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Complaint To Ofsted


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Hi

 

I found out today that a complaint has been made to Ofsted regarding my provision xD

 

The complaint stated that I am careing for two many children in the baby room on a Tuesday and a Thursday and that we leave students unattended during lunch breaks.

 

I have to stress none of these claims are true. I am well under the numbers of children allowed in this room and I only enrol up to six children as its all I have staff for at the moment.

 

I have a very small nursery and so both playrooms meet for lunch, making it a social occasion, so at times there are more than the stated number of children in the room but of varying ages. Since all children are seated and not freeplaying, I do not see this as an issue. (ofsted are aware we operate like this) I always have the correct staffing cover, using longstanding mature students in Ratio but they are never left unattended - ever! :o

 

The only thing I can think of is a particular parent who attends on these days and rarely seems satisfied may have gotten cofused as on Tuesday I had a cover member of staff whom she wouldnt have met before and my regular staff member left the room to answer the door. This parent may have beleived her to be a student? I'm not sure, but my staff didnt introduce her as both thought it had been done. (Bad I know, they wont forget again, lol)

 

So I now have to prove to ofsted, how I manage breaks etc. which is no problem to do as I know I am not breaking any rules.

 

However I have draughted a letter to distribute to all parents just reassuring them of staffing numbers, informing them of the complaint and offering reassurance that complaints can be brought to us etc etc. Its all very gentle.

 

Do you think this is ok, and have any of you ever had to deal with something like this?

 

In my mind it can only be either a parents misunderstanding or some sort of malicious something.

 

Needless to say I'm a little stressed and flat at the moment, any advice anyone! :(

 

Nic

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Sorry Nic i don't have any advice to offer as i ever never esperienced this but just wanted to say i am sure you are doing a brilliant job. As you say, you can prove that you do everything as it should be done so have absolutley nothing to worry about. I know it's easy to say but try not to worry.

 

Lola

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I think you have handled the situation very well.

You can obviously prove that ratio's are met and that the complainant was either malicious or ignorant of the facts.

 

I had a malicious complaint against me 3 yrs ago and the fall out was horrible.

 

The fact that you have sent a letter to all parents should stop any negative fall out from this, you may want to follow this up with the letter you should eventually receive from Ofsted stating the complaint was not upheld ( or whatever terminology they use). I had to chase up written confirmation from Ofsted to state that the complaint against me was unfounded, so be prepared to do this if necessary.

 

I understand why this has left you feeling flat, we go out of our way to continuously justify every move we make, to parents, staff and Ofsted, yet by being so open to others they are still unable to bring their concerns to us, is disconcerting, to say the least. There is nothing you can do to change the fact that there are some people out there who are unable to challenge or bring up what concerns them directly with the people involved and who will complain behind your back. Hopefully this whole situation will enable you to feel that Ofsted can investigate complaints fairly, that parents realise that to talk to you first will ensure they get the facts, but will also learn that if they are unable to, they can contact ofsted.

 

Ofsted may do an unannounced visit in the near future to check ratio's but as you have said they were already aware of how you run lunchtimes they may not feel the need to.

 

Hope it all settles down soon, and as I said at the start, i think you have handled it correctly and professionaly.

 

Peggy

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Thank you Lola and Peggy.

 

Peggy - Thanks for what your saying. I do find that I take it incredibly personal, my business partner has said that we are doing as we should so not to worry, but she isn't at the forefront of the nursery, she isn't out there doing it, trying her hardest to make sure all goes to plan, she works from home! I am a childcare proffesional, if someone doubts the nursery, I cant help but feel its a reflection on me and thats what I find difficult.

 

we had a situation like this at the very beginning where a malicious complaint was made, by the ex boyfriend of one of my ex staff. it was a ridiculously far fetched claim which ofsted blew out the water, however. It still sits on my inspection report, ok it says unfounded, but it's still there y'know? And now there will be this one on my next report too!!

 

It gets really disheartening! But your right - I know I'm following the rules, so at least I dont have to worry or panic over that.

 

We try to promote an open relationship with parents and up until now I thought it worked, which is why I'm being open and honest about the complaint.

 

Oh well - I'm rambling now, but working 6ohrs a week, to come into that this morning just makes you need a little moan!!

 

Thanks Guys - I'll let you know how it goes.

 

Nic

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i know exactly how you feel

 

we had the same thing about a month ago, ofsted turned up at the door and said they had received a complaint.

