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As the supervisor of a committee run preschool I find that I am increasingly feeling very isolated and 'abandoned' even...we barely see our chair now as shes working, the rest of the committee drop off and pick up children through the week but apart from that and essential errands they may run for us (at our request eg supplies for cleaning..) they are just like any other parents at the group...see them no more no less apart from meetings.

We dont see our advisor unless we call her in (and I do that only as a last resort) ...and so I'm just feeling we staff are just left to get on with things and that is how it is expected to continue...but I feel I want / need more.

Im not a natural leader and I do appreciate the opportunity to talk through issues or seek advice and I feel guilty doing that with either the chair or advisor because of their workload and the fact that I feel they both expect me to deal with it all (never had any specific management training).


What Id truly love to know is how much day to day, week to week input / contact do other groups expect a chair / committee to have with the group...and is this isolation really how it must be?

If it was my own buisness id expect to be handling things 'on my own' pretty much (which is precisely why I dont have my own!)

I feel no one is looking out for me, ensuring my training needs are met (I have appraisals but its been 6 months and no written feedback / report), monitoring the team / group as a whole...keeping an eye on 'the business'....unless something goes wrong in which case its obviously all my fault anyway becasue apparently I should be able to keep things ticking along on my own.. I feel it is MY performance and effectiveness being called into question :o

I personally feel I need that ' buffer' - someone who takes co-responsibilty??? Like a business partner would I guess... I feel like more contact is essential and we need to figure out how that can happen.



Anyway just trying to get some other views really - so I know where things stand generally.

Reading this back it seems confused but basically - im asking is it just me and am I just expecting too much?

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Trekker - I own my own pre-school - so I know what you mean by some isolation and "the buck stops here" feelings. As a committee run group I feel you do deserve more back up from your committee members, maybe there are one or two who could help out more if the Chair is over-stretched with other commitments as well. Do you have a good deputy you can chew things over with - would you be able to timetable a special time for you and one other say every couple of weeks, just to touch base quietly together over a coffee or something?


How about suggesting a Bonding Team Night somewhere with staff and committee just so that you can all feel more of a group. We quite enjoy bowling nights, but the bowling alley isn't that far away and easy for all to get to, or just a pub evening sometimes, quiz night at one of the local schools.


You do deserve support Trekker because it is obviously something you want - just got to find a way of getting it!

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trekker - i know exactly what you mean, we just had our second meeting in 6 months -and were told they didnt want to keep having meetings !! it is very difficult.

we hardly see our committee - and when you do, we feel as if we are nagging as we have to 'save up' all our problems /queries /questions, for the odd occasion when we do see them.


not sure what the answer is really. i know when i was on the commitee we made sure we popped in at least once a week for an update - if a situation occured we ensured we came into the setting to make sure everything was ok and if our help was needed, and we made sure we were available if needed. by working this way we never felt we were being nagged -as things were dealt with as they came up.


do your commitee know how you feel ? i would get together and try and find a way of 'managing' that suits all of you.

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I took over as leader of a committee run pre-school last year, and think I'm really lucky with my chair. I see her every day as her son is at pre-school, but we also communicate all the time by e-mail. I also have an admin person who is paid, which is wonderful, so I speak to her for all financial type queries. As for the rest of the committee, I have very little contact, they are just like any other parent really. I have to say though, that the last leader left because (as I understand it) she didn't want much contact with the committee, and wanted to run it all by herself. I wonder if your committee realise how you feel. Perhaps if they did they would be more supportive.

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Yes committee do certainly know how I feel but it is their understanding that I am responsible for the day to day management - they just employ staff and liase with Ofsted / ensure the paperwork is all up to date re insurance, finances and do fundraising etc and so they are keen to step back and do that which is fine to a degree but my feeling is there should be some regular informal contact just to check up / touch base in between meetings or everything does just get backed up and meetings get taken up with 'small stuff' rather than planning, taking action on what could improve the setting

I know they are all busy and all volunteers (which is why I do try not to go to them unless I feel its necessary) and I put up with things being unfinished / overdue (eg appraisals) because if you 'nag' (and you really dont mean to!) theres always the threat of them resigning.

I also understand that different committees want / have varying degrees of involvement and thats fine too but Im just feeling that the contact is just too infrequent ...I think it is harder because this committee / chair did start off very involved and very motivated and for a while it was fantastic but now I feel its all tapered off - we are seemingly 'set adrift'. Chair was going to make regular visits after work but that never happened.

I do / did share a lot with my deputy - ideas, issues, strategies...but then after being told other staff felt I was favouring her I tried to reduce that but if I cant talk to her or to the chair who's left?


Ah well...guess I'll just muddle on.

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[You should definitely talk to your advisor - that's their job. They might think you are fine and don't need any support, but if they know, they will want to help. Someone in your LA early years and childcare team will have responsibility for working with committees. Particularly since the Plymouth serious case review came out, there is an expectation that committees will be making sure that staff have regular one to ones, which you don't seem to be getting. Also, does your LA have some kind of quality improvement programme or the EYQISP? Part of that review should include discussing the committee's involvement.

I do understand your concern though that pushing the committee too hard might lead them to give up the role.

Edited by Guest
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Oh my trekker its as if you have read my mind in the past and they are my thoughts. So i really do know how you may be feeling.

I certainly felt this way last year although i have a fantastic staff team, and i invest lots of my time and skills to keep it so, but sometimes, just sometimes i feel quite alone up there.

One of the ways i have tried to change this situation is to suggest that each month i would like a committee member to come and share a session with us and to get to know the staff team and some of the daily challenges we face. So far this is working really well with lots of our fifteen members keen to come in and do just that.

The chair and i speak often, or text, and the committee meets each month so that any issues can be dealt with swiftly.

I think a heart to heart with the chair maybe the best idea to see what can be changed if anything.

Don't forget you can always come on here for support. xx :o

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There are 2 types of chair, people like me and Rea who take a personal interest in the setting and want to support the staff, others (who wouldn't be posting on here) are just doing it to help out their kid's preschool.


I don't think there's an easy answer but I really sympathise with your predicament.

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Trekker, I've been deputy, playleader and now chair, part of a deputies job description is to support the playleader. Who said you were favouring her? What a bizarre thing to suggest! :o


You need to have professional discussions with your number 2. You have staff meetings all together I presume, our staff have them every two weeks officially but chat at the end of every session.

The deputy and playleader get together now and then for different types of chat and I chat with the playleader. Sometimes its no more than how maddening our other halves can be or what our own children are up to, but its a pressure relief valve that you cant take into the setting but which might impact on your working life.


I read from your post that you doubt your own leadership and management skills but not that anyone else has doubted you. I doubted everything I did as playleader, still do to be honest, but ask yourself, are the children happy? Are the families happy? Are the staff happy? Go from there.

Your chair and advisor seem happy with you and are prepared to let you get on with it. I think thats a huge acknowledgment of your abilities, they are confident they have a good manager at the helm.


Reinstate the meetings with your deputy, tell anyone who dares to question these professional discussions to grow up and send your chair a weekly email, breifly discribing the week to her, the up's and downs and any concerns that have arisen. She and the committee are the employers and need to be aware of what goes on even if they dont respond, you've told them and some of it is their responsibility.

Dont try to take everything onto your shoulders.

Edited by Rea
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