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I need advise from other managers who look after a medium sized setting (60 place).

 

I have a wonderful bunch of girls/guys working for me, all of whom I really like. There are some of us who really undestand the importance of continuing our professional development and those who are happy just being a level 2/level 3 and who don't feel that they need to do extra reading once they have received their qualification.

 

Myself and my deputy try to introduce new working practices etc., but these last for about a week and then I find that they are not continuing on. We are having a parents evening shortly and I have just gone through all the folders. Unfortunately I find that there are many folders where there haven't been observations for a while and and just don't show anything much.

 

My point is really - how do I ensure that the staff follow every initiative that we input, or that they keep their learning journey folders up to date etc. I know all the staff care about the children and work well with them during the day, but they just don't seem to want to move their own development along or that of the setting - moving with the times is a foreigh phrase to some of them.

 

I have so much of my own paperwork to do that I simply am not able to get into the rooms as much as I used to.

Help - how do other managers deal with this.

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i just ensured that so many observations and a learning journey were completed each term, staff were reminded at meetings and once files were ready to hand out to parents - staff knew that they were checked (well spot checked) to ensure they were up to date. :o

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I am struggling with exactly the same situation at the moment. A huge problem with us though is that we just can't afford to pay staff for time spent on the learning journies at home. Some staff are excellent and always keep them up to date etc but some staff do very little and in the 3 years they have had certain children they have never sent the folder home :o

 

I am doing appraisals over the next week so will bring it up then but what can you do? you can hardly tell them that they HAVE to do it can you, well you can tell them but you can't enforce it xD

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I did mention it each person's last appraisal. But I think we should be able to enforce it as they aren't working to the child's best interests are they. I am considering giving a warning if things don't improve to some staff.

 

It's such a pain trying to keep on top of all these jobs!!!

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If after a couple of gentle reminders surely the next step is disciplinary? Doing observations are compulsory now so the members of staff have no choice they must be done! I'd certainly go down the disciplinary route if all else fails!

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I ensure that staff have time to write things up during their working day, we can do a fair bit in an hour - writing something up or whatever, updating children's files.

I also spot check files and ask questions 'Have you managed an obs this week?' 'Who are you observing this week?' 'Let me know when you want to do an obs and I'll keep people out of your way' 'Ooh go and observe Suzie - just look at that!!' It can be difficult, but once people get into the habit it flows better.

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Hi Sheila21, I am happy just being a level 3 and running the Pre-School I work in on a day to day basis. I have told my manager that I do not want to do any more training because I feel so much of my time is taken up with the Pre-School already. Just because I have decided that I do not want to do any more qualifications does not mean that I do not want to do any more training and keep up with new initiatives. Have you asked your staff if they would like to attend short training sessions or courses which may help them understand what you are trying to achieve in your setting. Maybe they just see what you are doing as 'more change' when a training course on a relevant subject may help them get a better understanding of why things need to be done. Good luck, mrsW.x

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Mmmm, this is a difficult one isn't it, and youcould be talking about my setting, although we only a maximum of 32 children at a a time. My problem is that I have an excellent team, all with different strengths, with one who writes far too much per child (she works 4 mornings and always stays for at least an hour after the session writing reams and reams then complains about paperwork) I have another who I am continually asking where are her key childrens learning journeys (she spends an awful lot of time scribbling obs during the session, but then I don't see the outcome) and then another staff member who has been trying very hard, has kept up to date, but has very poor grammar and requires support for this before reports can go out.

We're all ratio-ed in and don't have non-contact time. I have an idea though, and am aiming to put it to my idea to the committee next week. I want to invest in 2 netbooks whereby the staff can do their learning journeys straight onto the netbook, where they can be printed off that day. We have 2 rooms, so there will be one for each room, meaning only 1 person will be taken up with this whilst being in the room, and only for short bursts. What do you think? I could fund the netbooks from my EYP bursary, especially as its supporting the CPD of the staff as a team.

My staff have no desire to train any higher but are regularly attending refresher courses for various things such as health & safety, speech and language, autism, child protection etc.

I'm tempted to source an IT course too, so that childrens reports can be given to parents on a disk and updated more regularly.

Sam

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I have some staff who said at their last appraisals that they were happy where they were. Then I was able to send them individually to training which was based at an outstanding and very inspiring centre. The purpose of this was for them to attend training outside of the setting (first time for some of them) and also for them to find their spark again. It worked and they all came back rather enthusiastic about everything.

