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With my ongoing issues at my new setting...can I please ask again for your thoughts.....I won't go in to too much detail as I don't want to bore you all and you have all been so great so far.......I am now being questioned (Admin Manager) at work as to 'health and safety/risk assessment' with the 'mess' - the 'mess' is toys, games and on this particluar occasion it was a train track that had been built across the room - I think it may be another attempt to antagonise me but I see no risk...children were so engaged in their play I am sure that they can manage to see the danger/risk of falling over a toy on the floor?

 

Honest thoughts appreciated.....

it is not the only things that is happening but I am being strong, professional and have such a lovely team that are supporting everything albeit feeling a little confused at times with the change and sometimes confusion in management....everything I wanted not to happen is beginning to.....80% good though...

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My first thought was a bit flippant - that there isn't a H&S risk if they build tracks all over their floor at home. But to try to be more serious, I know there are fewer people in that scenario, and in our setting what we try to do is ask the children not to run around inside as others are working on the floor. This is generally well accepted, and children do need to learn there are some rules. We do have access to outside almost all the time. Otherwise if the children have abandonded the area and there is just a pile of toys on the floor (not a track laid out) a staff member might start to tidy these away a bit to cut down on the "mess" to use your admin manager's words. If the children return to play with it, it is still out but in a tidier heap so they don't just see it as a new type of carpet. Staff are just expected to accept they are working in a child care setting and if it isn't a toy you have to step over it is a child clinging to your leg which in my case turns out to be much more dangerous.

 

Glad things are starting to go your way though.

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Sorry I am a bit confused over what you are asking? If it is as I suspect, Is it ok for the children to build a train track across the floor? Then I would answer with a loud yes, of course it is. Ours do it all the time, if we had enough track it would get built from one end to the other!! I dont think you need to do a written risk assesment on it either. We certainly dont, we're risk asessing mentaly all the time and as long as every child isnt falling over it then I cannot see a problem.

It does sound to me like this lady has some control issues. I had a member of staff who was joint leader with me for a number of years and then she stepped back to Deputy and to cut a long story short she is now an assistant and I have another Deputy. however she does have a tendancy to ignore things that are said to her and do her own things at times, this I am sure stems from a control issue. If she has suggested something fine, but if it was a decision made when she wasn't around then she never ever agrees with it. I think your lady is sounding very much like this, but perhaps with the added thing of I dont want the job, but I dont want anyone else to have it either. You stick to your guns and carry on with what you are doing, it sounds great to me. As a matter of interest do you have appraisals or anything? if so who would do hers? Are you senior to her or both on equal footing? If she is the admin Manager I just cant see why she would be worrying about what the children are doing. I have two morinings per week where I do mainly admin/paperwork. Often I am in an adjoining room and haven't a clue what is going on next door. But it doesn't matter as I trust my Deputy implicitly and the rest of my staff. This is the problem isn't it, for some reason she doesn't want to let go, sorry waffling now and just thinking out loud- not really much help to you as I am sure you are thinking all of this anyway!!

Edited by lynned55
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Thank you....I think the confusion lies in our roles in that she still officially has the title of Nursery Manager, and I have the title of Floor Manager......the committee met with us both and stated that she is Admin Manager but she was adamant that her title remains the same therein lies the control problem....on paper we have job descriptions, hers states she is in charge of all administrative duties and mine that I am Floor manager in charge of staff, planning basically the classroom is mine...it is becoming apparent that we need to again clarify the role to her.....she is such a strong character ....I have the committee telling me to go, go, go with my ideas and I am answerable to them and I have the Admin/Nursery manager stopping me at every turn.....it is clear on paper but not in practice....as I type I realise it is a CONTROL thing for her....the committee Chair does our appraisals......thank you for your comments....by the way the train track was amazing and I took photographs, such engaged purposeful play with a group of four children, so much learning going on........this was nearly lost with petty squabbles....

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First, glad to hear the 80% success rate, see, patience, perseverance and sticking to your principles is worth it in the end. :o

 

As to the train track or any other 'risk assessment', my first thought was 'valid point', in other words leaving the cynisism aside, take the comment as a genuine concern for child safety, yes, look at risks, BUT also look at the BALANCE of 'risk' and 'activity value'. In this scenario for example ask the Admin manager these questions........

Will the act of reducing the risk compromise the benefit of the activity? Is the risk high enough to pay this cost?

Are the adults covering their own backs and being too risk averse? What responsibility do we have as adults to enable children to assess the risk themselves (as they play), for themselves and therefore 'learn' to access the activity appropriately? Maybe even ask the children to risk assess other activities, as an 'activity' in itself, now there's a thought!!!!!

Are there other less riskful ways of providing the activity with an equal amount of 'freedom' for the children?

 

In other words, I would like to ask any person making such a suggestion to try not to use the term "lets do a risk assessment" when really you mean something else like, I think it's too dangerous/too messy/innapropriatte freedom of choice etc for the children. Clarify your 'value statements' and back them up with evidence.

