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Staff Problem


silver genius
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Hi all,

 

not sure what to do but just about at the end of my tether with the lot of them!! I took over at the start of this term as Senior, the previous senior couldnt handle the paperwork etc and at 60 decided to take semi-retirment she is still doing 2 days.

 

It's come to light that yesterday (my study day) so not in setting! that the 3 members of staff have been having right old moan, not following the planning, do just what they want the routines i've set in place apparently arn't followed on a Tues! what this is doing to the children i dread to think.. 4 days a week they do things one way and on the other day they do it all differently!! should add that we only have 3 staff on at any one session, and one of them is the old senior now doing the deputy's role!

 

what do i do? do i confront them? i'm ready to have a showdown, but thought i best calm down before speaking to them!! any suggestions, i dont do confrontation but kinda feel i need to set my stall up before things get out of control...

 

It wouldn't be too bad if they actually talked to me about the issues they have, but to hear from a 3rd party is not good

Edited by mk5698
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My early years consultant always offers to have meetings with staff if I want to change something. Fortunately my staff are all very supportive but if they wern't I would take up her offer. She always puts my next steps on her report so I just show staff the action plan.

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could you 'pop in' on your off day for something you forgot to take or whatever and challenge them 'on the hop' as it were? If they thought you might drop by, would they change their attitude?

 

What actually are they doing when you aren't there which is giving you cause for concern? We occasionally have 'free days' when we apparently do 'nothing' (in point of fact sometimes we get more from this than a regular day) We'll drag out things from the backs of cupboards and wash things down and mix everyone up a bit, group-wise. It means I get chance to interact with children who'll be in my group next year and children from my preschool group can go back to their old keypersons for some catch up and a show off of their special books etc. (I don't mean that to sound as if we're really formally divided, because we're not, it's just that children in the 'top group' like to feel a bit 'grown up'. you know?)

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could you 'pop in' on your off day for something you forgot to take or whatever and challenge them 'on the hop' as it were? If they thought you might drop by, would they change their attitude?

 

What actually are they doing when you aren't there which is giving you cause for concern? We occasionally have 'free days' when we apparently do 'nothing' (in point of fact sometimes we get more from this than a regular day) We'll drag out things from the backs of cupboards and wash things down and mix everyone up a bit, group-wise. It means I get chance to interact with children who'll be in my group next year and children from my preschool group can go back to their old keypersons for some catch up and a show off of their special books etc. (I don't mean that to sound as if we're really formally divided, because we're not, it's just that children in the 'top group' like to feel a bit 'grown up'. you know?)

 

Where do i start, snack time which is supposed to be self service in an afternoon, for the older ones (this came from ofsted, not enough opportunities for independance) was a group time with staff giving the children what they have to eat and drink no choice.. I have just implemented self selection in key areas (again following LEA advice) staff put out set resources no chance of choice i.e. two sponges to paint with instead of a basket with a selection of 20 in which i must add i had set up and left out the previous night, so they had put them away!

 

I guess im just a bit touchy, and think i will pop in next week, and see what they are doing!! and what they have got out...

It's the moaning I'm finding hard to deal with and the fact that the deputy failed to back up what we are doing and why!

They havent given things a fair chance there are bound to be teething problems to begin with but after 2 weeks you cant just give it up as a no go can you?

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No, two weeks isn't a fair trial at all. Perhaps you have tried to change things too fast for them? Obviously I don't know the answer to that, but I know that if I change things too quickly for my staff then they can dig their heels in

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No, two weeks isn't a fair trial at all. Perhaps you have tried to change things too fast for them? Obviously I don't know the answer to that, but I know that if I change things too quickly for my staff then they can dig their heels in

 

AHh well they are very set in their ways and one member of staff as been there 19 years! and doesn't do change at all, always looks for the negative and never sees the positive, says self selection and giving the children choices and more independance will only lead to choas, and more work for her, when it comes to tidying up.

 

I have tried to reasoning with her and said well we dont have to set up quite so many activities in a morning now with it been self selection, so dont have to start as early, however we will have to spend an extra 5 - 10 mins at the end of the day setting straight for the next day...

but they just cant see it.... the last pearl of wisdom was " why do they need to move things across the room" i ask you they are 2years old and all heavily into transporting.

 

my big fear is that on a tuesday they curb this exploration and the staff all use over loud voices rather than calm voices when i'm in the setting, a couple of parents have made off the cuff remarks that for a small person she as a very loud voice! when im not there!

