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Feeling Overwhelmed!


TinkThing
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When I took this job on last summer, I was under no illusion that I would have my holidays completely free to spend with my children. However, I had no idea just how much there is to do in the holidays in terms of admin work and preparation for next term!

 

I am feeling totally overwhelmed at the moment, as time is running out to get it all done, but I still need to be here for my kids. My 'to do' list is getting longer, and I've just managed to waste an hour of my life ordering all our art and craft stuff for the new term only to find at the checkout I have to apply for an account (which will probably be refused - then what?!) and I could have spent that hour much more productively, Meanwhile, my kids are glued to screens while I try to get things done.

 

No need to reply, just needed to get it off my chest :(

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you're not alone...feeling totally despondent with it all, thinking it would be quite nice if just one other member of staff (or committee) even asked 'is there anything I can do to help', feeling humiliated that I've practically had to beg my deputy to meet for an hour just to go over a few things and sick to death of people asking if I,m enjoying the break :(

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I decided that I wasn't going to work in the holidays this year so tried to get everything done before we broke up. This worked well with the craft order as all delivered and put away in the last week. Most of the new children records have been updated and peg labels printed. We have a planned tidy up day and staff meeting prior to starting back.

 

There is stuff I could do SEF, policies, staff records. But I won't. Stuff I have to do are finishing the wages, paying ofsted (why does the bill always arrive on the first day of the holidays to my home address) writing staff meeting agenda.

 

I normally find that staff will do stuff and claim overtime (but I don't usually want to increase the wages bill).

 

Set yourself the task of doing something small each day no longer than an hour. Good luck.

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I also tried to do a bit extra before breaking up. Still plenty to do but I was strict with the 1st two weeks and put an out of office reply on my email. Perhaps if you can get someone to help with the childcare you could have a day or two that you totally dedicate to work. I find I get more done if I go into work and don't have any distractions.

Don't feel overwhelmed, prioritise and remember your family come first x

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Being my own boss, I find it relaxing to every now and then get something out of the way. I know that each hour spent in a early morning when everyone is sleeping or on a rainy day gives me an hour not doing that in the term. I also enjoy doing some things without time pressure. During holidays there is time to think things through, so are good for policies and SEFs, and to write invoices and lists with fewer mistakes.

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I totally refuse to get involved with SEFs and policies during holiday time! Only essential stuff in preparation for new school year - like fees! ha ha

 

I do feel that as we are so poorly thought of - considering all we cram in to 'funded hours' and unpaid overtime - that the holidays are THE HOLIDAYS!!

 

No one (apart from yourself) is going to be the least bit thrilled with you for being able to produce: new policies, a new craft stock etc etc etc. on the first day of the new term.

 

No, essential prep only for me ( like clearing out my school bag!!!) eek! Then the rest can wait........for Week 1 : )

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It took so long for me to get access to the SEF, that it was on my list to at least look at it this summer - and that's at the bottom of the list now! Ha!

 

The last month of term is just so busy there's no chance to get anything extra done. (We're mornings-only, packaway - my 'office' is my kitchen table, which is quickly disappearing!, I'm a key person and in numbers - no supernumery for me!) so I couldn't get anything prepared for September then.

 

I prefer to get lots done in one day other than an hour here or there. If I do that, I'll just keep thinking about what else needs to be done next! Hubby is off now for a couple of weeks, so I'm hoping I can get a day or two in. And then I need to go into work to build all the ikea bits I've bought....

 

Thanks for the support :)

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Yes I am like you diesel 10. I do appreciate it must be hard when you have small children. When mine were little there was only a few bits of paperwork but I have been through this dilemma with grandchildren. Not quite the same because I could give them back. I did explain to them that playschool was "my hobby" so I wanted to do a little bit each day and for that hour they had to do something quietly by themselves. They couldn't have minded too much because they often stayed for weeks. If I wanted to try a new activity I would often try it out with them first they were very good at telling me the honest truth. I worked my best in the early morning. They were often still asleep anyway or watching a dvd in bed. They have always been very involved in the playgroup and as they have grown up have used this knowledge at sixth form and uni.

