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What a term!


flowlow
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Hi all

 

Has anyone else had a horrendous term this Autumn? I feel at the end, can't take any more and emotionally drained. I have in nine years never had a term like this!

 

I have been working with a very vulnerable child and family since September and been screaming out for support and help since September. Have worked so hard to get the parent to firstly see there is a problem, allow me to get help from outside the setting (which they only agreed after weeks of negotiation). Was promised extra funding as this child needs 1:1 and we are a charity with very little money and a skeleton staff really and we couldn't fund this indefinitely. Was promised financial help and someone to work with us by the inclusion team only to find out that now after all this time they have finally admitted that there is no money to help us!

 

The support worker who has been coming in for an hour every week is lovely and really on our side, can see that and I quote 'have done everything we could have and more' and acknowledged that it is still not working. We have tried everything and I mean everything and nothing sticks nothing works we take one step forward and five back. The support worker has said in all her time (over 10 years) she has not seen a child like this one and that she really doesn't know what else to do. She goes back every week saying we need help, that he definitely needs 1:1 etc... still nothing. I have complaints as long as your arm about this child, one parent called for exclusion and couldn't seem to understand why children are not excluded as young as 4! I have parents coming in telling me their children are having nightmares about this child, he has had well over 40 incident forms this term alone. Because he is very physical he hurts lots of children, language is terrible I have never heard some of the words he says out of a child that young! new parents that visited are now saying they are not sure they want to come to us because of him.

 

I work 1:1 with him with another member of staff however my opposite number can't work for awhile (another long and very stressful story) so I am now trying to get one of the other staff to work with me but he still looks for me. He even broke into the toilet one day because he couldn't find me and I needed a wee, you can imagine the result me on the loo trousers around my ankles, him breaking in and with another member of staff and half the pre-school following behind!!!!

 

Actually I am very fond of him and on a good day he is lovely on a less successful day not so much, but I do know he is just a child in need really from the background he has come from. However we are a team on the floor, tired, stressed, wrung out and really concerned about how to get to the end of term that alone get through the next two terms. The latest was that it was suggested he start again somewhere else, fresh start new children (which would help as he targets some children which leads to complaints and because the children are referring to him as naughty, blaming him for every thing etc...) new parents would be good as some do have it in for him no matter what we say or what measures we take or what stands we make. One parent is up for it we did feel a moments relief I am ashamed to say because we are just so desperate and stressed and tired, only to find that the other parent is not up for it because he has too good a relationship with me. I have offered (in my own time) to go and visit the new setting with them etc.. do a hand over etc... but things still not looking good! Still no money to pay for 1:1 either! and parents not on board for any other help, assessments or interaction from anyone else.

 

Then with all this going on I have staffing probs one member down at the moment (long stressful story) but it does mean that we have all had to take on her key files as well (they were in a mess) and she was the H/S so more work there and cover her hours at work. Another may need a month off after Christmas as her son needs major op, she is in shock and very upset!! We are due Ofsted in Feb although I hope they are late :( don't want that stress too as the last one we had was just horrible the lady was rude and, well, just horrid. We complained and it was upheld but they said it was too late to change the outcomes :angry:

 

To end a truly challenging year one of the team was some how missed off the Christmas meal email list and despite others talking about it and the menu being on the side or on the wall for many weeks claims she knew nothing about it. She has the same name as one of the committee and when I glanced quickly and rather stressfully at the list saw the name and thought it was her but it wasn't!! :ph34r: instead of thinking 'I have known (me) for nine years and more and she wouldn't have done this deliberately' seeing the stress and pressure we are all under (which she claims she does and has seemed concerned for all of us) she has taken offence and refuses to come even though there is still time for her to. It has created a bit of an atmosphere! It feels like the last straw I came home and cried!

 

The chair of the committee is fab and has listened and supported me but to be honest so much is out of our control it seems, I just don't know where it leaves us.

 

Please Please can I find my Christmas spirit soon (if that is not possible then can I please get through the Christmas play next week without the above mentioned child kicking off at the beginning middle or end!!)

 

sorry everybody I just desperately needed to get that off my chest I am so sorry for my less than positive rant!!! :ph34r:

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oh my goodness, I am just about to go out so can't really offer you much advice at this stage but just wanted to show someone cares. I would have to say at first glance that you need to explain to the parents that with current funding/staffing, you are not able to best meet the child's needs and regrettably must insist they leave.....sorry, not great advice, but it sounds to me that you now need to balance the needs of the child versus the needs of all the other children and you and your staff, and this is the logical conclusion. Sounds to me like this child needs to be referred by the parent for a statutory assessment. to get the help they so clearly need.

