To still feel disturbed about this nursery.

(280 Posts)
MrsDrRanj Tue 05-Nov-13 22:43:16

This has been bugging me on and off for years, one of those things where I feel like I should 'do' something because it just doesn't settle in my mind well.

5 years ago, when I was 17, I got an apprenticeship at a nursery through a training course. I'd never had a job, hadn't finished school and was recovering from a breakdown so it was a big deal to me. I was naive and very nervous.

Things happened while I was there that now really bother me, especially as a parent who may have to find a nursery for ds one day.

There was an incident with 2 other apprentices having a shouting match infront of pre school children, including calling eachother 'slags' etc. they were not fired and parents were not informed.

The manager came into the room I worked in and loudly discussed the children's progress infront of them, including declaring that a little boys speech wasn't as it should be and she had suspicions he was colour blind (right infront of the little boy who was 3)

One man punished a preschool boy who suffered with constipation for having an accident by forcing him into a nappy that was too small for him. The boy was screaming and in the end there was poo everywhere including the little boys hair. Another member of staff came and shouted at him but nothing else was done. (I have recently read in the news that this man has now been convicted with voyeurism and possessing indecent images of children which made me go cold)

When I was invited on a work dinner out the leader of the preschool room spent a lot of the night doing impersonations of the children, including taking the piss out of a little girl for not understanding much when English was not her first language.

In general the nursery was badly managed, people were bitchy and mean, apprentices were left in charge when they shouldn't have been etc and thankfully I didn't stay there long. But it still bothers me. The nursery is still running and though there's a chance the staff may have moved on there could also be the same people working there.

The nursery had been rated 'outstanding' by ofsted and was part of a high end chain of nurseries. It has left me terrified of putting DS in nursery as id be devastated if any of the above situations involved my child. I feel awful for not doing anything at the time but I was so inexperienced.

Would you do something now? And if so what? I don't want it to bug me forever I just can't seem to shake it from my mind.

MrsWolowitz Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:20

I don't have any real advice but that sounds horrible sad

Hollygolightley Tue 05-Nov-13 22:46:57

It sounds terrible! I'd ring and speak to ofsted and just be honest .you were inexperienced then so couldn't do anything. But you are wiser now and I think reporting it would be the best thing especially if it's the same staff there

Feelingfatty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:49:01

Unfortunately that sounds horrible but common. I have worked in a few and that sort of atmosphere breeds nasty bitchy behaviour! Also qualifications are not as high as they should be so half the time people don't even realise what they're doing is completely inappropriate. If you worked ago that long ago it's probably changed a lot of staff and nothing you can do now! Don't beat yourself up you were 17.

HotDogSlaughter Tue 05-Nov-13 22:50:31

Jesus Christ.

I am speechless.

pianodoodle Tue 05-Nov-13 22:50:38

I think I'd report my experience of the place to the relevant authority despite it being so long ago.

Icelollycraving Tue 05-Nov-13 22:51:51

Shit. Could you view it as a prospective parent? Bloody horrific.

Belchica Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:14

Thats shocking behaviour. Its a shame you didn't report this at the time but i understand you were very young. Have a look online and find their latest ofsted report. If they haven't been reviewed since you left, submit a note to Ofsted based on what you have written here.if they have there is every chance they are no longer outstanding

KerwhizzedMyself Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:43

Why on earth didnt you do anything back then?!

MrsDrRanj Tue 05-Nov-13 22:53:51

feelingfatty do you really think it's common? That's so depressing.

Feelingfatty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:55:08

Keewhizzed she was only 17 it's hard to know what 'normal' and what's not. The discussing children etc is bad but not something you could report over. Obviously the poo incident is horrific but as she has already explained That man is no longer there...

MrsDrRanj Tue 05-Nov-13 22:56:05

kerwhizzed I was a teenager recovering from a mental breakdown with no experience in a work setting, no idea about confidentiality and what was or wasn't professional etc. as I grew up and especially when I had my son memories would come back and I'd realise how awful it was.

I really do feel terrible.

Feelingfatty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:57:14

Mrsdr I don't think poo is but doing things I wouldn't dream of is in my experience. Like talking about kids, arguing if front of kids/bad words BUT luckily children don't pay any attention to it! I've worked in lovely nurseries and one I left within a few weeks as it had this bitchy vibe, I've never witnessed Abuse like the op is discussing with poo incident . Thankfully!

Feelingfatty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:57:44

Sorry just realised you are op!!

Ledkr Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:04

As a mum if a two yr old in nursery that made my blood run cold, the thought of a young child being frightened and mistreated whilst his parents aren't there is so upsetting.
Do you know if the sane staff/managers are still there? If so I would call ofsted.
I saw abuse as a very young carer in a nursing home, it stil upsets me twenty odd years later.

MrsDrRanj Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:26

Do people think it is worth contacting ofsted after all this time? I do worry they will almost laugh at me. That is a good idea about viewing as a prospective parent but id worry about seeing old staff

floatyflo Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:53

I know a nursery just like this. Outstanding with Ofsted. So I reported to them. Lengthy email and letter with as much detail and info as possible...
They did fuck all. They went in, had a look, and declared all good and well.
Frustrating considering I knew completely different.
I'm guessing social services is the next place to turn to.

Feelingfatty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:59:36

I think if like you say man had left then the ladies that are they may be much more experienced/grown up/better at their jobs and the problems may not be there anymore. I think it's to late now.

KerwhizzedMyself Tue 05-Nov-13 22:59:52

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so OTT with my first comment. It just terrifies me that your age is an excuse for not reporting that behaviour when nowadays we still have 16 and 17 year olds working with children. I don't mean that in a negative way at you. I mean, it's scary that people this age are trusted with children despite so many people saying its okay you were only young.

Yermina Tue 05-Nov-13 23:06:04

The OP doesn't surprise me. I used to teach on a CACHE course. My colleague who was responsible for going in to nurseries to do observations of students on placement used to come back utterly depressed by what she'd seen.

There were some wonderful students but sadly also some who had clearly been very poorly parented and I suspected were bringing a lot of their suboptimal nurturing experiences with them to their work.

stopgap Wed 06-Nov-13 01:09:21

My 17-year-old cousin did a placement in an OFSTED outstanding nursery last year, and while the place was clean and efficient, she was routinely told to leave not to pick up crying babies and leave them be, so as not to "spoil" them.

It must be incredibly hard as a working parent to sort the wheat from the chaff, when the ratings system seems so utterly flawed.

SabrinaMulFUCKERJjones Wed 06-Nov-13 01:25:23

I'm also not surprised, sadly. When ds1 was a baby we lived in a very nice area, with lots of working mums - the local nursery was one of a chain but had a high turnover of staff. I met two ex-staff who had worked there (who were then private nannies) who told stories like this - including the "don't pick them up and cuddle them - or they'll expect it every day."

minglemanglemunchkin Wed 06-Nov-13 03:24:12

If these things are still hanging over you, I definitely think you should report your concerns to ofsted. It is their call whether they act on the information or not, but at least you can take comfort that you have reported your concerns to the appropriate authorities and that way the responsibility is taken off you. Lots of investigations happen years down the line, and surely it's a case of better late than never.

janey68 Wed 06-Nov-13 07:37:23

It sounds awful, and while I appreciate that you were young and inexperienced, I am surprised its taken so long for you to realise that yes, of course you should report it.

Btw I would always recommend parents do plenty of unannounced drop ins and also make use of the webcam facilities some nurseries have when picking childcare provision. And ofsted ratings don't mean a huge amount IMO. Unfortunately you get a minority of rubbish places, just as you get a minority of rubbish parents, but thank god most places aren't like this.

So yes, please report, I'm surprised you even need to ask

Shonajoy Wed 06-Nov-13 17:41:26

Part of the problem is nurseries employ young people as they are cheaper. People routinely pay more for a cleaner or a gardener, than they do for child care. And it's a hard job. I do hope you report them.

janey68 Wed 06-Nov-13 17:58:04

Sort of agree and disagree there Shona .

