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Sip(setting improvement partner)


bizzylizzy
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Does anyone have SIP visits? We just had a really bad one and I wondered if anyone knows if we have to have the sip's in or if we can refuse and would this affect our funding? The sip's are supposed to give you help and support in any areas we feel we need it or any area they flag up as needing extra help. Only our sip just makes us all feel worthless and rubbish, when in actual fact we are ofsted good, so is unnecessarily making us feel awful. Any ideas what to do and how to cope with the visits? Help!!!!!!!!

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Hi bizzylizzy

 

Sorry to hear that you have had such a bad experience..........is there a particular 'problem' - or is it more a clash of personalities.....

 

We have a SIPs in my neck of the woods (an EYAT by any other name) - I am really fortunate - our SIP is just lovely and very supportive (have to say that I found our previous SIP quite difficult which is why I asked about a clash of personalities - I think that the problem lay with me as much as her!)

 

I wouldn't refuse any advisor visits (I think that's part of our agreement with LA anyway).........I suppose my suggestion would be.....try to work with her and if that's really too hard then just remember - she is an advisor you don't have to change things to her way of thinking..

 

HTH.

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Hi sunny day

I liked our last sip, although she did drive me mad with all the changes. There was no specific problem the sip just seemed to take a dislike to me and then nothing I seemed to say was right. It wouldn't have mattered what I did that day nothing would have been right. Just feel caught up and still have to put up with her! Can't seem to do right. Feel really let down as they supposed to encourage and support. I know a lot of settings in my area clash with their sips or see them as a drain instead of a help, but what can we do. Thanks for your reply.

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As Childminders providing FFE places we have lots of assessment and support. The 'coordinator' we had for the previous five years routinely left us (that's many childminders I know) in tears and not knowing where to start. Before she left I made the decision to challenge her statements and support my own. Turns out this was just what she was looking for and my relationship with her improved dramatically thereafter. Just standing up and saying why you do things the way you do, might be what s/he wants. I think many assessors are told to challenge everything, which feels like criticism, but they are just looking for assertiveness.

 

I must say that beginning to use PRAMS really made her pull her head in (recording and monitoring was my big failing).Made me look like I knew more about what I was doing than she did!! I said, 'look like' not actually though !!!

 

To use a coarseness - Suck it up Buttercup. Address their issues, state your position and whack it back in their court. And if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull...

 

All power to you,

 

Honey

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Ask her to organise to take you to a setting where she has seen it working well, whatever it is,or point you towards some training being provided by county in that area. 'Throw' as much back on her shoulders to give proof of the validity of her recommendations as you can.

 

I too have had some very trying advisors, but as Sunnyday says, they ARE just advisors and quite a lot of what they say may not be practicable in your setting. I know it's hard to have to justify every thing we do, but sometimes we have been doing something one way so long that there IS a better way that we've not spotted. They have the benefit of looking at practice everywhere and lifting the bits that they like - trouble is that sometimes they seem to subscribe to the 'one size fits all' theory, when we know that that simply doesn't work.

 

Take notes of her recommendations, talk about them in staff meetings and note down your teams thoughts, that way you have reasoned arguments to give back if she questions things at the next visit,

 

Keep smiling! YOU and your team know your setting best

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I felt that my EYAT's used to be quite difficult but after we got "used" to each other things are ok. I smile sweetly when they give advice, try it, monitor, log it and if it didn't work ask them to think of a different way that I could do it. When they ask me to do something if it is not in the eyfs I ask how it will benefit the children? We have 3 different advisors that visit for different things. I always make them feel welcome and thank them for visiting.

They understand that if there is no benefit I can not see the point. I have tried most of the things that they have suggested and I have to say that their have been some good ideas. I too use PRAMS which has covered everything they ask of me. They also use my ideas, many of which I get from here, thanks everyone. I know this because they often take a paper copy of my latest idea but get caught out when they come at a later date and ask me to try it!!!!!

Just try and appear to be confident, you know your own children and the building that you have to work with.

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Hi bizzylizzy. Sorry to hear that you are finding your relationship with your SIP a tricky one. Speaking as an EYAT (I guess we have numerous names around the country), I do find it sad to hear that people's experiences are sometimes poor ones.

On the subject of 'letting them in' I would advise that you don't go down this pathway of refusing entry. Its probably written in to your code of practice that you will have so many visit or similar from your local team. At the end of the day, your LA is not obliged to provide funding to you (especially if there is other provision in your area), and a setting which refuses entry would make us wonder why, more so if we already had some concerns about their practice. (not that I'm suggesting that is the case here, just that when it is, refusing entry raises alarm bells)

 

Its interesting that since I started doing this job a few years back, the role took quite a shift from 'support' to 'support and challenge' to 'challenge and support' (note the challenge coming first). I found this shift quite difficult, as I didn't see the 'challenge' as my greatest strength.

