...think even the new parents were proposed and seconded by some members of the old committee! The ladies in question re sending children to other pre-school said they would willing step down if anyone else took on the admisions and chair but no-one wanted to!

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I still find it odd that someone who has no children there and is obviously struggling to manage the finances would still want to do it?Actually our admissions were passed onto a stff member many years ago (mainly becuase it was me and I went from admissions officer to a memebr of staff) but unless your constitution says otherwise then your admissions dont ave to be done by a committee member. I do hope things are now going to start looking p for you, it sunds like they maybe on the up and at least your v/chair sounds as f he has some respect for the staff.

It does sound a little as though it is all about power, do you think? Why woud you want to be part of somehting that you have no connection with, causes lots of problems and arguments and you cant manage the finances of properly- I am amazed that you are so short of money when you are so full

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Agree with Lynnedd55, does sound like a power thing,

 

just because no one is willing to take on role does not meant they have to stay.. In reality someone will usually come forward if there is no one saying they will stay on if no one else comes forward.etc..

 

I always found admissions easier for staff to do , may be another task but does give you control over numbers and ratios... and in reality is not hard to do...

 

we always believed that new committee had to be elected from parents of children in group, so in our case old committee did not nominate or second unless they had a child in the setting, but we also had a constitution which gave all staff a vote at the AGM. This helped as staff were able to second, nominate and have a vote on all except pay.

It wil be interesting to see what happens next.. bit like a bad soap opera!

 

(OOps sorry Marley, just saying my thoughts aloud.. )

 

Ps Marley, did you get enough risk assessment stuff.. If not email and I will try to find you some

 

Inge

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Ys it is ike a opa opera! Could write a book too! Oh and definately a power thing ie all in a small village.

Thanks Inge for thinking of the risk assessment stuff. Managed to sort it all out and just waiting for supervisor to view and sign. Got to go to work now (sainsburys) see you later!

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Hi Marley

Oh well your not the only one going mad ! I think I did years ago !

 

I know where your coming from our group is a bit manic at the moment say the least, the only difference we are financially ok (I think !) but we will see when it gets to the Autumn term.

 

We have plenty of staff but some only work one or two days which isn't ideal when you are trying to work the Keyperson system. We may also have to let go (in fact I think she will just leave) a lady that has been working at the preschool for 25 years as she isn't willing to do any training. Its made us all sad xD , as she is a very able person and has sooo much experience, but because dosen't have a level two we will not be able to count her in our ratios from sept.

 

I know your work collegues frustration, we all just seem to be running around like headless chickens getting no where, just not enough hours in the day or money to finance anything.

 

We are due an inspection any day now (god help us) and I know we will be deemed inadequate but its not for want of trying to do better. We continue on for the children.....

 

Well done to you on your assignment ! :o

 

Motherclangerx

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I have just read your piece about having to let a member of staff go because from sept you can no longer count them in your ratio. you have got me really worried now because the vast majority of our staff do not have a level 2 but we have always been told that they were okay to work for us but obviously wouldnt be able to work in any other group. Is there some new regulation that has come in that we are not aware of

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Hi Sue

I think this is incorrect. I will not be qualified by Sept and neither will my job share! However, the welfare requirements of EYFS state that the supervisor has to be at least leve 3 qualified and HALF remaining staff have to be level 2 qualified.

Hope this helps

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