I do spot checks of profiles and ask to see observations which 'haven't been put in yet'. This is a requirement of the job and if after 3 warnings you see no improvement I think you have to go to an officail warning which is recorded by a letter sent to the practitioners and a copy kept on file. If you don't normally carry out disciplinary's then you should warn them that this is what will happen.

I have just inducted some new staff, who all read and signed all of our policies and procedures to say that they had read and understood them. I told them that this was to ensure that I know they know what is expected of them and if they don't follow them then disciplinary action will be taken. (A little flexibility with new staff until they find their feet!)

I am very frustrated however and am applying for other jobs :o

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difficult this one because its hard to motivate staff who do not want to be motivated................ trainig for cpd not neccessarily to achieve higher grades is a must for settings and an eyfs requirement

 

do they get paid to work at home ?

perhaps pay reduced as they are not completing their key work obligations properly

next would be disaplinary process

 

is confidence in completing the folders an issue?

good luck and let us know how you get on

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Have you seen the post with a link to the new DCSF document 'Progress Matters: reviewing and enhancing young children's development'?

 

There is an e-module on there, perhaps you could insist all staff did this as observation and assessment is an essential element of early years practice. (not that there is any information available on the e-module yet to my knowledge). It seems to me that this is about doing our jobs as early years practitioners properly.

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Hi all

We do post it obs and that is all in our setting (photos too) as we are all included in ratios and just cant be off the floor to do anything else (struggling with the numbers of little ones and lots of boys as it is!). Other thing is we are no longer being paid for planning/staff/keychildren meetings or to update scarpbooks and larning journals due to dire finances. In fact the new deputy says that our obs are a waste of time ....not quite sure how to take that one :o given that this is how we have been doing things for the last year).

 

So as a manager would you insist that your staff take them home and do in their own time?

 

The reason i ask is that i have 9 key children (only work 2 mornings!) and my hubby is complaining about the amount of work i am doing at home in my own time ( I also have another job and studying DPP!). He says that we should not be doing it until we get the recognition and the pay for it (he is a teacher too!).

 

However I think of my reponsibilities re EYFS and OFSTED and the children but then I am starting to get fed up with it all.

 

What would you do?

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unfortunately I was waiting 20 years for the recognition and pay for doing the job! It just is not there... and we cannot be paid better if government do not give us reasonable and suitable funding..

 

If I had not done work in my own time the care provided would not have been as good... lots would not have been done and all would have collapsed around me! i just reid to keep it to a minimum.

 

As to Obs not being a waste of time, I would ask

why she believes this,

what is wrong with them,

why would they be better another way,

how she would correct them to make them worthwhile

 

could be she is just used to a different format, and method, she has only been in the setting a short while so I would be interesed to find out why, maybe she has a better easier method.. but it would have to take less time than now..

 

Obs are realy only good if used for a purpose, showing childs progress, inform planning, show a childs needs for next steps, etc. I aassume yours do this so not an issue really everyone learns and does things differently...

 

We changed our system so much with new training, and suggestions, but overall it still did the same thing, just written differently!

 

 

 

Inge

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I would never expect staff to take work home, except myself as the manager. I cover in rooms if need be so that staff can have time to do their work, what tends to happen is whoever is in the sleep room for the hour that everyone is actually asleep gets a chance to do their work, also at the end of the day when there are less children is also an opportunity.

I am not sure how to work it if you are doing sessions when all children do the hours you provide! (does that make sense) I think managers and deputies need to be hands on and offer cover and support.

When I was a key worker for 20 children I did fewer obs and caught up in the holidays (which I worked).

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Hi Sheila21 :o

 

I had been struggling with this for quite some time, however, it has improved recently with new practices that i have introduced.

 

I expect my situation may be different to yours, i am the owner of a 90 place day nursery, although we only have approx 60 children attend each day. I spent alot of my time monitoring the staff, generally followed with me having meetings to find out why they were not completing their tasks - very time consuming and not often productive!

 

When i started the Nvq 4 i began to undertsand reflective practice more and how staff should be given more responsibility for their own actions. I decided to nominate one member of staff from each area (babies / toddlers / preschool) as the OAP co-ordinator. They were willing to take this role on and lead all of the OAP's within their area. This so far has worked very well.

 

I have found that staff are meeting socially with the staff in their rooms to discuss when enhancements can be added to the continuous provision for the coming week, so the OAP co-ordinato9rs are obviously having more luck than i did!

 

We are very lucky that we have a lot of children who take a nap at lunchtime, so this time is used wisely, i also employ 5 supernumery staff (not good for making a profit though!) which are on hand to cover ratios when needed. So time is not really a problem for us.

