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Was it the right thing to do?


klc106
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Hi all

Apologies in advance for the long post.

We have a child who has been with us 12 months, he turned 3 in October. For a while now we have noticed his behaviour, concentration, social skills are getting worse. Other children are even saying that they don't want to play with him as he hurts them (of course we deal with this by saying he doesn't mean to and we have to try and help him etc.) Other parents comment on the mess he makes in the room as they are arriving (he swipes tables clear, throws and kicks toys around).

So 2 weeks ago I had a chat with mum about our concerns and getting our area senco in. Mum agreed that this behaviour also occurs at home and that he has begun banging his head on the wall and punching walls too. So we had a visit from the area senco last week who advised us to get help from the children's centre outreach worker first. I told mum this and suggested the outreach worker may visit them at home to see how he is there as well as at the setting (we had a child previously in a similar situation). Mum was fine with all of that and said thank you.

The child and his younger sister came as normal on Monday and everything was fine, mum seemed happy and chatty and tells us little sister will be bringing a birthday cake in next week. Then at around 9:30pm on Monday night I get a text to say the child wont be in on Tuesday or Wednesday but will be back on Thursday as normal.

This morning I get an email stating that after a few days off and attending some appointments, the children will not be returning to preschool as she doesn't feel the little boys needs are being met any longer. I replied saying we are sorry to hear the news and would be grateful to know how we could have met his needs better. I have had no reply as of yet.

So, my question is do you think I did the right thing? Could we have done anything differently?

We have never had a parent take their child out of preschool before and it feels awful :(

Edited by klc106
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Is there a dad around? If so could it be that he is not happy with the idea?

It sounds like you've done the right thing, and, from your explanation everything has been done with mums full consent/permission.

If it were me I would write everything you [setting] have done to support mum and child - I'd do this while everything said is still fresh in your mind.

I think it must be really difficult for a parent to come to terms that their child may have additional needs. I can only imagine a lot of 'midnight thinking' goes on- so thoughts may change on a daily basis :(

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It sounds like you did everything we would have done, in fact it echo's one chap we lost last term.

His behaviour was awful, mom was aware of all the things we'd tried and supported us through them, although never carried them out at home, but we'd run out of strategies (and energy) and spoke to mom about getting outside help for him and us.

She agreed and said she needed help too and thanked us then went home and never returned, claimed she'd changed her work hours but people talk and we know she didnt.

Write it down and file it away. Some people cant manage with being told their child isnt 'normal' or might need help, they take it in completely the wrong way. Its a shame but you cant make them come to you and accept the help.

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i think i'd be ringing and having a chat. Apologise to her about her not being happy with your service...say you are very concerned and ask why she felt you were not meeting his needs ....I wouldn't be happy to let this go like this (and in fact we have a 6 week notice period!) For every unhappy customer who goes away unhappy they will tell (directly and indirectly) 144 others!!!!

also this could be a safeguarding issue,,,,,children with sen needs are much more likely to be the subject of abuse...please make sure this little one is ok!

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I echo Finleysmaids and Sunnydays sentiments. I would also have to follow this up. Mum may be in denial at the moment and made need lots of support.

Don't beat yourself up about it. I had a child once that I felt for a long time I had failed whilst with us, although deep down I knew I hadn't I just wanted the best for him.

This continued in to school too. Sometimes parents are not ready to accept that they have a wonderful child, but with some additional needs.

Fx

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Thank you all. At the moment mum isnt responding to my email/texts or answering her phone. I dont have any doubts about abuse and had a very good relationship with the family before this. I havent seen dad in a while so whether he wasnt happy with our concerns I dont know.

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I suspect mum can't tell you how you could have met his needs better, because she doesn't know herself? I think you have done all the right things........................some settings would have let things go................and it may be that mum has discussed this with family or friends who have suggested she shouldn't go with your suggestion of involving the senco. Additional needs can carry awful stigmas.....you have mentioned that some parents are commenting on this child's behaviour already, so from mum's point of view, she might feel her child will stand out even more, though YOU know that sensitive support would help him, and not make him stand out. I would do what you have one, make sure mum knows that her child is welcome back at your setting at any time and that you are available to talk with her at any time. It's always a bad feeling if a child is taken away, but sometimes you get these situations and you can always learn from them. As has been suggested, write down what your concerns were, what you did, who you spoke to etc, so you have a paper trail if he goes elsewhere and concerns are raised again. Good luck.........and don't beat yourself up xx

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I agree also. Please don't feel you have done anything wrong because you have followed the correct way of doing things.

It is sad that she won't respond to your phone and email but give her time she might change her mind.

It is not unusual for a parent with a child whose development requires support to react in this way.

I would also advice your improvement advisor or whatever your local authority title may be, because this child is sure to pop up somewhere and the new setting may be better advised to approach the support in a different way. I say again it is not that you did anything wrong.

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Thank you all for your support. Mum replied to my email this evening to say they have been to a few appointments with educational professionals and they have assured her that the child has no social or behavioural difficulties And that he will benefit from more one to one attention as well as group play. She said he is not going to be moving to another settings at the moment.

