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Advice Please. Troublesome Member Of Staff


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This is my first time posting a message. This is and excellent source of information and advice, which is exactly what I need right now. xD

 

Can anyone give advice regarding a member of staffs behaviour at the pre-school I work at. Since becoming employed in September last year within a month she breached confidentiality, resulting with an extremely upset parent. She uses bullying tactics to get her own way. Storms out of the room if we do not agree with all her ideas, we take on the good ideas and tell her so. Been verbally abusive towards me in front of other staff members, this was on a professional basis, then when the supervisor told her that she would have done the same thing (backed me up thankfully!) She then went into an emotional tirade on a personal level. There have been many many more instances.

 

Before Easter she told other members of staff that she saw a ghost of a child in the pre-school! Last but not least she threatened to smack her child who was exhibiting demanding behaviour. This happened when all the children except one (who she childminds) had left for the day. Please help as I am at the end of my tether. :o

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Hi Angie

 

She sounds awful, im surprised the supervisor is putting up with it with her upsetting parents , staff and worst of all threatening children.

She should have a wtitten and verbal warning at the very least!!!

Check your policy on staff as in ours if there is a hint of mistreating the children it is an instant dismissal.

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Hi Angie

Welcome to the site and thanks for making your first post.

What a terrible situation! It is always difficult when a member of staff doesn't fit in, but even more so in a situation such as this!

Firstly, do you have a staffing policy which includes discilplinary procedures? If not it may be something your supervisor may want to introduce. This is then read by staff along with all the other policies you have so they know what the attitude and ethos of the group is right from the start. Are you a committee run group or privately owned? If committee run then they should know about this member of staff because they should be dealing with the situation as well as the supervisor.

Do you have a confidentiality policy and has she seen it? Any policies the group has should be part of the induction procedure you have and given to staff to read at the outset.

A quiet chat to discuss her behaviour seems the obvious point to start to me. A discussion with her as to her attitude to other members of staff and her general conduct may give an insight into why she is behaving this way-she has the right to be able to express her point of view. Then, if matters don't improve, a verbal warning would be the next step. But this is where you really need something in writing in the form of a policy, because then there is a set procedure to follow which makes matters easier if it ends up with her dismissal. Written warnings are next, and this all depends on your group how many are given and how long you give for things to improve. You really do have to be careful with such matters because of possible court actions a member of staff might take.

I have a copy of a Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure which I could e-mail to you. If you send me your address by personal message I will get it to you as soon as possible.

The difficulty with her threatening to smack her own child is, whether you agree with smacking or not, that it is her own child. I really don't know how you would stand on that one!

Linda

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Hi Angie you have a hot potato here. Linda has given you some sound advice. The only comment I have is that while her child is in your setting, that child has the same rights as all the other children and even if she is the mother she has to abide by the policies you have for all children. Threatening and bullying should be taken very seriously. What you also have to consider as well is what would another child think if they witness this behaviour. They would feel intimidated and frightened. Have you spoken to your supervisor perhaps she has not been present and witnessed these events.

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I agree with Mimi in the fact that while the child is in the setting she has the same rights as all the other children. My concern here is that it would appear that, although she was still on the premises the session had finished and technically she was not working. Therefore, you have to tread very carefully when it comes to disciplinary matters. I would very much doubt if you could dismiss her for disciplining her own child when no longer working even while still on the premises. My concern for you, and not ignoring the child's rights at all, is that however you approach this you need to know that what you are doing is legal. I would hate your group to be facing a law suit for unfair dismissal. There is a clear case for disciplinary procedure here but just make sure that everything is done properly.

Linda

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Angie

Have been away and had another think about this and I hope I didn't sound too melodramatic in the last post. But I do feel you have a very delicate situation here and it does need sorting out quickly because you can't work like that.

As the owner of a pre-school it is a worry when you take on new staff that they will fit in and become part of the team. Some people come across so well in interviews and then turn out to be nothing like you thought. I have never yet had to get rid of a member of staff. Ones who have turned out to be unsuitable have realised for themselves and moved on. I dread the day I have to start initiating our disciplinary procedure and hope I never have to.

I hope you manage to get things sorted soon and if you need anything else don't hesitate to ask.

Linda

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Thank you for all your advice with this predicament. Yes there are disciplinary procedures. However they have never been implemented. Yes I have voiced my concerns to the supervisor, and she had a quiet word with all members of staff regarding the need to be careful when chatting to parents outside the pre-school. I agree that with the incident of threatening to smack her child is a fine line to walk.