Edited by mk5698
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I can sympathise with you in a massive way though I don't have so much the moaning - or i might but no one has ever said lol.

 

Were a small setting too - 4 staff including myself but mainly just 3 of us in. My problems lie with my deputy. She thinks she is fantastic but i beg to differ in some areas. Despite having a rota she never follows it and always manages to wrangle her way out of doing something. She is driving me nuts so I am off to do some assertiveness training to help me out.

 

It's hard being a small staff team and I have been in post nearly a year and made massive changes without consulting any of the team but it was what the setting needed and without them we would have failed Ofsted.

 

Still got a long way to go but feel I need to be more assertive with deputy first before doing anything else as i know she does just what she feels like, when she feels like it and it's driving me potty.

 

Any tips lol

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Hi two weeks certainly isn't long enough to make an informed decision as for your snack-time and how to offer it.

I also have staff that have over 20 years service and i'm only a newbie really ha ha with 14years. I always discuss any changes proposed at our staff meetings with the rationale behind the decision for this change. I also keep the dialogue open so that it will be evaluated and decided upon by........? normally at the end of a half-term by the whole team.

 

As for running a completely different session when your not there reminds me of whilst the cats away the mice will play mentality, yes i would be going in and having a look.

Can i ask are you committee run, if so can they not go into observe what is going on in your absence.

On a lighter note great to have a" what shall we do today" when theres no real intention but wow we do have a fantastic time.

Maybe thats what the staff need to know can happen occasionally too.

I'm sure the changes that you are trying to implement are in the best interests of children,staff and parents but sometimes you do have to do them gradually.

Keep going and best wishes :o

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I've been in a similar situation and sadly the only way change has come about is through certain staff leaving. I found it exhausting, physically and mentally, to get everything done the way I wanted. And by "I wanted" I don't simply mean cos I fancied it that way! Like you I had introduced more self selection and independence building but the staff viewed it as a loss of control from them and more work in putting things back together for the next session. Some of the staff, in fairness, tried hard to keep to the new routines and and are now working hard to teach the children how to tidy up so there is less for them to do after they leave. But it has required all the staff to take on board the ideas, and, as I say, this has only really happened since some left.

 

I struggled with this believing it was my fault that I hadn't got them on board properly. However looking back now I know I did all the right things: explaining my reasoning; putting new ideas on a trial and asking for feedback and reacting to it; introducing new ideas to an area at a time so as not to overwhelm the staff; etc. My advisory teacher, who watched the process from a distance, agreed last week that it was simply time for some people to move on and that sometimes that's the only way things will improve. Made me feel a whole lot better I must say.

 

So sorry I don't really have an answer, but at least you know you're not alone!

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I have just introduced some radical new ways of working for my staff (well not that radical but you would have thought so with all the moaning).

 

We consulted the staff, held staff meetings, sent questionnaires out to ask them what their concerns were, have had reviews etc. I however find that if I am not there then they do as they please.

 

My answer would be:

 

Hold a staff meeting. Send out a questionnaire prior to the meeting so that people can put down their ideas on what they think works/doesn't work. Ask them to submit them back to you two days prior to the meeting. This will allow you time to analyse their thoughts and then come back with your rationale on why you are doing what you are doing. Produce some articles that show what you suggest is best practice.

 

You may have to be prepared to give and take a little and take on board their ideas as well, but if you know the new underlying procedure is best for the children then that is the way forward. I would back your ideas up with articles from reputable sources.

 

Tell all staff that it needs to be done as you suggest for one month, at which time another review will be held. However state that once the procedure is in place at the end of the review any staff not complying with what is now the way forward will be subject to disciplinary action.

 

At the end of the day if you know what you are doing is best, if you know the children will benefit, and if the staff don't respect what management say needs to be done then they need to go and work elsewhere.

 

I promise I am speaking from experience. It will never be perfect, but staff have to respect that you are working on behalf of the children and their best interests and not working so they can have an easy day or what is best for them.

 

At the end of the day it's about the settings ethos for the children and staff need to buy into it or move on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

dont mean to be harsh but that is exactly how i would be if this was my staff not following what i had set in place,

 

If you were a big corporate company and staff were not following procedure etc, the disipline route is where they would go!