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I have taken a stand this year and my holiday is my holiday. I had parents who e-mailed me the first week we were off and for the first time ever, albeit I had to tie my hands together, I haven't responded. I am only going to do what I need to and not get stressed about 'all the things I could/should be doing!' I feel, as most of us do, we work so hard all year, and we have to say enough is enough and take a break. We can't complain if we continue to do all this added work for free. In the end...... If we all got 'requires improvement' because all the paperwork wasn't done..... How would Ofsted and the government respond? Sometimes I think we are our own worst enemies.

Edited by MegaMum
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I'm sure your'e right MegMum, we are our own worst enemies and while we continue to do it our committees (I think it's different if it's your business :ph34r: ) counties and government will be happy for us to carry on...but knowing that doesn't make me feel I can just leave it, I ended up back in ratio for most of the last half term (I really don't know how you guys always in ratio do it) I ended up so far behind, only getting things done that 'had' to be done by deadlines, not getting any prep done for next term and absolutely hate not feeling in control and on top of things, I'm pretty sure It's going to be the same when I go back with more 2 yr olds and sen children so don't feel as if I can leave things till then.

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I'm always in ratio. No help from the commitee and constantly feel like a hamster on a treadmill. My own health is starting to waiver due to the constant stress and for what? .... A 'Good' inspection grade? Feeling the need to put it all into perspective. I am sure the Pre-school will survive me.

 

And by the way.... Most of the parents in my village couldn't give a whoot about a rating.... just convenience. Don't get me wrong. I am very dedicated, but when it starts effecting your health, is it worth it for a few pence an hour when you add up our real wages?

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Hello,

Its been good to read these comments as I've taken on the manger's role and I have been slowly making changes over the hols: going in each day to clean, tidy, organise and get the paper work bits done. I'm just so happy its mine and I want it to be right for September. Luckily my team also feel the same so have offered to work unpaid to get it the way I want it.

Having said that I was getting a bit stressed last week (my to do list is awfully long too) so I'm taking the week off this week and organised stuff to do with my own children so I definitely will be busy but its good to take a break from preschool.

 

But as you can see I'm still checking whats happening in the early years world by just being on this forum so its hard to stop thinking completely.

 

If it wasn't for people who dedicate time, commitment and love our preschools wouldn't be the safe, happy, nurturing environments they are!! So just want to say well done me and well done all.

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Thank you Silver mist. It's always good to hear from all sides and lovely to read your positive words.

It's great to hear that you have a good strong team with you. Don't let us in a negative place (at the moment) put you off. It is a really rewarding profession - would we really put up with our pay and conditions if we did not believe it???? Good luck for September!

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If it wasn't for people who dedicate time, commitment and love our preschools wouldn't be the safe, happy, nurturing environments they are!! So just want to say well done me and well done all.

I'll second that! :1b

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Try delegating some of your work load, allow some of your staff to take some ownership of their workplace (encourage working as a Team). I don't do the craft order, another member of staff does - all staff add bits to the ongoing craft shopping list (i.e. when resources start to deplete or they need something for a project).We review a few policies at each staff meeting & Committee & Parents are emailed prior to this meeting what policies are going to be reviewed so they can have a say...it spreads the load & ensures everyone regularly reads them....many hand make light work & someone else might see something you have missed. The SEF is reviewed annually, all staff read the previous SEF & make any notes (amendments/updates, etc) & all staff discuss/review it at a staff meeting. I have found that all staff have responded in a very positive manner & have come up with some fantastic ideas that we have implemented in our setting.

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Welcome lucas123, I'm pleased your team are supportive and it all sounds fab ...in an ideal world, but not when your staff feel you already put more and more on them and they always seem to have something more important to do ....sorry I've turned into a right moaning minnie this holiday :wacko:

 

I like the idea of making parents aware that you're updating certain policies and asking for thoughts first, not that they'd bother replying (see there I go again - I really must snap out of this lol) but at least they can't say they weren't asked when they don't like something :1b

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I used to claim 1 weeks wages over the summer break.. had a big discussion with committee and gave them the list of things that needed doing as priority over the break and told them they would have to do them all if they did not pay me.. not surprisingly they paid for a week..

 

Then I made sure that the weeks work was all I did .. ok may have split the hours over the break but did keep to those paid.. and only did the must do jobs.. others were left .

