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Workload-sigh!


Edlee
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Hi Chaps,

 

I am a pre-school leader, new to it in September but previously been a teacher before I had my own children.

 

My husband is already fed up with me doing so much work at home while he looks after the children all day.

I love my job but I too am a bit fed up. I didn't mind doing so much out of ours work as a teacher paid £35,000 and with 13 weeks paid holiday but at £9 an hour I seem to be doing too much unpaid overtime.

 

I think the main issue is that we are a pack-away setting. I spend 3. 5 hours a week, unpaid, setting up and putting away because it takes longer than the 30 minutes we are paid to do it in. There is then no time to talk with staff, put up a display, print off photos etc. or heaven forbid put anything in the learning journals for our 8 key children. All that is done in our own time as well. We have an hours paid staff meeting time a week. I would love to be able to meet with my deputy at some time but I just daren't ask her to give up any more of her free time unpaid.

 

We are committee-run and just opened. There isn't much money yet although we are full.

We have 16 children with 2 staff and between 9 and 11.30, 3 staff, so 2 of us manage the lunchtime and then do all the packing away and 2 of us do all the setting up.

Everyday my lovely colleague makes me a coffee and I have never drunk it anything but stone cold.

 

How do other people manage it and all the out of hours work e.g AGM report, SEF, etc. Or do you manage to organise your staffing and time so that you can do it at work?

 

Please, please, answers on a postcard. i love my job and i hardly ever moan but have spent 7 hours on the computer today instead of playing with my lovely children.

Also, our very organized chairperson sends me 3 or 4 emails every evening. We don't have email at work, so I spend ages replying to those as well. Moan, moan, moan........sorry.

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I used to teach under teachers' pay and conditions too and it is a BIG culture shock isnt it! I was involved when we first opened three years ago (sounds similar, 15 place pre-school although we are only partially pack away which is much easier) and got paid very very little and did a huge amount at home. I get paid more now (through gaining EYPS and getting the graduate leader fund - until it runs out...) and do less at home but it is still a lot less money than STPC and like you there is no email so I pay out of my own pocket for a blackberry type mobile phone so I can check emails at work (although thats another problem as we are not allowed phones during the session) and deal with anything non urgent at home in the evening or at 7am!

 

I do prefer the autonomy though and I am lucky that I have jiggled our opening hours to suit my childcare so I dont have to pay more than one or two pickups a week whereas when I was teaching full time in a school i paid for full time before and after school care for 2 children.

 

I dont get emails from the chairperson - he probably complains about me send him too many emails! the committee dont really get involved at all which is more work for me but less interference.

 

feel free to get things off your chest - it should get easier though and you should be able to get paid more as things settle down.

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I'm sorry I don't have anything positive to say except you are not on your own. We recently advertised and employed someone to be our new pre-school leader and I was to cover while they got up to speed before stepping aside to do EYP work in the setting. I was very worried that we had to get someone who would understand you have to pretty much live and breathe the job, and I'm really pleased to say we got that person. But it isn't fair, it isn't right and it sometimes isn't fun.

 

From time to time I do a big shift of all the work stuff and take it all back to work and stash it in the cupboards, and at Christmas I hide every scrap of everything work related as soon as I finish for the holiday. Then I don't touch it until after New Year's Day. It doesn't make it go away but I can actually put it completely out of my head for a bit then. When I'm really fed up I try to concentrate on the good stuff, you know when you see a child making really great progress or when an ex pupil stops to wave at you in the street.

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Hi

 

No words of help I'm afraid just to let you know you are not alone!

One thing of being in a pack away setting I find, it doesn't matter how organised I seem to be when I leave the house I never seem to get done what I'd planned to do - I carry the same pieces of paper backwards and forwards for weeks sometimes before it ends up where it should.

Just as I get a bit of time at the end of the day I find everything has been packed away in the shed!

 

Holly35 - I did the stash it away when I had visitors as couple of weeks ago and i've yet to get round to re-opening the box!!

