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Toiletting Again, Sorry


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Hi

 

I have done a quick search on the forum and know this has come up many times.

 

We are wading our way through a PLA Accreditation and noted that it states that staff should NEVER be left alone with a child.

 

Now this rang alarm bells with us, as one staff member (vetted obviously) toilets the children individually (as they ask) or in small groups of up to 3.

 

Our toilet is down a corridor from our main hall and completely out of sight of the main hall where the remainder of the staff are. The door to the toilet room is always open and the children are then encouraged to push the actual toilet door shut, but not to lock it and we help as necessary.

 

We posed our problem to our Accreditation Mentor and she said that we should be working towards procedures to ensure that 2 members of staff toilet the children, as staff should never be left alone with children.

 

Now I know why, but it is just not practical. Sometimes a child could be down the toilet doing a number 2 for 15 minutes :o If I allow 2 members of staff to wait in the toilet all this time, I am compromising my ratios in the main hall. I realise that this is to protect the staff at the end of the day, but as a small pre-school in rented premises it is just not possible at present.

 

It has never been an issue with either the PLA or Ofsted and the parents have never had a problem with the system.

 

Our only option is to employ another member of staff and this is just not possible at the moment.

 

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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well im sorry but I think it is ridiculas,yes I can understand from the staffs point of view to be covered from any comback but if say there was ever a case of a child going to their parent and saying a member of staff had done something inapropraite would it be enough for a colleague to say well I was ther and he didnt,as a parent alarm bells would still ring.

We hav our police checks adn as long as the committe,setting has done its job on references and inductions surely tht is enough.

We are ok cos our toilets are off the playroom but staff take children trhough to a smaller room for quieter activities.

I was a childminder for many years previuosly how do you think i went on?

Mind you i think I have been in this job too long sometimes but things like this get my back up SORRY :o

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I am sure we've had this conversation before!! (no time to search and link, sorry!)

 

As an ex-Pre-school leader, I understand your situation, but, to be honest, I think this is 'going for overkill'! I'm sorry, but it is just not practical to have 2 staff toileting. Why do we have vetting???!!

 

What you are doing is normal practice, I'm sure. Don't fret too much.

 

Sue

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hi, we were in exactly the same situation, and i am sorry to say this but if it came to it for the day of inspection i would have sent two staff membersin to the toilets but we were lucky to have the most wonderful lady who before we started said 'oh your toilets are very near to main hall so 1 staff member going in is fine!!!! :D ..but i do understand your concerns

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What planet do these people live on I wonder. This is why we have CRB checks. Do you get staff to fill in a log when they toilet a child if they have to clean, change etc. surely that's all you need? I wouldn't allow a student to go with a child or change a child without supervision. Perhaps you should jsut write all this in your Personnal Care Policy.

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Our loos are also outside of our main hall, we have created a rule that when a child needs the loo the staff member informs me or a staff member and simply says I have one,two or three in the toliet, this is ok'd by the staff member replying (This covers the feared moment of having a head count and coming up one short). We leave open our main hall door when taking children through, this leads into a corridoor and the toliets are situated here. The toliet entrance door is always left open, the children are encourged to push the indvidual doors closed but not to lock them. We only send one staff member with the children. Should this be questioned i would reply that the doors are left open so as any other member of staff could access the area freely and quietly ( sounds werid but we have big noisy doors!) the staff member can call for assistance if required, the children can enter the hall when done. There is a risk factor here as the open door must be watched all of the time. The children know the rountine and do not normaly go out of the door. One good tip!!! We have a small tray of spare clothing, wipes, gloves, nappy bags etc in the loos as this saves time looking for items when needed quickly, we also leave a two pence piece in the tray so as we can unlock the loo door should the child decide to lock themselves in!!

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Hi

Thanks everyone

 

Unfortunatley there is no way we can leave our hall door open as it leads into the main reception area which houses the front door (which has to be kept unlocked as we rent the hall in a community building). The toilets are down a longish corridor at the end, so no-one really goes down there, so unauthorised visitors are not a problem. As I say, it is completely out of view, it would still be even if we could leave the hall door open!

 

I like the idea of a change/help log. We dont do this, but will start on Monday I think.