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Oh Johanna 1 just couldn't read and run on this. Your post shows a host of despair, but between the lines you can see what a wonderful caring practitioner you are and although you say they will not accept any agencies involved , do you have permission within your consent forms to contact other agencies. Does the HV already have any input, is this another way in. Has your Area Senco been in for a informal visit. I really do feel you need to get someone to see that this cannot continue indefinetly for your own well being.

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Oh Johanna

 

You sound completely wrung out with all of this and I do so feel for you.

 

I had a similar experience a few years ago - we had a little boy who joined us from another setting who was behaviourally probably the most challenging child I have ever had in over 17 years of doing this job. He came to us with "no problems" but oh boy did we find out pdq that this was so not the case. His behaviour was undescribably awful (including violent behaviour) however his primary carer was in complete denial. Said primary carer was not only in denial about his behaviour but also about personal circumstances regarding the family (it turned out that said child had a sibling and that family was well known to local school - sometimes the playground gossip can be a useful source of background information).

 

Like you we tried a comprehensive range of strategies and were even able to access a behaviour management special teacher (unheard of in early years as they normally only work in the maintained sector). The behaviour management teacher was however not able to support us only give advice. The advice was to draw up a behaviour management contract and sit down with the primary carer and lay out the strategies (which basically amounted to a zero tolerance approach and time out for absolutely everything e.g., if child didn't comply with first request for even the simplest of things then it was a time out approach).

 

We had this child for the autumn term and just as you have described the whole setting dynamic changed - staff were all on edge and stressed out, children were all on edge and on reflection they too were stressed out on the days that this child came, parental backlash was awful, incident book was filling up, cost us a fortune in additional staffing as we too had no access to 1:1 funds). My deputy nearly resigned as we neared the time of the Xmas play as I had spoken to the primary carer and advised that if the child "kicked off" then he would be taken to the primary carer to "look after" for the remainder of the play - she could "see the writing on the wall" and said that she would just feel awful if this scenario materialised.

 

In the end the primary carer refused to sign the behaviour management contract which basically asked the primary carer to work with us (not actually work with us in the setting) but in partnership supporting the approaches that we would be taking. The refusal was the catalyst for the primary carer removing the child back to the original setting (making no mention of the attempts that had been made to try to support this child in acquiring some more positive behavioural traits).

 

Once the child left it was as though a huge weight had been lifted and the sun shone again. The children and the staff were more relaxed and the group dynamic returned to being one of harmony.

 

Sometimes you have to consider the welfare and wellbeing of others (including yourself) particularly their emotional well being and whilst no one likes to "give up" on a child when you have exhausted all avenues it cannot be helped.

 

As a footnote we were kept appraised of this child's journey through the school system (by a very reliable source) - after a few physical violence incidents involving a couple of children and a pregnant member of teaching staff and a weapon amongst other things and contributing to a teacher having a nervous breakdown said child eventually was schooled in a special school.

 

Whilst we all know that what we do isn't "just a job" for the sake of your own well-being try to keep hold of the thought that this child is not your child and that you are doing everything you can to support him. When you shut the door at the end of the day take a deep breath, park your work thoughts and use that first step to put yourself first for a few moments.

 

With your "forgotten" member of staff - have you tried a personal handwritten note approach just to say sorry with a byline of how much pressure you have been under lately - whilst it shouldn't be necessary sometimes it can help pour oil on troubled waters - it is sad that she has taken affront and cannot be the bigger person here but perhaps you can just flash her a glimpse of your emotional intelligence.

 

Hope that you can find some time to put yourself first and enjoy the festivities with those you love.

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Am sending a big hug to you, you brought tears to my eyes this morning as we were in that position last year and have only just recovered as a team. Please be strong and, has already been said, insist that this parent gets support from other agencies. in the end with the little boy we had ( eventually diagnosed with severe ASD) we had to drop his sessions back to the minimum we could give 1:1, even though he was EYE funded and I had to get clearance from the early years funding team so that I could not be accused of exclusion! In the end we had to issue an ultimatum that unless we got more help we were going to have to suggest that mum found a different setting as we were clearly not meeting his needs. She took affront at this and promptly removed him from our setting, I liaised with the new setting and know that unfortunately things did not improve there but they only had to manage for one term, whereas we had him for 2 years. I can't offer any more advice other than to say maybe you have to let this one go for the greater good of your other children and staff. relax over the christmas break and start the new year with a clear plan and way to move forward xx

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No answers Im afraid, as I worked in schools, but big hugs coming your way as I know what it feels like to be working in the sort of situation you describe. Sometimes you need to be harsh to get results and ultimately you will have the child's best interests at heart. Stay strong and take care.

