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Advice needing- being closed down!


klc106
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Hi all

 

As some of you may know we had a very bad inspection in January which was sabotaged by an 18yr old I had employed. This meant we were graded inadequate. Since then we have had an improvement advisor but she has offered very little advice and criticised everything we have tried to do or made out it was her idea.

 

We have also had 2 monitoring visits from ofsted. After the first one I received a threat of £5000 fine if I didn't get a new level 3 employee to be the deputy manager (there is only 2 of us and my deputy is level 2). However, she gave me 2 weeks but one was during half term and so no trial could be done at the setting. I did employ someone but after 2 and a half days she left saying she actually didn't want to work with young children!!

 

LAst Monday ofsted were due again for their 2nd visit but I was taken by ambulance to the hospital for scarlet fever which they say may have been triggered by stress. So she came on Wednesday and we felt the session went well. She made us take the children out in the pouring rain and they got soaked so we did have parents complaining at home time. She told me she felt the room was not layed out properly, resources were no good, no teaching and learning was taking place and behaviour was out of control. All of this is wrong! The only behaviour witnessed was a couple of boys running inside.

 

So Friday afternoon I got a phone call to say they are closing us down and disqualifying me from ever being a childcare provider again!!!

 

As you can imagine we are totally devastated as are the parents who are being extremely supportive and want this decision to be changed. We just wondered if anyone else has been through similar and actually got them to change their minds. I have got legal cover included on our insurance and they are calling me back tomorrow.

 

Sorry for the long post!!

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Oh Kic you have been having a nightmare with your business. Honest opinion - let it go. The whole thing is just making you stressed and I' m assuming your not making a fortune! (Who is)?.

 

Wouldn't it be nicer to be paid by someone else to do the worrying??

 

Might sound defeatist but that's what I'd do at this stage. Your Parents are supportive - which is great but they are not bearing the burden. Early years settings are tough enough to manage - without all those worries.

 

Sending you a hug x

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That sounds awful and I'm sorry that you're having such a bad time at the moment. I do agree with Rafa though, I personally would consider walking away from it, if only for the sake of your health!

 

As someone who has gone through an inadequate grading from ofsted, I can say that you will have to seriously consider the impact that being closed down will have on your business reputation. Your parents may well be supportive, but are future parents going to feel the same?

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I am not prepared to just walk away from what I have spent the last 5yrs building! We have children who come to us because of the small setting we are and they would struggle in another setting as all local settings have at least 20 children per session. We also have a child with a severe dairy allergy and other local settings have told her mum they do not cater for that (yes they are outstanding!).

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Ok, You need to set an appeal in motion without delay. Phone your insurers legal team for advice. Tell Ofsted you need to see where in regs it says rooms have to be laid out in a specific fashion and where it says what resources you must have.................there is none. Demand to know why you are deemed to be unfit to look after children. I also would have told your inspector 'no' when she insisted you take the children out in pouring rain.

 

But, do not take this lying down..............you need to show you are advertising for the L3 that you need (is there anyone who would come in from another setting until you an hire one?) Set plans in motion to show you will manage behaviour......and how

 

You also need to contact your LEA to have an urgent meeting with an advisory teacher for the support you need................what do you think needs changing and how do you aim to do it and by when? look hard and carefully at your resources too and see if YOU think they can be improved.

 

Above all, I wish you good luck. In the end you have to decide if it's worth the fight...........................and what you will do if you aren't in childcare any more. But challenge,challenge, challenge and don't take no for an answer, don't accept anything that isn't actually and clearly in the standards.

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Thanks Narnia. I rang my legal team on Friday and they are calling me back tomorrow and I also spoke to the LA and the head of improvement advisors is supposed to be ringing me first thing if not I will be calling them. We have a lot of evidence to show that we have got a well resourced setting and children are learning and making progress. This inspector never even looked at trackers or learning journeys etc.

 

We are going to challenge everything and won't go down without a jolly good fight!!

