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How To I Handle This Then?


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With regard to the taking records home and the issue that i have had - in that I have said no one can take them home to complete as their are photographs etc etc, I thought long about doing this as I knew potentially it could cause trouble - as staff usually find it easier to complete at home - however all staff, except one, have got used to the new way and get paid for their time at the setting to do their childrens development records - but no one can take them home....it is sooo frustrating as I have just been in to work (to do my records) and the staff member who is against the rule has taken all of her key children's records home....

 

I feel cross as I would like to bring mine home this weekend as I would have more time...but I can't physically bring myself to do it as I have made the rule for ALL of us....but she has taken hers home...I agree with her that it is easier but we had situations prior to this rule when people would forget to bring records back in, not do them at home.. if other staff knew she was still taking them home (secretly) I know they would be cross too as they have all worked hard to adjust and find time to come into the setting to do their records....

 

what do I do......1. turn a blind eye to it

2. Speak to her about how this is not acceptable (she will go bonkers-very confrontational)

3. ?

 

Please help....the first thing I thought as I drove away from work was I will have to ask the forum what they think?

 

Thank you

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I'd lock the cupboard on Friday night and check they are all there - just in case one has 'been left out' and say loudly, "Carol, is yours still on the side, it's not in the cupboard?". I'd not say a word for now. I'm too non-confrontational though!!

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Trouble is we all have access and all have keys to the whole setting?Which means she has sneaked in when no one is there? !

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I'd say Cait's plan is a good one and workable especially if she's likely to get very verbal if confronted directly. If she continues to flout your rules and authority though, it will need to be sorted one way or the other for your own sanity if nothing else. Good luck.

Karrie

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I know it's hard but if your policy is no-one takes them home then you have to confront her. You wouldn't allow a child with chicken pox to come in just because mum was confrontatonal would you? I'm not at all confrontational but if I know I have the power of a policy behind me then I stick to my guns. It wont be a pleasant conversation but to maintain the respect of your other colleagues I do think you need to do it. Good luck :o

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thanks for the quick replies.....don't know what to do.....sat stewing.....other staff will be suspicious that she has done her records I think.....aaaarrrgggghhh - who'd be a manager....I am the least confrontational person you can ever meet!

 

I feel sure I will have to say something ?? xD:o:(

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I think our posts overlapped.....thank you I think you could be right as I feel really mad that I haven't brought mine home to do and am sat with a bit of free time.....I didn't want to break the rules and I am the manager so effectively I could bend them - but I like to do the same....it's only right isn't it?

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Hey Karrie......you could be on to something...I could take the filing cabinet keys home? But what if another member of staff comes in to do their records.....may have to say something!

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Oh dear what an awful situation to be in but she has put you there. She has challenged your authority. You are going to have to talk to her about this. It will be hard I know, I hate confrontation myself, but for someone to be underhand and flout your rule, whether they agree with it or not, is an appalling way to behave. Is she going to sneak them back again I wonder? I would rehearse to yourself what you are going to say. Do it straight away when she is in next so that you can get it over with. Be factual and pleasant and tell her how disappointed you are that she has done this. She may well be confrontational but if you are prepared she can't dispute the facts. She has been told she cannot take them home and she has. She has been told the reason for this but she has still done it. She has been underhand. If you have made this decision on the grounds of confidentiality then she has breached this, so you need to decide what action you are going to take depending on her response.

Poor you I would be loosing sleep preparing myself, but you have to assert yourself before matters escalate. In these situations I always ask myself what is the worse that can happen and usually the answer to that helps me cope.

Lots of hugs from me.

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.I am the least confrontational person you can ever meet!

 

Ahem - I think that's me actually! :o

 

I agree with Jacquie - you will have to tackle her..............could you say something like..........."We are not going to have a discussion about this as we have already agreed that folders are not to be taken home, I am aware that you have done so, please do not do it again"...........

 

Hmmm - everytime I try to tackle something 'head on' the only person I upset is myself :( but I couldn't have any of my staff sneaking about like this and I would be miffed if they thought they could pull the wool over my eyes..........