Because as a working parent you may need over 30 hours of childcare per week , per child, you cannot really compare with getting in a cleaner for 3 hours a week. Childcare costs are actually a huge chunk of working parents income.

Having said that, where I agree with you is that sometimes people have a funny attitude to paying for childcare, and will readily pay out on other things but prefer to use relatives for free when - witness the many threads on MN from disgruntled parents who complain that granny isn't caring for the child in the way they want. Though again, of course, some people don't have the luxury of choice to pay because they are in low paid jobs

BerstieSpotts Wed 06-Nov-13 18:07:19

Yes exactly janey. And a gardener or a cleaner is a luxury but childcare is a necessity if you have to work. It's not really the same.

It is frightening though when nurseries are run as a business first. Which of course, they kind of have to be.

Shonajoy Wed 06-Nov-13 18:13:00

But the people who are doing the caring need a reasonable income too! My friend is a childminder and is on below minimum wage- she's fabulous with kids and treats them so well, park outings, painting etc. but if you wanted it as a career you'd be stuffed. So you're saying that people who look after our most precious things deserve less pay than someone in McDonald's? Because childcarers are vastly underpaid.

Shonajoy Wed 06-Nov-13 18:16:54

Nursery here, 8-6am £36 a day, or £155 a week. Nurseries ARE businesses, but £36 a day is £3.60 an hour, which is appalling considering staffing, premises, lunch (included and snacks). I'm amazed that parents who think that's expensive GO to work, I'm sure most of them will be earning at least double if not triple that rate. And childminders are even cheaper. A cleaner is £8 an hour in this area.

Shonajoy Wed 06-Nov-13 18:18:41

And of course a gardener and cleaner are luxuries that I don't have btw, but it's incomparable- worst they can do is break an ornament, steal, or ruin your lawn.

janey68 Wed 06-Nov-13 19:22:02

Shona- I am a professional earning a decent salary, yet when we had two children pre school age in nursery, there was a period of time when the childcare cost ALL my income. I didn't begrudge it because my children were in a fantastic nursery, (which ironically I couldn't have afforded if I hadn't worked) and also I saw it as long term investment. I don't think generally that parents who pay for childcare do it with penny pinching in mind

WRT to childminders- I agree, it may seem like a low hourly rate, but frankly many cm do the job as a way of earning an income without needing to use childcare themselves. We used a lovely cm when ours were just a few months old before they progressed to nursery. She did it because she loved children, was excellent at it, and it was a way of earning an income while being in her home with her young child all day. I suspect that in terms of actual money in her pocket she was at least as well off as I was after paying her!

So while I agree that in an ideal world, there would be better remuneration for childcare jobs, I also see the other side of it. Make it more expensive and people simply won't be able to afford to go to work, and then the childcare jobs won't be there

monkeynuts123 Wed 06-Nov-13 19:25:34

It doesn't surprise me. I've seen some unspeakably shit practice in schools, nhs and nurseries, some of which have had glowing reports.

What annoys me is the way good nurseries do NOT get outstanding ratings because they haven't known how to play the system and have failed to provide some unimportant piece of paper showing silly statistics about how often the children pick their nose or some such daftness. Ofsted is rubbish. The system is rubbish - how can an outsider visiting for 2 days POSSIBLY have any idea of what REALLY goes on.

Word of mouth recommendations are the only thing I trust. From more than one mouth.

TokenGirl1 Wed 06-Nov-13 19:44:59

I looked around 15 different nurseries (and saw some bad things such as babies being left to cry for 15 mins with absolutely nobody even acknowledging them) until I sent me 12 month old to a Busy Bees that had an outstanding rating. I liked the key worker and I was really happy with the environment....
......until I did several unannounced drop ins, hearing my baby screaming in a travel cot, watching her fall on her face and be unable to get up so she cried and the staff just left her to struggle (all the other children were having snack and the staff were chatting to each other on camera so not occupied with another child), rusty toys that she was putting in her mouth and collecting her up when she was very distressed like nothing Ive seen before or since. God knows what I didn't see!

We pulled her after three days and they gave us a refund. My dd would not let me out of her sight for a month after and screamed on holiday when put in a travel cot (again never before or since). She had no such reaction a month later when left with a child minder. You know your own child and she was severely affected by what went on there. I should have complained to Ofsted but just didn't have it in me at the time, very emotional, heavily pregnant and back at work....

I found a copy of the complaint letter the other day and it still chills me to the bone reading it. Made me want to go and find that key worker and punch her lights out, several years on....

Ruffcat Wed 06-Nov-13 19:51:37

I used to work in a high end nursery, it was also badly managed and in some respects dangerous. They also had outstanding because it looked amazing.

You could always contact your local childrens services, they often have advisers who support nurseries, but often have a better insight into the day to day running and would properly appreciate the info

Ruffcat Wed 06-Nov-13 19:52:52

I should add I left pretty quickly, but ofsted weren't really interested

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 19:55:18

without a shadow of a doubt I would be kicking up one almighty stink about this chain and this nursery.

would you be happy with your child there? if not of course report, without delay.

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 19:56:49


I had the same but in old peoples home, hughly rated because it looked more like hotel full of antiques than home, relatives loved coming to vist, but my goodness it was terrible behind scenes and everything done to be as cheap as possible.

I guess people do realise old folks homes and nursies are a business so everything will be done to make profit?

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 19:58:32


I try and urge people to do what you did, its the only way you have any idea of whats going on in nurseries, please do drop ins, be aware staff change etc...

EmpireBiscuit Wed 06-Nov-13 19:58:48

My DS starts his nursery settling next week - I feel physically sick.

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 19:59:20

Of the nurseries I've done supply in over the past couple of years, I would say that:

2 are shit
8 are poor
10 are OK. Average. nothing special
3 are good
0 are brilliant

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 20:00:38

I have said this a million times.

Rate nurseries, old folks homes and anywhere vulnerable people are, like trip advisor, soon sort the wheat from the chaff and make the companies pull their socks up.

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 20:01:22

empire just make sure you do drop in's unn anncounced.

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 20:05:20

Keep your judgey pants on Empire. Every time you go there it's a test for them.

EmpireBiscuit Wed 06-Nov-13 20:06:13

Oh god, my poor wee baby sad

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 20:07:34

There are nice ones about!

hardboiledpossum Wed 06-Nov-13 20:09:15

I am a nursery nurse though I don't work in nurseries anymore, I have worked in many nurseries. I have not worked in a single day nursery that I would be happy to leave my own child in. I was always being told not to pick up crying babies so as not to spoil them. staff would talk about children in front of them. most of the staff were horrid and bitchy. most of these nurseries were ofsted outstanding or good.

EmpireBiscuit Wed 06-Nov-13 20:10:19

I'm sure I've picked a good one, I researched enough. He'll be fine, I'm just having a wobble. Not the thread to read when you're an end-of-maternity leave and already upduffed wreck.

smudgedgraffiti Wed 06-Nov-13 20:13:48

YANBU. My DD went to a nursery which was run in an appalling way, there were numerous incidents including children being lost from rooms, accidents not logged but covered up etc. I complained to Ofsted, who were not at all interested and did nothing.

I agree entirely with yonisareforever.

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 20:14:14

really empire?

surely this is the thread you wan tto read so you know what to look out for and to make sure you do lots of drops ins?

hettienne Wed 06-Nov-13 20:14:35

To be honest I think most people who work in childcare will have experienced something like this. I work in a very good Children's Centre now, and I and many of my colleagues have had experiences as young/junior staff in private nurseries where we have seen bullying or poor practice.

