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TORO
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I would be most appreciative if you can advise me on the issue of LEA withdrawing funding. it is a long story, but I will try and summarise it as best as i can. We had ofsted late last year and got inadequate, and were given 3 action plans to follow. we as a setting as been working hard towards this action plan we informed our local Early years about the result, but did not visit our nursery until l saw our advisory teacher at a training course, who was surprised that we had an inspection.

 

She came round to visit us two months later, and had numerous visits from our support worker who said she was delighted about the changes, we then had a monitoring visit from her manager, to ensure whether or not funding should still be given, (i was not aware that the meeting was to ensure funding, because i did not receive the letter they informed me later that they had send it)

 

This lady spent less than an hour at our nursery looking through the paperwork, had already made up her mind said we have not worked towards teh action points raised by ofsted, one point she made was about the children's observation records which we changed in April, because we had devised a better one, she said she liked it, but why did it take 5 months to change it, i explained that the observations is continuous, but only the format had changed, still not happy.

 

She sent us a letter back stating in her findings (she got quite a lot of facts wrong) that she does not think that we would pass ofsted again, and because of this she is going to recommend that funding should not be provided for us next term, but we can reapply again in the future, after a pre funding visit.

 

The problem is that I would have to close the business down because we really depend on funded children to sustain ourselves, i have appealed against the decision, requesting for funding to be given for one term, and to be re monitored again which has been rejected.

 

At the ofsted feedback, we were told that the children are well looked after and enjoying their time at the setting, got great feedback from the parents but because we got inadequate in 2 standads (care standards) they can not give us satisfactory.

 

 

The parents are not too happy that we might have to close them, because they feel that their chlidren are progressing and are worried that they would have to be settled elsewhere again, they said they are prepared to sign petition if necessary.

 

I just wish that ofsted can come and inspect us again and see all the improvement since the last inspection which this lady is blind too, staff are really dissappointed because they have worked really hard. I feel that we have been made a scapegoat b/c they have now recently sent a newsletter to all the setting stating that they must inform them if ofsted arrives because they no longer informs them, and i was initally informed by the early years that ofsted informs them, another reason given was i did not call them for support after ofsted which we did.

 

I am not sure what to do now, summer term ends in the first week of August, and i have to inform 23 parents we are not going to open next term and make 4 staff redundant. pls help!!!!

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Oh Toro what an awful situation to be in, i really do feel for you. is there no way you can get the big 'O' back for another inspection if you push about sustainabilitby for your funding. I really do not know what else to say except hang in there do your petition and keep on at Ofsted. Good luck :D

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That sounds like an awful situation to be in when you should be enjoying the end of term and the wonderful weather we are having at the moment.

 

I am based in an LA, in the early years team, so when I get to work tomorrow, I'll see what I can find out for you.

 

From memory, the LA has a duty to decide if funding should be given, but equally should put support mechanisms in place - either practice based or through sustainability funding... does your early years team have business support officer? This would be the person to contact as there should be a budget for sustainability that can be accessed to pay staff wages, buy one off pieces of equipment etc etc - it's worth asking the question!

 

Anyway, I'll get back to you tomorrow if I can find anything out... keep smiling :D

 

RB x

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Hi Toro,

What paperwork do you have from the advisory teacher who has been supporting you? In our area, the advisor completes a visit report, stating improvements that have been noted, and the further actions suggested/required. If you have this evidence, then surely her manager cannot say that there have been insufficient improvements?

 

I would contact her line manager, stating that you have a number of concerns regarding innaccuracies in her letter and that you'd like a meeting with both of them (make sure you can back these concerns up, and that they're not just differences of opinion!)

 

It's also worth giving Ofsted a call, stating that your "inadequate" rating is affecting your business and that you would welcome a re-visit so that the inspector can see all the improvements you have made towards the action plans.

 

Can you tell us the 3 actions that you were given? Maybe we could all suggest things to put in your action plans which would prove to them that you are on the right track? Do you have a set-format for action plans in your LEA, or do you set out your own?

 

Finally, what did she mean by you not working towards the action plans? Can you let us have a bit more information?

