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Key Person Who Can Not Grasp The Basics!


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What more can I possibly do to get a key person to follow the setting's planning, observe her key children and basically do her job?

 

I am at my wits end! This member of staff did level 2 training 8 years ago, she began the cwdc level 3 training last september but gave up by Christmas! No matter how much time my deputy and myself sit down with her to explain the planning it just doesn't seem to go in.

 

It seems so unfair that her group of children are suffering, she doesnt know them, pulls them around by their arms (yes I certainly did address this) constantly questions them "whats this colour?" "How many is there?" "What is that number"?

 

I don't know what to do, she doesn't want to do training.......................

 

Please give me some advice, this has gone on for 10 long years, with me as Manager for 4 years and yes I do take some of the blame but all the rest of the staff are able to tell me all about their children, what stage they are at, what their next steps should be, and how they are going to progress them. I feel exhausted at the end of each day and feel that I am picking on her trying to tell her what to do all the time.

 

HELP

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I completely sympathise with you. I have two practitioners like this, and I'm literally at my wits end with them. They too, constantly ask closed questions. In planning they only focus on colours, numbers, shapes and the alphabet....AND THAT'S IT. after continuous discussions it doesn't go in. I actually lost my temper with them both last week, but they seem to pull their socks up for a couple of days and then it slumps back down.

 

I don't understand it, because the issues I have with their practice are things I was never taught, stuff I just naturally developed or just simply did.

 

I feel your frustration!!!

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I think the way to go with this is to look at job descriptions and tighten up (or introduce if you dont have already) an effective supervision/appraisal system. At the end of the day if their job description says they should do xyz and they aren't, your supervisions should show how you are supporting that but if you don't see any improvement, then you may have to go down the disciplinary route. Yes noone likes doing it, but actually if they were doing any other job and not doing it, they would probably get fired in the end, so why should our profession be any different?

 

This is why it is so important have a good appraisal system, regular supervisions, a good induction programme and probationary period and regularly updated job descriptions which are signed.

 

Good luck

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I am in a school so not totally aware of how you might run things but are their not any procedures that can be carried out due to staff members not sticking to their job description and carrying out duties? Do you carry out professional development with them? If not could you start, they could have targets to stick to for a set amount of time and if they don't then this will give you evidence and you could set consequences?!

 

Pulling by the arm alarmed me.....have they not hurt anyone yet....if not it will not be long untill you could be facing alot of questions and some serious problems.

 

We had a nursery nurse who was not carrying out her duties so was put on a professional development plan and had short targets to stick to, we also got HR involved so she could be let go if improvements were not made, after all it was breaking her contract!!

 

good luck

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I dealt with this same situation last year. We had a staff member who just did not have a clue no matter how many times we went over it!. In the end we decided that to take her off of being a keyperson was the only option.

 

She was not happy but we explained that if she would be willing to do some current training or showed good practice assisting the others with their obs/sticky notes then we would reconsider at her next staff appraisal. She has since told us that she finds it less stressful now she doesn't have that pressure to be a keyperson and likes just coming in to play with the children. She has other duties instead and has been more helpful to the other keyworkers sharing what the children have done in their play.

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Just got to empathise too - I have two like it! Been the same for 2 years with me - nothing say makes a difference - tonight I'm in bed with a migraine wondering why or how much longer I can stand it - I love working with the children - I HATE managing a team of 7 women - I have been a manager for 6 years and I must be nearly ready to finish - it's so stressful time after term after time - same old problems - unfortunately I don't know how to move on - circumstances are such I need to work - and I've worked so hard to achieve an Outstanding nursery - sorry I went on a bit - I will watch this thread with interest xx

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the only way to deal with it is through 1.1s/supervisions and training. If they have done training and you have explained time and time again and given time frames to improve and staff havnt done then you have to withdraw them from being a keyperson and demote if you feel the need too.

I have also been in the same situation and it is extremely hard :o

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perhaps try something radical like videoing her playing with the children and then play it back to her getting her to evaluate it.Or do some peer observation and get others to evaluate her practice. What about a two stars and a wish also where evryone gets to say two things they like and one they need to work on for colleagues, These sort of things focus your attention on the exact issues(which can get muddied after a while when you get cross!) ultimately you need to decide to work with her and develop her or if she has no potential then you must consider a disciplinary line...good luck :o remember if you get rid of her there is a cost implication to recruitment and training but it may be worth it in the long run.

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Thank you all for your replies. I must say I was amazed and somewhat relieved that I wasn't the only one in this situation.

 

I have been through all of her folders today and listed what needs to be done, I will have a meeting with her tomorrow and discuss when I want her observations etc finished by. Was thinking of the week beginning 31st October when pre-school resumes after the half term.

 

Can I say that she will recieve a verbal warning if they are not done?