 

difficult in a small setting but you need to make a stand otherwise you will find other 'not following the routine' days will creep in

 

good luck

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I agree with SueR you do have to really show them who is in charge - even if it means making an example of the worst offender and taking the disciplinary route, I assume you all have policies for grievances and disciplinary procedures ? Often just the threat of what may possibly happen stops the moaning etc , and as somebody atated above the alternative is hope they move on so you can develop your own team ( I did that - took me two years but it was so worth it in the end :o )

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Who's leading the session when you're not there?

 

Have you considered a deputy to ensure standards are the same whether you're there or not? We had the same problem and this worked in our setting. The Deputy and the Senior both have the same vision (and plan together), it's then down to the Deputy to maintain that when the Senior is not there.

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Just caught this thread and it so reminds me of my setting last September....sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I have had a member of staff leave that really didnt like the changes I made only to be replaced by another practitioner moaning and reallu upsetting the apple cart.....on the whole I have a lovely team...but I believe it is a female workforce problem....sorry ladies but its so hard for it to be good all the time...I feel weary with it..same old same old....at least we can let of steam on here..... :o

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I dont agree what you need is staff all singing from the same hymn book, You as a manager need a clear vision and need to be a clear leader, people we employ now have to have come with either an open mind to change or share some of our ideas

 

I am passionate about outdoors, so my staff have to be too.

 

eg we are a free flow, outside down and dirty type pre-school that allow children to take risks.

 

It has been a vision and this has grown over the last four or so years, my staff have moved into that direction if they havent then they havent stayed and people who have replaced them have had to come with these ideas already in their mind or be of 'that way of thinking',

 

It is not easy but we have worked hard reflected evaluated changed and moved forward with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for children

 

hope that makes sense

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I understand what you are saying Suer... but my team have been together for a long time and it is so tiring trying to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet...

I have a day in the office and one morning off, the morning I am not there I am damn sure the door may not be opened straight away...I too feel passionate about the door always being open and the value of outdoor play and it is now sinking in after a year of keeping on...but I still have to deal with comments about being cold, questions like "shall we shut the door no one is out there" and general moans...

I have persisted and that door will stay open no matter what but the truth is if I am having a stressful week it can be the comment that tips you over the edge :o ....

I would love to have ALL members of staff singing from the same hymn sheet and I think probably 70% of the time they are which is great :wacko: ...but the 30% is a constant battle...I think it comes down to be being respected as a manager and making decisions that are respected,

I am judged as a relatively new member of staff still (been there 18 months) and other team members have worked for at least 8 or nine years, one member being there for 15 years, the general belief is that my degree is disregarded and my past experience as a manager doesnt matter xD -

 

"You as a manager need a clear vision and need to be a clear leader," you also need to learn to BE a manager and be capable of leading your team with your clear vision, which can be different in each setting depending on the dynamics and support of your team and your assertiveness - thats the hard part for some of us....I love my job but what it takes out of me on a weekly basis is incredibly hard to cope with sometimes particularly as I do have a family of my own to support....I am 'learning' to manage a team but am pretty sure none of the staff realise how much time and effort is involved in the job of manager.......not much empathy from my team - work in progress - if I can handle the stress... :( :( :(

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Oh Shirel so much of what you say is me. I have been at the helm as we say for nearly eleven years and i still find it difficult at times. I think some of the issues come with the territory of your job role and are sometimes easy and some not so. I have a very clear vision for my group though and my expectation is to cascade that same thinking to the rest of the staff team.Overall i think it is a wonderful environment to work, visit and play and its my mission to keep it so. Something that has aided this is that we have an extremely low turnover of staff, my most recent recruits being over three years now and we also have a male member too, which brings a fantastic dimension to our group. :o

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Thanks for all your replies,

I held a staff meeting this week and gave all staff the opportunity to air any issues thet have with the new systems in place.. surprise surprise NO ONE spoke up!!!!

 

except my deputy... (who by the way is the previous senior, who stepped down) her only concern was that snack time seemed to be a free for all, and some children eat more than others, then they run out!

 

I called in yesterday, to pick up some papers for my coursework! and they were a little disorganised but playing outside, with quite good provision set up..

 

I have the landscape gardeners coming in next week to erect a new fence to enable us to start free flow :o Lord only knows what going to happen then, that is one massive change that is going to have to come in and i know im going to have a battle on my hands, over the temperature in the room etc!

