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Policy Absurdities!


mps09
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I have been reviewing our policies and thought that they were all pretty uptodate and reflectived of our practices and where we should be...

 

but regardless of this I purchased the PSLA policies document and have to say that having read their policies think I am going a little mad....

 

I don't understand where some of their thinking comes from and why it is necessary to have it in a policy.

 

I really don't think it is necessary to have every little aspect of our provision scrutinised and written down ( or am I missing something?)

 

I am actually pretty disgusted that it is considered necessary to write "staff will not make negative comments about a child's genitalia when changing nappies".

 

Do people honestly think that caring, 'suitable' persons WOULD make inappropriate comments unless it is written down that we won't?

 

Honestly, the more detail I read the more ridiculous I think it has become having policies for everying! Obviously some things are legislative, but other's aren't. And parents won't always take any notice - just because the policy says that lunches shouldn't contain sweets that doesn't always happen... xD

 

I could go on because there were lots of things which I just despair at! but rant over.....

 

although I must add that I don't want to issue a document to each new parent which containt 430 pages :o of policy document which they aren't going to read!

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I couldn't agree more - we get the file back signed by the parents to say they've read the policies and agree them, But I KNOW if I was to sit down and read them I'd need the file longer than overnight!

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I know what you mean but i suppose should a staff member be overheard saying something negative while nappy changing its our policy to point them to our policy that they shouldnt say it. After we've disciplined them or sacked them obviously.

 

I find the wording in some of ours a bit cring worthy too, but needs must. We know no-one reads them anyway, but I have just prepared a letter for Sept asking them to do just that.

Spelling mistakes are usually a good way to see if people have read them!

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You make an interesting point, mps09. Have you taken this up with the PLA to see what their justification is? Might be an interesting discussion to have.

 

As a general rule I don't see the problem with making policies absolutely crystal clear about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, and there were lots of clauses in this particular policy that made me really think about our practice and how effectively we safeguard children. The bit about not making comments about nappy contents springs to mind immediately!

 

Policies are seen by students, younger and more inexperienced practitioners as well as the more highly qualified and experienced ones, so having a policy that is very detailed can have a training function as well as a part to play in reflecting on practice. It also tells parents the measures we go to in order to keep their children safe, and provides the criteria against which any complaint will be investigated and dealt with.

 

I was speaking to a parent yesterday who was deeply uncomfortable with a practitioner changing her child's nappy at all during the session - her view was that an enhanced CRB was potentially only a certificate to say that the person hadn't been caught yet. Maybe an explicit policy such as the PLA's would reassure her of the exhaustive lengths we go to in order to safeguard her child to the extent that she would allow her child's nappy to be changed in the setting rather than having her come in to do it herself?

 

Maz

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i agree - i thought we had covered most bases with our policies but have also just ordered the psla ones - we currently have 23 policies and there are over twice that many in the new guidance. However i have recently had a conversation with an advisor which might suggest that we are setting ourselves up for problems because if you have a policy on something and are found not to be doing it then you are legally liable whereas if you dont have a policy you MAY not be.... :o actually the policy about a comment on a childs genitalia is interesting because it doesn't say what the consequences are - its all very well saying must not do but then what??? some of the comments in the policies are rediculous IMO!

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actually the policy about a comment on a childs genitalia is interesting because it doesn't say what the consequences are - its all very well saying must not do but then what??? some of the comments in the policies are rediculous IMO!

Ultimately it is for you to decide what to do if a practitioner fails to follow your setting's policies, and the great thing about the PLA policies is that you can (and should) customise them to suit your own requirements. I took out a lot of stuff from the policies that just weren't appropriate to our setting, and things I disagreed with or knew we just didn't do - just because the PLA considers something to be good practice, it doesn't mean we all have to follow them slavishly.

 

However say what you will about the PLA policies they certainly make you think about your setting's practice because you have to read what the PLA says, and then decide whether it is appropriate, whether you actually do it, and if not whether they provide an aspiration for change.

 

Maz

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Guest jenpercy

You should also be aware that disciplining or sacking staff who can clai "I didn't know I shouldn't do that can be a nightmare.

 

I have been told by an employment advisor of a man who claimed he couldn'tread so he didn't know about company rules. He won his case and was then seen "looking at the pictures" in a newspaper straight afterwards

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It's amazing how a comment by staff........or anyone, for that matter, can affect children, so i wouldn't be too surprised by the PSLA policy advice.years ago, I had one little boy who wouldn't take his shoes off for any activity ( for instance, if we were doing footprints in paint) and it was because he had VERY large feet, that most people commented on when they saw them. Nightmare for his mum when he needed new shos, as it was a battle to get him measured! We currently have another little boy who is eating very slowly and refusing to eat all the lovely healthy lunch his mum packs for him, because one of the other boys, whose mum is uber thin told him if you eat too much, you get fat....which he is merrily passing on to the other children.Most of them ignore him, but it has stuck withis other little chap.Now, we're talking about healthy eating and how SOME things, such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, etc are fine as a treat, but yes, if we ate too many of them it would not be good for us, and we talk about other food and water, milk etc and the benefits of those.