 

same as you, they said i had opened under ratio. they checked my deployment records and register to see, only thing they found was one day it seemed i was a staff down, but the visitor marked in the register was my chairperson who help on emergency when a staff was off ill.

 

again, have no idea why someone would report me for something like this, i have never run under ratio, if anything, i try not to include myself in ratios (leader) so im usually one over minimum.

 

ofsted said they saw no problem and would inform the complainer about there findings. got us wondering - who would even know what the ratios are ment to be, and why if they felt there was a problem why they didnt come to me or our committee.

 

i still think it had nothing to do with the group but a personal vendeter against a member of staff, which annoys me even more.

 

i always prided myself on if ofsted were to just turn up, there would be no problem, which we proved on there visit. but it doesnt look good, and we all know how some parents tend to add 2 & 2 together and make 5!!!!!

 

must say, you handled it well, as i did, best way to deal with ofsted - SHOW NO FEAR

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Hi Nic, i agree with Peggy you have handled this very well.

 

Unfortunatley i too have experienced unfounded complaints to Ofsted, it is very unsettling for staff and other parents not to mention how time consuming it is to prove your innocence.

 

Ofsted are needed to regulate the day care standards, but i do wish parents would first approach us when they have a problem!

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Nic,

know how you're feeling at the moment and it is really unsettling. You may know in your mind everythings fine but it does make you feel undermined. We have had a series of complaints about 1 child which have blown up out of all proportion from a series of gossip led conversations outside school. The resulting blowout has left me feeling the head does not trust me to talk to parents, and she suggests I don't-for fear of upsetting them. How do you operate working with 3-5 year olds without talking to the parents!!!

 

Try to think of the children in your setting as they are the ones that count.

The adults cause the problems!

 

I' ll share a funny story with you from today. We had new children visiting yesterday, and mum came and told us she had asked her child if he had enjoyed himself.

He said "Yes, but I didn't get a party bag!"

 

It made us all smile.

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we too had a complaint just when they were changing complaints procedure etc.

 

we wrote to them clearly stating our case and why the complaint was unfounded, and what we would be doing to ensure parents were able to understand our procedure/policy on the matter involved. we did also speak to parents and several offered to write to Ofsted about the matter praising us. That in itself helped and made it easier for all.

 

 

We had to reply in 5 days and they replied within 2 weeks of recieving the letter. these days they have to reply with findings for you to put it in your compalints book and display for parents (which is what they asked us to do)!!

 

we all took it personally and in our case know it was a grandmother of a child who complined and made her daughter remove the child before making the complaint!! She ahd only seen us twice, and the child had come to us having moved settings twice in 6 months already.

 

O have not visited us since or contacted us at all...we are waiting for an Inspection now overdue- we did expect one earlier rather than later with a complaint against us!

 

Sounds like you are doing Ok. I would keep it any correspondence clear, simple and concise. no need to ramble..this is the place for that!!

 

Inge

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I agree with everything that has been said here but would just like to add that we had a complaint against us last year which was a CP issue and it was avery unpleasant experience for us all at the time but it has made us a stronger team. We had an unannounced visit from 2 Ofsted inspectors and I have to say they couldn't have been nicer - yes they were there to do their job but they were also concerned for all of us involved.

 

Sue

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Poor you - why is life never easy - the only thing I would add is that you say Ofsted are aware of your arrangements for lunchtimes but have you anything to prove that they have approved this - do you think another inspector would take the same view.

I don't mean to sound negative but am trying to look at it from an inspectors point of view who is having to deal with this complaint - are you within your square footage ratio, remember that they as others have said will no doubt come in and investigate the complaint and you really must be within these square footage/metre per child ratios as otherwise you may be pulled up on it. Inspectors and their views can vary but where things are written down in black and white they cannot, this is obviously one of those issues If you are grouping two groups together another inspector may see this as an issue especialy with the current case going through the courts (not too sure if it has gone back to court or not) where a Manager is being taken to court over a similar issue of an older child hitting a younger child.

What also concerns me is that you say you worked 60 hours - I think this may be illegal - I don't know whose choice it is but I think this is unacceptable - working with children as we know can be very stressful and working 60 hours is clearly very very tiring. They may also want to look at the number of hours staff work and if you are working 60 hours they may then query this. I will try and check the working time directive if you like.