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Hi there. I'm sure you will have done this already, but I'd read and know the compliance handbook as I am assuming this path is laid out due to OFSTED considering that you are not complying with statutory requirements, which should have been clearly laid out in your original inspection, especially any welfare notices ie what you were required to do and by what date.

 

Sorry having trouble doing the link..

 

If you are going to appeal, you need to be fully versed on procedure and the reasons being given for suspension (or cancellation) of your registration.Plus you need to know how to appeal so you you do everything that's required.

 

But you also need to consider how sustainable your setting is if you have just two members of staff..who has been covering you whilst you've been poorly with scarlet fever? If you are finding it hard to recruit level 3 staff, and don't have bank staff to call upon, are you sustainable long term? And is your health worth it?

 

Best of luck with whatever you decide, it's so stressful when something like this happens.

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I'm afraid i agree with Mundia, Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do not in any way exacerbate the situation, ie now opening without registration. You must comply with Ofsted, even if you do not accept their findings and go on to chose to challenge them.

 

The first conversation I would be having is a "no holds barred" discussion with the LA. What (really honestly) do they think of your provision? You have been very negative about the LA input to date, but frankly, you have to listen to them now. What do they make of Ofsted's findings to date? Is there any realistic chance of winning an appeal under these circumstances?

 

i understand and commend your determination, and really really feel for you. Your frustration and anger is clear. However, clearly Ofsted are of the opinion, having visited on more than one occasion, that your setting is not meeting the required standards, and indeed seems not to be complying with statutory duties. A decision to remove registration is not taken lightly. Whether you feel their decision is justified or not frankly changes nothing right now.. At present their decision stands, and you will have an uphill battle to challenge it.

 

Sorry if I do not sound supportive, believe me, I am, but I do think you need to seriously examine what has happened, and then, seriously consider how and if to proceed.

 

I do wish you well.

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I am not operating without registration, we have not been closed down yet and I never mentioned that we had. I have also not stated that I haven't listened to our LA, in fact they have offered very little advice on what we can do so how do you listen when nothing is being said exactly??

 

I have read the inspection handbook and know the statutory requirements very well and I know we are meeting all welfare requirements. This judgement has been based upon 2 x 2hr visits- not enough time to make a judgement like this in our opinion.

 

Why should I let them continue and close the setting and become disqualified when I have done absolutely nothing wrong??

 

I'm not asking you to believe what I am telling you but I honestly don't think I would broadcast this negative issue if I felt my setting was that bad! I have worked in the same way for almost 5years with only 2 members of staff and this is the first time I have had any time off (1 morning and 1 full day). We have a very good company who can offer bank staff when and if we need it. It was only in December 2014 that I got a 'good' ofsted grade with one action preventing us from outstanding!!

 

I posted on here for support rather than people stating that ofsted are right and I should give up! Yes we may have to listen to ofsted but it certainly does not mean they are always right and decisions can be wrongly made.

Edited by klc106
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klc I hope that people are only reacting to their own experience of stress in this job.

You have shown that you are able to fight for your setting and I have no doubt you will continue to do so.

I know from our own inspection that Ofsted can make decision that you absolutely do not agree with and despite all the arguments you make against them

Is it worth looking for legal help outside the local authority. After all this is destroying your future finances?

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I am not operating without registration, we have not been closed down yet and I never mentioned that we had. I have also not stated that I haven't listened to our LA, in fact they have offered very little advice on what we can do so how do you listen when nothing is being said exactly??

 

I have read the inspection handbook and know the statutory requirements very well and I know we are meeting all welfare requirements. This judgement has been based upon 2 x 2hr visits- not enough time to make a judgement like this in our opinion.

 

Why should I let them continue and close the setting and become disqualified when I have done absolutely nothing wrong??