I also think it's sad that there is a need, perceived or otherwise, for a policy such as the PSLA one, but honestly, sometimes you just have to cover all the bases.Maz's point about it being a training tool ( and also a good starting point for discussion) is a good one

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Thanks for your replies - some useful comments - even though I was just having a late night rant :o

 

my point is that if we include statemets of this kind then where do we stop? Do we really want/need policies that point out every little detail of what we do? Is it not enough to have a general rule about positive role models, positive approaches to children, etc.

 

Do I need to include in my policies "staff will not tut and roll their eyes when a child poos themself for the 4th time in one session" - no I just speak to staff member,...

 

And actually, althoguh I can totally accept the employment law aspect, you can't cover all eventuallities and having it written down isn't going to make staff do/or not do something, you would just hope that by employing suitable persons that they will accept/learn by example the most appropriate way to act. But then maybe I'm just niaive working within a 3 person never changing 'team'.

 

Can I have a policies for parents that says:-

you will not send children in white dresses when we're painting or dungarees that they can't get down in time for the toilet

You will not use pull ups and trousers.....

You will not complain that our pencils are too sharp and should be blunted before giving to the children

you will not arrive late continuously disprupting the group

you will not stand watching when another child is distressed and we would like to close the door!

 

you can have rules but common sense has to play a part too!

 

:(xD:(:(

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We currently have another little boy who is eating very slowly and refusing to eat all the lovely healthy lunch his mum packs for him, because one of the other boys, whose mum is uber thin told him if you eat too much, you get fat....which he is merrily passing on to the other children.Most of them ignore him, but it has stuck withis other little chap.Now, we're talking about healthy eating and how SOME things, such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, etc are fine as a treat, but yes, if we ate too many of them it would not be good for us, and we talk about other food and water, milk etc and the benefits of those.

 

Yes............we had a typically 'thin/skinny' (sorry about comment!!) four year old boy that refused to take his knitted jumper off on a particularly hot day - his reason being..."If I take my jumper of you will see all my disgusting fat!!!"

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morning - i agree you cannot (and should not) have a policy for everything - we have often had a joke that our policy on policies is that we will use our common sense at all times :o i have friends in industry who laugh at the quantity of policies it is suggested that we have, there seems to be a pressure that suggests if you have a policy you are covered....this is of course not the case xD

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Can I have a policies for parents that says:-

you will not send children in white dresses when we're painting or dungarees that they can't get down in time for the toilet

You will not use pull ups and trousers.....

You will not complain that our pencils are too sharp and should be blunted before giving to the children

you will not arrive late continuously disprupting the group

you will not stand watching when another child is distressed and we would like to close the door!

 

sooooo familiar, we also have requests to 'hand or spoon feed' children their snack, as they can't feed themslves and we're talking about perfectly capable 3 year olds who do quite happily feed themselves!!!

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One downside of having very detailed policies is that staff have to remember them. If you have hundreds of pages of policy the staff have to read, understand, memorise and put every on into practice in the hustle and bustle of daily life in the setting. Granted the majority will be common sense written down and should be adhered to whether they are in the policies or not. But if you go into great detail you will end up exploring the finer points which staff may misinterpret, forget or simply find confusing and contradictory.

 

I think it's really important to regularly reflect on your practice in detail but maybe a training session where the staff discuss their practice and whether it meets the greater aims of the provision would be a more productive and flexible alternative? Obviously this couldn't happen all at once but regular policy reviews are a good opportunity to go into your practice in more depth.

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Guest jenpercy
One downside of having very detailed policies is that staff have to remember them. If you have hundreds of pages of policy the staff have to read, understand, memorise and put every on into practice in the hustle and bustle of daily life in the setting. Granted the majority will be common sense written down and should be adhered to whether they are in the policies or not. But if you go into great detail you will end up exploring the finer points which staff may misinterpret, forget or simply find confusing and contradictory.

 

I think it's really important to regularly reflect on your practice in detail but maybe a training session where the staff discuss their practice and whether it meets the greater aims of the provision would be a more productive and flexible alternative? Obviously this couldn't happen all at once but regular policy reviews are a good opportunity to go into your practice in more depth.

We used to have very lomg policies. I could not remember myself what was in them. we now, however have 42 short policies of one or 2 sides of A$ - which means updating at least one policy a week of the school term weeks. I DO have a life - I DO, I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I agree with the initial post and can see the points of views of the opposing arguments too. However I cant help thinking that all this 'spoon feeding' has to stop at some stage because I can see a steady decline of 'common sense' 'initiative taking' 'pro active'...ness etc as the years go by.

 

I believe that young people are 'spoon fed' far too much at school these days and it has a knock on effect in the work force and this is why we continually feel the need to keep 'spelling everything out'. It is now also filtering down to the children in our care so i suppose in future years to come we will be held accountable for being part of the cause!!

 

Bring back firm foundations during the initial training period, starting with a rigorous entry interview to cut out 'bums on seats' and hopefully we will reach a better balance.

