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Ratio Question


flowlow
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Hi all

 

I am having huge problems at the moment with my deputy (although that is another story) so just want to check out some 'basic' stuff just so I know I am not going mental!!!

 

context this is my set up in a nutshell:

we work from a memorial hall so all open plan, the kitchen is at one end with a stable door to keep the children out but an open hatch way so the hall can be seen at all times. We have a small (and I mean small) free flow outside area at the side which opens with french door type things and when in use these are open at all times. We also go out the front to the concrete area with bikes, water play, garden etc.. again when in use the front doors are open wide for children to go in and out. Staff and children are in and out all session long and the areas kind of roll into each other so it becomes one giant free flow area. Now I have one level two who is currently working towards her level three but not yet qualified, a house keeper that is always in the kitchen and the rest of us are level three or above.

 

Would you believe that the level two could be in the main body of the hall without a level three also present even if there are only a small number of children?

 

thanks in advance

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I have five members of staff at the moment myself and my deputy are both Level 3 and the rest are Level. I only have 4 members of staff in each morning so sometimes especially in the outside area a Level 2 maybe on their own. We also operate from a Village Hall although our outside space is quite large and one wall is completely made up of floor to ceiling windows, this means the outside play area can be seen at all times. Sometimes I think that in order for smaller settings to operate it is sometimes necessary for Level 2's to have to take charge of a small group of children. I have complete faith in all my members of staff regardless of their qualifications

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in my setting we have had myself (L3) and assistant (L2) - with free flow, there was only ever 1 of us in and one of us out -so, yes, the L2 was left with the children, our doors are always left open, and we are within earshot, I assume as long as there is a L3 present, then that is ok ?

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thank you all you have confirmed my thoughts, my level 2 is a competent and capable member of staff working towards her 3 and I leave her with little groups indoors all the time, I may choose not to put her out the front but outside area to the side of the building or inside yes. I wouldn't let her go to the park or the primary school on her own but when we are all on site it seems a little churlish not to really. Everybody is in easy reach, hearing distance and to be honest in and out so much we all see, hear each other anyway!!!

 

My level 2 is feeling miserable because my deputy keeps saying she is 'only' a level 2 like this means she is worthless and makes so much fuss and bother about where everybody should be it just makes for bad working environment. The level 3's are becoming exasperated as they are continuely shouted at to keep swapping and changing which sometimes means they are in out, in out all session long. This is not the only issue we have with her at the moment but I am taking them each in turn :( she used to be really good and supportive but something is really not right now and she just cant cope, keeps breaking the rules and generally antagonizing everyone, she speaks before she thinks and has up set lots of parents and staff, it just goes on!!!

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Hello,

 

I feel for you and your situation here. It is easy to hide behind 'regulations' if you are unsure, you don't appear to be, maybe your deputy does?

Certainly all the 'in, out, in, out' is upsetting and most DEFINITELY disruptive for the children, who may have been having some meaningful experience alongside a special adult. Who is shouting at your L3s to swap?? You? Somehow I doubt it from what you have said, if it's your Deputy, you need to address this (Sorry - but you could also try to find out about any underlying insecurity/other reasons that may be affecting your Deputy's behaviour.)

 

As for the demoralising effect on your L2, well, that's awful!! Maybe you could suggest she have a special responsibility to make it clear to all she is a valued member of staff? The mischief-maker in me is wondering if you could ask your Deputy to perhaps mentor her??? Might make her lay off?? That's your decision - I don't know your team, you do.

 

At the end of the day, if you are the Leader, your Deputy should be made to understand that YOU call the tune. Tough, I know, but if it comes to the crunch, you may have to 'pull rank'!

 

Hope I have made some sense and not upset anyone. This is always hard - I, too, have had to address this type of thing in the past.

 

Sue

 

 

PS - Ooops, seem to have lost sight of the 'ratio' aspect here.

If your group are in ratio anyway and if everyone can be seen, I see no problem in that respect. If your L2 is vetted, and will be overseen by Housekeeper (who I assume is also vetted?) I see absolutely no problem. Otherwise why go to all the hassle of vetting?????

Edited by Sue R
Addition of PS!
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Thanks for this Sue R. It was indeed the Deputy doing the shouting, its not bad when I am there because I sort it and help smooth things over but even then it can be like an annoying muttering all session. Actually the L2 and her are friends and originally when she started I put her with my deputy thinking that this would be a good pairing but it didn't work so well, my L2 said she was finding it a little challenging to work with her, again for many reasons and she has found it hard to talk to me about it as she feels disloyal to my deputy.

 

I know my deputy is insecure and we have a little one in at the moment with the most challenging behaviour I have seen in a while, which takes a lot of my time. I don't know if this has phased her (although it wouldn't have done a year ago) the family is incredibly difficult to work with, or i know I posted on here a little while back about her taking holiday in term time which we are not allowed to do which caused ructions, so maybe she is still angry over that I just don't know. She said she is fine but everyone is saying she is not the same since coming back from the summer holidays.

 

Our chairman is friendly with her as well and she is going to talk to her and see if she can get to the bottom of it. At this point I have reached the stage I am not sure what to hope for. We live in a small village, we have to live and work together and we are all friends but I can't allow this to go on anymore. I have spent time with her coaching her in speaking and dealing with parents, tips to help her not say the first thing that comes into her head but how to work on saying the right things so she doesn't up set people etc... the funny thing is with the children she is amazing and has supported me over the entire time I took over and moral of the staff was low and the setting needed putting back on its feet, she has been a real support and therefore the positives in her work always out weighed the more negative traits. However this has changed it started last term really and has just got worse and now there are more challenges when working with her I just can't get to the bottom of it. I thought maybe she would like more responsibility but that doesn't seem to be it either, we talked about her doing her next level of training but she has said no for the last two years. I guess we will just keep moving down this road and see where it takes us, it just feels like such a shame really!