Personally I would never put my own children in a private nursery, but I'm sure there are some good ones out there.

janey68 Wed 06-Nov-13 20:14:36

Empire- trust your instincts, do your research carefully, pick somewhere which is totally comfortable with you dropping in announced and finally do NOT listen to the scaremongering on MN from people who were happy to work in nurseries for years and then turn round later and talk about how shit they were. It says more about them really. Of course there are some poor nurseries around, like there are poor schools, hospitals, and people who do a piss poor job of parenting fgs. It does not mean your child will be harmed!

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 20:15:46


I have also complained to Ofstead about various places I have had the mis fortune of seeing and yes there were not interested,

it has been admitted now, they are not a fit inspection body, so what is making these business toe the line? what is their motivation?

There is little.

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 20:17:07


Its not scaremongering, what a horrible thing to say.

This always happens when people have worked in some nurseries and seen the other side tell their side, and tell the truth then they get shouted down and you wonder why they are scared to come forward?

moldingsunbeams Wed 06-Nov-13 20:22:29

I have worked in nurseries, loads of them and can fully believe what op is saying.

In several the staff in them were young and going out on the piss and then coming in hungover and not in the mood for noisy children, (consequence in crap wages for nursery nurses after nneb was scrapped) the staff did the childrens art work and said they had done it, one member of staff in the baby room with 8 children age 0 - 2 unless ofsted were due.
Most of the time they are just bogged under with paper work and key worker work and it does not give you enough time to do what you want with the children.

I collected my own dd from nursery on her second birthday to find she had a black eye which was bloodshot, swollen shut etc and they had not rang me. The story did not tie with the injury and as I was the one telling the hospital how it happened they investigated ME because the stories did not match thinking I was using nursery as cover. When they confirmed with the nursery it had happened there the consultant told me he did not believe their story and it did not tie with injury.

Having said that I loved the children I worked with and would have done anything for them.

OddBoots Wed 06-Nov-13 20:32:23

I work in a setting, it's the only setting I have worked in and I thank my stars that none of the things I'm hearing happen at my place - I couldn't work in a place where I had to leave my empathy and conscience at the door. I am not disputing that these things happen, I'm sure they do but I just wanted to post and say that they are not universal, there are some places where the children are treated with love and respect.

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 20:36:36

Nurseries rely on cheap, young, unqualified staff. For a decent qualified person you could get 3 youngsters you can put on a day release course and pay them £2.60 per hour. I wouldn't trust any nursery that has less than two thirds of the staff level 3 qualified.

Not that a modern level 3 qualification means much.

-TiggyD NNEB

janey68 Wed 06-Nov-13 20:36:58

Yonis- it's either scaremongering, or a sign of having been quite comfortable to take the wages for bad practice- as odd boots says, leaving your empathy and conscience at the door. Which frankly, is worse.

hardboiledpossum Wed 06-Nov-13 20:37:29

Janey I think that is incredibly unfair. I was very young when I worked in nurseries, I started at 17. I did question some things with management but I wasn't listened to. I have worked in fantastic charity pre schools and school nurseries but all of the day nurseries I have worked in have been poor.

whereisthewitch Wed 06-Nov-13 20:38:17

I'd report. I could never put DD in a nursery after working in one as a teenager.

janey68 Wed 06-Nov-13 20:38:43

Ps oddboots - yes, thank goodness there are great nurseries around with people like you who really do the job well. My children are teenagers now and still have fond memories of their key workers

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 20:41:47

Thinking about the good places I've worked in, they all had something in common. Tatty looking paintwork, old well worn chairs, and some very old toys and equipment. Maybe they're good things to look for? Maybe it means they're more concerned about how things work for the children as opposed to how things appear to parents?

bsc Wed 06-Nov-13 20:51:33

I always look closely at the attendees- are they happy, engrossed, are the ones that are niggly being cuddled?

we looked at a lot of nurseries before choosing, always unannounced, and the one we chose was lovely, and both my children were very very happy there. You knew the staff really cared about the children- 90% of staff were 30 or over, in fact some had been there 20 years. They had a wealth of experience, and really loved working with children (thank goodness)

Shonajoy Wed 06-Nov-13 20:51:34

Jayney68 that's not the point I'm making. It's not relevant how much you earn, it's how much these people get paid. Looks at the horrific comments in this thread and people who are properly trained and working for dreadful wages- do you really expect people to put their ALL into any job if they feel undervalued and underpaid?

They aren't there to say ok you're going to be tight this month we will knock money off- they are purely a business, like elderly care homes. They have the smallest amount of qualified staff- not because they want to care for people, but because they can be under qualified for other jobs.

nurseries caring for a child from 8am-6pm means effectively they're doing the majority of the caring for the child during the week, damn right their wages should be increased dramatically, otherwise we can carry on to expect babies left crying, falling, and generally benign neglect.

Imsosorryalan Wed 06-Nov-13 20:53:32

I'm a primary teacher, have worked in schools and nurseries, observed and assessed childminders and advised childrens centres. ( just to show I have some experienceblush) Most nurseries I have been in are good and provide a secure and positive environment. Yes, there have also been a few that didn't meet my standards but got good or outstanding from ofsted.

Always go by word of mouth, ask how long staff have been there - this usually shows a good staff / management relationship - the longer the better. The nursery should always be happy to welcome you in when you turn up unexpected ( which you should), a good mix of young and older staff is good and none of the staff should be stood around chatting.

grumpalumpgrumped Wed 06-Nov-13 20:53:36

It makes me so very sad and very angry that there are still so many appalling nurseries out there. I manage a nursery, it not outstanding according to Ofsted but every child is loved, cherished and looked after.

Recruiting staff at the moment and the quality of staff coming for interview is poor. No way near as good as a few years ago.

monkeynuts123 Wed 06-Nov-13 20:55:19

So what is the alternative then? A nanny? You have no idea what's happening there when you're not about and how is a childminder any safer than a nursery? Genuine question.

Mimishimi Wed 06-Nov-13 20:56:09

There is one right next to the lower half of my grandfather's garden and one on the way back from our local supermarket. Each time I have been near either and the children are outside, the staff are sitting outside chatting to each other and the kids are pretty much left to their own devices. Frankly though, given their wages (same minimum or near to minimum wage here in Australia), I don't blame them. DS used to come back from his (different centre)with unexplained bruises and I rarely asked why as I'm sure it was similar there. However, they were probably more involved when the children were inside and I never felt that he was bring actively neglected . You can build fantastic facilities, have all the correct procedures and staff requirements but the truth is, you can't continue to pay staff low amounts and have them feel that investing their emotional/physical energies into providing top quality care is worthwhile. I can also see why they would advise new staff , especially males, not to hug and cuddle due to fears of litigation.

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 21:00:10


SAME HERE, i WAS 18 when worked in old folks home, very naive and I was left to do lots of things I had no training for, the manager was nice but totally dominated by ONE family who had the strangle hold on all the jobs there shock.

One other sweet girl who cared started and she too was treated dreadfully by the other staff for actually caring. Both she and I started to see eye to eye and we shared our concerns with the manager.

the next day we were attacked in a huge meeting she left and I hung on for a few more weeks.

after seeing winterbourne view I had a better understanding how one bad egg can rule the roost and set the tone.

with weak management or the manager themselves being rotten, it does not matter how much you plough into other areas.

I then complained to Ofsted who were not interested, I wrote to local council, no response and finally I contacted the Times about it a few years ago when they were doing something on the terrors of old folks homes.

monkeynuts123 Wed 06-Nov-13 21:00:12

Can we start reviewing nurseries right here?

grumpalumpgrumped Wed 06-Nov-13 21:01:22

monkeynuts123 there are a couple of sites, ratemynursery is one of them

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 21:02:52

I think by law anywhere that is running a place for profit that involves the care of our vulnerable should have a clear and accessible trip advisor feedback system.

hardboiledpossum Wed 06-Nov-13 21:12:01

my main complaint was with how the baby room was run so I was moved to a toddler room instead. I was actually threatened by a girl in the baby room after I made my complaint but that was also ignored.