 

Thank you again

Debster

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Hi, I have had similar problems so sympathise. I love my job and know what I want to happen but find confronting staff difficult! We have a staff member who doesn't like to change nappies (who does?!) but rather than maybe ignore it if she notices a dirty nappy, she has on several occasions not only made a comment such as 'phew someone needs a clean nappy' but also asked who their key worker is as they need changing!! We don't stick to our own key children for changing as we don't all work full time and it works for us as to drag a key worker away from what they are doing seems silly if someone else is available. I know I should have just spoken to her directly but chickened out and had it as a staff meeting item.

 

Anyway, I would have also suggested taking her off key working, supervision, targets and peer observations. I personally don't use anyone under L3 as a key worker as I don't think it's fair that L3s get more money if L2s are doing the same work.

Do you do in-house training? You could get everyone to recap on the systems you use then.

We get paid per key file that we complete in our own time (if you see what I mean) and I don't authorise the payment if the files aren't done properly. Could you introduce something like that?

You should certainly set her some targets and one of those should be training I think!

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Thank you all for your replies. I must say I was amazed and somewhat relieved that I wasn't the only one in this situation.

 

I have been through all of her folders today and listed what needs to be done, I will have a meeting with her tomorrow and discuss when I want her observations etc finished by. Was thinking of the week beginning 31st October when pre-school resumes after the half term.

 

Can I say that she will recieve a verbal warning if they are not done?

 

Thank you again

Debster

 

 

quote]

 

 

Some great advice already. I have had a supervisory meeting with a member of staff and used the job description as a guide, which is thankfully quite specific, asking her if there was anything on there that she did not understand. I then said that it was fraud to take a salary and not do the job (she had been happily taking a back seat). I then asked her to tell me how she was going to achieve the targets that I asked her to set herself, and monitored it on a weekly basis, moving to monthly. I monitored her performance noting when she had worked well and when she had not with specific examples.

 

 

I would suggest that you record such a meeting, get her to sign the record to say it is accurate. Like you I had tried to motivate her for too long. My sister who is in HR gave me a good tip. At the first meeting, record something like...so this is the 3rd time we have had this conversation (or however many times) and get her to sign it. You need to show and have evidence of how you are supporting the member of staff to do her job. You could say that you want to help her to achieve her job description in an effort to avoid having to go down the disciplinary route. I don't know how long you would need to do this or how much evidence you would need to gather but I think you need to do this before jumping in with giving her a verbal warning. That is my feeling.

 

My member of staff saw how serious I was and has upped her performance. I am still having monthly monitoring meetings with her.

 

Good luck.

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I'm in total sympathy with all of you in this type of situation, over ten years as a manager and have had a few like this in my time, lots of good ideas here, the main points as people have outlined are meet, record whats been said, list targets/actions and get it signed . It's a bit like what we do with the children and behaviour, action = the consequence of that action. Need to be careful with disciplinary stuff, make sure you keep a log of metings etc, if you are going to issue a written warning, or consider sacking you have to follow the three stage process ( ACAS website explains it well.) Plus you need to seek your support, who do you bounce things off - assume you are committee led, so talk to somebody ( maybe the Chair) but don't share with too many on the committee as you may need to form an discipilnary/appeal panel and they need to be untainted to do this. Early Years advsiory team may be worth talking to also, we have a personel officer on ours and she is fab with stuff like this.

Good Luck :o

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Hi all

 

I have spoken with this particular member of staff this morning, I gathered up all of her paperwork and we sat and looked through it together.

 

I pointed out all areas that I thought she needed to work on, told her that I wanted to help her as she was obviously struggling. She admitted that she was, so I have organised for her to bring in all of her observations so that she can put them into her child's records Monday afternoon, that way if she has any questions or difficulties then I would be on immediate hand to assist her.

 

I am not holding my breathe for too long as one of the things that she had written as an observation was "date Toby showed his particular characteristics" under PSED Dispositions and attitudes. She had no idea what I was talking about when I asked her what characteristics did Toby show?

 

Ah well it's the weekend and lots more work to plough on with, not to mention my SEF!

 

Stay tuned to see what happens on Monday!

 

Thank you all x

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Hi all

 

I have spoken with this particular member of staff this morning, I gathered up all of her paperwork and we sat and looked through it together.

 

I pointed out all areas that I thought she needed to work on, told her that I wanted to help her as she was obviously struggling. She admitted that she was, so I have organised for her to bring in all of her observations so that she can put them into her child's records Monday afternoon, that way if she has any questions or difficulties then I would be on immediate hand to assist her.

 

I am not holding my breathe for too long as one of the things that she had written as an observation was "date Toby showed his particular characteristics" under PSED Dispositions and attitudes. She had no idea what I was talking about when I asked her what characteristics did Toby show?

 

Ah well it's the weekend and lots more work to plough on with, not to mention my SEF!

 

Stay tuned to see what happens on Monday!

 

Thank you all x

Hiya

 

Like many others I've had staff who just don't seem to get it, even after training and discussion. It raises the issue of the level of understanding and often literacy some staff have being too low to do our job competently, it's just not good enough anymore to just be able to 'play' with children.