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Nothing helpful to add really but you have my sympathy - it sounds like a very very difficult situation. I hope the Chair will support you and be objective even though she and your deputy are friends. It's so difficult when friendships are involved as well as professional relationships - blurred boundaries. But bound to be like that in a small community I guess.

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Johanna, another thought - how long has your deputy been doing this job or, to put it another way, how old is she?

 

Sometimes when they've been doing something for a long time/getting older folk can become jaded. I know I got to that stage a good while ago- however I had to have an operation and then about three months off work, returning refreshed and ready for the fray! A bit extreme for your deputy, perhaps??

 

Maybe she's ready for something new or a new challenge? Perhaps she doesn't yet realise this and is simply feeling unsettled? Rather than moving to the next level, if she is unwilling, you might suggest a different approach- perhaps a signing course or something else a bit different. Of course, she may have other problems which could be affecting her and be unwilling to discuss these.

 

Good luck, anyway! Please do let us know how things develop,

 

Sue

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Johanna ...i really think you need to take the bull by the horns and have a chat with this lady...somehing is obviously wrong. It could be a personal issue (if it happened after the holidays perhaps her and her partner?) but if it's affecting her work then i think you need to be the sympathetic ear. If possible i would try to get half an hour together and ask her if there is a problem and if you can be of any help...does she need some time off? or is money a problem? When you work in such a small team you get to know each other really well but maybe she just needs a sympathetic ear to offload to. I dont think you are going to sort out the work issue without sorting out her issue....even if she's looking for another job i would rather know! that way yo can do the "look i know this is a problem for you but we need to work together "....kind of talk!!

Good luck!

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Hi

 

Well as a bit of an update the chairperson had a chat with my second in command we both thought she may be open with her. Well and I quote she is 'not really looking for a new job' and feels that she needs something to get her teeth into, she feels she want more opportunities to lead and that there is a little boy with very challenging and extreme behaviour in our setting and she feels she hasn't had a chance to work with him.

 

I don't know whether to be cross, laugh or cry! I give her every opportunity to lead she does one morning every week no matter the term and she takes the PM sessions when there are a need for them (mostly one in spring and two or three in summer) and she runs the toddler group for me. Now when I was there the other day and asked her to step in and take over so I could work more 1:1 with a child that needs it, she bottled and wouldn't do it, then when I encouraged her she upset all the staff hence the ratio question, spent the morning shaking her head and saying she felt she was doing all the work (we had 22 children in she had 4!!!! there was also more hands on deck on this day than on any other!!!) and basically kept forgetting to do the job, which meant I either did everything myself or had to keep reminding her.

 

she isn't doing the job she has that alone getting more responsibility in fact the last two terms I have picked up the slack and done some of her work as she claimed she was so tired up till late every night and could no longer function!!! she has not written or phoned the people she should have this term in relation to her SEN responsibilities and I am still chasing her. She wanted to get into signing etc... so we agreed she could do the SEN cluster training and now she is moaning that its too far to travel and why should she pay the petrol!!! she has done more signing than me in terms of courses and yet my student who is completely unaware of all the above said independently in relation to something else that she does a bit but I sign all the time and therefore they are learning more off me.

 

When she took over as SEN she didn't want to do behaviour as well she felt it would be too much to get her head around that was three years ago I have tried several times to see if she would like to take it on now and each time she has said no! so I have kept it, well I don't mind as it is my 'thing' if you like I have a lot of experience. However when the little one we have at the moment started she couldn't cope, after the first session she came to my house burst into tears and told me she hated him, didn't want him at pre-school and couldn't cope with him. The second week she just stood in the middle of the room and shook her head and let everything fall to pieces around her, I wasn't supposed to be working that day but had to step in three times!

 

I have obviously put loads into place for this little one and he is improving hugely and doesn't come in at the moment on her session but how can she say after all that that she hasn't had a 'chance'!!!!

 

on top of all the above she has taken holiday when she is not supposed to and is constantly moaning about how much she does outside of work time like she is the only one (and to be honest she doesn't do anywhere near the amount that I do and no more really than the other staff!!)

 

sorry for the rant every body just fell a little taken for granted and a little taken aback that she has such a different view of reality to me. I know after all the above it doesn't sound like it but up til about last term she was very supportive and did a good job as deputy. She has always spoken before she thinks and sometimes upsets parents by this but we were working on it and she was getting so much better. She was a little unsure of some of the SEN stuff but she did try very hard. I felt at the time of taking up some of the slack that I was just helping her out as a part of a team when she was having a little rough patch (we all get them). Last term we had a lot of children lots of hours just thought she was tired, we all were and that after summer hols she would be back to normal. I think she is worse.

 

She has said she doesn't want to step down but how can I giver her any more responsibility when she isn't coping with what she has got!!!

 

oh I don't know just needed a rant sorry everyone!!

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Johanna, this sounds like a very difficult situation.

 

Have you explained all this to the chairperson? As your two sides appear so contradictory, it is difficult to suggest a solution.... could a meeting be arranged to compare the two sets of experiences and try unpicking the situation that way?

 

Not an easy time for anyone, as I would think it is souring the atmosphere for all, children included!

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Maybe you could get all the staff together and rearrange the roles and responsibilities for everyone. She migt see what everyone else does and also be more focused on her own role, she might be blurring them a bit.

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