I am sorry if as I said before this sounds negative but you are under enough pressure as it is and making sure you have all the right answers to their possible queries and questions will obviously help. No doubt you have looked at how you deal with people coming to the door and how your staff communicate with parents.

Keep us posted - I do feel for you - especially when you are giving so much but keep your chin up and let us know how it goes.

Nikki

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Hi - Thanks for all your replies

 

Nicola Gray - Thanks a lot for your input. In regards to me working all the hours god sends, I own the nursery and work as manager at present, opening in the morning and closing in the evening, so i guess i 'choose' to work those hours, as I often stay back to complete office jobs after the children have left. So I am not too concerened about that, I guess i just made that point as I was having a very bad day yesterday and was resentful of all of the effort I put in, to sometimes feel like it gets me no-where.

 

I will reassess, the square footage/metre ratios and see if this all adds up, I am sure that it does though. The children are all seated at tables and taken back into their own rooms as soon as the eating time is over, so its not as if they are all trying to play etc in that room. The tables chairs, etc all fit comfortably. But I will go back and consider this again.

 

I have prepared all ofsted asked for and I am sure that it all meets with requirements. They gave us 10 days to respond so it should all be fine. I am confident that I and my staff do a good job and we do have good relationships/communication with parents etc. I feel that this incident may have come from a one off misunderstanding.

 

Thanks again for all your kind words and advice.

 

Nic

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On my first day at my last job, Ofsted turned up as a result of 2 complaints made from parents and a former member of staff (you wouldn't believe me if I told you these two were very good friends outside of the setting, would you?

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This is just getting ridiculous now!!

 

The parent i thought it could be - has come in this morning with an eleaborate tale about a women in Asda bad mouthing our setting regarding children's behaviour and lunch time pick ups! She says this happened yesterday and that the women was going on about ofsted so we may get a call. When in actual fact the complaint was made last week.

 

This parent is the only one I can see that could have possibly have made the claims and was a bit funny last week but fine this week. I cant see who this women in AsDA would be, as she seemed to know too much to be someone who doesnt attend, and her description matches no parents!

 

So im not sure if this was this parents way of telling me shes unhappy and that Ofsted's been contacted, through using someone else, or if there is actually a mysterious women in Asda who seems to dislike us!!

 

I know it doesnt matter who complained as it was unfounded and I can prove it, but on a personal level this is really annoying now as I dont want to beleive someone would say those things about us in a supermarket. Talk about slander!!!

 

I'm feeling very low at the moment!

 

Nic

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It must be so frustrating Nic, especially as so much of it seems to generated from gossip. It would have all been so much easier for you if the person who is unhappy had quietly expressed their concern to you.

You have just got to keep fait hthat you know you van prove eberything yo need to with Ofsted.

How long does it all take until you hear back from Ofsted?

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Hi Ruthie

i think it depends on the complaint how quickly Ofsted respond, we had an unfounded complaint against us in January which was very distressing for all of our staff, the complaint went in on a Friday morning and i got the call from Ofsted on Friday afternoon just before i left for the weekend. I worried all over that weekend but decided not to confer with the staff as i wanted us all to give an honest account of the situation, i told the staff on Monday morning that i expected us to have a visit that morning from Ofsted and that it was best to just be honest and not to discuss it between themselves for the time being.

We had a telephone call at 9.15am from the police (this was a child protection issue) saying they wanted to come to interview staff with a social worker at 11am.

My line manager came into the interview with me and was very supportive, it was supposed to be informal but I found it a bit unerving but I also know we did nothing wrong so was very calm really. three other members of staff were interviewed and my line manager said we all told a very similar account, (we had found marks on a child and basically mum said we did the marks!!) The child was only with us for 50 minutes that day, the child did have behavioural problems which were being assessed for SEN ? Autism.

After the interviews and the police and social worker going over the nursery with a fine tooth comb they agreed that there wasn't a issue that they wished to take any further, they said it would be up to Ofsted.

It was two weeks before our inspector came to visit and she was lovely, she did pick up on a couple of safety issues ( a couple of sharp edges) but was otherwise satisfied that there were no problems. We had to put right a couple of things and send a letter to Ofsted stating that we had done this and I am still awaiting a follow up visit or an early inspection.

We as a team feel this has made us better practitioners as it has made us reflect on our practice, and it has helped my confidence as it was a big thing for me to cope with as a new manager, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone! hope your issue is sorted soon.

Milly

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When Ofsted came into our setting about the complaint, they told my then manager that they had received the complaint the previous week! I think they tend to move quite quickly.