 

In moving forward what can you do?

If you feel really strongly that you have been poorly treated, you have the right to say so. Is there a senior SIP you can approach and express concern (professionally of course!). Yes, it isn't very nice, but I like to think I have a good enough relationships with the settings I work with to know they would tell me if they didn't like something I said or did! Id be gutted if they went over my head, but it would at least tell me that I perhaps didn't have the quality of relationship I thought I had, and Id have to do something about it.

 

In future visits, can you find out in advance what the visit is for? We have to say what our visits are for when we book them. Then you are armed with what you need for that visit.

 

Finally think back to the actual visit and whatever was recorded. A lot of conversation can take place in a visit, and I know I only write down the key parts of the conversation. Look back at what was actually said in the notes(assuming you have some?). Were there any key actions you were left with? What do you think of them? Those will probably be the ones s/he may want to talk again with you about on the next visit.

 

I hope you feel better about things when the next visit comes around.

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Hi sunny day

I liked our last sip, although she did drive me mad with all the changes. There was no specific problem the sip just seemed to take a dislike to me and then nothing I seemed to say was right. It wouldn't have mattered what I did that day nothing would have been right. Just feel caught up and still have to put up with her! Can't seem to do right. Feel really let down as they supposed to encourage and support. I know a lot of settings in my area clash with their sips or see them as a drain instead of a help, but what can we do. Thanks for your reply.

 

That's really quite sad that she has left you feeling like this - the last thing we need is anyone leaving us feeling demoralised - it's a tough enough job as it is..........

 

Something that i have learnt in my 'old age' is to just 'play the game' - I used to challenge anything and everything - but I have mellowed and tend now to just smile sweetly, agree to give ideas a try - not that my present SIP actually wants to change too much - perhaps that why I like her ;) :1b

 

I do feel for you.......come back and let us know how your next visit goes......

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Thanks for all your comments. I think one reason she clashed with me is because I am confident in what I do, I do challenge things I maybe don't agree with, but I think her biggest problem is that I do what is asked and expected but in my own way, which works well for us. They tend to like it done their way. I think I will do what you suggested sunny day and just smile sweetly and agree to try whatever they ask!

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As a setting who is only allowed 1 visit a year from the EYAT (and they only stay approx 1.5 hrs) I wouldn't turn them away.

It is surprising how much changes in a year that you don't get to hear about until their visit, I would do anything to have more visits and support like it used to be when I first started.

I would take the 'Sunnyday' approach, smile, say you'll discuss it with your team and move forwards in the way you know works for you.

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Hi we are in a similar position as our SIP is so negative about everything we do. I have posted about it before as it was getting us down. I often wonder how long ago it was when she worked in a setting or with young children because she seems out of touch and what works in the real world.

My other niggle is she never speaks to the staff, just the manager and spends the whole meeting time in the office so she never gets to see what really is going on. Also, she wont speak to the children!!!

We work well as a team and dont have any 'real' problems - although of course are always reviewing our practice but she always nit-picks at what we are trying to achieve. Interestingly, recently she gave us advice about a specific child, who when a specialist teacher came in to assess said the advice was completely wrong. Very frustrating.

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Thanks jazzy1 that has made me feel better knowing someone else feels as I do. We can't be all bad as we have had visits from other settings to see our practise! I feel that they are always picking and looking for something to moan about. I agree that most of them have had experience in a child care setting of some description, but as you say how long ago. They don't understand the pressures and strains of what they expect us to do daily. Maybe they should have to work at least one day per week in a setting to realise that some of the things they expect are unrealistic, just because its in a book doesn't mean it's workable. I feel better knowing I am not the only one out there that is going through this, as most others feel their sip is helpful and supportive. Thanks again.

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We have a SIP visit due this coming Tuesday. I have in the past experienced the negative aspect of the visits because it always seemed that whatever improvements we had made it was never enough so I did mention her attitude to another LEA person and after that it has been much better so I think a little word was spoken in her ear! She actually is very helpful now and I feel that I can ring her when I have a problem which is a good thing. In Kent it is part of our contract that we have these visits and help or the funding could be withdrawn and that is the last thing we need at the moment. I do smile sweetly and honestly do try to take things on board but sometimes it just does not work. For instance, we start the morning with Circle Time and that is fine for most of the kiddies but there are one or two who can't cope with it yet so we let them go and play in another room with a member of staff. My argument is that these kiddies need to start learning to sit and listen for a short time and get involved with what we are trying to teach them otherwise when they do get to school next September they will find it very hard. The very little ones don;t start until 10 anyway for the first couple of terms so they are not a problem. However, she does always question our group time and whether they are involved etc. etc. In the most part they are but there will always be the odd few who won't and as I said we address that situation as it arises.

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