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I carry the same pieces of paper backwards and forwards for weeks sometimes before it ends up where it should.

 

I know that feeling! And yes, stashing stuff does have that unfortunate consequence of never being found . I've lost count of the times I've opened a box to discover some really important stuff I had to do and by the time I find it the need has passed! It is one way of cutting down your workload.

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I know that feeling! And yes, stashing stuff does have that unfortunate consequence of never being found . I've lost count of the times I've opened a box to discover some really important stuff I had to do and by the time I find it the need has passed! It is one way of cutting down your workload.

 

Yes but do you then throw it away??!!

I'm not very good at throwing anything away 'just incase' so my piles mountains now - my box has turned into 2 boxes of sorting and each weekend is the one when I'm going to tackle it!

Next weekend then :o

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Wow its so nice to hear other people have the same problems.

 

I own two pre-schools one only opened in Sept 09. I was really lucky to get the manager i have for the old one while i look after the new one.

 

It seems though that she is far more organised than i am, in went for a sessions visit and was amazed to see things happening that i couldnt do when i was there, they are so organised without me its quite sad but great to know.

 

 

I worry so much about how much work my manager needs to do for the other setting, i try to do as much as i can for her but i still know she is taking work home. i wish i could find a way that she doesnt have to and can half her woakload so if any of you find a magic wand wave it my way please.

 

OK thanks for listening, rant over.......

 

Niki x

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I will be throwing it away before Christmas! I've promised myself I am reclaiming my house for then - god knows it is small enough anyway. I made a start today but haven't technically thrown it away, just put it in a box to put in the cupboard at work :o

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I'm known as the bag lady at home, everyone is always finding bags full of papers i need to go through. Stuff that is too important to throw away but not urgent, then yeah it gets left and left and left.....Maybe one day ill go thought those damn bags ....

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One thing of being in a pack away setting I find, it doesn't matter how organised I seem to be when I leave the house I never seem to get done what I'd planned to do - I carry the same pieces of paper backwards and forwards for weeks sometimes before it ends up where it should.

Just as I get a bit of time at the end of the day I find everything has been packed away in the shed!

 

Oh--that made me laugh! That is EXACTLY what I do. Never manage to put it in the right folder before 9am and then the children are in, go to do it again at 1.30 but oh no, the folder is already back in the cupboard with the dolls house and a box of wellies etc. in front of it. So I take it home again....and bring it back again....

 

On the rare occasion that we cna leave evrything out it is like Christmas. You walk in in the morning, you have a conversation and evaluate the previous day, you have a coffee and joy of joys you even get to have a little wee!!!!

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Just want to add to the list of empathic forum friends.....I spend at least 10-12 hours a week doing unpaid work....like you I love my job and sometimes I get fed up and sometimes I don't but I keep doing it.....sorry I don't have the answers.

If a job's worth doing ......... :o

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Oh thank god, I am not alone, when will things ever change? Only the most dedicated of leaders must put up with all of this, gradually, gradually I am being worn out, worn down, with no hope of ever getting out of all of the unpaid overtime that I do.

But I carry on and will do until I have a break down and say enough is enough!

God it feels good to moan!

thank you all

Debbie

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I find I get to work early lay all my 'filing etc' neatly out ready to work on - then children in, get completely distracted - get back to table at end of session and find some kindly staff member has cleared the table - all in big heap........so it goes back into my bag ready for same procedure the next morning!!

 

I'm like a hampster on a wheel!

 

xxx

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oooo louby-lou that so rings a bell with me.....I am forever putting the stuff back in my bag having done nothing with it because I have been too busy throughout the day.... xD:o

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We're not pack away anymore, but there's still never enough hours in the week especially since opening all day and the huge number of training sessions to attend.

It has to be the most physically and mentally exhausting job, but i think its one of the most rewarding too.

Sam

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oh now come on........you know we only 'play with children all day'!!!

