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Everything posted by DavidW

  1. Time for Another Survey

    As part of my current research I have devised a very brief anonymous survey for parents, to assess current attitudes regarding men working in early years. So far I have had nearly 500 responses. I would be very grateful if anyone feels able to promote this to the parents of children attending your settings? Suggested invitation – We are asking as many parents as possible to participate in a brief (9 question) survey about men working in Early Years as part of a research project which will be used to inform national policy. You may be aware that less than 2% of the Early Years workforce in England is currently male. This issue is currently being considered at a national level. Parents and carers views are an important part of the research. We would very much appreciate your input. The survey is anonymous. It can be found here - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SAMEY The questions in the survey are - 1. I believe it is beneficial for children aged 0-5 years to be cared for by men as well as women in early years settings (nursery, preschool, childminder) Y / N 2. I am happy for a male early years worker to care for my child? Y / N 3. What is the age of your child? (in years) 4. I have concerns about men working in early years Y / N 5. If you answered Yes to Question 4, please could you give your reasons? 6. What are the benefits, if any, of having a mixed-gender early years workforce? 7. What does the term 'male role-model' mean to you? 8. Any other comments about men working in early years settings 9. I Am Male / Female l will be happy to share the final results with anyone interested. Many thanks David
  2. Excellent question! and thanks for posting it. The issue we have right now, as you have alluded to, is getting any qualified staff at all! Depending on your perspective, this is a challenge or an opportunity. Maybe, as the CEEDA research suggests, we will now see more men coming forward for jobs. You have also highlighted several of the key issues - many parents view Early Years as "women's work" and are suspicious and not always supportive of men in the workforce, they will almost certainly not support their own sons pursuing a career in our sector. I am a dogged optimist however and I believe there are things we can do. I am meeting with the Department for education, along with a dozen or so colleagues on Monday to discuss a national strategy to address the issues. In my opinion, we need to change cultural attitudes that act as a barrier to entry into the workforce for men and women. We need to raise the status of Early Years Teaching as a profession (and ideally salary levels!) We need to promote positive images of men working in Early Years settings and work with careers advisors and schools to raise awareness of careers opportunities, to boys and girls. As an individual setting, I would advise adding the words - 'We welcome applications from men as well as women' to any job advert you place. I would also put the word out to local colleges, and let schools know that you are open to work experience placements from boys as well as girls. But the over-riding principle has to be best person for the job. We have not employed many male applicants because they were not suitable. We have also had to let several go for the same reason. I recently visited a nursery in London with 7 men out of a team of 26. The men themselves, parents, colleagues and children were all very happy. I asked the manager what the secret was to recruitment of men. He said they don't do anything special but there is a general awareness that they welcome men and are actively seeking to build a gender-balanced team. Maybe there's something in that, that gives us some ideas? David
  3. Good morning. I am tasked with doing various training activities for our staff training day. A lot of it is sorted but I am planning to do an activity on effective observations. There will be about 20 people in a group and my idea to make it a bit more interesting is to set up three intriguing activities or tasks (not too much work) divide them up into small groups and then film them doing the activities. I can then project the film from my tablet onto the television and discuss what sort of things would be useful observations if this was being done on the children. I had a couple of questions for you all: 1) Do you think this would be an effective way to talk about appropriate observations? Is there anything you would do differently? 2) Do you have any suggestions for types of activities or tasks for the staff to do that will hold their attention and not make them doze off? Thanks in advance.
  4. I am conducting a review of DBS application providers and wondered whether anyone has any recommendations of companies providing online systems? I am obviously considering cost, fast turnaround and support. Has anyone else had an email with claims of 2- 24 hour turnaround? Is that possible?? - my last one took over 14 weeks!!! We have also recently requested that all staff apply for the update service within the next 18 months so I am now looking for a service that will enable us to check for any changes in status for all staff, without having to type in the individual certificate numbers one by one into the update checking screen on the DBS system. I'd like to press a button every couple of months and get a report that tells me there have been no changes to the DBS status of any of my staff, or identify individuals whose status has changed. Does such a facility exist? I can't see much on the update service at all on the websites I have looked at so far. Am I the only one thinking about this? :0) Many thanks David
  5. DBS applications experiences