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we now pay an hour for working at home but this has not always been so and although i agree with 'not asking staff to work without pay' - i certainly would not be asked to do this at my other job and would not dream of doing it without pay

early years is different, it always has been a job that has needed people to work at home often without pay, NO it should not be this way but without it(as already mentiones) we would not be as good as we are

 

this also includes going in early to setup i am paid for an hour i cannot do it in that time and end up going in at 7.30

i guess there will be a time when i have had enough but for now.............. it is as it is not right but so rewarding

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We have a planner/grid/tally sheet on the kitchen wall with children listed under keyworkers. Observations have to be ticked and its therefore easy to see which children/staff are falling behind.At our brief 'briefing' before the session starts we can gently mention children lacking observations to prompt staff. A similair tick sheet is there for updating files with the expectation they are done minimum once a half term.We use different colour pens for each half term for both charts so we can see at a glance progress.

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Hi, i find that my staff like to ensure that they have something in their file to show the parents on parents evening and they have been so good where they have done files in their own time. I think if you have one person who's doing a good job, usually, the others follow suit. Usually before the parents evening, they're pretty behind on their files. Definatley recommend parents evenings :o

I keep a bit more of an eye on them and ask staff to produce the next steps for their children to include in the following weeks planning.

 

I also give them just over an hour each week to spend time going through observations, writing up etc and they are encouraged to do this also with the children, though i would like to see a bit more involvement with the children.

I try to help them at times by ensuring they have the relevant paperwork and print photos off when i get the chance.

Think it's pretty important to spend some time in the nursery if you can and although it's sometimes a pain when they go and do their work as i'm then part of the ratio with the children, it does cut down on a bit of frustration for staff. It just means that i have to sometimes do work after hours.

 

I don't actually pay staff for extra hours other than at meetings outside of nursery hours, but if they have done a lot in their own time, i sometimes give them an extra day hol, or if they have appointments, i don't dock hours.

Saying all this, i only have a small nursery. It probably is much more difficult in a larger nursery.

 

I'd probably do regular reviews if you can do with your staff so they can show you what they've been doing to help the children progress. This is something i'm going to look at doing also. It's just finding convienient times, which isn't always easy.

 

Can one of your deputies not keep an eye on records for you to enable you to concentrate on other things?

 

Good luck, it's not an easy task ensuring staff are up-to-date with files. Have been on the other side of things and it is a difficult thing getting obs while carrying out your expected duties in a busy nursery.

 

Deb

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Thanks for all your replies and suggestions, many of which I already do or have done etc.

 

The girls do have time to do them, just don't. I do suspect that some of them, despite being sent on numerous courses, just don't understand child development and although excellent carers can't make the connections.

 

Reviewing my training plan immediately.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all,

 

I started a new setting at the begining of the school year (spet 08) and when I got there lets say thing had been left to slide!!!!! So each keyperson was taken aside for a chat about what they understood, what was needed to support their role and then (here's the whammy) every keyperson was asked to sign a keyworker contract. I have attached the file that I use. Now I have this to fall back on when things slide. The understanding has already been discussed and the warning has been written down in laymens terms of what might happen. It does give you as a manager a good lever. We also have a staff rota of jobs ect and each member of staff gets an hours down time a week in the kitchen on that rota to be able to keep their files updated. I hope this helps.

 

Kat

Keyworker_CONTRACT.doc

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I manage a 60 place day nursery too. Here's what we do...

 

All staff are responsible for making observations for all children. There are pre-printed sheets to write observations on dotted throughout the rooms and outside, so staff can write whenever they see a child doing something significant. These are placed in a tray on a high shelf. At the end of the day when it is generally quieter (we close at 6.00 p.m.) one member of staff sorts them into piles for each keyworker and puts them into the keyworker's tray. Then we rota one person during each session to work with their keychildren putting their journals together. The children stick the observations and photographs etc. in and love to look through their books and remember what they did previously. If anyone, epecially Ofsted, questionned this, I would argue that this time is very well spent as it helps children to take responsibility for their own posessions, recognise their own learning etc etc.

 

I think this system works for us as staff know that, if they do not write observations on other people's keychildren, they won't get any back! At the end of the day though the keyworker role is written into our staff contract, but I have never had to threaten this (yet anyway - am I tempting fate?)

 

As manager I do keep a careful eye on the journals, have regular 1:1 sessions with staff when I look through journals with them, discuss any concerns over children and give them an opportuity to air any concerns they may have. I think it is often being unsure what they are doing is right that stops staff from doing these things.

 

Gruffalo2 :o

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