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To Close Or Not To Close?


silver genius
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Hi all,

 

well another snowy day here in yorkshire, theres a difference of opinion at the pre-school where i work and just wondered what your views are on this?

 

We are in a pre fab building, and the heaters aren't very efficient keeping off the cold particulary in weather like this. I can't get to the setting, it is up a steep rural hill/lane wht doesn't get gritted.

 

We are in the ground of the primary school which as been closed for the past two days! not safe in the heads opinion...

 

We opened yesterday and had 3 staff and 3 children!! fo two hours new starters.. came at 9 and left before 11am

 

The argument the other staff have is.. they can walk to work and so can the parents and children (but they didnt yesterday!)

 

If we close we have to refund fees and messes up the funding forms..

 

Staff dont get paid (hence they go in and stay and do nothing other than text their own children who are off school at home!!!)

 

I should be working today, but cant but they are open no idea how many children have turned up though!

 

I think we should operate in line with school, if they think its not safe, we should take the same action and then all the parents know what is happening..

 

I'm not bothered that i wont be getting paid, it safer at home and ive got the policies to update and also some of my FDEY coursework to be getting on with.

 

Your thoughts would be gratefully appriciated..

Edited by mk5698
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Our playgroup is shut today and will stay shut while the schools in our LA are shut. Staff have children who need an adult at home. Staff tend to do planning, catch up with key children files, anything that needs doing, that way they still get paid. It needs trust but the evidence speaks for itself when they bring in what they were asked to do. Today myself and playleader are drawing up a new safeguarding policy. Oh joy!

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Hi there

We closed yesterday and are closed again today. I am watching what is happening with the local schools to make a decision about the rest of the week.

My staff still get paid even though we are closed-we use the nursery funding for this. I don't charge fee paying parents. I can appreciate that it is a worry that you won't get paid but is it really worth opening when you have so few children?

I suppose you must make a decision for yourself based on what you feel is safe for you.

Linda

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Hi there

We closed yesterday and are closed again today. I am watching what is happening with the local schools to make a decision about the rest of the week.

My staff still get paid even though we are closed-we use the nursery funding for this. I don't charge fee paying parents. I can appreciate that it is a worry that you won't get paid but is it really worth opening when you have so few children?

I suppose you must make a decision for yourself based on what you feel is safe for you.

Linda

 

Thanks for your replies, im not the leader, but she's is retiring in july, and Im currently doing the role of deputy, and then hopefully taking over as leader. I do think that its not safe the little path down to the building is cobbles and treacherous when icey and snowy.

 

Ive started on the policy and have said 'we will make every effort to remain open but in adverse weather conditions when the school is closed we will also close...

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If the school are closed you'd be mad to open - ofsted would do you for health and safety, risk assessment, I'm sure if anything did happen to a child while coming to the setting.

 

Here's our emergency closure policy in case it helps.

 

Emergency_Closure_Policy___amended_version_without_names.doc

 

As you can see we (I'm chair) pay staff for first 48 hours but I have sent them all little tasks to do :o and I made sure that profiles went home with them yesterday.

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to put the other side - many schools close because staff have to travel distances to get there. However if your staff are within walking distance and can get there (and are willing too) then I can see why they would wish to work and hence get paid. It is very hard to not get paid when you are able and willing to work. Also if the premises are open then funding stays in place. Each setting has to make their own decision.

 

(Plus of course school staff get paid whether they are in or not!)

Edited by Chill
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HI have just had a phone call from the setting there are 3 staff in and 1 child, and 1 child coming for lunchclub and afternoon session in the setting and 2 staff staying!!!

 

I think its crazy, the electricity, heating, etc we are using for 1 child surley out wieghs the argument to stay open!

Id not thought of it from a welfare point of veiw with regards to ofsted...

Edited by mk5698
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to put the other side - many schools close because staff have to travel distances to get there. However if your staff are within walking distance and can get there (and are willing too) then I can see why they would wish to work and hence get paid. It is very hard to not get paid when you are able and willing to work. Also if the premises are open then funding stays in place. Each setting has to make their own decision.

 

(Plus of course school staff get paid whether they are in or not!)

 

I think they are only willing to go in because of the pay issue.

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Health and safety should be your first priority and your risk assessemnt is that it is unsafe to be on site both outside and inside if you can not heat the building sufficiently and you should therefore be closed.

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Hopefully all their parents are stuck at home doing that with them. Just made a very odd looking one with mine.

 

Last year we built an igloo - you make snow 'bricks' using a plastic toy box and then go round in a circle, leaning it in slightly each time. Now that was a project!

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we too are closed and I will open if the school opens. As said staff have children off school or have to travel in. We do not charge parents who pay for lunch club but the funding covers staffs pay. If parnets protest when we get back then we will look at offering extra sessions to make up for funded sessions lost but its states in our policy only if it is possible to do this!

i definitly would not open with one child. :o

Andrea

Edited by Andreamay
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I work for a local authority, as a parent I still get paid if I am prevented from going into work because my normal childcare arrangements are not available due to emergancy closures.

 

I too would have thought risk assesments would dictate that if the schools are closed, then the pre schools should also be closed. I do feel that the staff should also get paid and spend the time planning, updating paperwork etc..