 

Things like SEF - I felt could only be done as a team.. no point in just my input - others needed theirs too.. additionally we did not do the Ofsted one but had out own, so no need to wrangle with their website and getting access etc.. .. our LEA encouraged settings to do their own as a working document that was constantly in use and being updated and changed.. We used to base it on Bristol Standards accreditation as we had done that and found it very useful to continue doing the same. (note- Ofsted were very happy with this and the setting did get an outstanding doing it this way)

Ordering was done during term time.. we had a ordering list that staff used to add to when things ran out and then did the ordering from work or had a committee member do it.. gave the list and the place to buy then over to them.. Term time was better for us as delivery to the setting was better when we were there and some companies only deliver to a setting not a home address..

I found it best to have a must do list and a 'others' list.. Must do included all the things we needed to open in September, rest was only done if I had time in the paid hours, otherwise it waited..

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Welcome lucas123, I'm pleased your team are supportive and it all sounds fab ...in an ideal world, but not when your staff feel you already put more and more on them and they always seem to have something more important to do ....sorry I've turned into a right moaning minnie this holiday :wacko:

 

I like the idea of making parents aware that you're updating certain policies and asking for thoughts first, not that they'd bother replying (see there I go again - I really must snap out of this lol) but at least they can't say they weren't asked when they don't like something :1b

Yes, although my team are lovely, they are not very keen on going the extra mile to make things easier for everyone! They grumble at doing Tapestry work at home (even though we pay a small payment!), so asking them to do anything extra outside of work hours is not going to happen, and there just isn't time during the working morning.

 

I started off last year emailing a policy with each newsletter, but had zero response, so gave up. We will be going through the SEF at staff meetings once I have updated the main changes in the last year, so I think I'll do that with the policies too, so the team have input.

 

Last summer (before I'd even officially started) I spent hours working in preparation, so I bliimin well DID claim for my hours, and will do so again this year. I'm not working for free, although I doubt I'll claim for all of the actual hours I end up doing...

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The demands of this job far exceed compensation as we all know. My staff are brilliant and don't moan (I do that for them!) They constantly stay late after their 'paid' time to clean up after the barage of the 2 year olds, stay until we are ALL ready to leave at the same time and always update Tapestry and meet deadlines for progress summaries...... I am lucky, I have dedicated staff who work many many unpaid hours.

 

At the end of the day, there is only so much you can ask of them to do unpaid and of course the leftovers are mine!

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  • 2 weeks later...

First time on the forum, so I'm really interested in many of the topics being talked about. This one stands out the most though! It is tough being the head or manager of a setting, I totally agree. There is little recognition, little appreciation and much paperwork and anxiety to boot! I've taken my setting through an Investor's in Children award and two Ofsted 'Outstandings' and was Ofsteded again in June 15. This did not go well and the inspector had nothing good to say about the place whatsoever.

 

Having knocked me down two grades, she told me that it was not about 'Children learning through play, but focus and targets' - this made me realise two things:

1) Life is very fickle. One minute you are working your life and family away to meet the needs of the children in your care, celebrating them as unique children and supporting their individual progress in all areas. The next minute, you are told that you're pretty much useless and accused of falsifying committee CRB documents.

2) That you must trust in yourself, your professional ability and the gut instinct that enables 60 two and three olds to engage and learn through play, whilst having key people to care and nurture their strengths and develop their weaknesses.

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Welcome Tinkywinky1. You sound as though you have had a rough time recently. You will get lots of advice, different opinions but above all support. Its good to realise that others feel the same and to find out how people get through the tough times.

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Welcome to the forum TinkyWinky1 - as lsp said, on here you will get support and the opportunity to vent your feelings!

Ofsteds recent email says we will get consistency from Inspectors in the future! How an inspector can say "its not about children learning through play......" is beyond belief!

Do as you said in point 2 - Carry on believing in what you do! Im beginning to think Ofsted grading 'needs improvement'. : (

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welcome Tinkywinky1, I think your inspector needs to read the new ofsted publication 'teaching and play, a balancing act' and watch the videos at the end :/

 

 

2. The significance of play in allowing children to learn and develop across such a broad range of developmental areas has long been understood. Its fundamental value is recognised in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

3. Play provides the natural, imaginative and motivating contexts for children to learn about themselves, one another and the world around them. A single moment of sustained play can afford children many developmental experiences at once, covering multiple areas of learning and reinforcing the characteristics of effective learning. When learning for our very youngest children looks so different to elsewhere in the education system, a fixed, traditional view of teaching will not suffice.

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