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Under performing staff member


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I have in the past posted countless posts on here with regards to a particular staff member and to be honest there are a few changes but not many.


Firstly we managed to get her to step down from deputy! Thank god.


Secondly I have recently returned from maternity leave and some things really need addressing and although Deputy has tried a year later we are still in same boat.


She is fantastic with the kids and has developed good relationships with them. Deputy felt it would be in her interest to move keyworker groups when I returned meaning I would take the under 3's, deputy younger pre-schoolers and assistant (who this post is about) was then given the older pre-schoolers - total of 4 kids though one left in Feb.


The previous keyworker for these children had the Learning journals to a very high specification which we thought would motivate her to maintain them. OMG how wrong were we. I picked one up today and since Feb there has only been 4 observations and 2 of them are what I have done. So the standard of these has dropped massively.


The spelling and grammar is appalling. Now mine is not the world's best but I always ensure that my spelling is correct and use spell checker if typed or will ask someone to double check spelling if unsure (sure we all have these moments lol) But when they are hand written into a Learning journal I am not sure what to do. My instinct tells me to stop her from doing them but then al of them would fall to myself and deputy therefore increasing our work load and allowing her to do nothing.


She recently typed up a children yearly report and didn't spell check it. I was horrified at the report and as a result the deputy is needing to retype them all. It's not just the spelling the whole report does not make sense. She never writes next steps and her assessments are not accurate.


Now she has admitted that she struggles with next steps and so I do plan on delivering some training around these as a priority.


She is NNEB qualified (1985) and I really just feel that she shouldn't be paid a level 3 wage.


Any tips on how to approach this or any hints/tips on how I can make her drastically improve the learning journals? I am absolutely horrified at the thought of handling them over to parents.

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That could be an ex-staff member of mine and it's not easy is it.


The only thing I would say is to speak to her about the fact that folders are not up to date and give time specific goals so 1 folder must be up to date by ?? and then you want it handed into yourself for checking, and then check it in front of her and suggest ways of how else you could word something, or what ever it is that's wrong.


Keep every step documented and signed by her and you - you will need this should you get to the point of warnings.


The above sounds really OTT but I found out with our staff member that she took for legal advice and was told that as employers we had to support her - and she liked to quote that to us on numerous occasions.

We called LAWCALL and was basically told the same that the law was mainly on her side and that we had to document every single extra bit of help and support you give and that is the evidence where you have supported her.


It was uncomfortable for me as I hate confrontation, but it had to be done as other staff members kept 'bailing' her out all the time and they started to get fed up of it - I also was that ashamed about one child's folder that I totally re-wrote it before it was passed to school!!

Once she realised that I was going to be on her back weekly, she started to keep up to date, but she also started to look for another job and is now an ex-employee.


It is sad in some ways as, like your staff member, she was great with ideas, a good physical worker and great with the children, but being a committee run setting we had no funds to employ someone who couldn't be a keyworker.


Good luck with it all

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I have been in this position too and can only echo what thumperrabbit has already put, record everything.


Does she have to hand write or can she use the computer to type (therefore there can be no excuse for not spell checking)


I too have had to set deadlines and 'obviously' check quality of obs/assessments/files. It isn't fun but it does help and each time you do it you are supporting her and can prove that.


Doe she give any reasons for her under-performance? could you ask her what she thinks might help? how she plans to improve things? jointly set targets and deadlines so she cant say they are unreasonable or unrealistic for her, make her think about solutions rather than just letting you do all the running.

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This probably isn't very helpful, but unless I misunderstood, she has THREE key children! How can she possibly not keep three learning journeys up to date and to a reasonable standard?! My Pre-school Room staff have around 15 key children each by this time of year and they manage it. If it's possible, I would take away this responsibility from her. If the learning journeys are that bad, surely it would be worth you and your deputy taking them on (only one and a half each!) Ever thought of using Tapestry for your learning journeys?

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It would only be one and half each at present but as manager I struggle to get time to do mine as does deputy and often results in us taking them home to complete. She has 3! I currently have 8 and deputy has 6.

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Oh me and deputy are only ones who see it as unacceptable. To have spelling mistakes is acceptable!


Is it really or am I being tough?


If it's a written obs and the child's name is spelt repeatedly wrong sure this is not! And it's typed which I understand has prove been autocorrected but in my opinion needs re-written.


I understand if it mis-spelt because a child has pronounced it wrong but to write 'Going on a plane to Austrailia' as a description for a photo, surely not acceptable?

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Completely & wholly unacceptable. IMO- I would be doing the same as you and re writing. I have a Spanish staff member who is great and writes wonderful observations and assessments of the children- however she knows that her written English leaves a lot to be desired, consequently she runs everything by myself or deputy before sharing with a parent. Unfortunately typing it doesn't always correct the problem & it maybe petty but I would n't dream of letting something go out that says 'George is been attended 2 sessions' Sometimes it is funny though, I went all round looking for graph paper the other day & in the end said to her show me it - and discovered she had meant craft!! However to misspell words such as Australia is not on- one of my staff leaves a pocket sized dictionary in her bag- she knows she cant spell and just says I'm not making myself look silly by misspelling simple words. Could you suggest that?

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one of my staff meant to say child can solve their problems... as part of a sentence and ended up with shove their problems :o I wonder where she can shove it to?


made me laugh ;) although we did change it. My bug bear is with a staff member who I know is dyslexic so spelling may be an issue and lucky I check her work but everyone can see a random comma in the middle of a sentence with space either side and too many spaces between words !!!

Edited by Johanna1
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