    Is any of the above superceded by the DBS guidance for the update service which, as stated above, is supposed to enable the employee to "take your DBS certificate from role to role within the same workforce." My understanding of the update service is that it is designed for precisely this purpose - to enable staff to start work immediately and not require a new DBS certificate for each new job within the same workforce. The employer checks the id of the employee and the original of their certificate and enters their certificate number into the update service and if there have been no changes, can be satisfied that the individual is suitable to work with children. If this is not the case then what is the purpose of the update service? Which guidance is correct - DBS or Ofsted? Is it that the current employer can continuously check the status of an employee's DBS certificate but that he/she will need a new application on each change of job? - in which case the DBS guidance is incorrect! I am very confused.
  6. DBS applications experiences

    Does this document help? - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/325079/Update_service_employer_guide_v3.8.pdf "Benefits to your employee - one DBS certificate is all you may ever need. take your DBS certificate from role to role within the same workforce"
  7. DBS applications experiences

    Rea, This is from our own guidance document - Update service application can be made at the time of the DBS application, by providing the DBS check application number on the update service application screen- https://secure.crbonline.gov.uk/crsc/apply?execution=e1s1 Alternatively, an application can be made on receipt of the DBS certificate but this has to be completed within 19 days of the issue of the certificate. Hope that helps David
  8. DBS applications experiences

    Thanks for the varied pieces of information in the responses so far. I see my thread has been hijacked slightly! :0) I take it that not everyone is subscribing to the update service then? Is anyone actually checking the status of DBS certificates on an ongoing basis yet?
  9. We have a parent who is under 16. We amended our policy wording to say a child may only be collected by an adult (over 18) or by a parent / legal guardian. We think that covers the situation.
  10. Yes, I could see how you might go down that path!!!.
  11. How about using the 5 senses to generate descriptions or similes - ice feels like ice tastes like ice looks like.... These can be adjectives or nouns. It doesn't have to be a logical association, in fact, the more imaginative the better. What does ice smell like???
  12. Ofsted Visit

    Obviously Ofsted have to investigate complaints - they have no way of knowing whether they are baseless or not. The inspectors both told me they are having difficulty doing their scheduled work as all they seem to be doing is investigating complaints!
  13. Ofsted Visit

    Really, really not wishing to add to anyone's anxiety levels here but just to tell you about our experience, we have just had 2 inspections at 2 separate settings within the last 4 weeks, both triggered by "anonymous" complaints. Happy to share this as the complaints were frankly bizarre (and we were found to be meeting the standards in all areas) - one was that we allow 1 adult to supervise 5 under 2s on the stairs and that we don't use medicine forms! This was apparently referred to Ofsted via the police! - we do use medicine forms, Ofsted were satisifed with them and we do not allow 1 adult to supervise 5 under 3s on the stairs single handedly!! In 10 year of operation at that site, there has never been an accident on the stairs. The second was our dear neighbour who doesn't like us or our children :(0 who reported us for dangerous vehicle movements on site, suspicious characters loitering in our drive (at the weekend when we are shut - but they can't as we have a gate), crying babies (he stuck his hand over our fence to record a baby crying in the garden and sent it to Ofsted!) and a male member of staff "bellowing" and using inappropriate language - 'last one in's a rotten egg!' - with our after-school children. This is just the latest of his actions in a sustained campaign. It's all very sad. Basically these were malicious and unfounded complaints from someone with an axe to grind. Anyway, in both cases, Ofsted were satisfied that we continue to meet the standards. Under the new framework, as you probably know, a visit to investigate a complaint now triggers a full inspection. We were very happy with the outcome of the first inspection, the second has yet to be confirmed. I would agree with the comments above regarding the focus and how the inspections were carried out. The point is that, as the inspectors told us, should someone contact them again next week with another complaint, they will return for yet another investigation and full inspection! In both cases, these nurseries had an Outstanding at their previous inspection. The first nursery was only inspected 2 years ago. All I'm saying is beware - you can't assume that you will have 1 inspection and then be set for the next 4 years.
  14. Help - ICT for 2-3 year olds