 

I'm not asking you to believe what I am telling you but I honestly don't think I would broadcast this negative issue if I felt my setting was that bad! I have worked in the same way for almost 5years with only 2 members of staff and this is the first time I have had any time off (1 morning and 1 full day). We have a very good company who can offer bank staff when and if we need it. It was only in December 2014 that I got a 'good' ofsted grade with one action preventing us from outstanding!!

 

I posted on here for support rather than people stating that ofsted are right and I should give up! Yes we may have to listen to ofsted but it certainly does not mean they are always right and decisions can be wrongly made.

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Look I did not wish to upset you, but wanted just to give you my opinion. Feel free to ignore it. Perhaps I misunderstood you, but your post stated:

 

"So Friday afternoon I got a phone call to say they are closing us down and disqualifying me from ever being a childcare provider again".

 

It's your setting and your decision on how best to go forward, but if you post on a forum you must expect to hear opinions...that's the nature of a forum.

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And please do not think that I always agree with Ofsted, I most certainly do not, and would and have challenged them over issues before. However if you are going to challenge them, you must be fully prepared and ensure that you are absolutely compliant in all aspects. I think that's all I was saying.

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Ofsted, do seem to be really raising the bar over the last few years, that is for sure. It was not too long ago that we had a bad day in nursery and we were deemed Inadequate. Regardless of what reviews parents give over the years and the 'thank you' cards covering the walls (a true reflection) Ofsted can send a person in for a few hours and then grade us! I do understand certain levels of safety need to be met and that children are offered the opportunity of a good education. I have to say when we did get the Ofsted grade, it really gave us a kick up the backside and it helped us to really tighten up in some areas. Leaving a stapler on a "low" shelf for one example, that a child would need to climb onto a chair and reach for.. was a fateful mistake! Any way I am rambling...

 

Give Ofsted the fight your children deserve because, like you I feel Ofsted are not always right, and those few hours can not show a true reflection of everyday practice. However, this is how it is! I was also sat reading the Statutory Requirements trying to pick the bones out of it and wondering exactly what part we had not complied with. I wanted to complain and appeal but chose not too, just accepted it for what it was and did everything to improve in the areas Ofsted marked us down. Although your situation couldn't get any worse, the only way is up and I really hope you get another chance to shine. Even though Ofsted don't seem to agree at this moment, your children are depending on you to put up a fight.

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Hi KLC106,

You do seem to be having a really tough time at the moment. I'm sorry it's so stressful for you and making you unwell. Running and managing a nursery business can be emotionally and physically exhausting I know. Perhaps the current state of affairs gives you an opportunity to 'take stock' and see how best to move forward. I can see from some of the other posts and replies that you do not want to just 'pack up and go' - if that is your decision then you need to very carefully plan a strategy to move forward.

In my experience, Ofsted do not threaten providers with closure unless they have very serious concerns about the setting. I appreciate that perhaps you don't want to share what Ofsted have said with us directly but you must realise that all EY inspectors have long experience in early years and undergo extremely rigorous training to enable them to make the judgements they do and they do not make any decisions lightly - they are always about what is best for the children. How many inspectors have you seen during this period? You will have had your original inspector and then was it the same one who did the monitoring? You need to look closely at what they have said and 'take it on the chin'. Ofsted, although stressful and sometimes demoralising, are not personal. You may disagree with them but they can only judge what they see on the day. There is a very clear list of statutory requirements - and if you are not meeting them then you will be inadequate. If you genuinely believe that Ofsted have not conducted the inspection properly then you should complain. In the Inspection Handbook it clearly lays out the expectations for how inspections should be conducted. You should refer to specific sections in any complaint you make. For example, In your post you say that the inspector said that "The behaviour was out of control" but that "The only behaviour witnessed was a couple of boys running inside" - now obviously I don't know the context of this running but I can see how an inspector might make a decision that this wasn't appropriate or safe.

The Forum is always supportive of colleagues and we always try to help each other move forward and we have all shared situations on here that have caused us huge upset and anxiety - but we know that our colleagues on here will help us 'see the wood for the trees' and will do so objectively and dispassionately.