Mittensonkittens Wed 06-Nov-13 21:12:20

Ds started at a nursery aged just 3 (they took babies from 6months though) and it was supposedly outstanding. The staff were very young and I sensed after just wanted the children to leave them alone so they could chat and text.
It was pretty bad. Ds was very unhappy. At first we thought it was just separation anxiety but as time went on and he repeated some things that had been said to him it became clear that something was badly wrong.

We pulled him after a term and moved him to a preschool. He was absolutely fine from day 1, no issues at all. There is no doubt in my mind that there was something very wrong with the ethos in the nursery and I wish I'd moved him immediately. It really dented his confidence and he started to carry around a comfort toy all the time. As soon as we took him out that stopped.

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 21:18:52

Just looked at ratemynursery. Out of the nearest 80 nurseries to me, there was only one review. And that sort of site can be easily manipulated.

What can we do?

Bring back daycare advisors to help nurseries improve.

Let the daycare advisors inspect with an Ofsted inspector to write up a joint report.

Inspections more than every 4 years.

At the moment a complaint against Ofsted is dealt with by...Ofsted! Stop that.

Bring back a decent qualification and insist that most staff have to have it.

Let nurseries charge top up fees so the good ones don't have to make a loss on 'free places'.

Stop sending your children to bad nurseries. (Although I realise we won't find out who the bad nurseries are until inspections actually work.)

KerwhizzedMyself Wed 06-Nov-13 21:23:45

I think it's wrong that two very important jobs (childcare and care of the elderly) are often suggested to teenagers who aren't getting good qualifications and don't give a shit in general. When I worked in a nursery, we had local students coming for placements and the majority were awful. They sat down practically ignoring the children and couldn't look more bored if they'd tried. The last girl dragged a boy across the floor by the top of his nappy and trousers (she was sent packing and was the final straw so the placements ended).

It's sad that its such low paid work too. I know it's business etc but if they had higher wages, there'd be better staff.

monkeynuts123 Wed 06-Nov-13 21:27:29

Mine isn't on rate my nursery either. Doesn't mumsnet have something like this?

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 21:37:18

Kerwhizz, the phrase "Hair or care" gets referred to a lot in respect to what you said.

A job advisor of some kind doesn't know what the useless lump they're stuck with could possibly do, so they suggest hairdressing or childcare. angry

yonisareforever Wed 06-Nov-13 21:39:02

I thikn we should petition mn for this

KerwhizzedMyself Wed 06-Nov-13 21:39:59

Hair or care. Sounds about right thinking back to when we were at school. It's quite scary to think about.

BerstieSpotts Wed 06-Nov-13 21:46:47

I don't think mumsnet would do it because of litigation maybe? If someone posted about an incident that had happened and the nursery wanted it taken down.

It needs to be a totally separate site, like tripadvisor.

It is so lowly paid and so stretched financially and it has to be. Minimum wage is only £6.18 per hour, add in maybe 2 unpaid hours for travel and lunchbreak and childcare can take the whole of a person's wage. It took about 80% of mine. Luckily I was eligible for tax credits which helped.

DS' preschool had students come for placements and they were great, he got on well with almost all of them and they always smiled and waved when we bumped into them when out. They stayed for a good few weeks, maybe a couple of months.

CiderBomb Wed 06-Nov-13 21:47:53

I too have worked in nurseries and believe the OP.

There are some fabulous nurseries out there, however there are also some completely shit ones as well. I could tell within about half an hour of entering the building whether or not it was a good or "bad" one.

One incident that sticks in my head was at a council run one. Most of the staff were fine, but there was one member of staff who thought it was hilarious to make fun of the mother of a Chinese child we had because she couldn't speak English properly. She'd often do impressions of her which she clearly thought was hilarious, but was at best borderline racist. It was clear everyone else was uncomfortable with it, but no one ever spoke out about or challenged her.

Most nursery staff are very young. You rarely see nursery nurses over the age of 24/25. A lot of them go into it thinking it's an easy career, but it's not, you need a lot of patience to look after kids and not everyone is cut out for it. A lot lot them are far more interested in talking about their personal lives than watching the kids, that was something I encountered a lot.

monkeynuts123 Wed 06-Nov-13 21:50:38

so ciderbomb how could you tell within half an hour?

BerstieSpotts Wed 06-Nov-13 21:52:35

It's such a shame, there are lots of jobs that non-academic boys get herded into. Building/construction, carpentry, mechanics, plumbing. Interesting, valuable and a skill you can work off for life.

Girls get hair and beauty (unlikely to get very far if you're no good) and childcare, which is an utter shame and a disaster. It is valuable and can be interesting, but you have to be interested in the first place - and if you are then you're probably looking in that direction by yourself!

Careers advisors could do so much good but it seems they stick to lazy old stereotypes confused I suppose they don't get long enough with children at all to gain any kind of idea about what they would be like.

somewheresomehow Wed 06-Nov-13 21:58:00

I don,t really agree that if wages were higher you would get better people working in nurseries. It is down to the managers to have a code of conduct that all staff adhere to and if they don't then they are warned and then sacked. Students should be placed in a nursery if that is what they fancy doing not because it is seen as an easy option.
staff will take the piss if the rules are not layed down at the beginning and poor behaviour acted upon.

NorthernShores Wed 06-Nov-13 21:58:18

I'm looking at nurseries this week. Hearing about what goes on is terrifying sad HOw would I know a childminder is even more trustworthy? The only one I know and trust doesn't have spaces until next september and I need a place in the next few weeks.

NorthernShores Wed 06-Nov-13 22:00:16

I loved the pre-school my eldest went to - nearly all mothers with grown up children themselves. I trusted them. They only do mornings though and I'm going back to work. It really scares me.

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Nov-13 22:04:15

The thing is, even higher-paid workplaces can have a negative ethos that affects care, I have worked in doctors surgeries where the doctors (highly paid) are very dismissive and rude about their patients, and other ones where they were endlessly caring and respectful even about the most difficult ones. I guess the same is true in nurseries.

I am sorry to hear this about nurseries, I didn't use one for mine as I went to visit one near our house and for whatever reason, I found it awful, I couldn't even pin down why but the words the 'baby room' in which there were just far too many babies to be cared for properly was one of the main things- it wasn't homely and the babies weren't mixed in with the other children but just stuck in this room.

However, all my experiences of pre-schools in which there are loads of lower paid assistants are really positive, as is my experiences of teaching assistants, dinner ladies, school receptionists etc. In other words, it is not just pay driving this, but an ethos of caring, coupled with an expectation that everyone does their best for the children.

CiderBomb Wed 06-Nov-13 22:07:01

My gut instinct is actually right monkey. In a lot of places the staff were cold and bitchy as soon as I walked in, that was usually a pretty good indicator.

KerwhizzedMyself Wed 06-Nov-13 22:11:42

Those are good points about higher wages not improving the staff. I suppose you'd get people who were only in it for the money too sad

TiggyD Wed 06-Nov-13 22:20:30

But at the moment the poor quality staff are unsackable in many nurseries because the nursery knows they can't attract good staff. And I've worked with many many great members of staff who left the profession just because they couldn't afford to stay in childcare.

Ruffcat Wed 06-Nov-13 22:20:52

As someone up tread said the best nurseries are the ones with the chipped paint and oldish toys, as you will find the money is spent on staff rather than the place looking good.

littlemisssarcastic Wed 06-Nov-13 22:21:17

Shonajoy Whilst I agree that childcare is badly paid, parents already struggle to afford childcare as it is. Without parents paying even more on childcare, I don't see a feasible way to increase child carer's wages.

NorthernShores Wed 06-Nov-13 22:21:38

Is it really ok for me, a stranger, to just turn up unannounced? I was thinking of ringing in the morning to visit.

Surely they don't want every joe bloggs walking in off the street and need some system?

somewheresomehow Wed 06-Nov-13 22:24:47

I guess you do get places only in it for the money but that's where OFSTED or the Local Authority "should" come in and sort the place out.