 

Whenever anyone 'challenges' what you do, or allow children to do, (which can be a good thing or we'd all become too complacent by nature), it needs to be done in a clear, constructive, mature, professional manner. To 'allow' others to challenge us in the way you have been, without enabling them to think again about what they are actually saying will 'endorse' their behaviour, and thus it will continue with non constructive exchange.

 

So, what I'm saying is 'challenge the challenger' but in a way that you would like them to challenge you in the future. Even if the 'challenger' is provocative rather than constructive, respond in a constructive manner. xD

 

Leadership/Management is not that easy is it, :( ,

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

 

p.s. Sorry about spellings :(

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"So, what I'm saying is 'challenge the challenger' but in a way that you would like them to challenge you in the future. Even if the 'challenger' is provocative rather than constructive, respond in a constructive manner. "

 

Brilliant as always...another thought to take to work....thank you for taking the time to respond .... :oxD

 

 

The upshot of all of this questioning for me, the positive for me is that I am constantly reflecting, evaluating and using it all as a positive instead of diminishing my confidence as I did the first two weeks.....I don't mind being wrong or changing my views, I am open to opinions and if they make the provision better then I will happily go with them.....but if they are not constructive and being laid down as a point of conflict then I have to be strong,,,, to challenge the challenger!

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Would I be right in assuming that you have, in the procees of supervising these children, assessed the risk and come to the conclusion that the hazard a minor one and therefore the risk of significant harm is minimal?

 

It sounds like that's exactly what you did.

 

Hey presto - you have done a risk assessment!

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"but if they are not constructive and being laid down as a point of conflict then I have to be strong,,,, to challenge the challenger!"

 

Exactly :(

 

In a sense it's a bit like changing peoples prejudices, attitudes, etc. And always keeping to the fore the actual focus of your job, the children. :o

 

Which you do 100%, it's just developing the people management skills, which if I'm honest I'm much better at writing out than doing in practice. xD

You are a very reflective, forward thinking, practitioner and if only you could realise how powerful those atributes are. Your confidence in your convictions will grow the more you use those attributes because others will change around you for the better (or fall to the wayside). The difficulty is the time, strength and patience that it takes to influence such changes.

 

Keep at it and be kind to yourself, value even the smallest of changes/successes and gain strength from these. :(

 

Peggy

 

p.s. I too agree that this person has 'control' issues, but it is her responsibility to adjust. Learn to turn things around as suggested before, question her values, 'control' is not clever, in fact it is a form of bullying, and we all know that a bully who is challenged (appropriately), made to think about their actions/demands, will normally back down because they have no other purpose for their behaviour other than to undermine. Your behaviour has a purpose that is based on convictions to support and benefit others. Good will win over bad. Good is strong, bad is weak. But remember bullies are needy, they need clear boundaries, and often reminders of how to change, but first they need to recognise they have a problem.

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When I first started at my pre-school my manager told me that I was there for the children and no tidying-up was to be done during session time unless it was to replace an activity that wasn't working or something that put the children at risk. I duly noted these words and one day I took it upon myself to clear the trains and track off the carpet because no one was playing with them. What happened then?? A child who had helped build the track came back inside and looked in horror at the empty floor. "Where's my trains" he said tearfully and I wished I could have disappeared through a hole in the floor. I felt awful as I offered to help him rebuild.........he didn't want to but he did forgive me later. Needless to say I never did this again and the more experienced I became and the more I learnt about how children play the more I agreed with my manager. Like someone said we do risk assessments all the time in our heads and not all children will fall over the track all the time.

 

Great advice already given to you in previous posts Shirel so I just want to say that we all support you and that what you are doing is right. Stick to your guns and perhaps soon you will feel the benefit of 100% good stuff beginning to happen.

 

Good luck! :o

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Thank you you lovely lot....you don't realise how much you are supporting my confidence,....I have had another sleepless night but hey ho :o ....just trying to get my positive head on to start another working day...thank you all again.... xD:(

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Have a good day Shirel. :(

 

I think you should send your 'Admin. lady to work with me :o she would soon know that she is 'well off' with you xD I positively encourage my children to build 'tracks' across the room - on Monday we did this with our community playthings blocks and at one point every child was taking part - in my book this is excellent! Cooperative and collaborative play - fantastic!

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Hi,

 

I'm reading a bit more into this and am I right in thinking that this isn't really about the train track?

 

I feel so sorry for your situation.... is your admin manager childcare qualified? Have you sat down an put it all back to her "how do you see your role?", "what do you want to do day to day",

 

if you can get it from her view perhaps you can discuss and move forward. I am in a similar situation although I get on well with my supervisor - there are only 3 of us staff.

 

She has been working at the setting for 15 years and been supervisor for 9, with a leve 3. I've worked there for 4 years and during that time achieved level 3 and I'm now working on Foundation Degree with a view to gaining EYPS. Does she feel threatened? YES, should she feel threatened? Don't want her to be BUT I want recognitition for what I'm doing and want to have input into running setting/planning/resources but I have to get her approval for everything.