 

I realise that you're pushed for time as it's near the end of term, and you'll want to have something definite to tell families. I think your best bet is to break all the action plans down into small steps and try to show that you have moved through them. She seems to think it's her job to prove that you haven't :o

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Dear Toro, What an awful situation to be in, I really, really feel for you.

 

In your post you state that you informed the LEA of your Ofsted results, Do you have a copy of the letter?

 

How long after the Inspection was the training when you saw the EYAT?, Then it took her 2 months to visit? :o This should be queried as to why she took so long.

 

You go on to say that she is happy with your progress. When I have the EYAT visit, she has to right a report of the visit, Do you get reports, if so, these should also prove that you were developing your plans.

 

Did you respond to anyone that the manager got a lot of facts wrong in her feedback from her visit?

You say she is "going to recommend" that you lose funding, who does she "recommend" to? Find this out so that you can put your case to them in writing. Has the proposal for stopping funding been confirmed yet?

They really are totally unprofessional if they are stopping funding for September but not informing you until end of July.

 

I also think you need to ask whether the LEA are working to the delegated conditions pre April 06, when your Ofsted Inspection was, or if they are working to new DFES Conditions post April 06 - This might be relevant as the conditions re: stopping funding may have changed between these two times ( I don't know, this you or they would need to clarify) If the conditions they are applying now were not relevant at the time of inspection, I think you could question whether they are 'a bit late' in their dealings with your case and should start their expectations of changes as of April 06 and not prior to that. ( I hope I've made my thoughts clear) This may give you a bit more time.

 

I am in Kent, and therefore can only tell you what kent delegated conditions are:

As from September 2006 ( new conditions were bought in in April 06) if a provider has 2 inadequate they are deemed as not meeting delegated conditions and will be removed from the directory and funding will cease at the end of the accounting period when the situation evolves.

 

It doesn't make it clear whether 2 inadequates means Inadequate for Care standards AND Education or a total of 2 inadequates within the whole report ( ie: Being Healthy-inadequate and Organisation-inadequate, but other areas get satisfactory or above) I would think it would be the 1st scenario.

 

 

I don't understand the fact that you got the 2 inadequates in the CARE STANDARDS, yet Funding is for the EDUCATION STANDARDS. Observation records are not a requirement of Care Standards, even though they were an action this action must have come from the education standards, but was not at inadequate level, so she should not be judging you on this, should she?

 

In Kent we have an appeals procedure.

 

Were you sent an appeals procedure? or did you appeal off your own back, so to speak?

 

Our appeals procedure states that a provider will not be removed from the directory prior to the outcome of any appeal. ( This may be the same in your case)

Ours states that the appeals will be considered by an officer unconnected to the service who made the original decision. ( who told you your appeal decision, was it decided by the manager who came to your setting, or someone independent of her?)

 

In Kent the person we should appeal to is ( don't know if they have the same title in your LEA)

the "Principal Advisor Early Years"

 

Parents/ carers can write to:

Head of Early Years and childcare

 

Failing all this if we feel that we are not satisfied with the appeals process and that maladministration has occurred then we can make a complaint to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN on 0845 602 19833 or email www.lgo.org.uk - this appears to be a national contact number and email, so may be worth you trying it for advice.

 

You can also phone the DFES 0870 000 2288 or email info@dfes.gsi.gov.uk. ( I would phone to get to the right department, then follow up the call with an email or letter confirming the conversation) Ask them for advise about how your local LEA applies the DFES Code of practice for Free Educational funding.

 

Are you a member of PLA or NDNA, maybe they can help, ring their national offices. You really shouldn't have to deal with this important situation on your own.

 

There but for the grace of god go I............................in 2003 I got inadequate for EVERY standard across both Care & Education, ( long story, totally biased Inspectors) Ofsted were due back within 6 months, it took them nearly 3 YEARS to complete another care & then education ( mixed) Inspection. So, please don't wait for them.

 

I just cannot believe they are threatening you with removal of Educational funding with only 3 actions within the care standards.

 

You do need to read thoroughly your Delegated conditions, the ones at the time of your Inspection and updated one since April 06.