    Really interesting thread. I worked in IT for 25 years before moving to the real World of early years, 9 years ago! I think there are some fundamental questions about the role of ICT here. Is it about familiarisation? ICT as an enabler? ICT as a teaching resource? learning how to use technology? ICT as a starting point? I agree that we need to be focusing on the core areas as a priority - PD, CL & PSED but as has been said above, we live in a World of technology and our children are already acquainted with much of it. They do not have the fear that some of us have - they are quite happy to wreck laptops, CDS, cameras etc. So what do we spend precious funds on and how do we use it? We have desktop computers (or laptops) with a mouse. These break all the time, children find it difficult to use the mouse, insert CDs etc. They are limited to a single user + spectator(s) and take up room. I don't see much valuable learning taking place - certainly not at the development level of our children. We bought a tablet (£70). Touch screen is a much more intuitive interface. A child dropped it and cracked the screen last week - even though she was sitting with an adult. We are replacing CD players with IPODS but this is mainly for staff to use to play music for the children. At least it eliminates CDs - which are often scratched or lost. I like the idea of technology resources as part of role play - kettles, microwaves, cash tills etc. We are using digital recorders, talking tin lids etc. and let children take their own pictures on digital cameras and videos, under adult supervision. We only use control resources (Bee Bots) under adult supervision. We have used and had broken or lost - walkie-talkies, metal detectors, timers, torches etc. We use skype with our children to talk remotely - great for PSED, language and Understanding the World. We also make increasing use of the internet for videos, picture etc. I think this is quite a challenging area. Anyway, just some of my thoughts.
  15. Speaking as an owner, I find it very sad that anyone involved in our sector sees children "merely as little pound signs". We are passionate about the care and development of these precious lives, the huge responsibility that this entails and the entitlement of our staff to receive a decent wage and the recognition they deserve. I do not want to see ratios relaxed or standards to fall. It is very challenging in the current economic climate to provide quality care and early years education for our communities and to pick up the slack for our local authority with family outreach, social work and other unpaid services that are so desperately needed at this time. I can only pay staff what we receive from already overburdened parents. We struggle some months to meet our wage bill. The price of energy, food, resources etc. continues to rise. I increased our prices by less than 2% this year and I am still attempting to give a pay increase to staff. I just wanted to put in a word for at least one owner who cares about children - and staff! There are those of us (owners) who believe that what we all do together as a team, is a worthwhile vocation. We are not just in it for the money - there are much easier ways to make a living.
  16. Calling In Sick/a/l

    Best one I have had -" I cant come in ----- (daughter) has started her first period" Lets hope this does not lead onto one day a month from now on!
  17. They have and it will be on the Children's web site to down load soon
  18. Hi, does anyone have a role/job description for a Safeguarding Officer and/or Behaviour Management Coordinator? We are trying to come up with a list of responsibilities / duties and if anyone has already done this, we would be very grateful for any input you were willing to share. Thanks in anticipation.
  19. Brilliant, I found something for both - should have looked there first. Thanks very much
  20. Help With A Policy

