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Staffing issues ahhhhh


starsdance
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I'm not sure if I am looking for advice or just need to rant. Deep breath here goes.

 

I am leader of a small pre-school and we have arranged for training over the first two inset days of term. The first day is more a meeting type thing whereby the staff are able to bring their children and is for 3 hours. The second day is a team (note the word team) building exercise where their children are not allowed to attend. This was originally going to be 6 hours but when they complained we cut it down to 3. The staff were given these dates and the agendas back in June.

 

Fast forward to now and I have started to receive texts to say that the staff can't come as they can't bring their children. The first text I received was from a person who doesn't have her own children but Nannies for a couple of teachers and who now won't answer her mobile or reply to my messages. The second has two children (Y1 & Y4) who has no family in the area and is only 'prepared' to leave her children with a couple of people who are both working those days. The third has an 11, 16 & 18 year old, lives in the village we work in and, I think, is just taking the mickey.

 

They have all been told the dates and had it pointed out to them that inset days are not holidays but are days we have to work to get the setting ready for the new year. We are also due Ofsted imminently and I feel they just think it is all a joke and can't get beyond the fact that we are a business and how we perform bears a relation to having a job or not.

 

I feel that I have not had a holiday yet as have been doing small bits on some days so it's not a mad rush towards the end of the holidays and to get these texts have given me a major headache. We are committee run and I feel like handing it all to the chairwoman to deal with but know that I have to try to resolve it before it comes to that.

 

They have it written into their contracts that they are expected to attend training sessions that may take place when the children are not attending or on days that they don't usually work so can I sack all of them and start again? So much for team building - looks like it will be me and my deputy!!!

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I feel your pain but that is the problem when staff have young children,

perhaps next year have an inset when children are back at school

we have 2 days at the end of term 6 we close 2-3 days before the schools close and we train or have team building then

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Oh dear. I don't have anything practical to offer other than a virtual hug. It is difficult when planning inset days when your staff have children who are off school: there is always potential for no-shows due to illness and so on.

 

I'm not quite sure how I would tackle this one: do you have enough staff members who are willing to come to make your day worthwhile doing? Or does it rely on the whole team being there to make it effective? If the day doesn't go ahead, will you need to pay those who were ready to attend? Can you withhold pay from those who can't attend?

 

I don't think you can sack them all on the strength of this (but you should definitely get some advice) but I'm sure you could give them some kind of warning. What does your disciplinary policy say? At the very least I would give them a stern talking to at your first staff meeting of the year.

 

I would definitely get your Chair involved too - after all the committee employs you all and should be involved in any decisions you make about how to move forward.

 

As I said, nothing practical to offer, but I do hope you get it sorted. Starting the term off with this kind of headache is the last thing you need!

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never easy trying to get staff in at same time for staff meeting, i've given up trying now, and like you say i'm not convinced some see it as a 'real' job still, they dont see a need to keep up to date with whats changing in early years or get just how much has to be done during holidays. Are they paid for these sessions or could that be why they are reluctant to attend ? good luck with sorting it :/

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Hi starsdance (I love that user name!) and welcome to the forum :1b

 

Sending hugs and sympathy/empathy.........

 

I have absolutely no experience of 'committee run' groups so perhaps not best qualified to comment - but would imagine that you should involve them in this situation.

 

If it were me I think I would simply cancel/postpone the second day - if feels to me that these staff members do not have sufficient interest in attending - I would not want to start the new term on a 'sour note'.

 

Good luck with it all x

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I agree with Sunnyday - this team building exercise - does it have to be done at your premises? Some of our best team building has been on nights out! I think you need to be honest with your members of staff on the first day you are having your staff meeting, tell them how disappointed you are, why there is a need for these meetings, if they are only doing their job to fill the gap until the children are more independent etc. etc. perhaps they should have a re think, no longer can this job be seen as pin money until they can return to a proper job when the children are less dependent. They do need to be more dedicated and supportive of you because that is what is expected these days.

 

When you recruit in future you must really underline how much involvement there is and it's not only an ability to be playful that you are looking for. Policies and written induction information are all well and good but quite obviously once people have been employed that isn't really seen as that important by them - you could use your termly supervisions to get your case forward too.

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mmm feeling your frustration Starsdance - sadly this is a problem when most of the employees are mums too. We were due to go back same day as school but I have decided with committee to not have children in til 2 days later but staff must come in on the 2 days to sort out cupboards a, have staff meeting etc . I try to be understanding and flexible as best I can but i know sometimes people just don't try to accomodate the job. this ws brought home to me by my area SEnco when I was trying to arrange training - she actually was the one that suggested the satff brought in their offspring , i then sent a letter out to all staff outlining the importance of their attendance and how flexibility works both ways - they all turned up and no children in tow. Like my senco said - they are employed to do a job and if the job description and contract are to be upheld , then they need to do it . Good Luck - i think Suer and Panders have made some valid comments

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Think you've hit the nail on the head there panders, there's a vast difference in the commitment you get from staff who see child care as a career and those that see it as a convenience to fit in with own children's school holidays, unfortunately they tell you what you want to hear at interviews ....."yes I can get child care for my own children to attend meetings, or school inset days", " yes I have someone who will look after them if off school ill" ....until it happens ggggrrrrrrrr

 

 

Noticing when some of you are going back, how do you sort funding if going back half way through week, due our county funding a 14 week Aut term, we don't start back till 9th, is anyone else doing this ?

