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Being a manager in September ... from the owner


purplewednesday1
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I'm the owner of a large day nursery and I am lucky enough to have a fantastic manager who is as passionate about early years as I am. I wondered if people might find it interesting / useful to know what we are talking about at the moment in terms of making sure that we are geared up ready for 'full steam ahead' next week when all our funded children return. I thought that maybe, over the next few weeks I might share with you the bullet points of our discussions so that any new owners or managers get some ideas - I am also hoping that some people might point out to me where I could improve what I do or point or anything I've missed ...

As the owner I have invested a huge amount of money (and time) to making our nursery work. We have had back to back Outstanding judgements (2009/2015). My manager is supernumerary, we also employ an administrator 25 hours a week, the deputy manager has a day a week out of her group for her senior management role. We take around 60 children a day and we have 3 groups. We have a full time cook and a part time housekeeper too. There are 22 paid staff who work a range of shifts.

This week:

  • Owner checked that all staff had updated Prevent Duty training
  • Owner checked Manager's ongoing DBS status on DBS website
  • Issued 'ongoing suitability' forms for completion by all staff, including owner and other directors
  • Agreed date for development plan review - all areas of nursery - inside and out fully audited and areas for improvement identified
  • Reviewed job roles throughout nursery
  • Planned how manager would apportion her time - between supporting and leading practice on the floor, supporting and liaising with parents and admin tasks
  • Planned how owner would apportion her time - professional reviews of staff during observations - of individuals and of teams, ongoing support for manager
  • Planned ways of improving staff understanding of how to carry out meaningful observations and assessments
  • Reviewed nursery safeguarding policy in light of new statutory requirements
  • Reviewed nursery staff behaviour policy in light of new statutory requirements
  • Reviewed role and responsibility for 'Duty Manager' in absence of nursery manager and deputy - in light of new requirement to have safeguarding lead on site at all times
  • Discussed and reviewed new absence policy to include closer monitoring of absences. Drafted letter to parents to explain why and how we were tightening our monitoring of absence.
  • Agreed to purchase additional tablet computer or phone for Manager to enable her to access children's contact details if we have to evacuate building in event of fire etc. This will mean she can 'log on' to our remote system from our place of refuge which has internet access
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I wish you were my 'owner'

 

Your list contains quite a few things I have brought up this week. Especially the remote access to contact details which I now think should be a top priority for all settings now.

mmm, it's tricky isn't it? An Amazon fire tablet would let us log into our Parenta account which would let us access all our details - but it only works over wifi. The alternative is to get a pay as you go phone with data - so that in the event of an emergency we could 'look up' all our children's details - but I don't want a mobile phone like that in the nursery. An Amazon fire could be designated to the manager and she could use it to video staff / children to use at staff training etc It could be locked away and videos deleted as soon as used - so I'm happy that from a safeguarding point of view we could do a robust risk assessment and make it work. Less happy about a phone ...

But in an emergency - we couldn't guarantee wifi - internet probably ok but not wifi. Maybe as part of our 'refuge' plan we need to include the wifi code for a neighbour? Do you think anyone would agree to that?

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That is really useful - thank you - I would be interested in your absence policy - something I have considered including but not sure where to start.

I am the new owner of our pre-school and all help is gratefully received.

Ok. Once we have written it I will put it on for you! Happy to share - good luck with your new pre-school. How big is it?

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mmm, it's tricky isn't it? An Amazon fire tablet would let us log into our Parenta account which would let us access all our details - but it only works over wifi. The alternative is to get a pay as you go phone with data - so that in the event of an emergency we could 'look up' all our children's details - but I don't want a mobile phone like that in the nursery. An Amazon fire could be designated to the manager and she could use it to video staff / children to use at staff training etc It could be locked away and videos deleted as soon as used - so I'm happy that from a safeguarding point of view we could do a robust risk assessment and make it work. Less happy about a phone ...

But in an emergency - we couldn't guarantee wifi - internet probably ok but not wifi. Maybe as part of our 'refuge' plan we need to include the wifi code for a neighbour? Do you think anyone would agree to that?

 

To be honest - in a Real emergency is anyone really going to stop and say 'oh I must pick up register/phone' ? We have 3 different fire exits and don't keep a daily register by each one. We are not 'electronic maybe this is something we need to rethink in the current climate.

 

We are simply working with a system where 'someone' will be able to collect remote access to information - and I'm guessing that would be owner who is not often on site - or worst case scenario the police.