Imagine if eachof us had an extra hundred pounds added to our salary for every time we'd heard that one!

 

Nice to end the day on a laugh - thanks!

 

Maz

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It is so reasuring to hear that others have a never ending pile of paperwork that never seems to reduce...thought it was just me!!!

 

However, on a serious point, it does seem crazy that we all have to do so much out of hours work to keep our heads above water.. I understand that many other professions are also expected to do "free overtime", but they normally recieve a "professional" pay structure as part of the deal. Given that most of us work for a pittaance, I would struggle to name any other lowly paid workers who would do these free hours, or be expected to.

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All of these issues could be solved if leaders were given one or two sessions in the setting - non contact. That of course is down to finances but if there was just a little more money for staffing then so many peoples working lives would be improved - or at the least made tolerable. As has been said no other profession has such appalling working conditions and expectations.

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This all sounds so familiar!

As playleader I was in the same position, so now I'm Chair I'm very consious of the work the playleader does and I try my best to support her and the rest of the staff. Obviously I cant do the learning journals or day to day bits but I do the waiting list, claim the grant, book the hall, send out the invoices, follow up paperwork for the visiting teacher and DW and 101 other things. I know the playleader still takes a huge amount of stuff home but as someone has already said, the job has to be lived and breathed when you're in a pack away setting because the time constraints are massive.

Can you ask your committee to be more hands on? I have offered my services once a week so the staff can take turns catching up with their key children. I realise people work and so dont always have the time to offer, but a comittee should be doing lots of the jobs the staff are currently doing in a lot of settings. Luckily we seem to have a comittee at the moment who are prepared to put in the extra help, although strangely its parents and ex-staff from years ago who are the most active. Its just the way it is unfortunalty. The work has to be done by someone.

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This all sounds so familiar!

As playleader I was in the same position, so now I'm Chair I'm very consious of the work the playleader does and I try my best to support her and the rest of the staff. Obviously I cant do the learning journals or day to day bits but I do the waiting list, claim the grant, book the hall, send out the invoices, follow up paperwork for the visiting teacher and DW and 101 other things. I know the playleader still takes a huge amount of stuff home but as someone has already said, the job has to be lived and breathed when you're in a pack away setting because the time constraints are massive.

Can you ask your committee to be more hands on? I have offered my services once a week so the staff can take turns catching up with their key children. I realise people work and so dont always have the time to offer, but a comittee should be doing lots of the jobs the staff are currently doing in a lot of settings. Luckily we seem to have a comittee at the moment who are prepared to put in the extra help, although strangely its parents and ex-staff from years ago who are the most active. Its just the way it is unfortunalty. The work has to be done by someone.

 

 

Oh Rea, if only all committee leaders had your ethics!!!!

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Having worked in the sector for over 20 years.. it has always been this way and has never got any better...

 

In fact over the years it has become more paperwork while actually doing the same job. only having to justify it all gives extra work.

 

There will never be a professional wage until funding is increased considerably to cover it... so much has to come out of the funding other than wages...

 

I don't imagine that happening any time soon...

 

It is a job which requires a lot of dedication and understanding by all including our families...

it is not an easy job or one which does not encroach at home..

 

but gives so many wonderful rewards which for me were a big part of the job.

 

Inge

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Having also been a teacher I totally understand what you're saying.

 

Now as Chair one of my main objectives is to try and get all staff to claim for the actual hours that they do. You are so poorly paid that you simply must.

 

I would rather we focused endlessly on raising funds to pay for this staff time than we allowed our staff to work for nothing when their hourly pay is so low.

 

I'd certainly ask your committee for a set number of hours overtime each week that you get paid automatically.

 

Ironically as chair I wrote our SEF and obviously didn't get paid to do it, but probably saved our setting endless hours in overtime!!

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Having worked in the sector for over 20 years.. it has always been this way and has never got any better...

