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Almost a year to the day since I asked for similar advice.


Jeany
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Well this time last year I had a staff member make an unfounded complaint to Ofsted. Thursday morning Mrs O knocks on the door due to parent complaint. The complaint once again was unfounded, however we obviously had a full inspection (3rd one this year). Again the outcome was the same as the last two and overall a positive experience. However the complaint that was made was from a parent that is still bringing their child in even though she basically said in complaint we were negligent and had a child in the setting for 2 hours that had signs of concussion (a complete fabrication). This family have problems and we have worked really hard with them and feel like this has damaged the relationship we have built. I would like to give them notice to leave as I really struggle to see how we move forward from what is essentially a malicious complaint. The complaint was not made to us, was made 6 weeks ago and the child has been coming ever since.

With over 70 families in attendance why does it feel like such a kick in the teeth when just one of them is clearly so unhappy they want to make life difficult for us.

 

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Oh Jeany - how completely awful for you - I don't think that I would want to 'move forward' with this family either - to be honest I'm not completely sure how you stand with this - think I would be seeking some advice from LA.....

Sending you a virtual hug.....

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Thank you all, It is always good to hear from people that have an understanding of working in similar situations and know how emotionally draining it can be. Sunnyday like you I am not sure where I stand and fear my LA won't be very helpful. They have pulled pretty much all of their support services and we can only access 'support' through a call centre and that is extremely hit and miss. Surely we are entitled to some recourse in these situations though.

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Hi Jeany

How awful,I feel really annoyed for you.I don't know either but I would not feel happy about having them still in my setting.

These are my thoughts,sorry if I ramble!...

Would the child easily be able to go elsewhere or would the LA say you are denying the child access to FEE for instance ( don't know age of child but that may make a difference to their spin on it I suppose)

I would ultimately feel, this is my business, breakdown of trust/ relationship is damaging..but you will know the circumstances.

Maybe, it's better to try to built bridges and be on your guard and count the months til the family leaves for school for example but ensuring all your team watch them like hawks!...sometimes it's better to put up with these sort of families even though it seems as of they are like a big black cloud over your setting.

One particularly difficult family I had a while ago, although I didn't get ofsted complaints,were constantly not happy with this or that and were one of those families everyone knew in the locale...Child was lovely but they definitely had multiple issues and were a constant source of stress for us.Once I had to challenge them about constant moaning and actually put it to them that they should leave if they were not happy as they had the choice to do so etch.They didn't and years later, I still get recommendations from them.So...

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The funding guidance states that the LA must find provision for children to meet their funded hours, not that every setting must provide it. If you dont want the family to stay with you, ask them to leave and then write to the LA informing them the family are now their responsibility.

Its your setting, you should be able to decide who uses it.

Good luck, what a horrible thing to have happen

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I have in the past done same as greenfinch, if they were not happy would suggest that if they felt the need to complain then we were not the right setting for them and perhaps they should find some where that met their needs better...I have also asked a parent what was reason they felt the need to complain and not speak to me/us directly first as in our policy...

The fact that the child is still there even after a complaint does give Ofsted a different view... as they take it into account when looking at your provision... if a parent was that concerned they would have not left their child with you..

The parent did leave the child with us... and we from that point documented every incident, conversation, comment, and never spoke to them without someone on staff being there as well., as well as what we were doing to help them... we learnt that very often this is a good thing to do with any parent that was constantly unhappy with things.. made sure we had all documented in case they did make that dreaded complaint..

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what sort of setting are you? PVI??

Yes a PVI.

We already do the documenting, 2 staff member thing. But this hadn't been raised with us at all. The child had a slight bump just above the eye brow bone. We put an ice pack on it, gave him a cuddle and within five minutes he was up and about as usual. We kept an eye on him for the rest of the session (2 hours) and he was his usual self. Accident form filled and signed by parent on collection. Next day we had a message from another parent that he wouldn't be in as his eye was a bit swollen. We rang them to check he was okay told he had become unwell later on that day taken to hospital, had an asthma attack. He was back the following day. The report to OFSTED said he was floppy when picked up and I had said he had been complaining of headache feeling sick, completely untrue.

How do you move forward from a bare faced lie, I really don't know. I though I would feel calmer about it today but I am just finding myself feeling more and more cross.

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well i guess my feeling is if they can do this once then what will stop them doing it again??? You need backup from your LEA though otherwise the complaints may just keep coming....but i dont think there is any legal issue with you asking them to leave. Perhaps ring ofsted for advice!!! or if you are PSLA then lawcall

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I would meet the problem head on and have a meeting with the parent and ask her if she was confident in your ability to care for her child after her grounds for complaint had been proved to be unfounded. Ask her how you were both going to move on from the situation and continue your professional relationship or if there was going to be a problem in which case it might be better if she found another setting - end of! I could not spend the rest of the time a child was with me worrying about every little aspect of the childs care in case the parent saw cause to complain, better to get it out in the open and deal with it.

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This is so dreadful for you. I think I would be giving them notice to leave too on this occasion.

Any trust, respect and worrying about everything is now imbedded in you as providers now to this family, so I think it would be better all round for everybody concerned for them to go.