Goldmandra Wed 06-Nov-13 23:41:20

The problem is that practitioners always know when they are being watched.

I worked in a pre-school where the manager was vile to the children until the parents were around then she was sweetness and light.

I tried challenging her very poor practice and was told to mind my own business. I left because I had to move my DD to a different setting and I wrote a detailed complaint to Ofsted.

Ofsted visited, having arranged the visit in advance, saw her 'on show' behaviour and found no fault.

Luckily I told all the parents I know what I had observed and the pre-school shut down a year later due to low numbers. There is now a much better one on the same site.

I'm not scare-mongering. If I hadn't chosen to act no parent would have been any the wiser and children would still have been being bullied by this vile woman.

It happens and you can't tell it's going on as a parent unless you catch them unawares or your child's behaviour gives you a clue.

Me2Me2 Wed 06-Nov-13 23:45:05

This thread is so depressing, as well as an eye opener. The majority view seems to be that nurseries, with some exceptions, provide sub standard care. It really would be good if MNetters could share nursery recommendations or ratings. Could we do it via Facebook?
I've posted twice on my local mn but its not a very active board unfortunately.

OTH I've been v happy with the nursery and childrens centre we've used to date. But we've moved and I'm looking again - with a heavy heart after reading the above

jellybeans Wed 06-Nov-13 23:49:41

I have similar experience of awful staff and care but of a home for older people. Shocking. Also know someone who works in a nursery who says if people knew some of the things going on they would never leave their kids there, it has a great ofsted.

I think at the end of the day they are there to make a profit. It's just a job for low pay to some. Of course there are amazing staff who love children but if there becomes more bad staff than good standards can slip.

KerwhizzedMyself Wed 06-Nov-13 23:51:38

How can your friend keep working there and not do anything about it jelly? This is exactly why bad nurseries get away with it for so long.

usuallyright Wed 06-Nov-13 23:54:24

would never ever in a million years put a child in a nursery.
And yes, obviously they're sweetness and light and professional to a tee when you drop off/pick up!

joanofarchitrave Wed 06-Nov-13 23:59:55

I did a placement in a nursery for a course. When I had ds some years before, I originally booked ds into a private nursery and then cancelled the place nearer the birth. At the time I became pretty anti-nursery overall.

The nursery I did a placement in was FANTASTIC. I was there for a week and didn't see a single thing that wasn't good, the children were loved and throve. It's a council nursery that has been going for decades with a really good age range of staff. Equipment and toys well cared for but also well worn.

Mimishimi Thu 07-Nov-13 01:10:15

Why shouldn't childcare workers be in it for the money? At the moment, the very notion of that is laughable anyway. Why do you go to work? If your boss told you that he wants to reduce your salary to NMW because you should do what you do for the mere love of it, while he/she creamed off the profits, what would be your response? I can't see any reason why childcare workers should have to be financially altruistic for other people's children. Why should they love them? Of course, they should take pride in their work and do the best they can as ideally anyone does with their job if they want to keep it. A checkout operator (who is often better paid) is not expected to love her customers, she has to be polite and efficient. The days of getting some dimwitted young woman with few options who only wants to play with the 'little un's" for a few bob each week for the rest of her life are long gone...those simply aren't around and most who do join up see it as a stopgap measure until they are doing something close to what they really want to be doing.

Shonajoy Thu 07-Nov-13 05:15:04

Amen to that mimishimi.

moldingsunbeams Thu 07-Nov-13 06:23:50

I will add though that ALL the nurseries I have worked at went against the orders not to cuddle and pick up ( especially the smaller babies). As a mum is dd is upset I cuddle her, we all refused not to do that for another upset child.

I did report incidents and left in the really really crap nurseries I have worked in, I was not happy to just take the money.

I was age 17 unqualified (at the time) and left alone with eight babies from 6 weeks old to two.I complained because if anything had happened to those babies it would have been my head on the line and it was not safe.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 07:31:22

Gosh. I was a bit clueless with one baby when I had mine. 8 babies is just nuts!!!

Those saying not nursery for a 2 year old - what should I do? How would I know a childminder would be any better?

Are you really not supposed to cuddle babies? If I had to have a baby in care, that's almost all I'd want them to do!

thegreylady Thu 07-Nov-13 07:44:03

The financial thing shocks me. When I returned to work (part time) dd was 8 months old. I paid a friend half my salary to look after my dd. She registered as a cm (1975) and looked after dd until she started school which was when I went full time (teacher). I know not everyone can afford to do that but to me caring for my child was as important as any job I could do. I returned to work because dh was ill and I knew I would eventually be the only breadwinner.

TokenGirl1 Thu 07-Nov-13 07:49:23

're looking for childminders I went on the word of mouth of a very good friend of mine as I trusted her opinion. If I had to use one again I would go to local toddler/children's centre groups and hang around outside local pre schools and watch how they behave with their charges.

My childminders would be playing with the children at toddler group, she'd also greet her charges with a big smile and a cuddle after pre school. She basically behaved like their Mum would. Some of the other childminders would shouting as discipline ( I don't mean a one off but every time I saw them). Drinking cups of tea at toddler group having no idea where their charges were as they had their backs to them. Just watch them over a period of weeks and see what kind of behaviour you want your children to receive and choose that one ( obviously after a home visit and talking to them too).

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 08:05:21

The childminders here have their own toddler group, and don't come to the usual one. I've been at pre-school gates and school gates and only met the one (and she's fully booked). There are so many stay at home parents, or mums-around-the-corner. Its not a wealthy area, and I'd really like a non-shouty, happy to cuddle, outdoorsy person but of course they'd tell me that . . . At least in a nursery I could supervise.

To the teacher giving half her salary to her friend -I'd do that in a flash! That's like a cheap private nanny, and you know you can trust them.

I'm looking at returning part time and childcare for one and before and after school for the other will wipe a lot more than half my salary!!!

NomDeClavier Thu 07-Nov-13 08:21:29

If you choose a CM or a nanny you have a lot more opportunity to chase up references, see them at toddler groups, drop in unannounced at your own home at random times etc. Plus nannies tend to be better paid which removes some of the demotivating factors of working in a nursery and as there aren't colleagues to chat to about their personal lives they get on with the job.

IME a majority of childcare workers are peer pressured into behaving a certain way. I did a placement in a nursery when I was 18 where it wasn't considered cool to actually interact with the children! I did report the standards there to OFSTED and found out a few years later the nursery had closed down. I saw one member of staff a few years later - she was a nice girl but very swayed by the deputy manager who was a nasty piece of work - and she'd registered as a CM and was doing a great job. It's a problem with a young workforce.

As for qualifications not being as good I trained post NNEB, and I did my best. Had the NNEB been available I'd have done it but you work with what you have. The proliferation of qualifications which were all supposedly the same didn't help standards but also there's far too much emphasis on topics other than playing with and caring for children.

The sector is making moves to professionalise itself both as a whole and in individual professions but the biggest problem is that no-one really cares, except conscientious staff and parents who are sufficiently worried about poor practice.

TiggyD Thu 07-Nov-13 09:13:14

The nursery I did a placement in was FANTASTIC. I was there for a week and didn't see a single thing that wasn't good, the children were loved and throve. It's a council nursery that has been going for decades with a really good age range of staff. Equipment and toys well cared for but also well worn

Everybody wants to work in a council nursery. The pay is considerably better than private places, the equipment always better, staffed better with higher ratios and bank staff, and better training. It's almost as if you get what you pay for!

TiggyD Thu 07-Nov-13 09:22:03

A Mumsnet nursery review site? The other site up thread had virtually no reviews on it. I've looked at other review places and it's sort of the same story. I think Mumsnet is the one place where the idea would actually stand a chance of working due to the numbers already on here. In the nursery section there's a long review thread of Kids Unlimited that makes interesting reading.

