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Staffs protection


Thumper
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Hi does anyone have a policy or a bit added in to a policy about protecting staff against character deformation?

 

Just wanting to ensure if a member if staff flagged a child for SEN or SAFEGUARDING and a parent is in disagreement they can not be allowed to spead gossip that the member of staff was making things up etc

 

Hope that makes sense ;)

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Surely if someone is telling untruths that are detremental to the preschool or it's employees something could be put in place to protect all?

 

Without a policy there is no protection. It won't stop the issue but it could be 'nipped in the bud' if you had paperwork to back you?

 

I'm unsure but was requested by a staff member for something to be added to our policy has another setting mentioned they had

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What protection is there with a policy? Could legal action be taken? Is there a law against harming the reputation of a person and/or organisation?

The 'nipping in the bud' would be, in my view, to ensure that anything communicated to the parent of this nature about their child was based on recorded observations made by at least two members of staff, and that the communication between the parent and staff member was such that any future accusations were prevented, if possible. Having two staff present when a sensitive issue is discussed with a parent also helps, as it may make it less personal and the risk of miscommunication is reduced. Of course one needs to very careful about how one talks to parents about these things, avoiding anything that sounds like labelling. Some lessons I've had to learn the hard way...

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The problem with this issue is that one person's gossip is another person's legitimately held opinion. I'm not sure how a policy would prevent an unhappy parent talking to his/her friends about how poorly they thought a particular issue had been dealt with.

Wildflowers makes some good points about miscommunication, and ensuring parents understand the processes and procedures your setting goes through in identifying when children might need extra support.

Many parents are not ready to hear the news that their child might have additional needs, let alone to be made aware that the setting has concerns over the child's safety and their reactions are not always predictable. It is perhaps natural that they react against the people telling them this upsetting and sometimes unpleasant news, and I really don't think a policy will prevent that from happening.

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A code of conduct maybe? A set of rules which all adults keep to while they're members of your setting. It might not be enforceable but it lays down your expectations regarding gossip, language, confidentiality ECT. Typically, I can't find ours now I need it, but I'll pop back tomorrow with it :)

Edited by Rea
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I don't see how you could stop the parent spreading 'gossip' as unlike staff you can't get them into a contract where they are answerable to you really!? As said before the main thing would be to be sensitive around the issues and surely with safeguarding or sen it would be a senior member discussing this with the parents maybe alongside key person? I had never particularly thought about this but nowadays you could have a million and one policies about everything!!

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You probably can't stop the gossip but a code of conduct can make people aware of their adult responsibilities as soon as they start and can be reminded if gossip is heard regarding anyone. Of course its about having good relationships with parents and I'm sure most of us do, but like Maz says, some people will find being told their child isn't 'normal' very hard to hear, they're hearing someone tell them their Childs future might not ever be how they dreamt. In fact I wouldn't see it as gossip rather as asking for confirmation and agreement from friends and acquaintances that the setting is wrong and doesn't know what its talking about.

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A code of conduct is a good idea to let parents (and practitioners) know how the setting expects them to conduct themselves in terms of confidentiality and so on. If you're going to have a policy then you need also to think about what happens if someone breaches the policy. That's easy for practitioners, but what will you do if a parent breaches it?

So much to unpick here.

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Another angle to consider is that, in order for a policy to be effective, the person it is aimed at must be aware of it. I can't imagine many parents who had just been told that their child may have an additional need would be considering their next move in the light of one of a large number of policies they were given the opportunity to look through when their child first joined the setting. They simply wouldn't remember that such a policy even existed.

I don't think it would be appropriate to remind parents of the policy at the time concerns about their child's development were being raised so how would you ensure that the policy had an effect on the actions of the parents concerned?

Edited by Upsy Daisy
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Gosh so much to think about....

 

I like the idea of the code of conduct.

 

I realise that it will never stop this from happening but feel I must exsaust all avenues of research before I can make a judgement if we will put something in place.

 

At present we have great relationships with our parents, we are a little village and comments spread very quickly, this is why staff have requested I look in to this.

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I've been where you are Thumper: small group in the heart of the village where everyone knows everyone. A parent complained to Ofsted about the way I'd handled a safeguarding issue, and she removed her child. Although her complaint was not upheld, she proceeded to walk past our gates most days complaining very loudly to her friend about how badly I had treated her.

There was absolutely nothing I could do, except ride it out and make her see that she wasn't getting to me by just ignoring what she said. It did eventually blow over, but I felt powerless to do anything about it.

Good luck - hope you find a mechanism that works for you.

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We've just been discussing this, sorry Thumper I can't find a specific code of conduct, it might be on our Facebook page. Anyway, in the past if we've heard gossip aimed at us, we've put something in the newsletter about how pleased we are that our patent/setting relationship is so strong, thanks for all the support at recent event etc. Its the only way we can fight back when everything we hear is secobdhand.

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