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Help! Ofsted!


Jeany
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I would really like some help getting my head around the following.

 

 

We have received a letter from Ofsted saying they have received a complaint about our setting. The complaint is that there have been several incidents of two children bullying, hitting, biting and slapping other children.

Now we have had no complaints to us direct.

We do have an idea of what the complaint is about and who has made it. We suspect the complaint is regarding 2 children with SEN, both of whom do at times lash out.

We always record these incidents and inform both sets of parents. We do our best to avoid these situations but can't always sto the incidents occuring.

We had applied for additional funding for the child that is the most likely to lash out( for one to one) but was turned down.

 

 

So that is the background, the bit I need help with is how to respond to Ofsted. The complaint is literally

 

The complaint is that there have been several incidents of two children bullying, hitting, biting and slapping other children.

 

How do we respond to the complaint? The letter asks us to give background information, what we have in place and what we will put in place.

 

How do we respond when we feel there is not an issue of bullying. No child has been targeted.

 

How do we open the letter without sounding overly defensive?

 

Any help would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks

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I'd call Ofsted for advice. They can't tell you what to put in your report, but they will advise on the general way you need to approach this situation. Ofsted will probably want to see any policies or procedures that relate to children's behaviour management, and how you report these incidents to parents.

 

Given that you only have suspicions which children are being complained about, I think it would be inappropriate to discuss the needs/behaviour of these two children, even with Ofsted. When a parent complained about me to Ofsted they gave me all the information I needed, so that my report could be specific about the details of the complaint, what I had done to sort out the problem, whether I had followed procedure etc.

 

In your case without knowing the specifics of the incidents that have led to the complaint, I think you can only really write a report to Ofsted stating how you handle incidents of this nature, how your reporting system works, etc. Then you could write a more general paragraph stating that you do not feel children are being bullied, and state your reasons why you believe this to be the case. Personally I think very few pre-school children are capable of bullying in its truest sense, but that is just my viewpoint.

 

Oh and although the complaint hasn't come from a parent directly, I'd write it in your complaints book straight away, so that you can show you're taking it seriously and that you're following procedure.

 

I know how horrible this is, having been through it (I still break out in a cold sweat when I see the parent who complained about me) but my advice would be to try and keep calm, get advice from your local authority development worker and document absolutely everything. There are strict deadlines for submitting reports following a complaint, so I'd make sure you know when you need to reply by, and ensure you register it when you post it so that you can check that the report has been received at the other end.

 

Tempting though it is, I wouldn't mention anything to parents at this stage - but I can imagine you must be looking at every parent you talk to and wondering if it was them.

 

Good luck, Jeany and I hope it is speedily resolved.

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I have nothing to add, having never had a complaint of that sort to deal with.

Our complaints proceedure tells parents how to complain, direct to the playleader, then to the committee and then to Ofsed if it isnt resolved. They can obviously go directly to Ofsted but I'm sure we would all prefer to try to resolve issues in parentnership with the parents rather tahn having a letter out of the blue.

I'd try not to worry too much, I know we all traditionally slate Mr and Mrs O but I really do think they deal with complaints objectively and fairly.

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Hi Jeany, didn't want to read and run but i think Maz has covered it perfectly. Not sure if you are PSLA but if you are maybe a call to your advisor to ask for guidance/support if you feel you need it too.

Agree with Rea Ofsted really are fair when it comes to things of this nature and really do want to help resolve issues that may have been raised.

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Thank you so much for your replies..

Happymaz, my thoughts were similar to yours, with regard to disclosing information about individuals when we haven't actually been given the full details.

I will put it in our complaints book, I hadn't thought of that so thank you.

Rea our complaints poilcy is the same and I would have been more than happy to work with the parents, however they obviously felt differently. It is upsetting as we generally have a good relationship with our parents.

Bridger we are members of the PSLA but contacting our advisor isn't an easy task. We do have a development officer with the LA who is very good and I am waiting for her to return my call.

 

How would you open the response? Would it be ok to put that we were shocked to receive the letter as no complaints had been made to us? Sorry for all the questions, I have all our policies etc ready but I am struggling with the opening of the letter.

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How horrible for you, what kind of parent would put their child in your care but not feel they should come to you first with any complaints?

 

I think something like: 'We were very surprised to receive your letter, as we have had no indication from any of our parents or carers that they were dissatisifed with our setting. We have a clear complaints procedure, and this information is given to parents ...'

 

Good luck.

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How horrible for you, what kind of parent would put their child in your care but not feel they should come to you first with any complaints?

 

I think something like: 'We were very surprised to receive your letter, as we have had no indication from any of our parents or carers that they were dissatisifed with our setting. We have a clear complaints procedure, and this information is given to parents ...'

 

Good luck.

 

I'd also go on to say you're happy for them to visit at any tme (include your opening times, we updated ours recently but Mrs O still wsnt sure of them) when you will be able to show them your incident book and discuss any other details. That leaves it up to them how they want to proceed.

If you have copies of parent surveys/questionaires available get them dusted off too. Good luck :o

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A horrible situation - you must be looking at every parent wondering "was it you?" ....

 

Great advice already given and, from experience, I can honestly say that Ofsted were very understanding and supportive while they investigated.

 

The first I knew of it was a phone call. The Inspector never flinched, even when I cried! I immediately said she could come and see me straight away and she did indeed arrive the next working morning. She asked if I had any idea what the complaint could relate to or who had made it. I showed her copies of my daily diary and those of the children present on the day the complaint referred to and I talked her through what had happened, how I'd dealt with it and how I'd communicated the incident to all the parents at the setting.

 

In less than 10 minutes she announced that there were no grounds for the complaint, she complimented me on my record keeping and policies and said that if the parents had passed on a copy of the information I'd given them on the day of said "incident" they wouldn't have troubled me at all as it could have been dealt with from the office!

 

The more information you provide with your reply the better... copies of policies, copy of your incident log (children's details can be blanked out) and the background information you provided in your post. This will help Ofsted decide whether a visit is necessary or not.

 

Good Luck!

 

Nona

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Hi

 

just wanted to send my best wishes to it must be very upsetting for you. I think everyone has covered the adivce be an open book that is all you can do. Particularly as there is no details about what the complaint is about.

 

hope all goes well

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thought I would update after you were all so kind. OFSTED have replied to our letter and are happy with our response and will be taking no further action.

Huge sigh of relief all round.

 

 

Thanks again for all your help.

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So pleased the matter has been resolved for you. Even if you think that you're doing everything correctly its disquieting waiting for a 'verdict'. Enjoy the rest of your week! :o

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