But you then have all the usual problems of the nurseries setting up a few accounts and leaving great anonymous reviews, and competitors and disgruntled bonkers customers leaving bad ones. Might be good to try. Maybe MNHQ should do London nurseries and see what happens?

KerwhizzedMyself Thu 07-Nov-13 09:45:59

Childcare workers shouldn't just be in it for the money. It's the same with care jobs or nursing. The desire to care and look after someone should be a motivator as well as the money. A checkout assistant isn't expected to love her customers because she isn't expected to be a caregiver for the customer for how ever many hours a day. A childcare worker should care or love the children to some extent because he or she is supposed to make bonds with children as part of his or her job. The childcare workers who don't love or like children stand out like sore thumbs and the children notice it too.

The nursery my DS went to had awards, outstanding ratings blah blah blah. They were beyond shit and I regret to this day being fooled by them and their glittering prizes. I told ofsted who could not have cared less. I told the police as my DS had been seen by another parent being gripped around his jaw and shouted at (18months) but too much time had elapsed. The parent believed I'd been told . I hadn't been and a chance meeting 2 years later meant I was told. By this time DS had already been removed.

I dropped in unexpectedly and what I saw was horrendous. Bored gossiping staff and children totally out of control climbing bookshelves, fighting, crying. This was rated outstanding and cost me £700 a month.

I now won't send a DC who can't speak to a nursery / pre school and I find it very hard to trust.

Grennie Thu 07-Nov-13 09:58:34

I worked in 2 nurseries years ago. Both were run by charities and were in basic buildings. But the care was outstanding and the staff would never have said anything negative in front of the children.

I visited a very posh expensive nursery and while the building was gorgeous, there didn't seem the level of care I was used to.

I would always look at the quality of relationships between children and staff. I think some parents focus on much less important thinmgs when choosing a nursery.

Yes Grennie - that's been my experience since DC1. I was impressed by facilities / ofsted etc. but it was way too big and a money making venture for the owners before anything else. I suspect the staff were on a pittance.

Grennie Thu 07-Nov-13 10:26:23

And always always drop in announced several times before choosing a nursery. Look at things that matter, which are not necessarily what you get your attention drawn to. For example, I was shown a workbook they used for 3 and 4 year olds to teach them writing skills. If I was placing a child there. I wouldn't have given a shit about that. But I was obviously supposed to be impressed.

CraftyBuddhist Thu 07-Nov-13 10:42:41

I wonder whether it would be possible to install and entirely covert system.

Inspectors go in undercover. They work for the nursery.

Restaurants seeking Michelan stars have no idea whether the punter is an inspector or not so every dish and service has to be spot on. Yet babies and preverbal vulnerable children are being abandoned to a system in which a nursery, it's staff and/or it's ethos are potentially damaging to children. Being told not to cuddle children is horrific- Romanian nurseries inevitably come to mind.

As not all nurseries are poor- as many staff will testify to, it is important to ensure parents know whether their nursery is indeed good or is pulling the proverbial wool over their and ofsted's eyes.

If undercover is good enough for rogue traders is should jolly well be good enough for our children.

CraftyBuddhist Thu 07-Nov-13 10:43:20

Sorry 'an entirely covert'. Phone phone phone.

Grennie Thu 07-Nov-13 10:51:22

It is illegal to film staff covertly unless they know they could be being filmed.

CraftyBuddhist Thu 07-Nov-13 10:52:46

Not filming. Working.actually working.

PatoBanton Thu 07-Nov-13 10:57:17

There is one thing I'd really, really like to know but hardly dare ask for fear of offending people.

I'll give it a go...

it seems like this country has a culture that determines women MUST go back to work if at all possible when their children are - well as little as they can get away with.

The nursery issue might be resolved if parents (not necessarily mothers) stayed at home to care for their children, until they went to school.

Especially if MOST nurseries do not provide as good a standard of care as the parent would.

So my question is - would we, as mothers/parents, WANT to be allowed, or encouraged by the culture/government to stay at home with our children, or would we rather it was better facilitated that we hand childcare over to other people?

I always feel so desperately sorry for parents who don't want to return to work, but have seemingly no other choice, when their child is really small.

I have never used a nursery. Reading this thread I would never want to.

So what would people like in an ideal world? I get the wanting to work thing, but with a child you can maybe put that on hold for a few years in many occupations...trying to combine both can be really hard I think.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 11:07:53

I'd love to do that Pato but jobs are scarce these days. Also there's not guarantee if you're out for a long time that you'd get back in in your local area. I don't want to uproot my daughter if I don't have to, so that gives me a limited number of schools I could teach in. I then have a limited number of jobs in my subject. Its a good rural area, so people in those jobs don't tend to leave, so I'd be highly unlikely just to walk back into one.

IN my ideal world I'd have a very wealthy OH and I'd dabble myself, or be free to take risks on property or retrain as a psychotherapist. However, as I don't have a wealthy OH and mumsnet has hammered home the risks of redundancy, ill health, etc etc I need to make sure I have a foot in the job market.

I'd love nto to use a nursery. I'd love a nanny as I can't do it myself but can't afford one. You're in a privileged position, Pato.

I'm going to visit a nursery this afternoon - of course they will be on best behaviour. Any hints what to look out for?

hardboiledpossum Thu 07-Nov-13 11:08:52

inspections should definitely be undercover and much more regular. of course staff are going to be engaged and caring when they are being watched. or alternatively all places where these are vulnerable people such as hospitals, care homes and nurseries should have cctv which inspectors can review regularly.

hardboiledpossum Thu 07-Nov-13 11:11:26

there not these

AmberLeaf Thu 07-Nov-13 12:02:05

Many years ago I worked in a private nursery while training, I went to college one day a week and worked in the nursery 4 days a week. I worked from 8am-4pm.

It wasn't all bad and the women I worked with were all caring and did their job well, BUT...corners were cut and ultimately it was about the money for the owners.

There were several 'staff members' who like me were unqualified, we were included in the staff numbers legally required to make up the ratio numbers.

I wasn't paid as such, but I received a 'training for work' allowance of about £50 a week [I started the course through the job centre after losing my previous job] so it was basically free workers for that nursery.

I remember being very unwell with a chest infection [when you work in a nursery you tend to get everything going and I got a secondary infection from having a cold] I called in sick one day and the owner was most pissed off as it affected her staffing ratios.

I left after about 6 months and reported everything to the training for work person at the job centre.

My experience and those of the other people I attended college with put me off using a private nursery for my children.

Child care workers could easily be paid more, the nursery owners were loaded, but it is a business and its all about making money not paying good wages for those actually doing the job.

usuallyright Thu 07-Nov-13 12:12:04

Pato, you'd get more response to this if you started a new thread.

moldingsunbeams Thu 07-Nov-13 12:36:41

Yes yes I too was used as a full member of staff whilw under 18, unqualified and on £60 a week.

moldingsunbeams Thu 07-Nov-13 12:41:04

I was also during my NNEB training sent on a placement to a CM where the childminder was meant to have a helper as she had so many children, the helper only did one day a week though and there were definately at least 3 under 1, around five under 5 and then the older children who came before and after school. I reported that to college.

Tiredemma Thu 07-Nov-13 12:54:39

I reported the nursery where I had a placement as a nursing student.

They gave a vegetarian child Spaghetti Bolognase and gave all the babies 'blended chocolate roll' for pudding (BLENDED)- they told one mother that her son had received pureed pear (as requested by her) after his lunch- he hadnt had pureed pear at all- he was also in receipt of the bloody blended roll- he had awful excema and his mother didnt want him to have any sugars/additives in his diet.
The staff were awful- the owner was a tosser.

I cried everyday coming home.

I complained through the university- the owner had the audacity to say that I was complaining because I was a nursing student and thought that I was 'better' than the staff there.