 

By the way - she DOES NOT want to do any further qualifications

 

Don't mean to take over your post - just wanted to let you know you are not alone, I know how you feel, try not to let any bad feelings take over your professionalism, which I'm sure you won't anyway. :(

 

When things get a little stressed where I work we go out for a coffee and have a NO WORK TALK RULE. (doesn't always happen like that but we always come away feeling far more comfortable to discuss any other work issues).

 

Keep your chin up. :oxD

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Thank you.....yes my Admin Manager is has a Montessori qualification and this adds a little more confusion to the mix as we are not a Montessori nursery but she strongly believes in the principle...I am happy to use elements of it but we can't offer a pure theme, this has raised issues with the 'mess' situation

 

.....I asked her to come for a coffee to talk last week, she flatly refused...I said we need to be professional and ensure the staff don't get uncomfortable with the situation (my biggest worry really as they have already had to adjust to me starting and I don't want them to feel any tension......she still refused.

The committee Chair arranged a meeting with all of us to discuss our roles (this was instigated by me but the Chair tried to make it as a routine 'check' up on how we felt so as not to upset her...it does seem they are all a bit afraid of her!) at the weekend...she said she couldn't make it at the last minute.

 

I am going in today and have arranged cover to go into the office for the first hour to try to chat.....one thing that has really worked for me at the new setting is tha ability to talk with the other staff...our staff meeting last night went on until 6pm - started at 3.30 only supposed to be an hour and I can honestly say it was productive, genuine concern and talk about the children, their interests how to best meet their needs, new ideas, a sense of ownership for all staff, I had to insist that we slow down and make changes gradually but it does seem they are relieved to be able to alter the 'strictness' of previous provision.

 

Thank you mps09 for your empathy.....it feels with the advice that i have that this is not an uncommon place to be.....kindred spirits...

Edited by Guest
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Hi Shirel

 

I really feel for you because we had something similar at our setting at the end of last year. In the end it has all worked out for us, and I hope it does for you.

 

We ended up having some cross words, won't go into too much detail, and some upset was caused, but when you believe in something I think it's worth saying what you really feel for the sake of the children.

 

Some older staff can be a bit set in their ways, and for them the EYFS approach can seem like a big change, so you might be able to empathise a bit with her point of view, even if you don't agree with her.

 

It sounds to me like your committee need to get involved, which is what I did at our setting. It is not your role really to deal with staffing and employment issues. They need to step forward and set some clear barriers about what she does and doesn't get involved with. If she can't stick to this then that is an issue I'd say for disciplinary procedures.

 

Good luck!

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Thank you again.....very interesting meeting this morning....I arrived to chat with my colleague unannounced and I dug really deep to gather all my people skills, that and armed with a bunch of helpful remarks from this site I was able to talk rationally, make my point, stick to my guns all professionally (must admit my blood was boiling at points when worksheets were mentioned again and how disappointed she was about not using them ) but I did it and the upshot was that she said her job title must change then, she was quite abrupt and I think she will throw a lot of her work my way but I can't argue at the change of heart in title.......I even hugged her after and suggested we meet for coffee one afternoon......she glared at me at that point and so I think I may take that as a NO..........things are looking up.....also visited a nearby setting today and what a reassurance to see them doing very similar stuff to us......shock, horror a train track across the room!

 

THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE

 

 

 

:oxD

Edited by Guest
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Sorry I wasn't about to lend my support yesterday but well done for tackling this head on. I do hope that she is able to start letting go and let you get on with what you know is right for the children. It sounds like you have a very enthusiastic staff team who are all behind you too which is great. :o

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Worksheets, WORKSHEETS!! omg!! OUR EYAT's would have her guts for garters if she was found using those, Dirty words indeed.

Seriously though I am pleased that things do seem to have got a little 'clearer' Good for you. Let us know how the end of another week goes?

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Well done xD

 

slowly but surely eh :o

 

Full credit to you for dealing with this so quickly, as it is so easy to let things go, or hope they just go away. Start as you mean to go on is the most productive method I think for enabling change.

 

Peggy

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  • 5 months later...
Hi Shirel

 

I really feel for you because we had something similar at our setting at the end of last year. In the end it has all worked out for us, and I hope it does for you.

 

We ended up having some cross words, won't go into too much detail, and some upset was caused, but when you believe in something I think it's worth saying what you really feel for the sake of the children.

 

Some older staff can be a bit set in their ways, and for them the EYFS approach can seem like a big change, so you might be able to empathise a bit with her point of view, even if you don't agree with her.

 

It sounds to me like your committee need to get involved, which is what I did at our setting. It is not your role really to deal with staffing and employment issues. They need to step forward and set some clear barriers about what she does and doesn't get involved with. If she can't stick to this then that is an issue I'd say for disciplinary procedures.

 

 

Yes but wht dou do if the manager is related to most of the commitee members???

 

Good luck!

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