 

Wish me luck

 

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Thanks for all your replies,

I held a staff meeting this week and gave all staff the opportunity to air any issues thet have with the new systems in place.. surprise surprise NO ONE spoke up!!!!

 

except my deputy... (who by the way is the previous senior, who stepped down) her only concern was that snack time seemed to be a free for all, and some children eat more than others, then they run out!

 

I called in yesterday, to pick up some papers for my coursework! and they were a little disorganised but playing outside, with quite good provision set up..

 

I have the landscape gardeners coming in next week to erect a new fence to enable us to start free flow :o Lord only knows what going to happen then, that is one massive change that is going to have to come in and i know im going to have a battle on my hands, over the temperature in the room etc!

 

Wish me luck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUOTE (korkycat @ Oct 24 2010, 11:12) *

I've got these plastic strips from freeflowcurtains.co.uk. It costs about £100 for a standard door and we bought an additional hanging bar for our back door so we can move the curtains to that when that is open. Definitely worth it. We use it all winter even as children arrive as our single open plan room gets very cold very quickly. Well worth having and it makes a tremendous difference. We put a plastic wedge on side of door so that it cannot shut completely so that children have easy access in and out.

korkycat

 

 

Thanks for thats, sadly, we're always short of money, so £100 is a bit pricey for us. I've been online all morning and think I have the answer.

I've decided to make my own. You can buy the strips on a roll on ebay, 100mm wide,2 mm thick. (£32) The rolls are 20 or 50 mts long which is enough for two doors dependent on size.

Just attach the strips to a piece of wood and fix to the wall. I intend to use dowl (a broom handle is perfect) and put it up onto large cup hooks so we can remove it when needed.

This is the theory, I'll get back to you all when I've made it.

 

Advice for the room tempreture. This is working a treat for us.

Edited by Toots
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Mk5698 - keep posting and keep us all informed...much of what you say is what I have been going through...free flow is working so well at my setting now - but a year ago - I was in the same position as you...and also the comments about snack time I have had that too....go with your vision...keep on keeping on and use the forum as a support...I could not keep going without this support....and my advise is to use it and share your woes with us...we have been there and I am frequently having issues - we are all kindred spirits...good luck

:oxD:( :( :(

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As someone who gets cold very easily I do tend to have sympathy with staff who moan about the room temperature when the door is open for freeflow. For those of you with the luxury of having good circulation or just don't feel the cold very much it can seem like staff are just having a whinge and being unsupportive of what you believe is best for the children etc. I firmly believe that freeflow is great for the children, however I just can't cope with having my room door open all day taking the room temperature down drastically. I do dress up warmly with thick jumpers but my hands still turn blue and I can't really wear gloves whilst I teach (and also they don't help much!) Also I'm very small with a fast metabolism so it's difficult for my body when it has to burn energy rapidly to try and keep my core temperature up and this make me lethargic in the same way some people get when it's hot. Eventually after long periods of cold with no chance to warm up I reach a state of high stress and just can't cope anymore (as in I break down in tears and I'm not just being 'silly'!)

 

As managers it might be worth taking this into consideration when thinking about whether it really is ideal to have the door open all the time. I'd like to think I'm a good practitioner, but this is probably the area where I would really clash if I was working somewhere under a manager who insisted on the door being open, I genuinally wouldn't be able to cope. Of course there are many people out there who are just 'having a moan' when it's not really that bad or not dressing appropriately etc, but it's worth considering these things as well. It's also worth remembering that if the room temperature is falling below 15C then technically staff have a case they can take to the union (if they are so inclined).

 

If you have a door children can open themselves is it really so bad to close it if children know they can still open it to go outside themselves? If it can't be opened by children and you can't afford anything to hang over the door then is it possible to prop it 'ajar' with something so children can still push it open to get outside if they can't work the handle whilst still keeping the room a bit warmer. I'm not saying these are ideal, but for some being overly cold is a genuine problem and people are not going to be giving the children their best if they are too busy sitting there shivering (lets face it we can't run around to keep warm all the time!) and sometimes managing staff is about compromising on something you feel is important to protect their welfare/wellbeing if a middle ground can be found that doesn't disadvantage the children greatly. Happy staff means happier children after all!

 

I'm not saying anyone here isn't doing this of course, I just wanted to put the other side of the argument down in the thread for consideration.

