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Hi all,


Really hope you can help. I have a member of staff that has been with me since march last year, first stated as a volunteer, for work placement, then decided she would like to stay and now studying for level 3 as a staff. The issue with her is that she seriously lack self confidence always waiting for instructions, prompts, i have had a member of staff cried because she did not want her in her room, because she felt she will be under a lot of pressure with her. l have called her into the office, talked to her one to one, done appraisal, she also have a mentor and is still the same.


She panics easily, we are due OFSTED, and staff are worried she will let us down. l have a member of staff whom she assist who is now leaving due to career progression and i have employed another to take over,l left the new staff and her together just to see how well they work together, after about 30 mins went in to observe, she started to panic kids were all over the place, had to step in etc etc.


l called her to the office and talked to her, called the staff leaving into the room as well to really support her during the discussion to ascertain where the problem and why she cannot seem to cope. she started crying she says she cannot cope, feels that a lot will be demanded of her now staff is leaving, and feels she is out of her depth. She is a lovely girl (20) excellent attendance, polite, takes instruction, but still lacking. Staff feels they are always carrying her, staff leaving actually told me that she feels she has 9 children in the room instead of 8. l dont want to sack her because l know it will affect her confidence, but i have a business to run, and have to think of the others as well.


Apologies about the length of post, but l am at my wits end....

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I remember doing a test when I was in the St JohnsAmbulance Cadets, I was nervous and was absolutely certain I didnt know the answers, but after we'd written them down we marked our own, so no-one knew what each had written. I was amazed that I'd done really well, I just lacked the confidence to believe I would.

Could you devise a questionnaire for all staff which is seen only by the individual? Things like 'what would you do if...' 'Whats the procedure for...?' If staff want to share their results they can but make sure they know they dont have to. Make it fun and quietly ask if she was happy with her answers, build her up slowly with small tasks, back to basics for a few weeks but I think I'd tell her that much as you'd like to keep her, running a business means you might not be able to if you cant rely on her to run a room or take over if staff are called away or off sick.

I really feel for her, hope you manage to find a way to help her :1b

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....the first thing that comes to mind is to move her from her current room and into another where her strengths will match up with another member of staff.....staff reshuffles can sometimes bring out the best in teams as some personalities can spark the best out of others!

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Rea, thanks for the reply, i actually told her that today, but i like your idea will give it a go, but l do that in a way, asked her random questions ocassionally- it took 3 staff meetings for her to know l am the child protection officer, even though it is on the staff board.


Alabaloo, l like you proverb, that is how i run the nursery. l have done that, and cant now because it would not solve the problem, and told her that today, cant keep moving her all the time, anyway we only have 3 rooms.

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How about you tell all the staff you're feeling a bit jaded and give them all ownership of a room or a big aspect of it and tell them to do what they want with it. Ask them all to find one thing they would love to do that you dont do regularly or have never tried.



Although I did something similar many years ago and we had no boxes for the box topic and no dough!! :angry:

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I now understand why you are at your wits end!!!!!!!!!! ....ummm ....get rid? :ph34r:

Okay maybe not yet...is she

worth you heavily investing in building her confidence and skills

what qualities would you miss if she left and how detrimental would this be to the business, children and parents


if you have performance managed correctly and followed all the right channels, tried everything and you dont see any improvements....why keep her? harsh maybe but sometimes these difficult converstaions need to be had.


Im sure others will have loads of ideas and tips on how to deal with it. good luck and hope you find the right solution! :rolleyes:

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It depends on how long you are willing to keep trying. Are you happy to leave her (not alone) with the children? Basically is she doing the job she is employed to do?


If you think time and effort will help her along then go for it BUT if deep down you know she won't be able to cope then you have to let her go.


Its just a horrible situation when you have a nice member of staff that just doesn't cut it.


Good luck

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I may have missed something but you say she is studying for her level 3 qualification at the moment. Has she got a Level 2 or is she unqualified? Either way she is not a Level 3 practitioner and as such is not operating at a level where she should be expected to work completely unsupervised. As she is developing her skills, knowledge and understanding she will inevitably need support in order to carry out her duties - this is your setting's responsibility as part of her gaining her Level 3.


You've made a good start by talking to her calmly about why she tends to panic and why her confidence is so low. If it were me I would agree with her a list of priorities for development and work out an action plan showing what she needs to work on, and how I am going to help her to achieve her aims. I would set SMART targets, agree dates for review and keep talking to her about how she's progressing. I would make sure she knows I have confidence in her ability to study well, achieve her qualification and contribute to the work of an effective team.


You may well ultimately decide that she is not doing her job and you cannot continue to employ her. However in deciding to dismiss her because she is not competent to do the job, good employment practice would require you to show that you have given her every support she needed to identify weaknesses in her practice, and strengthen them. If nothing else, it will protect you from an unfair dismissal claim if you ultimately decide to let her go.


Good luck - it is hard being a leader, isn't it?

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