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I am a manager of a preschool and out of school club and have been for two years, with a team of 11 who all apart from two are completely new. It has been two years of probably the worst situation and job role I have ever been involved in and led. Two chairs, three deputies, disciplinaries to deal with, management overhaul, paperwork, policies and procedures to re-re-write, contracts, job descriptions and recruitment to re-write and resolve!


Then in nov last year, we were given requires improvement and it is now a constant battle of improving our management structure -directors, improving supervision, planning and outcomes for children and I am exhausted and have no confidence.


My team are miserable too, they are brilliant and we are rebuilding our team, but everyone is unhappy, not communicating and this has been evidenced in our recent staff survey.


So....... what do I do??? Local authority has said they can't help as they don't have the time, but I have to be more assertive and re-motivate myself!!!!!!




Any leadership websites or resources that any of you could guide me towards as I don't know what to do and I responsible that my team are so down.


Thank you ?

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Ohh Pickles, this sounds like a nightmare for you and your staff :( i didn't want to read and not comment..


And to only have 2 chairs for all those children (Sorry bad time for a little joke :wacko: )


On a serious note.. the 1st paragraph regarding; new policies, contracts etc.. yes this is hard work, but once it is done it is done for a while.. and only needs minor revisions every few months/years. If you can tackle them and get them done..


OK - Policies - do what i did.. find an outstanding setting nursery website who happen to post all theirs online.. download, edit.. and pretty much done :P


Contracts.. hmm if you had the funds.. a HR company for around £100-150 per month?? You still have a little work to do.. but they do the majority? Failing that.. once you have the template for 1 they are all pretty similar. Also with HR, they help with disciplinary - and will email you the letters etc if required and advise action to take. Yes these are time consuming :(


Job Descriptions - if this is to employ people or to advertise for staff then it's required.. otherwise i presume they are pretty generic? Again once done.. they are done for good!


Requires improving is better than what we got 8 months ago and we recently got a Good... the only way is UP - well it was for us! It is something positive to aim for.. and you will get there.


Supervisions.. these can be done every 6 weeks or so.. and if you have the funds (around £100 per year depending) you should get Tapestry.. and start using it. Once you get into it and get the observations and assessments into the program, you can see clearly where each child is up to etc and print of all kinds of analysis data.. and this can be used during Supervisions. It really does make life so much easier!


Your Local Authority have an OBLIGATION to help you.. they get funding that requires them to also meet targets in your area.. improving the outcomes for children will include your setting doing well and improving.. them saying they don't have the time is ridiculous!!!


Make a list of "Things to do" --- then work through them one by one calmly.. there is only so much you can do.. in the end it will all be worth it... good luck :blink:

Edited by BroadOaks
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I am so sorry to hear all this and I know some of what you are feeling.


I took over as manager of my setting 3 years ago and staff moral was so low due the previous manager, I had to sort policies, contracts, supervisions, appraisals, tracking, learning journey's and planning plus lots more.


If you are a member of the pre-school alliance, they have templates for contracts and policies which helped me a lot, I also discovered a facebook page called Early Years Managers and they have lots of files you can download and use.


I constantly felt like I was drowning but I made an action plan and I colour coded it, so red meant urgent, amber less urgent and white can wait.


It is a case of prioritising things (this I found hard to do).

My staff are amazing and have been since I took over. I talked to them and explained the situation and kept them involved, I asked for their input on things and this has helped us to grow together and they now support me as well as me supporting them.


There were times where I wanted to run away but I kept at it (it is so hard to keep motivated because being the manager is a lonely job). You need to know you are not alone and if we can help and support you as fellow managers, we will.

if you would like any templates I am more than happy to send you some of ours.


I know that each time I completed an item off my to do list it gave me a little lift and I could carry on.


Take heart and know you are not alone.


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Hi. We use the plsa templates for policies and recruiting staff. They are a good starting point and I tend to 'tweak' them to fit our circumstances. I also use Google to see what other groups policies etc look like. Also not forgetting this wonderful forum!!!!!

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Hi - what an awful position to be in ........


Do make that list as already suggested and prioritise what needs to be done - can you delegate some of these tasks? If you really can't delegate then can you take some time away from the children to give all of the necessary your undivided attention?


Sending a huge virtual hug........

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It looks like communicating is a major priority for you, and now you've said it on here, it will be easier. You've highlighted it as an issue for action, without good communication, it doesn't matter how outstanding the rest of it is.


How often do you have staff meetings? Could you organise a whole team evening together, or a bring and share meeting sometime. Talk about your concerns and listen to theirs, chat about the workload and see if anyone would like to take something on, perhaps for a scale point increase in salary - could someone else be SENCO, or in charge of behaviour management, or health and safety - if they aren't already. I know the buck ultimately stops with you, but if somebody else could do the training etc, it would relieve you of a lot.


It's lonely at the top, and a good deputy is worth their weight in gold - I've been very lucky with mine in the past. It's good to know there's someone there for you.


Do you have a local branch of PSLA who could come and talk to your Chairperson?


Your LEA are obligated to help - you signed a contract with them at some point and that should state the degree of support they have to give you. Don't sit back on that one, they need to help you.


We are all here for you, and will share the things we have, willingly, we are in your corner, so please let us know what you need.

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Thank you so much for all your replies and kind words.


I have worked so hard and dealt with some really horrible stuff - the question is, how do I pull myself up, and find that confident person I was two years ago. I am worried my staff think I am rubbish!!!


What can I do, the support officer from the psla was the lady helping me, but she has said I need to be more assertive and manage better?!


Thank you

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It's really hard to be assertive, if it's not your natural thing. It's one of the areas I struggled with, to be honest. There's assertiveness training out there, if you think that would help, but if it's necessary for you to be assertive, possibly a way is to act a role? Could you imagine yourself being someone you admire in a film or something, and work out what they would say in a situation, and how they would say it. Is there someone you could practice on? I'd say at the moment, your assertiveness could be challenged towards the LA who aren't helping. Is there a member of the staff team that you can ask to help you with a practice role play?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lots of good advice already. I think it is a huge positive that your team is onside. As the saying goes 'believe you can and you're halfway there'. You can do this - tell yourself you can morning, noon and night until you believe it. If it works for you there are lots of meditations on youtube.

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