 

On an aside - We operate a strict 'shoes on at all times' policy (we are 2+ age group) This is because years ago I had a proper bomb scare were I was working. Whilst in a 'fire drill' situation the no shoes issue can be easily overcome, trust me real situation it was a nightmare.

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To be honest - in a Real emergency is anyone really going to stop and say 'oh I must pick up register/phone' ? We have 3 different fire exits and don't keep a daily register by each one. We are not 'electronic maybe this is something we need to rethink in the current climate.

 

We are simply working with a system where 'someone' will be able to collect remote access to information - and I'm guessing that would be owner who is not often on site - or worst case scenario the police.

 

On an aside - We operate a strict 'shoes on at all times' policy (we are 2+ age group) This is because years ago I had a proper bomb scare were I was working. Whilst in a 'fire drill' situation the no shoes issue can be easily overcome, trust me real situation it was a nightmare.

That's a good point. Maybe as part of our emergency plan we 'ok' with a couple of local businesses that we could access their computers - we are close to a very large supermarket. It's just having a contingency plan in place in case of a catastrophe

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I'm a bit of a dinosaur, but didn't we always used to mange the contact details before we had mobiles? Was there a reason that didn't work? Is it any different remembering to pick up a folder or a phone? We used to practice our drills so it became automatic, maybe I'm missing something obvious here?

 

Purplewednesday, it looks like you have been very busy!

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I'm a bit of a dinosaur, but didn't we always used to mange the contact details before we had mobiles? Was there a reason that didn't work? Is it any different remembering to pick up a folder or a phone? We used to practice our drills so it became automatic, maybe I'm missing something obvious here?

 

Purplewednesday, it looks like you have been very busy!

At the moment we have the contact details in a paper file, which has to be printed off our management system regularly to ensure it's up to date. We have a daily register which is always 'grabbed' on the way out if we have fire drill etc and this would be the same. The situation arose because we were asked during QA visit what would happen in the event of a complete catastrophe - i.e the building is ablaze and you don't have time to go to the filing cabinet and get the full children's contact details - what then? It got us thinking - all our details are already stored remotely on the Parenta management system - how could we access them if the building is ablaze? - It's the disaster management risk assessment that I am thinking of. If we are ablaze - we are all out, we have the register so we know we have all the children - but then how do we contact parents to ask them to come and collect them?

I am always busy .... maddeningly so!

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At the front of our register is a list of the children's names and contact telephone numbers for just such an emergency. Pretty simple and seems to work fine for us! We always take the register with us for emergency drills...it takes seconds to grab it.

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I'm a bit of a dinosaur, but didn't we always used to mange the contact details before we had mobiles? Was there a reason that didn't work? Is it any different remembering to pick up a folder or a phone? We used to practice our drills so it became automatic, maybe I'm missing something obvious here?

 

 

Yes I agree - but I'm now thinking (is these changing times) that we may need a more effective way of knowing how many people are actually in the building at any given time.

 

At the front of our register is a list of the children's names and contact telephone numbers for just such an emergency. Pretty simple and seems to work fine for us! We always take the register with us for emergency drills...it takes seconds to grab it.

 

Yes this is what we do.. however in a very big hall with three different fire exits in a genuine catastrophic event those 'few seconds' could make all the difference.

 

I think as purplewednesday said everyone now needs a 'what if' Q&A session on this issue and start thinking more deeply about it.

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Yes I agree - but I'm now thinking (is these changing times) that we may need a more effective way of knowing how many people are actually in the building at any given time.

 

 

Yes this is what we do.. however in a very big hall with three different fire exits in a genuine catastrophic event those 'few seconds' could make all the difference.

 

I think as purplewednesday said everyone now needs a 'what if' Q&A session on this issue and start thinking more deeply about it.

 

 

If you are in a large hall, someone must have to do a check of the room to make sure everyone has gone. Could that be when the register is grabbed?. We always have our register in a specific place so no one has to go hunting for it. Our register has everyone who is present in the Pre-School marked in (staff and children). I had always thought this would suffice. I think going through 'what if' scenarios is always a good thing though.

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We have up to date contact lists at each exit, in register and kept in storage shed outside so worse case scenario we would have that for contacts. Fortunately as a small setting numbers present are easy to find and we also keep a tally on a whiteboard nrext to pace we keep register.

korkycat

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If you are in a large hall, someone must have to do a check of the room to make sure everyone has gone. Could that be when the register is grabbed?. We always have our register in a specific place so no one has to go hunting for it. Our register has everyone who is present in the Pre-School marked in (staff and children). I had always thought this would suffice. I think going through 'what if' scenarios is always a good thing though.