Sending virtual hugs .Fx

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The child had a slight bump just above the eye brow bone. We put an ice pack on it, gave him a cuddle and within five minutes he was up and about as usual. We kept an eye on him for the rest of the session (2 hours) and he was his usual self. Accident form filled and signed by parent on collection. Next day we had a message from another parent that he wouldn't be in as his eye was a bit swollen. We rang them to check he was okay told he had become unwell later on that day taken to hospital, had an asthma attack. He was back the following day. The report to OFSTED said he was floppy when picked up and I had said he had been complaining of headache feeling sick, completely untrue.

We had a policy in school that all bumps to head were reported to the parents by phone, informing them of the accident and the first aid measures that had been administered. They were then invited to come and check the child if they wished to or to collect the child if we felt the injury warranted different attention.

Would that be possible for you?

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I wonder what the impact on the child would be if you asked this family to leave (are they settled, made friends etc), and I do think you would need to be able to give clear reasons if this is what you decide. I think at times we have probably all worked with families that have really challenged our very being, but have kept with them for the benefit of the child(ren). I'm sure the last thing any of us would want is another complaint based on being asked to leave the setting.

I would also worry about the message that this might send out to families that if you complain about a setting's practice, you are the likely to lose your place, and this could then prevent genuine complaints from being passed on, for fear of being 'expelled'.

I think Max's advice is spot on, can you find a way to meet with the parents and ask them if they are happy with you continuing given the allegation and complaint and how you might move forward? I recall a few years back when we had a parent who made several complaints and when we did sit down with the mum, she told us how fantastic we all were and would never even consider her child going anywhere else. We never got any more complaints from her after that.

 

Whatever happens, I do hope you can put this in the 'experience' folder and move on for your own sanity.

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We had a policy in school that all bumps to head were reported to the parents by phone, informing them of the accident and the first aid measures that had been administered. They were then invited to come and check the child if they wished to or to collect the child if we felt the injury warranted different attention.

Would that be possible for you?

we will be doing this from now on, the irony is that if we ever have needed to contact these parents their phones are switched off.

I wonder what the impact on the child would be if you asked this family to leave (are they settled, made friends etc), and I do think you would need to be able to give clear reasons if this is what you decide. I think at times we have probably all worked with families that have really challenged our very being, but have kept with them for the benefit of the child(ren). I'm sure the last thing any of us would want is another complaint based on being asked to leave the setting.

I would also worry about the message that this might send out to families that if you complain about a setting's practice, you are the likely to lose your place, and this could then prevent genuine complaints from being passed on, for fear of being 'expelled'.

I think Max's advice is spot on, can you find a way to meet with the parents and ask them if they are happy with you continuing given the allegation and complaint and how you might move forward? I recall a few years back when we had a parent who made several complaints and when we did sit down with the mum, she told us how fantastic we all were and would never even consider her child going anywhere else. We never got any more complaints from her after that.

 

Whatever happens, I do hope you can put this in the 'experience' folder and move on for your own sanity.

. I read the transcript from Ofsted and it stated that I had said things I hadn't said, that is the bit I am struggling with the most. I will be arranging a meeting but how do you professionally ask someone why they lied about you? The child is settled and the impact on him would be huge if we asked to leave but I am also considering the impact on staff(and myself) of him staying.

Think it is probably obvious my head is no clearer today.

Edited by Jeany
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Think it is probably obvious my head is no clearer today.

I think you may well need a mediated meeting then or to at least get some advice before you tackle this.

As for the parents having their phone switched off, if you have a policy and you point it out to them directly as an outcome of this, it becomes their problem if they fail to have their phone on--you will have done all you can to safeguard the child? You will have records of call that failed to connect.

I think, if you can, you actually need to forget the lying issue as that will always be your word against theirs.

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I think you may well need a mediated meeting then or to at least get some advice before you tackle this.

As for the parents having their phone switched off, if you have a policy and you point it out to them directly as an outcome of this, it becomes their problem if they fail to have their phone on--you will have done all you can to safeguard the child? You will have records of call that failed to connect.

I think, if you can, you actually need to forget the lying issue as that will always be your word against theirs.

Thank you it really does help to have an objective view on this. You are of course right, I need to take the emotion out of it and look at it from a purely professional view point. Having been involved with this family for 7years (this is their 4th child at setting), spending many hours outside of setting supporting them I thought we had a positive relationship, I had not taking into account the impact of a new adult in the household though.

Thanks again starting to feel a bit more positive, hopefully by tomorrow I will be in a better place to deal with this.

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Hi Jeany

I recently had a difficult family to attend with not the same as you but similar enough. We were told at the time we could not ask them to leave. However we did have the option of LA having a meeting with us and the family and being the mediator I believe at the time they called it a solution focus meeting or something like that. It basically was that we could air our differences and then an agreed plan by this third party on how to move forward could be charted.

 

Now for us the family refused however we had one of these meetings as a staff team and was still helpful. You can suggest that another setting might meet their needs better but this is not the same as asking them to leave they still need to feel they have the choice and if they refuse then that is that they stay with you.

Having said all that I did not enjoy working with this family, it was stressful and I breathed a sigh of relief when it was all over. big hugs coming your way xxx

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