 

On the day they came out to us, it was my first day. I was based in one room and had to work in various others. My daughter was placed in the younger of the baby rooms by my manager, and when Ofsted came in, they were very unhappy that she had been put here. I felt terrible, and feel that I should've realised the mistake that had been made, but what with first day nerves etc, I didn't really give it much thought :o .

 

Anyway, the outcome of their visit was that they could see that the allegations that had been made were unfounded and when they checked the paperwork, could see that we were not doing things we shouldn't so were happy when they left!

 

It is worrying though Nic, and I hope everything goes well for you! As others have said, as long as you know you are following good practice and can prove that these allegations are unfounded, you should be slightly cheered by the fact that there will be little that Ofsted can do about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Just to let you all know that I received a letter from ofted this morning which stated that they will be taking no further action as they do not feel the complaint was warrented and are satisfied with our evidence.

 

So as far as I am concerned that is the end of that!!!!

 

Thank god!

 

I appreciate all the help and comments on this thread x

 

Nic

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Well done for sticking with it and believing in yourself, Nic. Have a lovely relaxed weekend, won't you? :D

PS HURRAH for common sense!!!

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Well done for sticking with it and believing in yourself, Nic. Have a lovely relaxed weekend, won't you?  :D

PS  HURRAH for common sense!!!

54402[/snapback]

 

 

Here, here!! Well done, glad it's al over now! :D

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Great news that Ofsted have replied so quickly, are you going to display the letter on your notice board??? above your (internal) complaints procedure of course. :o

 

Peggy

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Hi All,

Had easter hols off from childcare and cannot beleive how much I have missed.

Nic - I had a complaint made against my setting from prospective parent of a 2yr old who came to visit . She claimed the childrens safety were at risk because they had free use of sand, computer, scissors etc

She also complained that the staff member that was going to be her childs keyworker was not qualified, I wasn't registered or insured to care for children - total nutter as you can see.

Her reasoning was, her child could choke on the sand, suck the keyboard of the computer and electrocute herself etc

The staff member in question had 14 yrs as a childminder and was 1 unit away from completing her level 3.

I explained all this to her but she still complained.

I have since heard that she is a compulsice complainer. I did an internal investigation, sent all my reports to ofsted and received a letter 3 weeks later stating that they would not take any further action.

 

Good news but my confidence was knocked, doubted my ability, and I know have a complaint on my ofsted report.

 

Great news for you, I know it is a big relief. I displayed my complaint and ofsted letter together and wrote a note to parents explaining what the complaint was about without naming any names. The parents thought it was hilarious.

 

Display it with pride

 

Net x

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Oh dear Net!! Some parents, eh? :o

 

I was working in a baby unit, so our children we're 8 weeks to 2 years old only. Shortly after I joined, a parent came in for a show round with her daughter, who I think at the time was about 6/7 months old. Mum was returning to work (didn't need to and didn't really want to? :( ) and had decided after a long study of childcare providers that the baby unit was where she wanted her daughter to attend. Obviously we were pleased, keeping the numbers up etc.

 

Our Ofsted was due sometime in the following summer. So, the parent came in one day with a list (about three A4 double sided) of all the things she considered to be unsuitable with the nursery xD . We were a little bit perplexed when she handed it to us, as she hadn't said anything to us before and she was (quite rightly) quite vocal about little things that upset her (for example, she was most upset when we changed the children's daily sheets, to make it easier to read by the parents and quicker and easier for us to fill in). My manager and I read through her list and laughed off some of the points. They really were very silly, things like the pegs were not at a good height for the children (Baby Unit, remember?!).

 

Anyway, she gave us one week before she announced she was coming back to inspect the items on her list. We showed it to our Area Manager and she rolled her eyes and laughed... So my manager and I were busy putting all these little qualms into place. As promised, she came and inspected the place to make sure it was done. Then she insisted that we provided her with a full written report of the changes made etc. It was then she told us she had found the National Standards on the Ofsted website and was referencing them. She could quote most of them almost to the letter!

 

I know parents need to feel satisified with the choice of childcare provider, but in your situation Net, I think I would've perhaps asked about the supervsion of children at the sand tray, with scissors etc, rather than steaming in and complaining to Ofsted.

 

After this, my manager and I left due to problems from above. It was kind of a united front issue (best change ever really!) so we never got to see the inspection!

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