Jump to content
About Us

Help As La Rapidly Withdraws!


Recommended Posts

Am hoping some of you can give some advise on this one as am feeling a tad out of my depth!


Right, the situation in our LA, as in many others, is that the support and resources that we have had under the Labour Government is rapidly being withdrawn under the Coalition.


Without going into the ins and outs of what is quite a unique set of circumstances I would like to know if anybody has any experience/idea of what we, as providers, can put in place to fill the gap that will be left.


So far the area seems quite divided, largely into childcare operating from a business perspective/those that think they wont be affected and those of us who operate as charities and seem to have drifted together through similar circumstances and a common aim (to maintain quality despite what's happening)!


A couple of us have decided to take decisive action with the backing of approx 50% of settings. We have formed a kind of unofficial lobby group which has to some degree at least provided some answers, trouble is I guess they weren't the ones we wanted :o


So, am trying to formulate a cunning plan! How would we go about forming a more official group? The aim being to provide support to each other, coordinate and share cost of training (rather than buy into the package LA are proposing and therefore lining their pockets) and I guess just pooling our resources and expertise, bit like FSF actually!!!


I had a chat last night with a former provider who suggested using the PLA who are not active in our area anymore. I have called them today and their very keen to meet up etc. What concerns me is that they haven't been active here for many years and am not convinced.


Can anyone tell me how they operate and are regarded by others nationwide? Or can anyone suggest a different model we could use to move forward from here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Time was when the PLA would have been the first point of contact for support, and having been employed by the Alliance in an admin capacity, I have to say that the development officers I worked with were extremely passionate about improving practice and as an organisation, the PLA are committed to the development of the individual as well as supporting children's development and learning.


I'm sure I read somewhere recently that the PLA have just won a three year contract to provide early years support services for a Local Authority (was it Essex?), which is a bit like turning a full circle back to the 'olden days'.


I'd be interested to know how your proposal would work - how would you pay for it, and how would you negotiate the service level agreement? How will you decide what 'quality' looks like and how best to obtain the support you need to improve standards/develop practice?


It sounds very interesting though, and I'm very interested in what you said about there being a divide between types of groups and how they feel they will fare in this brave new world. I'll be interested to hear how you get on!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest Maz just feel so over my head at the moment.


Have spent the last few weeks making damn sure that evrey word I say is correct and that I've got the evidence to back it up. What's the point in arguing with politicians who, despite regurgitating the conservative party line, really a/ haven't got a clue and b/ just don't give a S***.


It truly isn't just about my job, the teams jobs, our setting, children or famililies. It's about the bigger picture, how the hell are you supposed to get these people to understand that what happens now to these three year olds really does effect their life outcomes? It doesn't seem to matter what I spout at them, or what they say in response, I know they don't really believe it.


And I just feel that unless we all stand together we don't stand a chance, can you ever really fight the poxy system and win? Just spoke to a colleague who's head has asked who I am!!! Apparently I was mentioned in a meeting with conservative cllr and heads just prior to preschool meeting! Despite 50% signing the initial letter, according to him (what he's telling others) it's a couple of "trouble makers" that are making waves!!!! Am now scared of being used as a scapegoat.


I haven't been in early years for more than 6 years, so never been involved in this kind of 'reform' before. It seems so unjust that were treated with such a lack of professional respect and disregarded so easily. I check myself at every move I make, I don't do it alone, I'm forever the bloody professional so what is going on???


Feeling very vulnerable, don't know who to trust and am knackered! I know very little about politics, just that they are shafting us from every which way at the moment!!!


Definately a 'divide' forming. I guess because I'm passionate and articulate it's easy for some to sit back and watch. It's heart breaking to see settings close and the vultures swooping to make a profit.


Maybe it's time to take a step back and let it all go through without a fight, just wish it was in my nature!


rant over :o very sad from down south.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there moo20, I wonder if you can clarify what is happening in your LA? When you say they have withdrawn, do you mean that they have lost jobs and therefore there is no longer any support (eg Senco, EYAT, development officers, training etc)? Presumably you are still getting your funding?


Or is it that there is still a skeleton Early years team who therefore have to stretch their resources further, and cant provide some of the things they may have done in the past.


Do you have a timeframe for this to happen?


So onto what you do next? I think much depends here on whether you wish to lobby for a rethink, which given that council budgets are set in advance would be quite a challenge. or whether you are thinking more on a practical level..ie how to we continue to work, access CPD and support each other as practitioners?


Which types of settings are particularly vulnerable to closure? Is the fact that the LA may be withdrawing its support actually the reason you are concerned about this (eg not about fewer children in the area, or about being unable to offer flexibility in entitlement etc).


I think what I'm very clumsily trying to say is that you need to unpick what the actual issues are. If there are a number of issues, list them along with your colleagues, and what you consider to be the reasons for them.


Finally, do you have children centres in your LA, and can you approach them about a place to meet, and for support, or is this not an option?