Contact DFES, the LEA are placing their interpretation of the DFES code of practice, although not necessarily wrong, they may not be correct in certain requirements made of you under legislation, DFES can advise you of this.

 

 

I feel exhausted for you, get parents to write to the LEA, ( even draft a short letter, as a parent would write, asking for explanations regarding reasons and timescales for taking the funding, that can be given to every parent, they can sign and you or they send) .

 

If I can give any more help, just ask.

 

Sorry my response is a bit unstructured but I hope it helps you think some things through and gets you more advice.

 

All the best.

 

Peggy

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It does seem as though there is confusion between the care and education standards... and I cannot believe the length of time that it took to get someone out to you. Our teachers are out within one or two weeks and we offer support for the care side of things.

 

NDNA recently produced a briefing paper which you can find here

and if you look at the 'quality' section this is where it states the LA obligation for inadequate settings.

 

I would request another visit with the advisory support and her line manager as you need to get this sorted before the end of term.

 

As far as re-inspection is concerned - Ofsted should be out again within 6-12 months, but as Peggy has demosntrated, this is not always the case!

 

RB x

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I thank you all for your support, i am sure that i had a mini breakdown, this pass few days can't stop crying, but am sure there is light at teh end of the tunnel.

 

In reply to some of your questions the ofsted actions plan are as follows:-

 

1)introduce an operational plan which clearly identifies how the provision should be organised. introduce systems to monitor teh effectiveness of the plan

 

2)maintain an accurate record of the children and visitors attendance

 

3)ensure that all records relating to day care activities are readily available for inspection at all times

 

nursery education

 

4) develop systems for identifying the effectiveness of nursery education and increase staff's knowledge and understanding of the curriculum guidance for the foundation stage to improve the quality of teaching and children's learning.

 

 

Staff have been sent on the foundation stage training course and various other courses, which this woman knows about. I had a visit form our support worker, and she was nearly in tears when she told me that she was dissappointed that funding would be withdraw, she said we have made progress and improved a lot and that is the information she has been feeding back to them and that she was as surprised as me about the funding. she said that she is only a support worker and that maybe her voice or opinon does not carry as much weight as others.

 

I told her that myself and staff were confused with the mixed messages, she said that she is baffled as well, b/c she did not give any negative feedback. Since the ofsted report we only received one visit from the advisory teacher, and about 5 visits within the period of a month from the support worker.

 

My appeal was to the Head of the children resource centre she is the manager of the lady who came to visit us for less than an hour, who is the overall manager for the support workers and advisory teachers, from my meeting with the support worker today i can only conclude that she did not even seek her opinions as to what she thinks, which i thing is not right b/c she spent more time with us.

 

I think i would write to DEPT OF EDUCATION, parents are annoyed that we did not tell them on time, we only received the outcome of her visit 2 weeks ago and trying to get our heads around it. Fortunately, they are very supportive and are prepared to write letters to this lady if it would help. I would call OFSTED next week not sure whether it would be of any help, b/c inspections are meant to be unannounced.

 

 

Sorry for going on and on, and thank you all for your support it has helped a lot

 

Thanks again.

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Is the 'support worker' a PLA Development worker? If yes, maybe you could also contact the PLA County Officer to ask for her support, she could possibly challenge the fact the you have only had 1 visit since Ofsted from an Early Years Advisory Teacher ( which I think is terrible)

 

I think the stress of such a situation would put anyone close to a breakdown. Just try to keep in mind that it is THE SYSTEM that is at fault and not you. You have tried really hard to meet the actions with very little support ( none from EYAT as 1 visit would only give time to read the actions and not actually give any support in achieving them)

 

Because of time scales, I would suggest you phone DFE and Ofsted and follow up with letters, at least through verbal discussion you will have some idea of what their response would be if you only wrote to them.

 

I was waiting years for a re-inspection as previously explained. I contacted ofsted to ask for a change in registration, this prompted the long awaited unnannounced visit which happened a week after my phone call, so they will still be able to come unnannounced if you ring them.

 

I hope the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter for you soon.

 

Take care.

 

Peggy

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