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Learning Journeys+Confidentiality


shazzam
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Hi all

We are having our appraisals this week, they're being done by chair and vice chair who have asked to see our learning journeys. i'm not feeling right about it as they are parents at the end of the day and i wouldnt dream of showing someone elses childs journey to another parent!

what do you think?

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Hmmm....that's tricky! :D

I'm probably not the right person to help you as I have no experience of committee run groups :unsure: could you have a conversation with them pointing out your concerns.....if you add something about all folders being of the same 'quality' (are they?) might that 'satisfy' them?

 

Sure someone with better experience of committees will be along soon! :1b

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What are you concerned about Shazzam? Would you have concerns about showing a learning journey to another member of staff? Your Chair and Vice Chair are in effect your employers and are responsible for all that goes on in your setting. So long as you have a clear confidentiality policy I can't see why there would be a problem, really.

 

Like sunnyday I'm not an expert on committee run groups, but as the owner of my group I would certainly expect to have access to learning journeys for all the children in my group, and I don't see much difference between my role and your Chair's.

 

I'm interested to know why they want to see them though!

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Being from a committee run group I would say no to this. My reason would be that any parent is entitled to put themselves forward to join the committee, and in the future it might the shoe on the other foot so to speak. You have a duty to keep confidential certain information which might be in their Learning Journeys. If they have concerns about the level of quality then they need to delegate that supervision to someone involved with the care of the children, such as a manager, who would already know the potentially confidential information. I would hope that once it was explained to them, the committee would be satisfied with this response. If not I'd check with your early years team before giving them access.

 

edited to add: in reply to Maz, yes they are the employers so essentially part of the staff and subject to the same rules of confidentiality. However in my experience they aren't all that good at detaching their personal from their professional. There's an argument to say that as volunteers (often out of their personal comfort zones) who can blame them for this.

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That's an interesting point, Holly. Surely committee members are party to all sorts of confidential information about the families who attend the group and are well versed in the need to maintain confidentiality and not discuss individual families or children outside of committee meetings or other committee business.

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Don't really understand why they want to see all LJ's though, seems like there might be another agenda?!(the synic in me thinks!)

I guess if it says in someone's job description that they should be keeping learning journeys up to date then they want to look at them to make sure? sunnyday may have your answer though - asking the parent's permission might resolve the original concern.

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That's an interesting point, Holly. Surely committee members are party to all sorts of confidential information about the families who attend the group and are well versed in the need to maintain confidentiality and not discuss individual families or children outside of committee meetings or other committee business.

 

Not in my setting - any info is kept anonymous - we would NEVER discuss family names only circumstances.

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ok my feeling is that i always think of the committee like the chair of goverors in a school....they would be entitled to see an example of work but they are not entitled to individual files on children (to my knowledge) in your confidentiality policy what does it say? in the psla one parents only have the right to see their own files after applying in writing and thats for their own children!! I would discuss your concerns with your chair .

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Information about individual children is confidential and there is no reason for anyone other than the parent, child and staff to be looking though their journals, although OFSTED would look at samples if they were visiting. As a School Governor I would consider it the relevant staff members role to check that the LJ's were being done properly, but I might ask to see an example to verify that what I was being told was happening was actually what was happening. I would expect a staff member to talk me through how they approach the LJ in order to understand how they record the children's learning, and then how they then use their knowledge about a child, but in general terms and not specific to a particular individual as that is confidential information. Our Governing Body have been presented with examples of LJ's or similar at meetings as part of staff presentations about their practice. Naturally we would have regard for confidentiality, and we do have parents who are Governors. We are always reminded about confidentiality as part of the meeting, and individual children are never ever identified.

I would want to know why your Chair wanted to see all the files, and I think that I would take advice from your EY's team who may need to clarify the role of the Chair and committee. It sounds as if your Chair is over enthusiastic and wanting to make sure she is doing her job properly. Part of training for School Governors is clarifying where the dividing line is between their role and that of the staff. Although we are the employers and have responsibility for monitoring and challenging staff, and holding them to account, we are not there to take on their roles.

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I would imagine that the Chair who is undertaking someone's appraisal would be looking at LJs in conjuction with the staff member in much the way you describe your Governing Body, Jacquie. Although I would have thought the Manager would be able to let the committee know whether tasks like these are completed in a satisfactory, timely manner, and the time spent during the appraisal could be put to better use.

 

This thread has raised some interesting points though about committee members who are parents. Personally I would have thought that confidentiality would apply to every aspect of a committee member's role - any parent who is in the setting as part of a parent helper rota will see things such as children's behaviour being managed for example. They will be well aware of the dangers of discussing what they see with other parents, just as the Treasurer who might receive a list of parents with outstanding fees will know not to divulge that information.

 

Training for committee members though, that's a whole other issue - I wonder how many Local Authorities provide dedicated training workshops for committee-run groups?

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unfortunately i think many of us have learnt by experience that some committee members like to talk about their roles a bit too much! it then becomes a problem of course because in theory they are your bosses and will not take advice from the manager. We have had situations in the past that could have been avoided by people keeping their thoughts to themselves. Also in a recent post a chair posted on facebook some information that could be derogatory to the setting but lets face it who's going to tell her off!

I have actively sought out training for our committee in the past and there is little available ....we did manage to get them on safeguarding but that was it. Two of my committee have now become governors and were amazed at the support and advice they are being given, all supported by the same LEA group :(

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Thankyou everyone for your comments it has been really helpful and i've decided............to say no...they can see their own childrens but not others,

They are new to the role and i think they just want to be seen to be doing the right thing.

 

Lovely as they are, they are very competitive parents, have no early years background. Dont take this the wrong way because we do value parents input but wont really know what they're looking for, except how pretty.

who knows they could be testing our confidentiality and seeing whether we would share files or not.

 

If i have any probs will phone EYT x

Thanks again :D

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Not in my setting - any info is kept anonymous - we would NEVER discuss family names only circumstances.

 

This is how it is in my setting too. If for example a parent needed some assistance with fees, the committee is asked to consider a proposal but they aren't told who it is. I've just found that this is easier for everyone as we try to encourage parents to also support each other and that might be a little difficult if they knew all the details about someone's life. We have operated with the manager taking on a lot of the administrative tasks, so in the example Maz gives about outstanding fees, the manager has been chasing them rather than the treasurer. I know its not the PLA way but needs must in that case! And yes training for committees in my experience is very hard to come by. We accessed some but it wasn't what it was advertised to be, and was more about business management. My husband who is a territory manager for a multi-national was bored silly throughout it and it didn't answer the vital question of how we get non-existent children through the door! I made him sit it out so we didn't have to pay the £25 non-attendance fee our LA charges, but I let him go to town on the feedback form :D

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Not in my setting - any info is kept anonymous - we would NEVER discuss family names only circumstances.

 

Totally agree with this

 

 

Training for committee members though, that's a whole other issue - I wonder how many Local Authorities provide dedicated training workshops for committee-run groups?

I've accessed training via the PLA but always attend as a manager as every setting doesn't 100% work to the PLA rules - reference the Early Years advisors, in my personal experience they aren't very helpful towards Committees, they expect them to know anything and everything about Early Years I sat in a course once to hear an advisor say "committee run settings are the pain of their lives" Not very helpful!

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