 

There is another problem to add. The supervisor (who is also a friend that I'm going to miss) is leaving in the summer time. the troublesome member of staff has told me that she will be going for the job! Quite honostly I don't think I could stay if this were to happen, which is such a shame as I've really enjoyed working there for more than 3 years.

 

So I'm in the situation that if I don't go for the position then she will be telling me what to do!

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Is there any reason why you can't go for the job yourself Angie? I would if I were you as you have longer service than the other member of staff.

Again, are you committee run? If so they should know about these problems. Who interviews for new staff?

Your disciplinary policy really needs to be put into action. That way there will be a record and whoever does the interview will know about it.

Linda

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Hi Angie,

What an awful position for you. :o I agree with Linda though - you need to follow your groups policy regarding any disciplinary procedure. However, in the light of the fact she has said she intends to apply for the supervisers position in the summer, I would make sure that your complaints and worries are recorded in a formal way. It is always difficult to get people to commit themselves in writing but can save a lot of grief in the long run. I'm sure if you feel this way others will too - how many members of staff do you have?

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There are currently 5 members of staff at the moment. Don't you think that if I do make a complaint now it will seem as though I were trying to be underhand and trying to sabotage her chances of getting the position?

 

Also if I do get the position she will still be there causing concern. I have an NVQ 3 in early years and am studying the Foundation degree, but I don't have the administrative knowledge, which frightens me to death! I know just how much work is involved. I worry that I may be taking on more than I can chew. The only way I feel that I could do this job effectively is to study the NVQ 4 which is tailored to management level. There are many mental balls being juggled in my head at the moment, I may be getting to far ahead of myself!

 

Sorry to be so down, considering this is my first time here. My usual sense of humour on life seems to have flown out the window! Hope things get better when I go back next week. And thank you to everyone, you've all been brilliant.

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Angie are you committee run or does the present supervisor own it???

 

if it is committee then go for the job. I supervise a pre school with 60 children on the register 24 in each session with 4 members of staff each day including myself.

 

I took on the job very niave (OLD NNEB)as i was a deputy in a private day nusery before this job so did not have a clue about all the paperwork.

Yes it is hard work as you already know but believe me it is well worth while and although tiring you do feel the benifits at the end of the day.

 

I wouldnt change my position (apart from owning it) for the world!! and your qualifications are fine :D

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To Angie,

What a predicament the unsuitable staff member must be stopped in her tracks immediately. Does she have the experience to run the pre-school anyway. I think Ofsted stipulate 3 years.

You don't want to take on a commitment yourself just to stop her from running the group. If you have a commitee make them aware because even if she has the necessary qualification and experience if she operates in an unprofessional way this will ruin the good reputation of the pre-school . Hope you sort this out.

I had a student who had some very bad points. As she didn't have a contract the situation was different but she did cause a very bad atmosphere.

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I think it is imperative that you share your concerns with your superviser and that she takes action. Disciplining a member of staff is a challenging thing to do and you need to know the law and deal with each step appropriately. The worst thing that can happen is to start the procedure and find you have not followed steps correctly, then you go back to square one with a lot of bad feeling in between.

 

First and foremost, document everything, but do so in a way that is supportive and that shows that you are helping this worker to develop and fit in. Eg, if your supervisor speaks to everyone about confidentiality issues, do so in a meeting that is minuted. Make sure that your minutes for every meeting are up to date and professional, not just for these issues, or it can be taken as constructive dismissal. This is important anyway, so make sure that policies are in place and agreed, and that paperwrok is up to date in all areas, not jsut in the areas that affect her.

 

If she is not performing well, give support and help. This is one of the things that often causes cases to fail, as you need to show that you tried to help the member of staff to fit in. Document all meetings where you offer help, and do so in a non-confrontational manner. In the best case scenarios, the support works and the member of staff develops, becomes a useful worker, and everyone is happy! That should be your ultimate aim.

 

HTH

 

Nicola

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Hi there - what a rotten position!!!!!!

 

Go for the job! The local EYDCP should bre able to support you in any areas you need it, and I'm sure your team will too!!

 

Best of luck, sorry to rush, but family have arrived

 

Sue :D

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hi angie

 

i thought i had a problem with a staff member, but nothing as bad as this.

 

our policy states that a breech of confidentially will result in instant dismissal.

our behaviour policy also state this kind of behaviour towards a child can also recieve a dismissal.

 

like the others have said, check the policies, if they need reviewing, get them reviewed.

 

i would also say go for the job. i took over as leader in my preschool in january, you probally do most of the work anyway. if the troublesome member gets the job, she will make your life hell, and you wont enjoy the job as you obviously do.

 

when the job is advertised, make sure the person specification is done, a supervisor should hold a minimum relevant level 3 and have at least 3 years experience working in a preschool setting.