 

Good luck - don't 'stress' about all weekend though! xD

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Is it usual for all members of staff to have sets of keys? In my setting 4 of us have keys to open up the main halls, activity/toy cupboards and outside area but only the manager and deputy have keys to where all the children's and staff information is kept, including profiles.

Karrie

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Yes I think it is a bit much....all staff have keys and can come and go as they please......it is something that happened from the opening of the setting in 2007........ :o

 

I have just emailed the planning to the staff with a note attached to say - "don't forget if anyone has any queries or suggestions please message or put it on the agenda for next weeks meeting" - I give them soooo much opportunity to beef about stuff....I have been expecting confrontation about this.....but now I know why I havent got any as she was never going to stick to the rules.

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I think I really would invest in a new filing cabinet for records and personal information, and lock it when the setting is closed. Do many staff come in out of hours to do their records/profiles? If so maybe you could arrange for you all to do it together at the same or in small groups. I often do mine at the same time as a work colleague and sometimes it's helpful to run things by someone if you not sure about something or just to get a second opinion.

Karrie

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If it were one of my staff members I'd send them a little text to say that I'm in doing my records and I can see that hers are missing and would she send a text back to confirm where she has left them because I'm worried they might have been lost. I'd also put a note where the files should be so that if she didn't see the text she'd know I had noticed that the file was missing.

 

Obviously she isn't going to text back and say she's got the files at home, but she'll know I was aware of what she's done and hopefully she'll sweat a little bit for the rest of the weekend knowing she'll have to justify her breaching the rules, and worrying about what the consequences of her actions might be.

 

Then when she comes in I would ask to speak to her as soon as possible and do what sunnyday suggests - say that you don't want to enter into a lengthy discussion about her taking home the files when everyone has agreed not to, but that you expect her to follow the rule in future. If I was feeling really brave I might tell her that any such breaches in future might be cause for implementing your disciplinary procedures!

 

Good luck shirel - I really think you need to tackle this, in whatever way you feel comfortable. If you ignore it and let her flout your rule then it will have been a complete waste of your time and energy pushing this change in to begin with. And you'll be sending out the message to her and the rest of the staff that you don't mean what you say, and that you're easily intimidated into letting important issues drop at the first sign of resistance.

 

Let us know how things go.

 

Maz

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Hi Shirel

 

Leaving aside the question of whether records should be allowed home, the staff team should respect your leadership as the person who ultimately takes the final responsibility.

 

Regretably I think you do have to challenge this behaviour, try not to think of it as being confrontational just assertive, you are in the right.

 

Do you have an office where you can sit with the member of staff and discuss it calmly,professionally and discreetly? There is no need to get into a debate about whether or not the files should go home, the question is why did she take her files home which is clearly against the rules.

 

Would the member of staff need to be made aware of what will happen if she does take them home again? Is this written into your confidentiality policy?

 

Good luck.

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I write this as i sit at home doing my keyworker! however the leader, deputy and myself have all taken ours home over the weekend to catch up as we got a fit of the giggles on friday afternoon when we were meant to be doing it! but we decided together no sneeking around without others knowing

 

this is a one off and our own fault!

 

but in your situation I agree that someting should be said, i also would hate doing it but why should she not do what the rest do?

 

good luck!

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I agree with everyone else, you definitely have to confront her. Just ignoring it will only make the issue grow bigger and if another staff member discovers it then that will cause even bigger problems and more bad feelings.

 

The problem with big changes is that a lot of the time they come with confrontations attached. I don't mean this to sound as harsh as it's probably going to but if you implement big policy changes you have to be prepared to take the confrontations that may come with it. If you feel this isn't something you want to handle then you need to factor this in to your decisions about making big changes.

 

Buying a new filing cabinet and limiting the number of keys available is all very well as a solution but it doesn't really tackle the root of the problem, ie. the fact that this woman has no respect for your authority. That route also risks alienating other staff who have taken the changes on board willingly on the basis that they can come in when they like to update them. Limiting the times they can do this to times when you (and possibly one other person) are available with a key might actually result in them rebelling against the changes, causing more confrontations than you have on your hands now. :o

 

Hopefully tackling the problem head on will sort it out with minimum of fuss. Don't get into a discussion with the woman on the pros and cons of taking folders home, just stick to, 'This is the policy, you broke it. Don't do it again or the consequences will be...' She knows she did wrong which will hopefully help and if you have set disciplinary procedures that you can mention this will help make your argument all the stronger.