Im not sure what happened after my complaint, although I did keep in touch with one member of staff (who was lovely) and she said that they had received a grade 4 (inadequate) Ofsted report.

smudgedgraffiti Thu 07-Nov-13 13:08:11

My DC went to an awful nursery - I only realised once we had been there a year or so - then a fantastic one. I second/third the chipped paint/tatty furnishings - the second nursery was like this and was lovely, DC were so happy there. The staff clearly cared for the children and DC still visit them sometimes.

I think a problem with a review site would be litigation surely? - nursery no.1 has had threads pulled from here and the other place, as well as a local forum, and they write to and threaten parents who post on sites about them. They also post false "good" reviews to balance the shit ones whenever their name comes up. So any review site would need to be tamper-proof, completely anonymous, and lawyer-proof...

PatoBanton Thu 07-Nov-13 13:27:32

Thanks, Usually and Northern - I am really sorry if my question was naive and ignorant, which I think it was now I have read your reply.

My circumstances as a whole are not privileged in the slightest but in this respect, being a single parent, I am very grateful to be allowed to stay at home with my little one, well it may only be until he is 1 or maybe 2 but still it is a bonus.

I have not got much hope of finding a job later on, but still, I will deal with that when it arises.

I can totally see why you do what you do. Would the government forcing schools/employers to hold positions for women who become pregnant be helpful at all? I am trying to work out an idealist solution to the problem here.

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Nov-13 13:33:00

Mrs DJ

I used to work for a very high end holiday company in their baby and toddler care. I was of course lovely to the little ones in my care . they even complimented me on it which I thought strange as surely everyone should be "good with kids" that work here!

I remeber thewomen were such fucking bitches, means to me, and even meaner to the kids. It also really upset me that the parents left their children inthis rather cruel ambience from 8am to often 7/8pm in the evening when they went ski-ing

these things stay with you,and I would never want to use a kids club on holiday

Nothing as bad as what you state, but still

report OP, definately. write a letter and send it

and not all nurseries are like this

KerwhizzedMyself Thu 07-Nov-13 13:38:13

For the few sharing scary stories about places they've worked and haven't clarified if it was resolved, did you actually do anything about it?

FraidyCat Thu 07-Nov-13 13:43:24

Somone in another forum commented that older staff is a good sign, my single data point seems to confirm this. DD moved to a second/better nursery, when picking up I noticed that most of the staff seem to be over 30, quite a few over 40. Previous nursery probably had a median staff age in the early twenties, with a handful of teenagers present. (There are specific reasons that with hindsight make us realise old nursery was not up-to-scratch, which I can't mention, as it would identify.)

Obviously I'm not saying young workers can't be good, just that a nursery where all the workers are young is a sign of low wages/bad morale.

GobbolinoCat Thu 07-Nov-13 14:39:53

I am not sure about young workers to be fair.

I think its down to personality whether you are the caring type or not.
Yes I can imagine lots of young ones standing round but equally, older staff can be more en trenched and less easy to handle.

Lots of young ones may feel it more necessary to toe the line.

Whistleblower0 Thu 07-Nov-13 14:44:00

Private nurseries are pretty awful. I would never use them!

kerala Thu 07-Nov-13 15:06:53

Used one for a few sessions when had newborn. Dd (aged 2) hated it but stupidly I listened to the nurseries are marvellous brigade and sent her longer than I should have. I gave it 6 weeks should have followed my instincts. Last straw was on being told she was going one morning she ran into the corner of the room faced the wall and hit herself in distress sad. My dad did one drop off and still says it was one of his most upsetting experiences ever. Place was loud noisy I witnessed staff telling parents their dc had settled when I saw they had been crying all afternoon as I often had to stay there with dd. dd started pre school a year later small place, calm staff all intelligent over 40s not one problem.

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Nov-13 15:19:34

kerala sad

its awful! my DS2 once went to Nursery and puked immediately,then another time he went and fell asleep! That told us all we needed to know (plus he cried hysterically)- he fucking HATED it

christ this thread is depressing

SoleSorceress Thu 07-Nov-13 15:27:26

I worked in a nursery when I was sixteen. Very similiar horror story. I left and a few years later it was closed. I really didn't think my complaints would have been taken.serioysly due age.

nocarsgo Thu 07-Nov-13 15:27:50

I agree, such a depressing thread. I think the prevailing culture in this country is wrong. It just isn't acceptable for parents to stay at home with their children, and the Government agree.

PatoBanton Thu 07-Nov-13 15:57:40

Yes, I actually feel very strongly about this.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 16:25:05

It is a depressing thread but lets not fall into the trap of saying that all nurseries are awful.

The problem isn't that they are all bad. The problem is that there is no way to tell which are the bad ones, even when your child is attending them. Ofsted reports are just based on how good a show the setting can put on for an inspector. I've seen this happen too many times to be told that inspectors can see past the act. They can't.

Webcams are used in some settings but lots of owners reject the idea because the relationship with parents should be based on trust, for confidentiality reasons and because parents might misinterpret snapshots of situations they see on webcams, especially when there is no sound.

Review sites would raise litigation issues and be open to abuse by unscrupulous providers.

Ofsted provide Parentview for schools. Maybe we should all write to them and ask them to extend it to Early Years settings.

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Nov-13 16:26:34

how do other countries manage I wonder? seems to be a combo of

cheaper childcare (S Europe)
parents and family (everywhere bar the UK I sometimes think)
shorter working hours (ditto)
better maternity provisions (Scandi, NL, Germany)
cheaper housing costs (varies , mainly S Europe)

The UK are screwed as you basically have to go back FT (or else be the top of that redundancy list) and then skint yourself and leave you LO in a nursery staffed by feral teens or paeds


jellybeans Thu 07-Nov-13 16:34:06

'So my question is - would we, as mothers/parents, WANT to be allowed, or encouraged by the culture/government to stay at home with our children, or would we rather it was better facilitated that we hand childcare over to other people?'

I think parents should be given tax credit or other help towards EITHER staying home OR for childcare. Not push them towards only work. The work world isn't always compatible with caring for children/elderly etc. If your child is ill you should be able to stay with him/her, no questions asked kids should come first and it is horrible that many employers don't feel the same.

However i only realised I wanted to be a SAHM AFTER I had tried f/t work. It never occurred to me as an option before then. 'Doing well' was presented simply as meaning career wise or materially. But I hated leaving DD and she never settled. I decided to quit and have been a SAHM since DD2. We were far from well off but cut back and as we started as teenage parents we never built up a comfortable lifestyle or two income mortgage so things only got better in time as we started with nothing.

DD1's nursery (she was f/t) was great in itself. i think the difference was; they didn't take young babies-just toddlers upwards, they were all mothers themselves, they were all 35+, they were a non profit nursery. (I am not saying there are no good young or childless workers though!) I looked around a few nurseries at the time and most were awful. I know friends who have gone into childcare yet they weren't especially good with kids but they felt it was the only or an easy option (yeah right!)!! They also often gossip etc about families in the nursery (one has the child of a minor celebrity). I find it really unprofessional. I am sure most workers are not like this but it does put me off using daycare.

If I had to work now with a young child I would use a childminder although there are only 3 in my area i would trust with my DC (out of about 15).

Something should be done to urgently improve standards and job status of childcare workers.

AmberLeaf Thu 07-Nov-13 16:34:31

The problem isn't that they are all bad. The problem is that there is no way to tell which are the bad ones, even when your child is attending them

Agree, this is why I decided that I wouldn't send my child to any care setting until they were able to speak and relay to me what goes on.

sallycinnamum Thu 07-Nov-13 16:43:19

I had a dreadful experience in an NHS nursery a few years ago. It was attached to the trust I was working in and in he first visit my son was absolutely hysterical when I picked him up. I later discovered with my own eyes that the babies were just left to cry. It still makes my blood run cold.

He then went to a childminder who I ended up reporting to Ofsted for a myriad of reasons but the last pre-school nursery he was in two days a week was brilliant.