 

Just so there is no mistake, this is the exact wording from our mentor (copied and pasted):

 

QUOTE

Work towards a procedure ensuring that two members of staff take a group of children to the toilet for example during activities where a percentage of children are sitting down or taking part in an organised/structured activity and planning the session to allow for the group to come together quickly when some children need to go to the toilet.

 

Please ensure that you document the ways you are developing this procedure so that PLA can see that you are moving in the desired direction. UNQUOTE

 

Maybe I will write to Ofsted to confirm our procedures and see what they say.

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Just wondering if it would be poss to have a member of staff stand near to your door while one other takes the children down? This way your staff numbers would not drop so much and you would have some one on look out!! I like the log book system.

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Hi Lesley

 

Yes, someone standing at the hall door would not be a problem, but you can't even see the door into the toilets from there let alone into the toilet.

 

Its hard to explain, but if you imagine the reception hall is a square and the main hall doors are at the rear of the square and the corridor down to the toilet comes off the square from the side and then you have to turn left into the toilet at the bottom of the corridor. Then once inside the toilet you have to turn left again to get to the toilets, so as I say completely out of view unless someone is in the toilet room too

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We have just passed our stage 1 of the PLA accreditation, so I know where you are coming from. Being a small setting (17 children) we only have 3 staff, so there's no way we can ever comply with this rule! And I'm sorry but I think your mentor is wrong. I think it should be enough to say that you have assessed the risks involved, you have investigated the possibility of having two staff accompany the children, moving the toilet, etc etc, looked at the costs involved and decided that it is simply not feasible. (Children need the loo when they need the loo, not when it is convenient to send two staff along :o ). You have therefore planned for the safety of the children by only permitting staff who have been CRB checked to be alone with a child(ren), and whatever else you decide to do to make it as safe as possible under the circumstances.

Carolyn

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Thanks Carolyn.

 

That is a great weight off my mind. We were so worried about not being able to comply and failing on that one point.

 

I did check with our mentor and she does not assess. So maybe she is being over cautious on this one. I hope so anyway.

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that wouldn't help at all then!! I think you may have to stand firm to any one whom questions it, so long as you can reply by saying that you agree its not great but i have considered this, that and the other and given it some great thought, but i cant change the building lay out. You could do a risk assessment type thing!! to show that you acknowledge the issue but also include the other options and there draw backs. By starting a log book as you have said will prove that you have given the issue thought. May be getting the staff to notify some one that they are taking a child to the loo could be seen as alerting others that a staff member is alone and if after a few minutes no one returns a staff member will then look for them. I have created a procedure in our file as this explains how and why we do what we do!!

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do I understand this - your mentor wants you to take children to the toilet in groups when remaining children are are sat at a group activity or sitting at an activity

or else if they need to go you have to get the remaining children together for a group / organised activtiy while you have 2 adults go to the toilets.

 

or am I misunderstanding the quote.

 

how often would you would have to group children together during a session for this, we often have one or two children needing the toilet every few minuites, especially when still learning this skill, they would be contantly at organised activites.

 

How will this allow for free play, choice of activites, time to become involved in play without being interrupted

- on the other hand where is the childs independence and building of personal skills if you have to take them even if they really do not want to 'go' yet?

 

If when you take the children and some are occupied how are you to stop them moving around or keep them at the same activity for what could be a while if you have a group of children.

 

Why are we checked, if not for this purpose, seems like overkill, providing you can shout or call for another member of staff to come this should be OK.

 

what about the groups with freeflow to outdoors who have one member of staff there with the children, I am occasionally in our garden on my own with children because other staff have to take a child inside to toilet....(recent ofsted Inspection was happy with this) in this case we would have to collect all children together take them in for 1 child to use the toilet and then all return outside as we are in a situation where freeflow is impossible.

 

we are lucky indoors we can allow children free access to toilets and they all go on their own once they are competent enough and Ofsted were very impressed with the childrens independence because of this.

 

Sorry no answer or easy solution just a lot of other things to consider as well

 

Inge

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We have just sent our stage 1 off, its due to be returned to us next week, we are in the same position with the toilets, i put in an action plan of what we were doing and reasons for doing it that way. I'll let you know what happens. Whether we pass or not!!!!!!!!