 

In fact over the years it has become more paperwork while actually doing the same job. only having to justify it all gives extra work.

 

There will never be a professional wage until funding is increased considerably to cover it... so much has to come out of the funding other than wages...

 

I don't imagine that happening any time soon...

 

It is a job which requires a lot of dedication and understanding by all including our families...

it is not an easy job or one which does not encroach at home..

 

but gives so many wonderful rewards which for me were a big part of the job.

 

Inge

 

DITTO Inge been in the job for 20 years special rewards are a huge part of my day too :oxD My daughter teacher year 2 and shes also always at the paperwork comes with the job. Its hard but its nice to know we are not alone and when you look at these posts they are all over the country!

Sue

Edited by Bigsue
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I'm adding my name to the growing list of over-worked, underpaid nursery leaders! I did 7 hours yesterday that won't hit my timesheet and that's not unusual! It has definitely got a lot worse in the last few years, exacerbated by new initiatives from on high, but what is important is the day to day work, hands-on, with the children. I don't feel that 2009 nursery is any better than 1995 nursery, do you? If anything I think the children are considerably less advanced, harder to manage etc.

 

I resent the fact that my experience counts for nothing and that my qualifications will soon be unsuitable too. In fact, I am thinking of stopping altogether at Easter. My husband and I thought that life would become simpler once both our girls were at uni, but all it has shown is that it's nursery work, unpaid and neverending, that is eroding our lives!

 

Sorry, moan over! Anyone know where Tinkerbell with her magic wand is?!?!?

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Ironically as chair I wrote our SEF and obviously didn't get paid to do it, but probably saved our setting endless hours in overtime!!

 

Suzie - do you hire yourself out? we havent even started our SEF yet!

 

Hope your group realises how special you are - Our committee are great, unfortunately this year they all work, but they put there all into fundraising.

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I'm the secretary and 'business manager' of our setting and don't know how you all cope!!

 

Our setting is our own so no pack away for us. But our leader and assistants still never get on top of things even though they are paid an extra hour non contact time each week for updating children's records.

 

I do the wages, deal with all HR matters, invoices for parents, funding, accounts, SEF, have updated all polices and procedures and keep the charity commission happy!

 

So to those of you who do all of that, in pack away settings and actually work with the children too - I salute you :o

Edited by Guest
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I'm adding my name to the growing list of over-worked, underpaid nursery leaders! I did 7 hours yesterday that won't hit my timesheet and that's not unusual! It has definitely got a lot worse in the last few years, exacerbated by new initiatives from on high, but what is important is the day to day work, hands-on, with the children. I don't feel that 2009 nursery is any better than 1995 nursery, do you? If anything I think the children are considerably less advanced, harder to manage etc.

 

I resent the fact that my experience counts for nothing and that my qualifications will soon be unsuitable too. In fact, I am thinking of stopping altogether at Easter. My husband and I thought that life would become simpler once both our girls were at uni, but all it has shown is that it's nursery work, unpaid and neverending, that is eroding our lives!

 

Sorry, moan over! Anyone know where Tinkerbell with her magic wand is?!?!?

 

 

I must agree... preschool now is very much the same as in the past, having gone though all the changes and back to learning through playing ....

 

I worked until my son left uni, mainly as my wage supported him, once graduated I gave it a while before leaving for same reasons.. realising it was the job cutting into our lives too much. I had enjoyed it all and still go back to read but it is now at my choosing, and all pressure removed so much fun!

 

Inge

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there are soooo many of us all in the same boat.... i have done sooo much paperwork at home, i spend every evening doing it and all weekend doing college work..... i think our hubbies/partners need a medal for putting up with it....... we are a pack away setting even if i was given time at work to do it i have no idea where i would do it, we have one hall, small kitchen and a cupboard, soo no office to work in, the only option is to do it at home.

I do believe our families, other halves at home have to put up with alot, we give up sooo much of our time, my hubby says i do charity work!!!!

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