Try to look at your situation objectively - as if it was one of us telling you about it - what would you advise? I think you would tell them, if they were determined to continue, to go back to the beginning and look at the provision with fresh eyes. start with safeguarding - if the children aren't safe nothing else matters. Look at these documents .I know that your reaction will be "of course it's safe" BUT - look again - doubt yourself and check. Go back to the beginning as if you were starting again and go through the statutory framework with a fine-tooth comb and make doubly sure that you are doing it. If you don't tackle it you WILL lose your registration.
Write down everything you see, everything you do and every Statutory framework criteria you think it meets - that way you can show Ofsted your determination to get better. Take their monitoring actions and recommendations seriously and follow their instructions to the letter - write an action plan showing how you can do this and what you have done. Work with your LA as a partner - don't be defensive about what they see and say - let them be another set of fresh eyes for you.
Use us here at the Forum to support you and know that all challenging questions and observations are written with respect and understanding for the tough time you are going through.
If you believe you can do it - don't give up, listen to the advice and follow the statutory documents.
We're always here to help
Good luck
Rebecca
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Great advise from Rebecca however, it is very hard to know the exact circumstances or even begin to understand how your setting operates. In my experience of 6 Ofsted Inspections over the years, I can't agree with some of the above comments. They are not robots and although within the last year or so, more consistency has been promised and Ofsted inspectors are required to 'play it by the book', so to speak, yet they are still human.

 

Children running inside a setting is common and not always a safeguarding concern although, without seeing the environment, I can't judge that. We can ask children to "walk" yet it can take time for children to learn this rule if they are new, for example. What about if a child or two are not feeling too well or they had a bad nights sleep and are "playing up" like children can do. Yes, as Childcare Practitioner's we should be able to deal with this safely but it still out of the ordinary. Another question is, should we always take children out if it's pouring down with rain? If we have a few children not feeling too well or with the sniffles, would this be detrimental to their health? Should we have sheltered areas available? The problems we face daily can be so different from one day to the next and children can behave differently from hour to hour!!

 

We have had inspectors that understand that things can happen and understand that actually they can tell the children are safe on a "normal" day and we can have inspectors who see something they deem "unsafe" in any given moment and that is then their judgement! There are still inconsistencies and because they are human, that can't be helped. Some people are just better at their job than others, in any profession.

 

All that being said, If they are threatening to close you down, they must have seen something to warrant this and without knowing the exact details, I can't comment too much. I can only say from experience that one or two bad day's can effect your grade :(

Edited by BroadOaks
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Hello KLC106

 

This may be a bit simplified, but have you solved the problem of not having level 3 staff in your absence? As this is a statutory requirement and it is still a problem for you, is that where it all began to unravel from a compliance point of view?

 

I totally agree with Rebecca and some others, start at the beginning, make sure you are ticking every single compliance box, and have an action plan on how you are going to meet issues that are not statutory but need improving. Could you use your SEF to do this? Then you have it in black and white - this is what we do, this is how we meet the Statutory Framework, this is how we're going to improve.

 

I wish you lots of luck and hope you can stand back and view the situation objectively then get to work putting it right. Nobody on this forum is here to judge, just to support. Use every bit of support you can get, from the forum, from your LA (if they're not giving enough advice, make a list of what you want advice on and go down your list until you get some answers) from Ofsted - there are reams of info and documentation out there. Please do let us know what happens - we understand.

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klc106,

 

 

As some of you may know we had a very bad inspection in January which was sabotaged by an 18yr old I had employed

 

I am going to presume (being lazy in fact) that before January's bad inspection you where judged at an higher grade.. ie Good or Satisfactory and that you have been operating for many years?

 

I can relate to your situation due to being there myself, not too long ago hence my opinions.