    Here is my first attempt - Parent/Carer Acceptable Behaviour Policy We promise to treat everyone with politeness and respect at all times. In return, we expect our staff to be treated politely and with respect. We always provide a listening ear. We welcome your comments and suggestions and promise to take your views and any concerns seriously. Issues or problems are dealt with under the terms of our complaints procedure. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of our service, we will deal with your grievance in a friendly, supportive and calm manner. Abusive, offensive or threatening behaviour or language that could cause distress to users of our premises, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We will: • Tell you if your behaviour or language is unacceptable. • Ask you politely to change or stop it. • Ask you to leave the setting, if the behaviour continues. • In extreme cases, contact the police if your behaviour threatens the safety and welfare of our staff or other users of the premises. • Reserve the right to exclude from the setting, any individual carer/parent who refuses to abide by this code of acceptable behaviour.
  21. Help With A Policy

    I was searching for this topic as very sadly, the need has also arisen for us to produce such a policy. It seems there are several of us now considering this. I will have a go and post a copy.
  22. Sarah Teather Men In Early Years

    As a man, I have to say that I do agree with you all. My view is that the pay and status problems are not gender issues. In my humble opinion, they are more to do with how we as a nation (under)value the Early Years sector. It is difficult to understand quite what Sarah Teather was getting at with this speech. The longitudinal study on EYPS provides evidence of both improvements in quality generally and in practitioners' sense of self-worth. It has undoubtedly provided a "status" for those attaining it. Unfortunately, not everyone recognises this, including the job market. I'm not sure anyone was aware that EYPS was set up just to try and attract more men into our profession! The workforce gender imbalance is a far more complex situation which continues to be addressed by those of us with an interest in this area. I do hope that EYPS can be built on rather than rejected by some other initiative otherwise I fear it might be 1 step forward and 2 back.
  23. I also saw that comment in the Tickell review which I think supports my view. I knew what I wrote would be controversial. I am able to demonstrate to Ofsted that we have an effective proactive risk assessment procedure in place (and have done so at successive inspections). We complete an annual risk assessment covering all areas and we have specific risk assessments for all our main activities. We also have a daily safety check, staff training and reviews of accident forms. I argue that all of these contribute to risk assessment and hazard avoidance. And yes, I know we do have to comply with regulations and make sure we are covered but I think we are writing some of these things down just to cover ourselves. What we are trying to do is keep children safe. This is a continual process. It doesn't stop with a piece of paper entitled outdoors risk assessment. I guess it comes down to the definition of risk assessment and possibly arguing semantics with Ofsted if it comes to a stand-off.
  24. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn but I can't help thinking we produce these documents just to cover ourselves. Do they actually create an environment where children are any safer outdoors? Children are going to fall over and scrape their knees - that's what they do. Is that a bad thing? or are we teaching them about balance, spatial awareness and risk taking? We don't have a risk assessment for outdoors. We have a daily safety check - is the area and equipment safe? we have staff deployment to ensure appropriate ratios and a proactive regime of monitoring and surveillance. Most of this is common sense - if we find broken glass, we sweep it up. I know this is controversial, especially in our litigious society but I can't see the point in writing down tedious details about every eventuality. If we have a demonstrable culture of corporate and individual responsibility for our own and others safety, do we really need to spell out every individual potential hazard and the risk of it causing harm? and what about the ones we missed?! discuss!
  25. Benefits Of Outdoor Play

    I got this from somewhere once (can't remember where) .... Childhood is supposed to be messy and natural outdoor play areas offer a kind of messiness that inspires learning and creativity. Children make mud pies out of mud; they pile up leaves and carry them around; sand and dirt are good for digging in. The dirtier your child gets at nursery, the better reader they will become. The experiences a young child has playing, set up the foundation for future learning. The skills they learn in outdoors play, such as having the confidence to try things they've never done before, will later translate to the school setting. For example, the world of reading — sounding out letters and words they've never seen — could seem daunting unless children have had positive experiences stretching themselves, gaining confidence, and growing through play. A natural outdoors play area makes it easy for children to find challenging ways to dig, jump, stamp, and splash — and yes, get messy in the process — all on their way to becoming better readers. Hope that helps.....