 

Yes that's our current procedure - I think I just over think things :(

 

Although in my defence I grew up with the IRA bombings in London, and also we had our own preschool bomb scare (that one turned out to be the local Am Dram group make really realist props for there plays! :lol: :lol: )

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I wish you were my 'owner'

 

Your list contains quite a few things I have brought up this week. Especially the remote access to contact details which I now think should be a top priority for all settings now.

i wish you were my owner too, would be nice to have someone who supports the whole team rather than has no interest :1b

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  • Owner checked that all staff had updated Prevent Duty training
  • Reviewed role and responsibility for 'Duty Manager' in absence of nursery manager and deputy - in light of new requirement to have safeguarding lead on site at all times
  • Discussed and reviewed new absence policy to include closer monitoring of absences.

Is it enough to have a thorough prevent policy that all staff know, i.e. to do prevent duty training ourselves?

Does the deputy safeguarding lead need the same level of training as the DSL?

Is it statutory to have an absence policy?

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Ok. Once we have written it I will put it on for you! Happy to share - good luck with your new pre-school. How big is it?

Thank you so much. We are only small - 5 members of staff - 30 children currently, I purchased the business from the committee after a very long process and although not a lot has changed as I already ran the setting - the pressures of being the 'owner' are testing.

Forum is my saviour with everyone sharing their thoughts and questions often answer questions I hadn't even thought of!!!

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Please will you upload your ongoing suitability forms? Something I had in old preschool, of course, but now no longer have access to

 

Have you tried a search on here? I have a one that's pretty good that I'm sure I got from here?

 

If not I'll try and find it later and upload myself - but I cant take any credit for it :1b

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Thanks, peeps. It was one I'd created myself from bits and pieces. I'll have a poke about in resources after I've looked at yours, but hopefully your's will be just what I'm looking for and I won't need to do that!

 

Getting a tad lazy in my old age, I suspect! Hehe

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Child Absence Policy redacted.docx

That is really useful - thank you - I would be interested in your absence policy - something I have considered including but not sure where to start.

I am the new owner of our pre-school and all help is gratefully received.

This is our draft - happy to take comments!

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Is it enough to have a thorough prevent policy that all staff know, i.e. to do prevent duty training ourselves?

Does the deputy safeguarding lead need the same level of training as the DSL?

Is it statutory to have an absence policy?

All staff need to be up to speed on Prevent Duty. The statutory requirement is very clear. Prevent Duty training (page 7)

The deputy safeguarding lead should be 'appropriately trained' page 11, para 18, bullet 8

It is not statutory to have an 'absence policy' per se but it is statutory to have an extremely robust set of child protection and safeguarding policies - of which an absence policy might be part

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Here's mine if it's any good!

 

attachicon.gifSuitability forum.docx

 

Korkycat

 

 

This form doesn't ask for declaration about other adults in the family home. They also have to be 'clear' now and if they aren't (ie: If there is any reason they can't work with children) then you can't employ the staff member until OFSTED have been informed and made a decision on whether the stipulation can be waived in their individual case. For example, if your staff member had an 18 year old son who was convicted for underage sex with a 15 year old girlfriend he would be classified as 'unsuitable' and would come under this restriction, but it is highly likely that OFSTED would waive it in this case.

 

This is the section of our form...

 

 

Question 4

Do you live in the same household where another person who is disqualified lives or is employed as specified in regulation 9 of the 2009 Regulations? If yes please give details on a separate sheet.

Yes/No

 

NB: If you or anyone in your household is disqualified from working with children you can apply to Ofsted to have the disqualification waived. Ofsted will make a decision about whether to waive the disqualification but will not make the employment decision. This will be made by the provider, having carried out the required vetting process.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In our setting we have what we call 'grab bags' for fire evacuation. We have 3 of them, 1 in the main hall near one of the evacuations exits, one in the kitchen next to another and one in our outside box to go outside with adults and children when they are all out. Inside we keep a paper copy of the childrens details, including contacts, emergency contacts and allergy details. When doing a fire drill we dominate a 'grabber' whose responsibility it is to grab the nearest bag along with either one of our landline handsets, of which 1 stays inside and another goes outside with the staff and children, which we have checked does still work at our evacuation point! lol, and a mobile if possible, along with first aid and kids/adults medicines boxes if possible and register, which they shove in the bag as they go along while other staff members evacuate the children. We find this usually works well with us and we also had to do an emergency evacuation due to suspect package left outside our building, which thankfully turned out to be nothing serious but our system worked at that time. We also have an agreement with our local pub that in a real emergency evacuation i.e fire etc...we can take our children to their premises to await parent collection.

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