 

too many policies I fear mean that we live in danger of forgetting the facts of the most important ones

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As a new member and first time responder can someone tell me if there is a list somewhere! of the policies I have to have in my pre school . I.m the new dep manager and trying to make sure we have everything in place for Sept. Some policies are obvious but when I look at the list some pre schools have I could give it all up and run for parliament..maybe a policy on 'common sense will prevail at all times' policy could cover everything instead of #selcting play equipment and toys policy' et al....

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Hi old bag, felt very uncomfortable typing that, firstly good luck with your new position. We have the PSLA policies but as Maz very rightly said we have adapted them to our unique setting. There is no point in having things in them that you know you do not do, or are unable to in a practical sense. They are actually another very useful tool to evaluate your provision on a regular basis. Yes there are a few so we have decided with the committee, and some parents on board to take so many each term to look at and adapt and change if deemed necessary. xD:o

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As a new member and first time responder can someone tell me if there is a list somewhere! of the policies I have to have in my pre school . I.m the new dep manager and trying to make sure we have everything in place for Sept. Some policies are obvious but when I look at the list some pre schools have I could give it all up and run for parliament..maybe a policy on 'common sense will prevail at all times' policy could cover everything instead of #selcting play equipment and toys policy' et al....

Hi OB and a very warm welcome to the forum - keep the posts coming now you have made a start! :o

 

There is a list of required policies in the Statutory Requirements book in your EYFS pack

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One of my summer holiday (?) jobs is to review all our policies and I have the psla book as a starting point - we too have lots of policies some of which have come about because of quality assurance scheme demands so you might want to check requirements there as well as as Sunnyday says the national standards.

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Not all QA schemes have the same requirements though. I think if you start off with the ones that are actual requirements it will give you enough to do for now! Add any others that you think you might need on top of those afterwards as you feel you want/need to. My policy list was slashed almost in half by the PSLA book (thank you thank you!) So we adopted those after making them pertinent to us, and then worked through what we had in our old ones by either adding paragraphs into the PSLA ones, or just updating them and adding them as they were if we felt we still needed them.

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Thank you so much you lovely lot! I now know where to start looking and building a useful policy file. Looking forward to lots of reading and filling those long summer days with - paperwork!

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From a different angle, an Outstanding Childminder (in my opinion as well as Mrs. O's) colleague has ONLY the required Policies and Procedures so that others can't be held against her. For instance, If she has told parents that she will do something a certain way, they might complain if she does it differently. Of course it's different when there are more staff and consitency must be observed.

 

I have lots of policies written down so that I remember how I should act in certain circumstances.

 

Welcome OB, look forward to seeing that name on here lots.

 

Fe

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You should also be aware that disciplining or sacking staff who can clai "I didn't know I shouldn't do that can be a nightmare.

 

I have been told by an employment advisor of a man who claimed he couldn'tread so he didn't know about company rules. He won his case and was then seen "looking at the pictures" in a newspaper straight afterwards

 

We've been told that all staff should read the policies and sign on the back on them to say we've read and understood - to cover preschool in the event of a staff member saying 'But I never knew I shouldn't smack the children! You can't sack me!' To which we would then reply 'But why did you sign this then, saying you understood we mustn't use physical force, and that if we need to to use appropriate physical intervention, we'll record it and get the collecting adult to sign? You've got no arguement, now never darken our door again.'

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Hello ladies

 

I have read your thread with interest as I too am sitting here on a lovely sunny august day reviewing setting policies!!

 

I was wondering do you add a written mark/date to your policies to say when you reviewed them and then do you get the chairperson to sign them off at the next committee meeting????? Just not sure how to show this on each policy. I am desperate to demonstrate that we have strong policies, procedure and an involved committee as OFSTED will be due in October and I have lots of time to sort this out properly at the moment, having sorted out my operational plan, training plan, admissions and everything else.............Our staff could never know these policies by heart but the all know where they are and if they were unsure about anything they could look it up or refer to them at home via our website.

 

Happy hols to everyone

 

ginge99

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Guest jenpercy
Hello ladies

 

I have read your thread with interest as I too am sitting here on a lovely sunny august day reviewing setting policies!!

 

I was wondering do you add a written mark/date to your policies to say when you reviewed them and then do you get the chairperson to sign them off at the next committee meeting????? Just not sure how to show this on each policy. I am desperate to demonstrate that we have strong policies, procedure and an involved committee as OFSTED will be due in October and I have lots of time to sort this out properly at the moment, having sorted out my operational plan, training plan, admissions and everything else.............Our staff could never know these policies by heart but the all know where they are and if they were unsure about anything they could look it up or refer to them at home via our website.

 

Happy hols to everyone

 

ginge99

 

you should certainly have the date reviewed poss also the next review date in the doc footer

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Hi ginge99, at the bottom of each of our policies it says signed (date) and underneath is space for chair and 2 members of committee to sign and date it sometimes also staff and more committee members depending on policy. Then underneath that it states review date. We now have a committee member responsible for monitoring the update of new policies as ours should really come through the committee albeit it written by me!

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