 

Do the local authority expect parents to get refunded from the nursery funding if the pre school is closed due to weather? :o

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we are attached to an infant school who opened yesterday so we did today they decided to shut so we have too our other feeder school for our out of school club is open however I thought H&S was an issue so have informed the parents that we are not available. I don't think it is fair on staff to come to work especially as the buses etc have not been running in our area I have also seen several accidents on the way to work this morning including a car which has run into the front of a local shop. everyone seemed relieved at the decision.

will catch up on some paper work (well maybe sat having a coffee and a scone at the mo)

sue

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hi,

 

we are on a school site too and I always follow what the school decide. we are closed today. one staff member lives very near but the rest of us don't. I will refund fees to parents who pay for hours on top of the EYFE or parents of non-funded children. this is costly as at present staff still get paid but I need to put a limit on how long that can continue - will look at SuzieC8's policy (thanks for posting) and maybe amend if that's OK with you SuzieC8?

 

although it seems mean not to pay staff, none of them will be working at all today and weren't on the last day of term when we also closed due to snow. They haven't got folders at home to get on with etc. It seems fair enough to pay them for x number of days per year then that's it. what does everyone think?

 

thanks,

 

A

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Hi Anju

 

You're welcome to amend our policy, we went for paying staff for 48 hours, that's probably as much as we can manage if we're losing revenue from those who pay fees. I would phone the council to check about NEG but I bet there's no one there :o

 

I've suggested that as well as completing profiles staff could also do some research online, read the EYFS (think some still haven't xD ) and brainstorm ideas for planning.

 

I am being mean and asking them to account for where the hours went after chatting with our lead practitioner who suggested I do that.

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I can see where you are coming from asking staff to do work at home but in most cases they are probably like me...I am the very hardworking leader with 3 excellent staff. We are all being paid today but none of us can do a jot of work as we all have 2 or 3 children at home with us to look after (looking over my shoulder saying 'I'm hungry as I speak!)

I would rather be at work having a bit of 'me time' in the working environment!

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There wouldn't be much to do but it's the principle - I'm sure if the staff's own children are too young for them to not be distracting at home, they could work in the evening for a few hours on reading EYFS (excellent ideas SuzieC8!), updating profiles, researching, reading the latest SEF (which I am really struggling to get my staff to do!) etc.

 

The thing is, we dont currently have a policy so staff terms and conditions don't state they will only be paid for x number of days. Don't think we can change this without their consent can we??

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We are not attached to a school, but 4 out of 5 staff can walk to work and are willing to do so in the snow (ratios are still ok with 4 staff).

 

Many of our parents can walk also and do expect us to be open.

 

If you work out how much money you loose, when still having to pay wages, heating, rent etc, it is more than you imagine?!?!?!

 

It really is a last resort for us to close. Last extreme snow day we had, think we still had 9 kids in and 3 members of staff (had a change in staff since then). They loved making snow men and snow angels. Got some lovely pics that day.

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I think given all your circumstances, the school closed and so few children in, I would take the decision to close.

 

I am working from home, on my day off, so had to make a decision to close or not. I waited and waited but decided as it was still snowing and all the middle and upper schools were sending their children home, I made the decision to close at 1 pm based on the information I had, even though the village school was not closing as one of the staff members does not live in the village.

 

The snow has not been very bad in Dorset, and looking at the weather now, it was the wrong decision but hey ho we can only do our best, I thought I was making the right decision at the time!

 

I've told staff to take files home with them.

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we stay open, come what may..........................we can walk in and so can several of the children. Our school closes at the drop of a hat ( honestly, and they take H/S over the top..no angels had wings this year, 'in case someone got an eye poked out'), so, if i was in their grounds, i would do my own risk assessment and do what i felt was safest for everyone. If I closed, I wouldn't charge fees, and i would still expect topay wages, so I would think hard before i closed.........and see if i could make the paths etc any safer ( have done in the past) with slat'grit, or samd. I think everyone has to decide for themselves whats best and what suits your group, but if you have staff willing and able to get to work, then I think you should open.We had loads of fun today with snow men....ours lloked like Iggle Piggle....we used fir cones for hair..no pics, 'cos we went in for hot chocolate, intending to go back out to carry on, and some big lads had booted it over............so we'll do another tomorrow!

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I can see where you are coming from asking staff to do work at home but in most cases they are probably like me...I am the very hardworking leader with 3 excellent staff. We are all being paid today but none of us can do a jot of work as we all have 2 or 3 children at home with us to look after (looking over my shoulder saying 'I'm hungry as I speak!)

I would rather be at work having a bit of 'me time' in the working environment!

 

I'm feeling awful now as I have worked most of the day (for free doing SEF update as I'm committee) and my kids have either been in front of the TV or out playing with a friend! Thank goodness for the electronic babysitter. We did build snowmen earlier and they had a great snowball fight with their mate.

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I'm feeling awful now as I have worked most of the day (for free doing SEF update as I'm committee) and my kids have either been in front of the TV or out playing with a friend! Thank goodness for the electronic babysitter. We did build snowmen earlier and they had a great snowball fight with their mate.

 

You are not alone; I have been amending

Invoices, contacting prospective parents,

Doing index for SEE evidence etc

while electronic babysitter aka xbox holds the fort! We have had a snowball fight with the neighbours though and I've been for a walk with them so not too awful a parent I hope!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fort

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Just wanted to add some reassuring news to this thread.

 

I've been in touch with our LEA and they will be paying the NEG to us for days we are closed because of snow. This means that we can afford to keep paying staff after 48 hours are up, as we only have 2 children at the moment who are not on NEG.

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Just wanted to add some reassuring news to this thread.

 

I've been in touch with our LEA and they will be paying the NEG to us for days we are closed because of snow. This means that we can afford to keep paying staff after 48 hours are up, as we only have 2 children at the moment who are not on NEG.

 

Sorry i may sound thick, but what does NEg stand for? i presume its to do with the funding...

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Sorry i may sound thick, but what does NEg stand for? i presume its to do with the funding...

Nursery Education Grant. You're not thick - its called something different in each Borough, most probably!

 

Maz

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