I replied saying I am sorry but as a an early years professional myself I did what I believe to be in the best interest of the child based on what we have observed at preschool.

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Hello,

I have just briefly read this thread and to me it seems quite odd that your parent has seen possibly more than one educational professional in this short space of time. Again I would wonder who they are as most professionals do like to make contact with a child's setting too.

As some have already said she may not be ready to consider that her child and herself may need more support. Mum may be going through lots of emotions herself and her rejection of your support is just an erratic response.

I would ask yourself this question..... reflect back on his time at your setting, do you still think his behaviour is a cause for concern? I assume you will still say Yes, therefore you did the right thing. Early intervention can not only help the child but the family and setting too so please don't doubt yourself and your professional judgements.

Having said that as early years professionals we must also respect a parent's decision and its probably useful to document the contact you have had with the parent and your senco support.

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Well an update.

Today I received a letter from ofsted saying someone has informed them of areas of concern. The things listed are completely untrue and can be proven. For example it says the children are made to wait for their lunch due to use standing around talking to a particular parent (a friend of mine outside of preschool and she was named) when in actual fact her children stay all day so we don't see her at lunchtime!

We had our ofsted inspection in Dec and got good with one action. Our report is very complimentary.

Ofsted say on the letter to keep a record of how we dealt with the issues and they will look at our next inspection.

Totally gutted that after nearly 4 years we have been reported to ofsted. I have spoken to my other member of staff who feels the same.

Do we have to/ would you share with other parents that we have had this letter?

Edited by klc106
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Oh no how disappointing.

This must be so frustrating for you. However keep positive, keep records and details of complaints and feedback from parents. Then when you have your next inspection you can show exactly what has happened from your perspective. I feel sending follow up emails from conversations you have could be something you may want to start doing, if you are not already doing this. I find it helps me to clarify and understand all that was discussed and then I can identify any points that need to be addressed further.

I am not sure sharing the details of the Ofsted letter with other parents is a good idea as you would not be able to disclose the conflict/situation that has arisen with the particular parent and even if it is that parent that you think this complaint has come from.

Thinking proactively would you consider asking for parental feedback. A simple questionnaire or even a notice to ask for feedback about different aspects of the setting would show Ofsted on their next visit you are able to provide opportunities to listen to the views of parents and then you could list the positive comments and any necessary action taken from the feedback.

I think if Ofsted had serious concerns a visit would happen straight away rather than just an abrupt letter? Ofsted also need to show they are listening to complaints and liaising with settings.

I hope by sharing your worries it has helped you think though this experience.

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oh that's awful for you, when you were only trying to do your best for their child, and isn't that what Ofsted expect from us ? I'm getting seriously fed up of trying to do the best for children with additional needs in our setting within normal ratio's as parent's don't want to hear what you're telling them, as Silvermist says I wouldn't be informing parents either, it's not as if they've taken it seriously enough to visit, did the letter invite you to defend yourself ? again keep a record of everything, ask a member of staff to witness that you have had meetings with this parent if you can (presuming that is who made the complaint). A parent questionnaire if you haven't done one for a while would also be useful evidence.

Easier said than done I know, but try not to worry to much.

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Easier said than done I know - but my advice for what it's worth

'rise above it'

Assuming it was this particular parent that was a mean and vindictive thing to do

As others said Ofsted have to act on a complaint even if that is just a letter - hopefully you won't see them for a few more years - have all your paperwork in place and then 'forget it' and carry on providing your Early Years care that they have recently deemed to be 'Good' x

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you cannot stop parents who feel the only way to deal with their own issues is to pass it on to others.. had many complaints over the years that came in this way.. all investigated, all unfounded, comes as part of the job unfortunately.

in my case the documenting and keeping it for long term was very helpful, as we had a case that came back 5 years later from a parent who claimed we had not picked up on an sen issue when we had done all we could but they were in denial. Took the school the 5 years to get them to accept it and that was when parents claimed we had not told them.. luckily this little file of paperwork was so useful in showing what we had done, time scale etc and Ofsted informed us they had been told it was recent not 5 yrs ago, They were pleased to see we still had all on file though and went away very happy grumbling about some parents as they had sent 2 officers to investigate! Think that is why so much is done by letters and paperwork these days.. too many time wasting issues.. but I wonder if some that are genuine do slip through the net by doing it this way.

So after my long ramble.. if the letter has several issues..make a document / folder itemising them in turn with evidence as to how you dealt with or can disprove it , anything will do including witness statements and signed registers/documents.. . , change anything you feel you need to that will benefit the children, file, forget and move forward.

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'we had done all we could but they were in denial'

 

I ask parents of children we have raised Sen concerns about, even S&L, that don't accept or want us to seek help for their child to sign a letter to that affect now, it came about from the school questioning a couple times why we hadn't done anything, one incident we tried and tried with the parent only for that parent to tell school that we hadn't even mentioned any concern when they flagged it :(

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