 

Good luck with it!

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I think I would just be straight about it.................' I am aware that several files have been taken home to be worked on, and this is something that we ALL agreed would not happen again. This is as much to protect YOu as a member of staff as it is to protect the children in our care.After recent events in nurseries elsewhere,it is simply not safe, or desirable, for anyone to have photos of the children in their possession at home. I am sending out a new policy to parents, advising them that ALL records will be kept under lock and key out of setting hours and that only designated members of staff ( yourself and one other...................there's no need for others to have them?) will be able to access them. I do not want to have any parent quizzing me as to why some members of staff are able to take them home......nor do I wish other staff to have to question why it appears to be one rule for them and another for you, so make this the last time i have to speak to you on this subject please. If i find that the files HAVE gone home again then i will have to consider disciplinary action against any staff who have done so' and leave it at that? Then, I'm afraid that i would do a 'key audit' and ask for ALl keys to be handed in until you sort out who else, other than you, should have a set and only the one other set should be handed out to a designated person. Maybe then keep a chart on the filing cabinet so staff can sign in whenever they have had to unlock it?

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I know its hard to tackle staff over issues such as rule changes and its great that as a team of staff that you had agreed to this rule but that not the only point as manager if you set a new rule then the staff must respect that rule and when staff ignore you on one rule what else will they ignore?

 

Id be fumeing if a member of staff did that to me but I am not confrontational either so Id probably find it difficult to address the issue but think about it "whose in charge?" you need to assert you position in the setting on principle, you dont need to be confrontational but you do need to let her know in someway shes done the wrong thing and its not acceptable.

 

good luck

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Hi Shire

I was interested to read that you also were tempted to take your records home and that you were frustrated by having spare time at home which you could have used to complete your childrens learning journeys. You obviously decided that you had to follow your own rules. But this demonstrates what a difficult decision you have made and if you find it hide then perhaps your staff member is really struggling. Just to present the other side - sometimes staff need more time to reflect on judgements or find it hard to concentrate in a set time slot. Is perhaps your staff member struggling with her records or perhaps lacking in confidence to update them quickly and accurately. Perhaps you could approach her from a more understanding and concilatory stance.

Just a thought.

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I think Chill's point is valid and well made. I think you do need to deal with the issue but also try to understand why she feels the need to take them home, does she need the peace and quiet to reflect, to make connections (I know I do), does she lack confidence in her ability to complete the records, is she unable to come into the setting to do the records out of hours due to childcare commitments, is there a partner at home who is not very supportive of her coming into the setting.

 

From the point of view of child protection, if you have staff coming into the setting on their own to update their records what is to stop them making copies of photographs at that point to take them home and use for their own purposes? Please don't think I am being critical, just playing devils advocate!

 

You know that like you I am learning so much in my new role, thanks to the informed opinions from this forum.

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I think that both Debs and Chill have made very good points and hopefully this will come out in discussion with the staff member as you work your way through whats, whys and wherefore. To be honest I have always taken this sort of work home myself, as I find it impossible to concentrate with lots going on around me. You need to be very clear in your reasons for your rule, but do need to listen to her point of view and both come out of this with a good relationship intact.

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I don't think the text is a good idea, as it could be held to constitute harassment - if she is off duty then you aren't her manager and therefore shouldn't be contacting her at home about work issues.

 

Narnia has a good approach, framing it in terms of safeguarding and sticking to agreements.

 

Do you have monthly supervisions? That is a place to raise issues like that.

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Another thought about the locked cabinet containing the files. Our key person files are openly on display in the main playroom next to the office. They do not contain confidential information, this is kept in one registration folder in the filing cabinet in the office. Our key person files are openly available in an effort to highlight their existance to parents, staff and children, to make them easily available to slot information in to or to share with children, eventually I would like the children to be able to say 'can I put this picture into my file' and then do so either independently or with the support of staff. Anybody looking at a file would be seen by everyone so I do not consider the possibility that a parent might look at another child's file as an argument not to do this.