 

I have noticed things have certainly got tougher and it can catch you by surprise when after 4 or even 5 years without a visit, a lot more is required. The Statutory Requirements of course should always be met.. and you explained that you had tried to get a Level 3 staff member but needed more time. Again from my experience Qualifications ie Level 2 or Level 3 is not always the best or most capable member of staff! A think a persons attitude towards work and children are more important. Of course they need the "knowledge" and a face to face Safeguarding course, for example really helped me to understand how important it actually is. Knowing the EYFS inside out is a huge benefit to meeting the children's educational needs, although work books are always at hand.

 

I feel staff that actively engage with children and who are a great role model beat many people with a "level 3" in childcare! Hell, some of them might only take the course, just to get a job, not because they actually want to be a childcare practitioner. So again how can this Statutory Requirement actually be justified? Shouldn't this now be something else that as Managers or Owners we get to judge for ourselves?

 

I am sorry to go on and rant! I just feel the Government create these rules (ie. GCSE's in Maths, English etc) in attempting to raise the standards, when in reality it is lowering the standards! As long as the INVESTMENT is showing to pay of in a few years time (statistics) all is good for our Countries value! Sorry I can't help myself.. :wacko:

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Dear klc - I am so very sorry to hear your news.......

 

Some great advice already - in particular from narnia, mundia and Rebecca - I don't have anything more helpful to add.

 

For me it's a 'no-brainer' - you must appeal (there is no other way forward for you) - but you must make sure that you have 'all your ducks in a row'

 

Wishing you success

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but you must make sure that you have 'all your ducks in a row'

 

Wishing you success

 

 

​Love a 'saying' and I've never heard that one before :P

 

​Good Luck KLC as you know I've 'thrown in the towel' and leave very soon - I feel very sad about it but equally 'I could do no more' and felt I wasn't prepared to take anymore stress - most importantly take care of yourself

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So today following a call from the LA to say all funding will be stopped in September due to us not getting back to our 'good' grade I have resigned. We have been told it needs to be immediate and so tomorrow is our last proper day with Thursday being a huge party!

 

I'm not sure it has hit me yet exactly what I have done, I've gone into overdrive making sure learning journeys etc. are ready for the children to take home on Thursday :(

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So, so sorry to hear that KLC I know it's not what you wanted but I'm sure when it's all over and you've had chance to reflect you will be relieved - it's not been plain sailing at all for you you've had to work very very hard.

Good luck with whatever you - and when you decide what that is, can you let me know because I still don't have a clue what I'm going to do in September either!

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Klc106 I am so so sorry to hear that. You obviously care so much and are very passionate. I don't have any words of wisdom, but just wanted to say how sorry I am, as a manager I know how hard it can be at times and I wish you all the best for the next couple of days.

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Hi klc, I'm sorry to hear that. I don't quite understand why it is so immediate and that you can't stay open until the end of term..is that an LA thing or an OFSTED thing?

 

For you, take some time when this is over, ensure you are clear about OFSTED intentions or otherwise to prevent you working in childcare, I'm not clear from your first post if this was a threat but do take as much advice as you can so that when you've dusted yourself off, and taken some time out, you will want to decide on your future career path. You may not feel like it now, it's raw, you've been unwell, and probably completely drained, and emotionally worn out, but it's important for your future that you know the position and how you might appeal etc if they do go down that path.

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What an absolute shame :(

 

I do understand that the LA are obliged by law to withdraw funding in these scenario's .. the best solution for the children you care for would be to put measures in place to improve your practice in a short space of time and work closely with you in the next 2 months in the hope Ofsted could inspect you once more before September.

 

I wish you all the best in what ever you decide to do in the future.

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I'm sorry to hear your decision, but don't understand who said you must close immediately? Funding would be in place until the end of term ( and if not, will you have to pay any back??)

 

In the end, you will do what is right for you and maybe the way forward is to work with someone else........let them have the stress and worry of actually running the provision. But you do need to clear up your status with Ofsted.

 

Good luck x

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Yes, I was wondering about the funding side of it too. Presumably the children at preschool have funding for another month, I the LA putting something in place to care for them until then?

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