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My Deputy


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HI,

 

if any of you have read any of my posts re my deputy, you will realise that i have had ongoing issues, and little support from the owners.

 

yesterday myself and the senior nursery officer left nursery at 4:30, all children in garden and deputy in nursery. i had shut the computer down so she was not working in the office, and all office stuff had been done.

 

i get in work this morning to be told by no less than three people that the deputy did not come outside at all until 5:40 to then see how many children were left, (bearing in mind some staff left in this period due to their shifts ending), deputy was reported to be sat in office with another staff member (door open), having a 'general chat' (in words of staff). staff say this is an ongoing problem when deputy is only person in charge in the nursery, she apparently potters around, and has a nosey in the office or round the rooms.... totally starting to annoy all staff and myself.

 

the second, and more alarming issue is that a member of staff came to me today to say that my deputy had abrubtly and forcibly sat a child down with some force and anger. this was witnessed by another member of staff and both staff have explained to me that they felt it was uneccessary action. i have advised both staff to put this in writing, which they said they would do.

i am now worried what deputy may do to children when not in presence of other staff.

i feel this could potentially be a safeguarding issue, and clearly this will be investigated, but our policy states along the lines of, no physical punishment will be used in nursery.... would you class this as physical punishment. i think forcibly and abruptly sitting a child down is gross misconduct, but then again i am sure i could get accused of just being harsh because i do not get on with her.

my question to you all then is, if you were presented with above by a member of staff how would you deal with it?

 

thanks in advance

Dawn

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Does your policy state that if staff have to use force to restrain a child it will be written down and the parents informed? If so at least you have a starting point in questioning why this was not done. (assuming it wasn't of course)

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We have never hd a need to forcibly restrain a child and therefore have no written policy on this, plus we would not ever forcibly restrain a child, its not needed! thanks for your feedback though :o

 

 

 

Does your policy state that if staff have to use force to restrain a child it will be written down and the parents informed? If so at least you have a starting point in questioning why this was not done. (assuming it wasn't of course)
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I was asked by scial services when they inspected, what I would do if the then leader smacked a child. I was horrified at the suggestion, but managed to say I would take them away to speak to. 'Thats right' she said 'you'd remove them from the room'.

 

Dont feel that you'll be seen as harsh. Your main concern is the children in your care. You have every right to ask her if all is well, if she's feeling stressed, if she needs a break and tell her why you're asking.

 

Loads of luck with it. :o

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What a very, very difficult situation for you Dawn. :o

 

Presumably the ratios were not being met if deputy and other staff member were in the office?

 

I think I would want to be really sure of the facts before I took any action. I would probably ask the other staff present during this time, and those who witnessed the 'manhandling', if they would be willing to write down what happened. I would also explain to them you think as a group you should follow the complaints policy. This would presumably involve writing to the owner,and sending copies of the staff statements. If there is then no satisfaction , I would take it to Ofsted!!

 

I know that to take action like that is always very very difficult, but if other staff are really concerned too they would presumably be supportive.

At the end of the day we have to keep the welfare of the children as our very first priority.

 

I really feel for in this. Take one day at a time, and keep posting so we can all support you.

 

Gruffalo2

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Rea.

 

In that proposed incident. what would you have had to do had that staff member smacked a child ( i know we are talking hyperthetically here), wouldn't s/he be subject to some further action?.

 

 

 

I was asked by scial services when they inspected, what I would do if the then leader smacked a child. I was horrified at the suggestion, but managed to say I would take them away to speak to. 'Thats right' she said 'you'd remove them from the room'.

 

Dont feel that you'll be seen as harsh. Your main concern is the children in your care. You have every right to ask her if all is well, if she's feeling stressed, if she needs a break and tell her why you're asking.

 

Loads of luck with it. :o

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Gruffalo 2

 

Presumably the ratios were not being met if deputy and other staff member were in the office?

 

it was a quieter day, but yes ratio's were not always met, especially if one had to come into the toilet with the children.