 

hope all goes well, keep us all informed, good luck - you sound like the perfect person for the supervisor.

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Hi it's Sue again, sorry about last night's gallop!

 

Please don't get uptight about the paperwork, yes, there's a lot, but there's plenty of help 'out there', and everyone here will be more than happy to chip in. I'm sure. I've not been around long, but the 'atmosphere' here is incredible. There's always someone with the right bit of help or comment!

 

I was a pre-school leader (or Supervisor, as we called it) for about 11 years, including those nightmare days of the inception of the Nursery Voucher Scheme and it's gradual metamorphosis to what we have today. You might feel it's just all too, too much xD , but if you prioritise and look at it all calmly ( :o ) it does begin to make sense, and ask for help!

 

Your qualifications are fine, I wouldn't rush off to get more until you're settled in your new position, if you decide to go for it and get it. You don't need the pressure. You'll probably find you 'll need to be functioning in Management to actually do Level 4

 

Good Luck, I'll be thinking of you! :D

 

Sue

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Hi Angie

 

Im sorry to read of your troubles I can empathise with your situation on both accounts

 

when I took over as manager of my preschool I had the very minimum of experience and I took on the challenge of manager rather over enthusiasticly and blindly, I made lots of mistakes and one included employing the wrong person for the job!!

 

with regards taking on the job of manager - If I can do it with very little suport, no commitee and no EYDCP, then surely you can do it with all the suport available from staff commitee and the local EYDCP they can be a god send at times. The majority of the job is learnt "on the job" so what ever qualifications you have at the end of the day are purely academic, you will still need to learn to manage that particular work place, every where is different dont be afraid to give it a go you will probably surprise yourself particularly as you know the way the setting works and Im sure youll be able to get some help and guidance from your supervisor before she leaves

 

with regards the member of staff I had trouble with one very simular - I struggled to get my member of staff to behave appropriately I tried all sorts, both suport and warnings and I was at the end of my tether she wouldnt listen to me or respect what I said, parents who had been present in sessions (rota mums) where complaining and in the end i encouraged those parents to put their complaints in writing so that I had written evidence that it was not just my opinion, with those complaints I gave the member of staff a written warning listing the previous times of warnings and conditions that I wanted to see changed in her behaviour while in the sessions and that if she felt she could not change her behaviour towards the children she had to option to resign which she chose to do..... it was the worst situation I have ever been in but one that I have learnt by

 

dont put up with bad practice it ruines the reputation of the group very quickly it has taken my group a long time to undo the damage and by long time I mean years!!

 

would you in your judgement say that member of staff is a fit person to be working with children? is she bullying the children? it could be questioned that this is a child protection issue and grounds for dismissal?

 

Ask you supervisor what she would say to OFSTED if a parent made a formal complaint about the member of staff? how would she justify to OFSTED why that member of staff has not had warnings and is still employed, alternatively make a formal complaint youself to your supervisor in writting outlining your grievences this helps to ensure that it is on record that you are not ignoring the situation and your supervisor needs to know that ignoring bad practice is unacceptable it is as bad as condoning it,

 

I hope you get this matter resolved soon its a shame to let one rotten apple ruin the whole lot

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Hiya!!

 

I'm really sorry to hear about the pickle you're in. I think you should remember that eventually this member of staff is going to land herself in some deep do-do and until that time should remain positive.

 

If she has been showing this sort of behaviour not only to yourself but in front of others i am sure this will be remembered. Going on your description of this person, as a parent, i would not want her near my child. People with these attitudes have no place in the caring profession.

 

They have very little control over their emotions and shouldn't be trusted with the care of them. What i'm trying to say is when will her anger spill over onto a child?

You should voice your concerns to your supervisor who should act upon them but treat the information you have given confidentially. If you don't can you honestly say that if a child-protection issue does arise that you had no hand in it? This could amount to negligence on your part. Protect yourself and the children in the setting and talk to your supervisor, please.

Surely with this member of staff showing this attitude it could amount to bullying in the workplace. Tell your supervisor you are feeling threatened by her continually rash behaviour. All supervisors understand that happy staff equal happy children.

 

One last thing, remember these things are sent to try us, and oh boy do they!!

 

I hope i've helped and just stay strong.

 

P.S. It sounds like you could do with your confidence building, Why not try assertiveness classes? Go for that job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Even when policy states certain actions mean instant dismissal, things need to be proved, so I think staff member would need to be put on paid leave whilst incident investigated. If you are a member of pla you can use their lawcall assistance or ring acas they offer free advice and also provide mediation process. good luck

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