 

Just another viewpoint.

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Thanks so much for the discussion....I do feel quite confused about how I feel about it all.....I made the rule as I felt with the safeguarding issues being highlighted at the moment and the situation prior to this was not effective.....staff were not doing their files just transporting them in and out of the setting in a bag - I wanted to give them a space, a time and relieve some of that pressure of taking it home as well as regarding the safeguarding side of things. This staff member does TOO much paperwork and that may be the problem.....she is really brilliant at writing up her records and takes time to cross reference everything with too much detail really......and that is the reason, I think, that she cannot do this at work - it is brilliant that she is so detailed but it really does stress her out. Her personal situation is not something that I think hinders her from working at home or work much - any more than any of us....we all have our committments, different home arrangements - my reason for not especially singling out personal circumstances is that all others have committed to this new way without question and so I cannot be seen to make excuses for one person...the other staff really do have their lives just as full as she has....don't we all.

I think the crux of this for the staff member is that she is generally anti-government and seems to be on a crusade.....she doesnt want to follow rules and historically has singled herself out as not doing what has been asked of her - she scrutinises the EYFS constantly picking out sections that in her opinion are not right or things that should be in there are not......now this is all great with regard to her interest in her work bit she is a level 2 and part of me thinks if she wants to be in management or have more of a say of how things are done she should maybe go for the EYP, she has a degree in an unrelated area. (she would never go for any other qualifications and despises the fact that you need a degree to manage!)

I am telling you some background to help you understand the type of person she is.....she is lovely, but hard work, and confrontational, argumentative and upsets the apple cart quite a lot......however her opinons and comments are sometimes really helpful in making me think about stuff.....it's just it happens on whenever she is in...she works two days a week.

 

Part of me is thinking do I go back on what I set out to do with the files?

I know other staff will be furious if they discover she has taken her files home..........but like some of you have highlighted she has told me she can't do it at the setting......and part of me thinks well too bad you will have to learn to cut back on what you write and adapt like we all have.........

 

I don't think the point about any other staff member taking pictures home of the children is a worthy point as my main worry and a point raised at a safeguarding course was "How do you know who comes into your staff members houses?" "Who may get to have a look at the files sat on a table in someone's house?" - so it's not the staff I am worried about - just the children..................I feel so mixed up about what to do...I know I need to confront her and I will - just pretty sure I will get an argument and lots of facts and figures thrown at me........... :o

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After reading all previous posts you have received some very good advise. However, speaking from experience

(and also being a non-confrontational Manager) it is far better to have a private light hearted 'chat' sooner rather than later,

as the more time that goes by, the bigger the 'situation' becomes. I also think staff will respect you more if you do tackle

the problem immediately rather than brushing it under the carpet, hoping it will go away. Issues that are left and not discussed seem to build up to bad feeling and create an atmosphere which is not good for either staff, children or parents, so take a deep breath, keep calm and go for it! :o

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I wanted to give them a space, a time and relieve some of that pressure of taking it home as well as regarding the safeguarding side of things. This staff member does TOO much paperwork and that may be the problem.....she is really brilliant at writing up her records and takes time to cross reference everything with too much detail really......and that is the reason, I think, that she cannot do this at work

 

 

I know I need to confront her and I will - just pretty sure I will get an argument and lots of facts and figures thrown at me........... :o

 

 

Shirel I think your reasoning is sound and good practice (even I cannot achieve it myself and would ideally like to aspire to.

 

I keep trying to explain to staff that an observation is only useful if you use that observation to do something, change something, add something - is all this work benefititing the children?

 

Would it be worth trying to find out what her underlying values and beliefs are, how does she believe children learn best, what does she see as the role of the adult?

 

In response to your last point that you will get lots of facts and figures thrown at you, you could try the 'broken record' response, not getting into a debate, simply quietly and calmly restating your position over and over again.

 

Relationships at work are tricky things, I'm not sure what I prefer the confrontational, argumentative type or the non-confrontational, nice to your face but stab you in the back type as soon as your back is turned!

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