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Free_Flow_Policy_without_names.doc

 

Free_Flow_Procedures_updated_March_2010.doc

 

Hi, when we first introduced free flow I wanted to take staff views into account, at the same time as setting a standard. So, taking staff feelings into account we came up with the policy and procedures above. It's not always going to be sensible to have the door open, e.g. if it is minus 5 and a blizzard, as much as anything that is very eco unfriendly. However, I wanted to make sure that staff didn't use 'it's cold/rainy' as an excuse for never going out. You've got to balance staff's feelings with your professional judgement.

 

Hopefully you will find the attached useful.

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Thanks all,

 

Karina I fully appriciate where you are coming from I too, suffer from cold hands and feet in fact today my feet haven't thawed out all day and i still cant really feel my toes.

 

the problem i have is that the staff come to work like its a fashion show and one member of staff is still in crops and sandals :o she's the one complaining about the temperature ! and i have polo neck jumper, body warmer, boots and 2 pairs of socks! and still cold xD .

 

so i do understand that it is finding a happy medium, suzie thanks for the attachments. we had a meeting and drew up a free flow policy similar to your trail one, and have agreed to give it a go until christmas, they thought when i said free flow the door would be open from 9 - 3 however that isn't going to be practical for us so have agreed to open it from 9.30ish until 11.00 ish then in a afternoon from 1.00ish until 2.50ish (we finish at 3.15) so i think it wont be all day.. and see how we get on

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The problem i have is that the staff come to work like its a fashion show and one member of staff is still in crops and sandals :o she's the one complaining about the temperature ! and i have polo neck jumper, body warmer, boots and 2 pairs of socks! and still cold xD .

 

Crops and sandals! That's hardly appropriate dress for this time of year, what on earth is she thinking? Maybe at a staff meeting you should mention something about staff making sure they are appropriately dressed for the time of year as they are going to have to spend some of the session outside and that inappropriate dress won't be seen as an excuse for not doing thing. Hopefully if you stick to that and somehow make sure those not dressed properly end up outside they will soon sort themselves out. I think I'd be pretty horrified if I was dropping my child off at this time of year and seeing a staff member dressed like it was summer!

 

I'm bundling myself up in so many layers I look ridiculous and we don't even have an outdoor area!

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Cait,

they are a chunky hand and it comes with a circle of sticky back on it , peel it off and stick it on the door. It then swivels to stop the door closing completely, leave a few cm's gap, bit like a child's safety door stop but you don't have to keep removing it.

Really reasonble price too.

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Ah Cait so pleased you asked as I didn't get it either :o I still don't really - when it stops the door shutting I'd have thought it would ping off!

 

I know this didn't start off as a free-flow/choice thread but.... I have returned to be manager of a preschool I previously managed and was pleased to see that the rolling snack and free flow play I introduced to MUCH resistance have both remained :D

We only started the snack after an Ofsted action and I said we would trial it for a term then evaluate and then as long as we could justify why we weren't going to continue it would be fine... however it DID work! Would you believe though, the reception teacher has said that 'our' children aren't as able to sit still for their group snack time as children from other preschools! So now we're thinking about reintroducing a group one too - maybe rolling in the morning and group in the afternoon or vice versa!!

Free flow is something I plugged away at and we have had staff claim they 'don't do outside' and my answer is 'er.... yes you do' LOL We treat the outside the same as inside except that they are allowed to run. Apart from that it's basically the same - we have messy play, books, role play, drawing, puzzles etc etc etc and it is amazing to see how children who don't engage in much indoors will sit and do all sorts outside. I love it.

We're 'lucky' in that we have a uniform and all staff got bought polo shirts a jumper and a fleece so we tend to wear all 3 indoors with the door open and then a coat to go out. The children genuinely don't seem to feel the cold at all but I am going to see if they want to try the plastic strips idea. Currently we leave the door open as much as we can but yesterday it was so windy things were blowing about so we did shut it but as our children are so used to being allowed out most of the session they just ask!

 

ANYWAY enough waffle!

 

Stick with it my lovely. You have been employed to manage the setting because whoever employed you trusted your judgement. Do you have staff supervisions? I do these termly and have a 'form' I give them to complete before then we discuss it at the meeting - it's quite simple but an opportunity to say what they like and don't like... if nothing else it gets it out in the open for you to say 'I'm sorry you don't like that but this is why I've implemented it and as a professional I expect you to at least give it a chance.' or something....

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