It takes a long time and a very specific process to 'get rid' of a member of staff without being taken to tribunal for unfair dismissal. As previously suggested, you need to have evidence of meetings and discussions, action plans with time scales etc, allow witnesses to attend etc etc. Acas are very good, they publish loads of booklets that can help and they also have a helpline.

I think if you set her small, so hopefully achieveable targets, often, you might have more sucess. Also Ive been a trainer and an assessor aswell as a manager and find that very simply put written step by step examples help.

Could she be dyslexic at all? Just a thought as I have a member of staff who avoids any paper work as she has to concentrate so much more to do it, so needs peace and quiet, not easy in a nursery! I asked her room leader to find her extra time to complete her learning journey's, but even then sometimes nothing gets done!

This sounds mean, but if you ever need to make staff redundant ( hopefully not) you need to use specific evidence based criteria to score each member of staff, and keeping children's records up to date could be a criteria ( which she would get a low score on, making it more likely she would be made redundant over the more capable staff) I know that sounds awful, but it's just as awful if children have adults who can't be bothered.

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I had our development worker from the PLA visit the chair and myself and she helped to make a plan of action specific to our problem, could that be an option?

 

The one thing she said was we must document every time you have a discussion with the person and get them to sign it, as you must be seen to be trying to help them. This is where I went wrong I had done lots of training/supervisions/1 to 1's/various staff helping her, over quite a few years but foolishly kept thinking that would make it better, but it didn't/hasn't and because I haven't documented it then I can't use any of it in our defence/case (strong words but you know what I mean)

 

As we are a charity run group we can't afford to not have her as a key person, not sure of anything else that could be done?

 

The PLA lady also said we should be doing 1 to 1's every month with ALL staff to set their targets!

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This employee really needs to either step up or leave.

 

If you find it difficult to go down the disciplinary route just think about whether the staff member is meeting the children's needs, and how you would feel if because she didn't support them properly that they were disadvantaged and didn't have the best start in life that they could - which you could have avoided had you taken the right steps.

 

Sometimes you really have to take that view point and not, like myself on many occaisons, thought it would get better - but given the attitude and understanding of your employee - it more than likely won't.

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  • 1 month later...

Latest

 

Have spoken to this staff member on several more occasions now, although not formally. Tried to give her assistance, finding out what she doesn't understand, and basically now know she is totally clueless!!!!

 

Her comment to me about a child with some SAL difficulties sums it all up;

 

"C1 said bue and geen, when I asked him what colours he was painting, do I write that down?"

 

and

 

"Arn't we allowed to write anything negative in children's learning records?"

my answer to that was, but why would you want to write it? she replied "Cause he can't do it"!

 

I rip my hair out on a daily basis because it beggers belief!

 

Sorry just had a particularly difficult week.

 

Have enlisted the help of my deputy who thinks I have the patience of a saint to keep going over and over things with her.

 

I have lost the will to live!

 

Thanks all for listening............

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Latest

 

Have spoken to this staff member on several more occasions now, although not formally. Tried to give her assistance, finding out what she doesn't understand, and basically now know she is totally clueless!!!!

 

Her comment to me about a child with some SAL difficulties sums it all up;

 

"C1 said bue and geen, when I asked him what colours he was painting, do I write that down?"

 

and

 

"Arn't we allowed to write anything negative in children's learning records?"

my answer to that was, but why would you want to write it? she replied "Cause he can't do it"!

 

I rip my hair out on a daily basis because it beggers belief!

 

Sorry just had a particularly difficult week.

 

Have enlisted the help of my deputy who thinks I have the patience of a saint to keep going over and over things with her.

 

I have lost the will to live!

 

Thanks all for listening............

I can't offer advice but just wanted to let you know you're not alone - I currently have 2 staff who are exactly the same! not sure I am being as patient as I should be with them anymore though, it gets rather frustrating after about the 200th time of telling them anything..... :o

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I've had two like that and it's got a fair bit better through a much more specific 'observation and assessment guidelines' document which is very specific including things like which tense to use, deadlines for when things need to be checked by me before open afternoons etc. reports have to be typed and emailed and I end up spending quite a while editing some but it's an improvement. At the end of each term, I deadlines are met they get an hour per key child paid or TOIL.

 

Lots of people have very low literacy levels in our sector though, despite being level 3 qualified and it's not at all easy to manage this. I have one staff member who does one to one support and has no key children and I copy out her obs. Can't afford to have anyone else not having key children.

 

You have my sympathy!!

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I agree with Catma after more training and still no improvemnt and through an appraissal system if this had been in a maintained nursery or a large supermarket (which is my other part time job!!!) that person would have gone

 

good luck

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also having this problem....sent member of staff on training, had eyfs advisor to do a training session on observing and planning next steps, took all her key childrens learning journeys home myself evaluated all the obs that hadn,t been written up, had one parent ask to change key person due to lack of information in LJ (had compared with a friend whos child has a diff key worker), now has only 6 key children with same non-contact time as everyone else with many more.....and this week 'just forgot' to do her focus keychild's observation to inform next weeks planning :o this as well as lots of time off recently is beginning to cause general unrest in the camp.....

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