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Hi mouse - we don't go back until 9th - we always find that if we go back in line with school we are very quiet - many families preferring to take their holidays then.........I like the 'later' start back too because it gives me a bit more time to work on the dreaded 'to do' list :ph34r: :blink: not going well this year xD

 

My parents are given term dates well in advance and know that we are only working and therefore receiving funding for 13 weeks......

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Thankyou both, was a bit worried that I was going back to late, when we've tried to get parents to pay if we go back with school most don't want to, so only a few children but can't say to some staff we don't need you, found it less hassle to just not bother, would be nice to get staff in for that couple of days to have an un-rushed staff meeting and to prepare for new term, but would be a big cost with no income.

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Thankyou both, was a bit worried that I was going back to late, when we've tried to get parents to pay if we go back with school most don't want to, so only a few children but can't say to some staff we don't need you, found it less hassle to just not bother, would be nice to get staff in for that couple of days to have an un-rushed staff meeting and to prepare for new term, but would be a big cost with no income.

 

Just my me and my deputy having a 'cleaning' day on the Wednesday before start of new term - we will also use this as a 'staff meeting' and no doubt 'put the world to rights' as we clean! xD I will. of course, be paying her for this time :1b

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I have had exactly the same issue - whenever we have inset or staff meetings someone is always either not there or has to leave early no matter how much I stress the importance and the time scales.

It is frustrating when you spend time beforehand planning the day and have stuff you need all staff to be aware of and come together for - especially with Ofsted looming.

 

I stopped staff bringing children to any meetings several years ago - its really not appropriate and you wouldn't be able to in any other job! :angry: Having children there was a major distraction and the meeting business wasn't really being 'taken in' by anyone.

 

I wonder if you were going back to work on those two days instead of having meetings / team building would staff still be saying they cant make it??

 

I really do sympathise - wish I had the answer :(

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I have tried to be flexible but we wanted to get the existing children in for the first two days then start with the new ones the following week. We discussed this at staff meeting and said that we are going with our county's term dates including the inset days and we would have a meeting on day one and team building (that they asked for) on day two. They had notification of these dates 2 months ago and were all there and agreed them at a staff meeting. We have tried evening things but find they drop out of those as well and blame their husbands not being home on time. I find evenings a bit more difficult as I have two children who take part in after school activities most nights and by 8pm I am only fit to drop.

 

I think next year (if there is one for me) we will have the staff training days when their children are back at school but we are awaiting Ofsted from the moment we open on the Thursday and I can't get it across to them how important this is for all of us.

 

I do have a good chairperson but she is due to go on two weeks holiday tomorrow so it is down to me at the moment :( and one of them is not answering her phone or returning my calls.

 

I do feel like saying 'sod them' and having two days with my deputy sorting everything out and getting it straight but then think 'why the hell should I?' for them to just walk in on the Thursday with it all up and running.

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So technically funding starts on the first of the two days, and they had advance warning anyway?

 

If this is the case I would come down on them like a ton of bricks! It's one thing (just as annoying I know) if they would have been coming back 'early' - but if that's the term start day then they should be there as it would be counted as a normal work day.

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I suppose one thing that may be an issue is if the staff are paid for the 38 weeks of funding only - and not 40 weeks which are the school terms ( depending on your local authority) I arrange the funded sessions start dates to start and end on a full week - so as Lashes said our funded children will be back on the 9th - but my term-time staff are employed for 40 weeks so I am able to stipulate they are back before the children and finish occasionally after the children - i.e. last term - the funded children finished on the 20th and the staff finished on the following Tuesday , bingo - two days for them to clean/sort organise and train whilst my all year staff continued to care for the unfunded children. I have got one who tried to bring her child in the first day back as her school on INSET - but got round that by her swapping days that week ( she doesn't normally work a Friday but is on that week !) Call me mean but they are paid for 40 week - they work 40 weeks! ;)

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I have spoken to my administrator who has confirmed that as they had fair warning our term starts on the Tuesday they have to be there from the Tuesday. They were given notification of these dates back at the beginning of June so can't say we have sprung it upon them.

 

She has told me I need to phone all three of them to say that I expect them in on those two days (one of which they can bring their children in for) or it will go down on their attendance records and could become the point of a disciplinary meeting. One of the staff members is on a performance plan due to her absences and lateness amongst other things already. She has checked this all out with ACAS so if they threaten to take us to a tribunal we can say bring it on.

 

It really is the case of trying to get across to them that they now work in the education sector and these days are here to stay and if they don't like it then maybe this job is not for them.

 

There are only 5 members of staff so to loose one to looking after the others children wouldn't work.

 

Wish me luck with my phonecalls tomorrow - lets see if I still have these 3 members of staff at the end of the day :huh: I was really looking forward to these holidays but they have been a nightmare and have given me sleepless nights.

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Starsdance ...although i understand how cross you are about this you are a very small team could you not work together to come up with a solution. Are you sure that you want to cause this much upset? it will be you who has to pick up the pieces! Is the training you need to do that important? perhaps you could suggest some other alternatives like an evening or weekend that way they would see that you are trying to be flexible (but they are probably not going to want to do those so you could use it to barter...either XY or Z it's up to you kind of conversation!)

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I understand the frustration but when I trained with the PLA many moons ago we were reminded that we should be there for our staff and their children and families too. I hope I've always stuck to that, arranging meetings and training to fit with their family lives. I realise you wouldn't be allowed that flexibility in any other job, but we are there for other peoples children and try our best to build good partnerships with the families who come to us so giving the same consideration to our staff should be high on our list of priorities.

Our staff start back after the schools for just that reason.

I hope you manage to work something out without having to use the disciplinary route.

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