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I think it sounds as if you have done a tremendous job for this child and family. However, it seems that the current situation was only supposed to be temporary. Having found out that no funding and extra support is forthcoming from outside agencies I think you might need to reconsider having the child at your setting or at the very least seriously cutting down the number of sessions he attends.. Whilst that may seem harsh, you need to think about your staff and the other children too, as well as the long term viability of the setting. If families start to leave and others are put off coming you may not have a setting in the future! Whatever happens, don't feel like you have failed them, as you have obviously done all you can for them.

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You need to sit back and think about each issue, write them down and tick them off the list. A note to the disgruntled staff member is a good idea, do be prepared for her still not to go to the meal though, pride is a terrible thing!

The staffing issues all round can't be helped but are you sharing the concerns with them, cover for the new year, sharing the workload?

The child I think you need to get tough with. Mom needs to know his behaviour and her lack of support for you isn't acceptable and she needs to allow you to seek support or leave. I'd also write to the LA and tell them you are asking this child to leave and are directing mom to them in order for them to find him a suitable setting.

Please try to take a deep breath and manage each issue.

 

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oh dear, i know exactly how you feel. Im afraid I have no sound words of advice to offer....and we are also working through a similar situation.

Just remember you are doing the best you can...and you are a confident practitioner...and if you wern't you would of given up long ago.

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Guest rainyjaney

I really feel for you. Perhaps the Christmas break will give you the time to reflect on how to go forward in the New Year. Just a thought, but from the number of posts by disgruntled practitioners on here, the extra long half term since the October break seems to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

 

Remember, no matter how hard you try. you cant please all of the people all of the time.

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I hear you Johanna! I am absolutely drained in every way this term and the 3 weeks of Christmas that was supposed to be fun is feeling very Bah Humbug!! Trying to be upbeat and merry when I could happily scream at some of the staff is not easy. Hope you get some support soon, we have found referring outside a nightmare, they are either not bothered, have a long waiting list or when they realise they may have an issue to sort here get stroppy with us for not flagging it up earlier! You can't win!

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the cost of the extra staffing and lack of support is a big issue.. we went to out LA and on questioning found they were willing to fund full amount for half the hours attending to help offset the cost for us when they could not afford extra support... not ideal but did help pay the wage for those hours for the one child..

 

moving setting may just move the issue on to another group, the underlying issues wills till be there and they may not try to be as supportive... but you also have all the other children to consider and their welfare, which is why reducing the hours attending may help on all levels.. making parents aware that something needs sorting, relief for staff on the hours he is not there, sending a message to LA that you are trying to cope but not managing as well as you want, and need more support.

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thank you all of you (crying again but for the right reasons this time) I am so grateful to you all.

 

I have gone in today to two more upsetting complaints one the same child with the nightmares who was late and visibly distressed every time he went anywhere the other little boy he trembled hid and asked he be kept away. Also a little girl who we only saw for two week is now saying she is upset and didn't want to come back and they have been told the little boy physically attacked her when she was with us (with very graphic description) we have no memory of this and no record so there is no 'proof' but how is this little boy supposed to continue against such opposition? I am mortified that children are so upset and yet don't know what to do next it seems we can't not have the little boy and yet the other children are being affected so badly.

 

We tried cutting down hours but that made him worse when he was in, we have explored asking him to leave but have been told by the inclusion team that we cannot do this as it would be viewed as exclusion (and this family would take it further they are that kind of family). We can't get any formal assessment without parent permission which they wont give. We tried scalywags (behaviour experts that come in) and were told that they can't help as they have already helped with his older sister and every family only gets one shot! then they sent a letter to say he was on the waiting list but wouldn't be seen till April and even then no guarantee he will be accepted. They only have two intakes a year and despite making the initial call for help in plenty of time for this term we didn't get the letter until it was too late. We tried time out despite the inclusion team not agreeing with this course of action but we can't 'keep' him in time out with out putting ourselves or the children in the firing line and he would be sat out nearly the whole three hours some days. He has blocked the toilet and wrecked it in temper, thrown pushchairs threw the air which hit other children before we could catch them. We are quick but he is quicker and to be honest there is not always a warning he will be happily playing and then suddenly just lash out for no reason.

 

He has injured staff, stabbed me in the face with a wooden toy, scratched, punched, slapped, kicked and headbutted me numerous times, to numerous to count. I have pictures of all the bruises, places he has drawn blood on us and other children. He injured one member of staff to the point where her shoulder was so badly hurt she was signed off work for a week!!!

 

I do feel so much compassion for this little boy I really do and I am so aware of where he is coming from but I feel that in order to be inclusive we are putting his wellbeing above many other children's and yet if we don't stand for this little boy who will? where will he go? we feel we have no power, no help and feel both paths - him staying or him going are not ideal solutions for all concerned we feel we just cant win.

 

I just feel so cross that children like this little one slip through the net we are left powerless and stranded, where do we go from here???