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how often would you would have to group children together during a session for this, we often have one or two children needing the toilet every few minuites, especially when still learning this skill, they would be contantly at organised activites.

 

How will this allow for free play, choice of activites, time to become involved in play without being interrupted

- on the other hand where is the childs independence and building of personal skills if you have to take them even if they really do not want to 'go' yet?

 

 

That's just what I was going to say Inge!

 

Ideally you would have 2 members of staff but this is not an ideal world, it's not feasible, that's why we have vetting procedures.

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We did a trial last week. When one child asked to go to the toilet we called out to see if there were any other children who needed to go. We had a group of about 6 children and two staff members took them. The problem here was that the ratios were down in the main hall and that it takes away the children's independence and interferes with their play (as everyone here has commented). The first 'run' took about 5 minutes, so was successful in that sense. But two minutes after returning one child asked for the loo! What were we supposed to say, no, you will have to wait until more children need to go? I dont think so :o

 

The second time this happened, about half an hour later, another group of 7 children went to the toilet, this was when there were 2 pooers and the group were down the toilet for approximately 15 minutes. Now to my mind, this causes my more problems, I feel that the children who need to poo should be intitled to their privacy and not have a herd of children waiting outside the door and the others are entitled to return to their play and learning as soon as possible.

 

Also be be honest we can usually predict who is going to need help wiping themselves before we go to the toilet, so maybe in our action plan we could also note that if and when one of the children who needs help are being toiletted then 2 members of staff attend. But that said, there will still be the time when a child needs help and this cant be anticipated.

 

We always inform another member of staff how many children we are taking to the loo, so we do everything that everyone has suggested apart from the log which we will start.

 

I notice that the attachment above has a space for 2 signatures. That is fine when a child is being changed because of water etc as they can be changed in our store cupboard in the main hall (where the spare clothes are) and another member of staff can be at the door supervising. But we still have the problem of changing a wetter down the loo out of sight & earshot.

 

I will definitely add a risk assessment to our personal care policy and hope that sufficies.

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All this 'big brother' stuff really makes me cross :o We are professionals and should be respected as such.

The comments on toileting records, risk assessments, CRB's, are valid and should be enough to show that you work as a professional team in safeguarding the children.

I have worked for the PLA in the past and respect the Allience as a national charity. The PLA promotes 'reflective practice' what I suggest you do is to write a note for the mentor to pass on to the verifier to request that the PLA Quality Assurance panel actually 'REVIEW' this particular QA criteria.

State that by insisting on practises that actually promote fear and mistrust of a professional person is actually harmful to the integrity of the preschool, disregardful of all your child protection, suitable person, recruitment, child self esteem / independence and risk assessment policies.

 

Ask them to explain their rationalle for this criteria, what specifically do they actually think will / could actually occur in the toilets whilst a vetted professional staff member supports this child in what is his/her natural bodily function. How many people in this country have been accused, arrested and charged for abusing a child whilst attending to their toileting needs in an early years setting ( ie: lets really measure the risk with factual information) ? Lets get realistic here, and shout out for the powers to be to STOP underminding our professional, caring, nurturing, early years workforce. As stated previously, to meet this criteria can actually cause a higher risk to the children by reducing adult / child ratio's in other areas of the setting. How high is the risk of a child getting hurt because the ratio is reduced within the main play area?

Insist you get a response from the verifier / PLA panel, ask them to consider that this particular criteria could be breaching equal opportunities if a childminder doing the same QA scheme could pass it.

 

What next? CCTV camera's in every setting, including the toilets? Childminders having to work in pairs only? Teachers having to escort reception children to the loos with a TA?

 

I nearly apologised for this rant but feel so cross about the way we as professionals are treated like amateurs. I wonder if the QA scheme has any criteria requiring staff, as good practice, to teach children a strong sense of their self rights, to teach them to shout out when they are feeling unsafe, to be easily able to tell when someone makes them feel uncomfortable, or hurts or abuses them. AS WELL as doing all we can to vet adults a bit more time spent on not just teaching but enabling children to have a voice, to be able to talk about everything and anything that happens to them to a trusted person is where our focus could be more better spent than undervaluing all our NON ABUSIVE staff. The practise of professional adults supervising other professional adults, to me, only promotes the unrealistic fear that everyone[/b] is guilty of potential abuse. This is not true. The procedures we all follow is enough to keep our children safe whilst in the setting.