Im sure others will have different advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moo i think Mundia has some good points there. I wonder wether you are suffering what we are all experiencing but at a greater degree. I think a lot of La's are in a very difficult position and there is just no money out there. Some budgets have been cut by nearly 10% and services have to reflect this but they still have year on year costs to increase. If you feel that they are not providing basic help then either your MP or the pla would be a good point to start from but you do need backup and you must be sure that solid support is there. The local authority are really an advisory service to most of us and the level of help (or interference!) differs greatly. I rarely see anyone from our authority and usually only at my request. I often read posts on here and think that there is a lot of help available for some settings especially paperwork backup... our LEA produce very little ...its up to us, but that has always been the case and we are used to it, i quite like it but then i can be a bit odd xD Like Mundia says sit down write it down and create a rational argument..are you getting a break over easter? maybe you need a bit of a rest to gain some clarity :o

thinking of you :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mundia,


am feeling a little calmer this morning! Have been working so hard that I think yesterday, being the last day of spring term, I crashed and burned!


Concerns are;


Lack of communication/information from LA has been appalling. Obviously leading to confusion and uncertainty. This relates primarily to timescales for changes, 24 hours notice in some cases!!! (we are always the last to know)!


Training has been withdrawn, I think we've had a brilliant programme that has really benefited us and the children. Word is that we will have to buy into a training package but no information on how this will look or the timescales involved.


There is a reorganisation involving going from a 3 to a 2 tier system. Those of us on school sites are not receiving info on time scales. i.e. in our case we have been provisionally offered a site on adjoining land, will have to reregister as in new post code, pinning this down as a certainty and getting dates for move is near impossible!


No funding or support for move. Site offered needs complete refurbishment!


The LA has implemented new lisence agreements across the board for settings on school sites. The idea being to regularise rent and terms. This has actually resulted in increases of thousands a year for some. As it is now to be based on size and the site we're being offered is double what we have now, well, the maths aren't great!


On top of this reorganisation in two areas (including ours)! Will lead to one out of four schoold closing. We are in a strong position but consultation has been delayed AGAIN!


Don't get me wrong, LA staff at ground level have been fantastic, and thank god we are retaining many of them, including EYDW's. Although how their work will be implemented is uncertain.


We have had a meeting with Cllrs which highlighted many of these points, commitments and apologies were made and I felt, as others did, that we presented our case with clarity and professionalism. I am quite vocal, especially when talking about early years! Therefore seem to end up being spokesperson. This has obviously not gone unoticed which worries me.


I just want to ensure that we can retain quality under the pressure. Not just for our setting as this will be achieved regardless, but for early years as a whole!


We feel as if we can't rely on LA at the moment and would like to get a safety net in place to offer an alternative model of support I guess. Realistically I have no idea of how this would work, hence getting the PLA back in the area. I also think they can lobby on our behalf which would allow us to step back from the firing line!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This year, many schools are facing the same situation. Some are setting up a group to buy in and share services, tailoring these to their own needs and plans. Could you not set up your own alliance/consortia to do this - you would as a group, get better prices than an individual setting. I know it's probably not something you want or had planned to do, but it could be an excellent opportunity for you and your development esp as you don't seem convinced by the PLA who have not been active in your area for some time and probably won't know the lie of the land or have the realtionships with other providers you may have.


Good luck and keep us updated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Blue,


this is what I was thinking along the of and don't mind the setting up etc, I think it would be a good oppotunity for networking and sharing best practice more widely too. How has this been set up in your area? Any ideas on where to start? As you've said I'm not sure how well the PLA will be received, it could be that settings are reluctant to rely on another organisation although I feel it would be good to have the National backing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I think the heads have had informal discussions and got together then set about negotiating with people. All down to networking I think!


In a previous role, we as coordinators who knew each other got together once we heard that a company had offered one school one price and us another. We bargained and got the price down lower! Although this was our single aim, it did bond us together so to speak and we started our own networking group supporting each other. We're still in touch even though some of us are no longer in the area.


If I were in your situation, I'd get in touch with the people you know best, would they like to meet to chat re: situation with LA, then over a nice cup of coffee, tell them that you are thinking of setting up a group - would they be interested? Then if they are, set out what your priorities are in terms of the support you think you might need as if the LA was still operating e.g. training, CPD, advice, etc and then look for providers.


Have you a good person who you have been working with and rate highly at the LA who may be free or being released from the LA that might be interested in supporting you in setting up as a group or advising you on how to? Perhaps as a group of interested parties, you could buy them for a day or two and split their daily rate between those of you who are interested. This cost could then be incorporated into a 'joining' fee for new settings or something like that.


I wish I could help more!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think schools will already have some local structures in place through the extended school networks which were put in place under the previous govt. The new regime is (in my opinion) taking the LA out of this and expecting "school to school" support to be the primary driver for quality improvement. In my LA these networks are inclusive of the CCs as they are ultimately the responsibility of the LA but not PVI settings. They already pool their resources/staff to support each other but there were extended schools cluster managers who "brokered" this. They won't exist as schools get all the funding now to do it themselves :o !!


The govt's agenda is to do away with centralised LA funding for anything - you want it you have to broker it and pay for it!!


So, there might already be clusters for your area you can approach to see what the current set up is and that you could tap into???


Be aware that redundancy clauses may ban LA staff from working in that LA for periods of time after their redundancy is effective. In ours it's 1 month but I have heard of higher.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)