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Help! Swimming In Treacle!

Hello Kitty

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Bit of background for you first so you don't think I'm a complete numpty... (though I've been here on and off for years so you may know that actually I am one!)

Been in Early Years for 25 years now. Ran a pre-school from 2004-6 when I left to work for a charity doing outreach work and training. The funding for my original post ended and I continued to do bits and bobs for the charity as well as childminding with my husband and some assessing for an accreditation scheme.

Since I left the pre-school, they have had no end of trouble recruiting and keeping a manager, not helped by one particularly awful committee chair who took over everybody's roles, decided to employ herself as a staff member then faked serious illness to excuse all the things she said she'd done but actually hadn't :o

We were in the process of setting up out of school provision when I left and had been working with the Head of the school whose site we were (and still are!) on. With all the management issues, at some point they agreed to take over the running of the pre-school - a double edged sword but there you are.

The Head tracked me down at my daughter's parents' evening in 2009 and asked me to come back as manager of the whole setting - pre-school and out of school. At the time I was newly pregnant and didn't really want to take on a full time job like that so declined. She then put a KS2 TA in as manager which made me xD but I'd had my chance :rolleyes:

Sadly we lost the baby but as we were still going to try for another I didn't regret the decision. Two terms later the TA decided she missed school and asked if she could go back and the Head once again asked me but just for pre-school. I went for the interview but wasn't really that keen if I'm honest and had a migraine on the day so my words were muddled and I kept having to ask for things to be repeated! I said I wasn't prepared to give up my assessing too so I was very surprised to be offered the post! So that was last September and it's been lovely to go back to mostly the same staff that I left and get back to my old role. I had left to do something different and better paid so it was never because I wasn't happy.

So what they didn't tell me was that we were expanding and moving out of our room in a children's centre into a new building to pretty much double or numbers :( plus the out of school provision would be moving out of the school hall and into the new building too... Hmmm

So... it was all going nicely, we moved in, we got over the usual teething problems and looked forward to welcoming the extended provision (well I did!) Then it all went sour ;) The after school club supervisor resigned which would mean yet another attempt at recruiting. The pre-school staff were starting to moan ahead of time about how it would work to have the clubs in 'our' building. I was constantly reminding them that we're all on the same team *rolls eyes!

The holiday club came over first in the summer holidays. We had planned to spend at least two days sorting out resources, relabelling boxes, peg labels, name cards and thoroughly cleaning. After the first day we were told that the holiday club staff needed the whole building and we couldn't be there :( I rebelled and decided I would still do what I needed to and went in the next day and after seeing what I saaw went in again on the next day ummmm!

There was so much bad practice going on as the club was being run by two 19 year olds (the Head's daughter and her friend - both doing teacher training) who, although lovely with the children, had no clue about health and hygiene so we had overflowing bins, tables weren't washed before or after being used for food - there was juice spilt on Monday that was not cleaned off until THURSDAY! I bit my tongue but had to mention some things like the day I arrived to find they had taken the children to play outside but left a laminator on with a sheet stuck in as it had no room to come out the back :( There were lots and lots of things and I was really angry as the Head has often really had a go at us for less in terms of tidiness and we felt these girls had got away with it because of who they were. Well, I got called in to see the Head who asked if I had an issue with her daughter... to be honest I didn't. It was the fact that there was so much bad practice and it would have annoyed me whoever it was!! So we discussed my issues and as it happens she agreed with most of them and it was all fine. Possibly she respected that I said rather than being all grovelly :unsure:

A few days later I got a summons :wacko: bearing in mind this was the summer holidays... I went in only for her to propose that I take over management of the extended school provision. xD

I agreed on the condition that it didn't affect my own daughter as she has some after school activities that I take her to.

So... on the plus side I get to be the person in the middle which will avoid preschool staff whinging about the extended school staff for not clearing away or using 'their' stuff and vice versa. There will be a consistency of provision as one person will be overseeing it. I get a bit more money (or not as it mostly went in tax this month!)

On the minus side I get to work longer hours with less holidays and will see less of my family :ph34r:


So sorry for essay but that was quite cathartic :D


My problem is that nobody seems to know how we should be running. None of us (even the one that resigned) have playwork qualifications and we have brought this up at governor's meetings over and over again. As I understand it - at least one person must have this qualification - is that right? I am level 5 in education (not just early years) and my deputy for after school has level 3 as a TA but I don't know if that's enough... The holiday club staff have A levels but nothing in child-related studies apart from their year at teacher training.

That aside, we have literally gone with self-selection and no planning the last couple of weeks. The ASC is now in the new building which means the children have proper free flow with loads of space outside which they couldn't do before. The deputy says it is so much calmer now and we think it's due to the outside opportunity as they nearly all spend most of their time outside. The activities outside are planned for pre-school and then used by ASC with necessary adaptations such as if we have bikes out at pre-school, they would go away and scooters and hand carts would be left out for the school children who are too big for the bikes! Is that OK? Should we have completely different provision?

Inside we have self selection units and so far they have chosen activities and asked for things they can't find but know we have such as monopoly. We did have a couple of planned activities out to begin with but the children didn't want to do them!

What is the 'done thing'? Are we OK to keep on with continuous provision and self selection or do we have to have planned activities out????

Very few children attend every day so if we were meant to be covering curriculum areas, this would be almost impossible yet we've been told we have to for the EYFS children. Some of these children come in at 7.45 and go home at 6pm. Do we REALLY have to extend their learning for that amount of time? Poor things!


Oh dear this is mammoth and I apologise and am grateful to anyone that has read this far!



ETA my original reason for posting was to ask if anyone uses this site and if they subscribed...



Edited by Hello Kitty
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You might want to read the EYFS consultation/draft frramework - it has very clear expectations for the future that this is what wrap around and holiday providers would be doing!






Thank you for the reply Catma. That's ok for EYFS children but what about the majority that are KS2? They want (and in my opinion also need) to be outside running, climbing, playing ball. Are we ok for them to do this or are we meant to be getting them to do focussed activities? I just feel as a parent it's not what I'd want for my child... Do you know what I mean?

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Guest tinkerbell

Our afterschool club which is run in our school hall catering for R-yr6 often different children on different evenings has an overplan.I talk to the manager each half term and tell her what we are doing in class (eyfs/yr1) eg settling in /autumn.She will then plan activities around these themes whichthe children can choose if they wish.

I have suggested and she has used an idea ,rollof paper (wallpaper) children during the week write down their ideas on the theme or what they would like to do in the club.She would then incorporate these.

I know that at the end of school all the children go out for a run around ,theyhave their own equipment (no bikes)balls ,raquets,skipping ropes, things they can sit at a table with colouring ,woollen threading etc.

She takes photos of the activities and has a display board.The parents are happy with the club.



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Thanks guys. Tinkerbell, our children also go in from pre-school but we don't have themes as such any more... Reception do though so thank you for that, I'll speak to the FS manager about her plans and ask if she wants us to follow those.

What (if any) records do you get from OSC for your EYFS children? Our staff have been making observations but as they haven't been passing them on to us until ages later they haven't been very useful! Now we're all in one place we can put OSC obs straight in with the preschool ones.


EYFS1966 thank you for that. It's £30 which is quite a lot if you don't really get anything from it if you know what I mean... Like here I pay my subs but might not use it in months - even years when I had my other job but I loved knowing I had it there in case :o


Brilliant and again so sorry for mammoth post!

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