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suspended staff


klc106
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Hi all, apologies for the VERY long post but in need of some quick advice!!

 

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my member of staff (there is only the 2 of us and our volunteer). She has worked with me since we opened in sept 2011.

 

We have recently moved premises due to lack of children and I had to cut her hours down in September. Her work has declined since this. She has said she is looking for a new job.

She then received a final written warning a few weeks ago due to breaching confidentiality. She had an attitude during this meeting but said ok and she would work on things.

Over the past couple of weeks things have got worse, these are just a few examples-

  • she will only play with certain children (tells others to go and play somewhere else)
  • she will play with one child all day and nobody else
  • she has recorded 10 observations with minimal detail since we went back after the summer.
  • She has ignored children who are crying and will walk past them
  • she has ignore procedures to follow due to server dairy allergy in one on the children which did lead to a reaction at one point.
  • made new parents feel unwelcome resulting in them going elsewhere

So, yesterday I had a discussion with her regarding these points and she said I was wrong and it wasn't true. After I repeated my concerns and stating that she was failing the children in my setting she said "ok sorry I will try harder".

 

Then today we went to visit a children's soft play centre. She followed the same child around for the first half of the morning. Then as I went to get a drink for a child I noticed another one at the top of the slide crying and scared, I noticed my staff member go up with the child she had been following, she then went down the slide leaving the crying child at the top, then remained sitting at the bottom of the slide completely ignoring the child in distress. She then went to continue playing with the other child. At this point I ran to 'rescue' the distressed child and brought her out. I asked my member of staff why she had ignored and she began arguing that she didn't (I watched the whole thing). Due to her arguing I said as soon as we got back to the setting, she should collect her things and she would be suspended. When we got back to the setting she again started to argue, said I was lying about the situation and then left without saying goodbye to the volunteer or the children. I then received a call from her mum which is missed and called back, her mum answered and put it down again.

 

I have rang our local authority and also ofsted who have recorded everything. I was left with just myself and the volunteer and they said it was fine as its an unavoidable situation. One lady I spoke to said we would be ok for tomorrow to work like this as long as I risk assess it completely. I then had another phone call and he stated that I had to have another qualified member of staff. I'm now confused whether I can open tomorrow?? I have got another volunteer who can help who knows the setting. Next week I can get agency staff in which will be costing £11 per hour. Of course I will happily do this to abide by the eyfs but its very short notice for tomorrow.

 

ANY advice is much appreciated

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Eeeekkkk sounds awful for you (virtual hugs) i'm not going to be much use but didn't want to read and run, as she has been with you over two years be very, very careful as she could go for unfair/constructive dismissal if it ends up that way. Get advice every step of the way if you need it!

For me I would say this afternoon was an unavoidable situation re staffing but tomorrow's situation re staffing I would say is not unforeseen, so i would go with closure if not correct staffing levels.

 

Situations like these cause so much stress and your life comes overtaken by it so I am sending you all the best x

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Oh Klc how awful for you. I wouldn't go against the advice from Ofsted either.

If you can't get the agency staff in I would be closing tomorrow, and then try to get agency staff in for the foreseeable future or until this can be resolved. I would also suggest you contacted a body like ACAS for the way forward with this.

Sending you a virtual hug. Fx

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I feel that you would need to close tomorrow unless you can get another qualified.

 

You really need to get advice re her suspension. Is she on full pay?

 

 

I would have thought the most concrete evidence you have is giving the dairy to an allergic child when already on a final warning as presumably this was all recorded and signed etc. The rest is really from your perspective which she could argue.

 

Good luck

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Not a good situation to be in, but record everything , you will have some evidence of lack of observations as well as a lack of following a policy regarding allergies. Rest could be your word against hers, but if you had a volunteer that could also give some statements about her attitude it would help.

 

Remember if it is her mum that calls , you need to let her know you cannot discuss anything with her , only with the person involved.. confidentiality and data protection.. it really has nothing to do with her mum! (Had that situation once with a student, angered mum even more as I would not discuss anything with her, to my mind in the workplace mum has no right to try to interfere.)

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Don't know if this would work - but what about approaching local groups/children's centre to see whether they have any part time staff that could cover any hours for you until you can make more permanent arrangements. I also think you may need to close whilst you try and make arrangements. Ideally you need someone with dbs in place otherwise you are going to have to apply for one before they can start. Long shot I know????

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On another note it might be worth asking the soft play place if they have CCTV footage so you have evidence of her ignoring the child...

From what you have said you have done the right thing because the children come first and you are safe guarding them.

I'm guessing the volunteer is unqualified?

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Hi all

I have now held a disciplinary hearing and this member of staff was informed today by letter that she is dismissed. I told parents she had been suspended but no children were hurt or anything. I told them because they were asking why we had different staff in each day (supply cover)

Now she has been dismissed what do I tell them, they say they have a right to know what she did as their children were there but I'm confused what to do next. Thanks in advance

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They have no rights unless they are involved in running the setting, I believe you are the owner so the employer a reason is not needed. All you have to let them know is that she is no longer employed by you and that you are recruiting another full time staff member..

 

Claim data protection and staff confidentiality, if the staff member decides to reveal the reason then it could be addressed, but I feel it really is an employer/employee issue.. I believe it is not right to discuss a member of staff and their details with anyone, just like you cannot discuss the children with anyone other than the parent.

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Well klc, part one out of the way.

 

Part two, I'm thinking offer an open meeting where you state that following reduction in her hours the member of staff's attitude declined and made working with them unacceptable and that after all due consideration to her and her circumstances you were not prepared to compromise your working practices. Then ask for questions if they can be made in a controlled and polite manner and stick to the facts, don't give "for instances"., just answer the question, i.e, "was my child at any risk?" "no, not at any time" Make sure you say nothing that could be relayed back to now ex-member of staff that they might consider slanderous!

 

or

 

You could make a one off written statement of the facts and hand that out to every parent.

 

Hope all goes well klc, whatever you decided to do, big hugs - you must have been under a great deal of stress with all of this.

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Klc you don not have to ell them anything. You could just say that she has left for personal reasons. Staff leave all the time so you do not have to give the families reasons at all.

If they ask it really is none of their business but being polite the standard answer should be as I said she has left for personal reasons. go positive and say that you are looking to recruit (if that is what you are going to do) and you will let them know when you have found the right person. If they want to gossip it up to them. But it will all be forgotten this time next year!

Your disciplinary action is confidential to you and the staff member and noone but you have the right to know about it.

Thinking of you

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