 

oh roll on Christmas break!!!

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Its too easy for the inclusion team to say you cant exclude him. Thats their by line and sometimes I think theysay it by rote.

Have the parents said why they wont allow you to get him assessed? Are they afraid of professional involvement? I was always scared to death that anything might arise with my lads that might have social services at my door because at the time children were being taken from their families for all sorts of reasons and social workers were the very devil in the eyes of the media, it made me feel vulnerable even though I had no cause at all and you say this family are known to other agencies

.

I think you need to tell the family that without their support you wont be able to accept the child anymore, give them a list of settings who might have places, inform the LA what you've done and tell them to find the child a place. The guidance to LAs from the Government says the LA must provide a place for all 3 and 4 year olds. If you cant take him the LA must do something.

Solve this problem and the other ones will melt away :1b

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Just to say that I completely agree with Rea!

 

You have obviously tried so hard with this little chap - but without parental support, LA support it's clear to me that you can't be expected to carry on........

 

For my part I would be very, very concerned about the impact on other children........

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Just to say that I completely agree with Rea!

 

You have obviously tried so hard with this little chap - but without parental support, LA support it's clear to me that you can't be expected to carry on........

 

For my part I would be very, very concerned about the impact on other children........

 

Quick edit to apologise - my comment sounds so patronising - obviously not meant to be at all and of course I know that you are very concerned about the other children's welfare.......xxx

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The family don't want involvement because of their experiences with their daughter but to be honest that was a success in my eyes so not sure what the problem is from that angle. They are at the moment dealing with a terminal illness in the family which is making life stressful and uncertain for them. I agree sunny day I am very much concerned about my staff and the other children!!

 

Have emailed the inclusion team again but probably wont hear anything till Monday :(

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didn't take it that way at all Sunnyday :1b very grateful for support and listening ear so to speak!!!

:1b

Thanks for that!

 

Just thought of an incident in my setting many moons ago....that might make you laugh (or smile at least)..........

 

I had a very 'needy' little chap who in the middle of an Ofsted inspection suddenly shouted and I mean 'shouted' "Bl***y Cow" :blink: this wasn't directed at anyone in particular.......so I said "oh dear Xxxxxxxxxxx I can see that you are very cross come and tell me what's wrong" - this was actually written up in the most positive way in my report - Phew!!! :D

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Oh goodness me, what a sorry mess it all is. I do think you need to stand your ground on this one, and in 'star trek parlance"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" It's very unfair of the inclusion team to say what they have, and I think that it sounds like, if nothing happens to help you, you'll have no preschool left!

 

I really sympathise with you, I think your only option is to say he will have to stay away, at least until he has been assessed properly and some help and proper support put in place. I'm sure it's not what the parents want to hear, but if they've been 'there' before with the sister, it can't come as a huge surprise!

 

Sending hugs

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:1b

Thanks for that!

 

Just thought of an incident in my setting many moons ago....that might make you laugh (or smile at least)..........

 

I had a very 'needy' little chap who in the middle of an Ofsted inspection suddenly shouted and I mean 'shouted' "Bl***y Cow" :blink: this wasn't directed at anyone in particular.......so I said "oh dear Xxxxxxxxxxx I can see that you are very cross come and tell me what's wrong" - this was actually written up in the most positive way in my report - Phew!!! :D

 

:D ::1a :D ::1a haha love those moments my little chap shouts F**k**g C**t in various forms :o (never heard a child say that before I cant even say the C word

) we had to chuckle as we thought well at least he is getting the hang of 'tense' in speech and has a wide vocab :ph34r: suffice to say we decided not to go to the church for harvest festival incase he shouted it at the vicar :P

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Gosh, as someone else said, I though my term had been hard! Sending you some virtual hugs and drink of your choice for the weekend.

 

Have you logged every incident, and got copies of the logs? I think they are your evidence that the child cannot stay in the setting as it is - he either needs assement and then more support (and you, more money for providing that support) or, if his parents are still not prepared to meet his needs, you might think about referring to to Social Care for neglect.

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I don't know what to say. No advice to give really but I feel so angry for you, your staff and your setting as well as for this little boy who is being let down (through NO fault of yours obviously) so badly by 'the system' and his family who won't accept support. You really need him out of your setting but I have no idea what you do next. I'll be thinking of you and hope you manage to get a positive outcome for you and for him.

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Already lots of good advice given - I totally agree - you can't let him stay. The inclusion team are treading on thin ice in my opinion as they are not fulfilling their obligation (one to one funding for a child They have agreed needs it). I can't imagine they will do anything to you if you refuse to take him any longer. It is totally unfair on the other children and you and your staff. I really feel for you and am amazed you have carried on this long. (((Hugs)))

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