 

Peggy

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Well said Peggy!

 

 

 

So 7 children were in the toilets for approximately 15 minutes of the session????? How many toilets do you have?

 

 

 

A childminder is potentially alone for a whole day with children. They are rightly trusted, so should we. This is inequality!

 

 

 

Just a thought, could you have walkie talkies or a baby monitor so you can hear what's going on? - The mind boggles!!

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I love you peggy :D You so much remind me of my old supervisor who i took over from,I have so much respect!

You manage to say exactly what i mean but you know exactly how to deliver it,thank you so much :D

 

 

Your welcome :D I just wish that some attitudes would change so that I don't have to get on my soapbox so often, each time adds a risk of flling off xD

 

Deb, when I was told that one member of staff couldn't take 4 under 3's into a seperate room ( because of allegations of abuse) so that the older children could have an uninterupted story, I told the advisor that she shouldn't worry, there is a whistle in the other room for the staff to call for assistance should the children start attacking the her :( enough said :(

 

Peggy

 

'filing off' :o I meant to type falling :(

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Deb, we have 3 toilet cubicles.

 

Must say I didnt think about how this would affect lone childminders undertaking the PLA QA!

 

Thanks Peggy, as ever you put your point across so articulately.

 

I completely agree, but you do start to doubt yourself when doing a QA, because at the end of the day all we want is to do is to do things right and when it appears you are not, you do worry. And then when you question your mentor and she says you need to comply to criteria such as this you think, what is the point!

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Deb, we have 3 toilet cubicles.

 

Must say I didnt think about how this would affect lone childminders undertaking the PLA QA!

 

Thanks Peggy, as ever you put your point across so articulately.

 

I completely agree, but you do start to doubt yourself when doing a QA, because at the end of the day all we want is to do is to do things right and when it appears you are not, you do worry. And then when you question your mentor and she says you need to comply to criteria such as this you think, what is the point!

 

 

I'm doing a QA scheme and can see where you are coming from, however, the main reason I started it was because I was confident that we offer a quality service and this was a good way of evidencing it, plus the one I am doing is particularly reflective in it's style ( not PLA, although I know this is reflective too). Remember the people who have written the criteria are involved in early years but not on the 'shop floor' so to speak, theory and practice can inform each other, but not always be one and the same thing ( if you know what I mean). I have found the process has enabled me to have a better 'system' to review practice, a more methodical approach ( which is a weakness of mine). However if I have come across a criteria that I am unable to meet through no fault of my own, I just describe what I do, the rationalle and why I still beleive it is good practice. I also have produced action plans to further develop my practice, because there is always room for improvement. I do believe too that just because I identify areas for improvement this doesn't mean that what I currently offer is wrong, it just means that with a little more consideration and review it could get better. ( from good to perfect xD -tongue in cheek).

Try to see the QA work as a celebration of what you do and not a process intended to undermine your confidence. Ask yourself the question Are your children safe when going to the toilet? Yes, then you are doing a good job. ( full stop) :o

 

Peggy

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Peggy, you said it for me. :D I've been in settings where the children can come and go to the toilet as they please to settings where the children mustnt go in mixed sex groups to not being allowed to help a child who had got into a mess because of 'child protection'. xD The world has gone mad. If we really do have to go in pairs then can we do away with the CRB's (which, lets face it arent worth the paper)? Either I'm trusted or I'm not and quite frankly I'd be rather affronted if my professionalism was questioned in that way. Does anyone really think we like wiping bottoms, and standing for ages while a child 'decides' or changing wet pants again?! The shorter time I spend in the toilets the better thank you very much :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Two of my colleagues are on a Senco course and the trainer has said that that only one member of staff is needed to take children to the toilet or to change nappies. Sometimes two members of staff maybe needed, depending on the child and that staff should use their own judgement.

 

Karrie

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