 

I think I would want to be really sure of the facts before I took any action. I would probably ask the other staff present during this time, and those who witnessed the 'manhandling', if they would be willing to write down what happened. I would also explain to them you think as a group you should follow the complaints policy. This would presumably involve writing to the owner,and sending copies of the staff statements. If there is then no satisfaction , I would take it to Ofsted!!

 

they are putting it in writing, and i will refer upwards.

 

I know that to take action like that is always very very difficult, but if other staff are really concerned too they would presumably be supportive.

At the end of the day we have to keep the welfare of the children as our very first priority.

 

I could not agree with you more here. i know the staff will be supportive, and ultimatly i know that had i have witnessed it she would have been in the office immediatly, but then i would have acted on instinct, and maybe not professionally, so i guess forwarned is better in this instance.

 

thanks for your feedback.

 

dawn

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If you have the children's welfare at heart, instinct is usually RIGHT!! However it is vital to be able to say what needs to be said in a calm clear manner because what can go wrong, is expressing anger in an unprofessional way.

 

Gruffalo2

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Hi Dawn,

 

The other two members of staff concerned showed that they felt they needed to take some action by telling you. You sound as if you feel that you do need to take the matter further. I don't think that the behaviour sounds acceptable and I would feel compelled to take whatever action was necessary to make sure it never happens again.

 

I know it sounds obvious but make sure you keep very clear written records of all of this for your own protection. If you think you may be accused of being unfair you may want to consider having someone else present when you talk to her.

 

Good luck with this one.

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Hi Dawn

 

The EYFS guidance states that physical intervention should only be used to manage children's behaviour if it is necessary to prevent personal injury to the child, other children or an adult to prevent damage to property or in what would reasonably be regarded as exceptional circumstances. p28

 

I am sure you will investigate the context of this intervention by the deputy with your professional hat on.

 

Something that struct me from my recent study was Article 28 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child in which it states that 'school discipline should be administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity'. Do your colleagues feel that was the case here?

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Re. using force, you might find this document useful reading, it's non statutory guidance for schools but presumably what the EYFS says is based on this. It used to be called circular 10/98 and it took me a long time to hunt this new version down but I think it's important reading for those who work with children in educational settings. There's stuff in here too about giving children a cuddle which I know has worried some practitioners in previous posts (point 64).

 

www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/12187/ACFD89B.pdf

 

Not much to add on your situation except her behaviour sounds unacceptable and if I was the parent I'd be furious, but you'd need to know what the exact circumstances were.

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If it was our setting we would suspend the member of staff whilst we obtained a written statement from everyone present at the time and conducted a full investigation.

 

If you are a member of the PLA then I would call them and lawcall if you haven't already.

 

How did it go today?

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Guest Spiral

Hi there Dawn,

 

sounds like you need to be fully prepared! I personally would make sure I was as backed up as possible.

 

Download the disciplinary and greivance procedures document from the ACAS website www.acas.org.uk

 

This document is full on and explains exactly what can and cannot be classed as disciplinary matters. Also have a chat with them; Monday - Friday 08:00 - 20:00 - 08457 47 47 47

Monday - Friday 08:00 - 20:00 - (Minicom users) - 08456 06 16 00

 

Saturday 09:00 - 13:00 - 08457 47 47 47

 

Acas are helpful, however, I would also make sure you have written down the name of the person you spoke to and the time/date of the phone call.

 

More than anything you have to be fully prepared that if something occurs that is not acceptable, you understand the laws before you incriminate yourself.

 

If you do decide to write down the days events in a diary format, you need to be able to prove that you are not 'targeting' that member of staff, so consider starting a diary where you write up a quick summise of the days event and include all staff (including yourself). Keep it locked away, but if anyone asks you can always explain you are keeping a diary so that you get an overview of the setting and are using it to consider the dynamics and planning for the whole team?!

 

Whatever happens, just be prepared as a caution as you will feel better if you are ready and fully aware of the law!

 

Best of luck,

Spiral

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