I've now got a nanny for my DD who the DCs love to pieces but it's taken 4 years to get to a point where I can go to work and not worry about the care they are receiving.

It seems to me childcare in this country is just pot luck.

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Nov-13 16:52:05

I dont think nurseries can ever be a good childcare setting for babies, sorry but I cant get my head around it. I think CM are a far kinder environment

LadyEdith Thu 07-Nov-13 17:04:13

angry There are good and bad nurseries just as there are good and bad childminders and nannies. Generalisations are not helpful.

I know a CM whose car failed its MOT because of worn out brake discs but she continued carrying around other people's children in it. I don't see how that's 'kind'.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 17:06:56

I dont think nurseries can ever be a good childcare setting for babies

I've been a childminder for 13 years and also worked in pre-schools and nurseries and I disagree with you.

I think it's easier for a childminder to form the close bond that babies need with their carers but this can also happen in good nurseries who truly understand the keyperson system and implement it properly.

There are benefits to using a childminder in that the relationships are more stable and the environment often quieter and more home-like but nurseries have other advantages, not least that there are other people around who can blow the whistle on practitioners who are unkind to children.

KerwhizzedMyself Thu 07-Nov-13 17:09:21

I worked in a nursery when I was sixteen. Very similiar horror story. I left and a few years later it was closed. I really didn't think my complaints would have been taken.serioysly due age.

Age is not an excuse. Even if you don't think you will be taken seriously, you still report.

I'm shocked at how people see being 16/17 as an excuse for not reporting things. This surely means 16/17 year olds aren't responsible enough to care for children as a job if they can't even follow basic safeguarding type stuff.

AmberLeaf Thu 07-Nov-13 17:18:35

Do you really not get why that would be difficult for a 16 year old to do?

Bear in mind also that most [I expect] of those saying they were young at the time are somewhat older now, things were very different back then.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 17:26:33

I visited one today - the manager was amazing, and on my wavelength. The outdoor play area was lovely. However it was huge - with lots of different rooms for each age group - the care seemed to depend on which room you end up in.

I'm telling myself to see it as a "creche" for 2 days a week. I wouldn't want my child there every day. The room she might end up in was staffed by what looked like 2-4 teenagers (although the leader had been there 8 years). The room next door had a granny-type lady in, a lot more children so it was busier, but they were sat in a circle singing and looked a lot better. However the granny-room was nearly at capacity and the other room only had about 8 kids.

Its so hard. I will need almost immediate childcare if I get the job. They can offer it. I trust the manager will deal with any queries, the facilities are nice... my nearly 2 year old can at least vocalize upset... they are very flexible about settling in... and you can pick up at any time you want, so you'd get to see it at various times.

But it is very young non-mums in the rooms we'll probably use.
Its worlds away from the lovely not-for-profit pre-school we used with the older one.

KerwhizzedMyself Thu 07-Nov-13 17:27:48

Why is it more difficult for a 16 year old to report something than an old employee?

AmberLeaf Thu 07-Nov-13 17:39:02

Because at 16 you are just out of school and quite probably still in the mindset of thinking no one will take you seriously because you're a child. You may still be treated as such even in a professional setting.

Because at 16 your experience of dealing with people in authority may be one of feeling that you are powerless and won't be listened to.

You may not know where to start with regard finding out who exactly your concerns should be reported to.

As I said, things were very different back then, there was no googling to find out who you should approach, or sites like MN that help people with similar concerns. How many threads have you seen on here where people post about concerns and get great advice as to what they should do?

There was nothing like that back in the 90s/80s.

That is just a few ideas off the top of my head.

OddBoots Thu 07-Nov-13 17:39:06

Some 16 year olds will feel able to report, some won't - a lot of it depends on how clear their training provider is about how they can do so and how confident they are. I totally agree that safeguarding is a major part of an early years practitioner's work so everyone working in the sector should be up to doing it but 16/17 year olds are trainees and are legally children themselves, I don't think they should count in ratios personally speaking.

AmberLeaf Thu 07-Nov-13 17:40:59

I will add that safeguarding was NOT a part of my training at all.

KerwhizzedMyself Thu 07-Nov-13 17:42:52

If 16/17 year olds are fresh out of school and still in the mindset of a child to the point of not being able to do the job properly with regard to safeguarding, then, like I said above, 16/17 year olds shouldn't be working in childcare.

AmberLeaf Thu 07-Nov-13 17:49:05

You're going to ignore the rest of what I said then?

insancerre Thu 07-Nov-13 17:49:46

can I just say there are a lot of good nurseries out there
I work in a fantastic one, where the needs of the children always come first
as for the op, I really don't think there is anything you can do about the experiences you had at the nursery 5 years ago
ofsted are not going to be interested, the entire staff team could have changed in that time
move on

Grennie Thu 07-Nov-13 17:53:57

When I was working in nurseries, OFSTED didn't exist. I guess any complaints would have gone to social services. And not sure they would have taken notice of anything except the most serious complaints.

MrsDrRanj Thu 07-Nov-13 17:55:20

Hi, OP back

I done some research on the nursery and discovered they haven't had an ofsted report since I was there, but the manager has changed.

I've sent a letter to ofsted anyway, just incase.

Regarding the age issue, 16/17 year olds aren't meant to work in nurseries - I was training. I felt unable to do anything at the time because 1. I had no previous experience of childcare settings and didn't realise how wrong it was and 2. My confidence was very very low. I also wasn't given information about safe guarding and who to report to by my training provider.

insancerre Thu 07-Nov-13 18:03:13

16 and 17 year olds can work in nurseries
staff under 17 need to be supervised and can't be included in the ratios but they can certainly work in nurseries
and indeed many do, on about £100 a week, as apprentices

hardboiledpossum Thu 07-Nov-13 18:12:36

even if children had spent most of the day crying parents were always told that their children settled a few minutes after them leaving.

I think some posters are missing the point about reporting. lots of us have said that we did report to owners and instead but we weren't listened too!

I really do believe that all nurseries should have cctv.

insancerre Thu 07-Nov-13 18:15:53

I work in a nursery and feel very insulted that people think I need to have my every working moment monitored by cctv.
What happened to trust?
Do you have your every move filmed at work?

Grennie Thu 07-Nov-13 18:36:54

CCTV is not practical. You would need them everywhere. But no parent is going to want CCTV in the toilets the children use or changing rooms to change nappies or do potty training. There are too many minefields.

Goldmandra Thu 07-Nov-13 18:59:28

Webcams are used in lots of nurseries and allow parents to log in to see their children during the day, e.g. this nursery.

Clearly they don't show toilets and changing areas for CP reasons but children only spend a tiny bit of the day in there so it wouldn't prevent a parent getting an idea of how settled their child is or seeing the body language of the practitioners.

I'm in two minds about whether they are a good idea but that's probably because I've never worked with or used them.

KerwhizzedMyself Thu 07-Nov-13 19:11:52

Did you mean the part about not being trained? Does it take training to recognise inappropriate behaviour and to look into how to report it and to who?

PatoBanton Thu 07-Nov-13 19:43:22

'I work in a nursery and feel very insulted that people think I need to have my every working moment monitored by cctv.
What happened to trust?
Do you have your every move filmed at work?'

I imagine that there are some FANTASTIC nurseries out there. However it seems that a great many are inadequate, and the point is really that little children and babies cannot relay to us what goes on in our absence.

Therefore we are taking a huge risk any time we leave them in the care of someone who is not us.

I think that needs to be taken into account in the context of talk about CCTV etc.

Imsosorryalan Thu 07-Nov-13 20:01:47

I don't see why anyone should be insulted by CCTV in nurseries. If you have nothing to hide, it shouldn't be a worry and clearly some nursery setting seem to be rife with bad practice. We can't rely on the staff to tell us the truth or ofsted or other body to follow up any issues so CCTV seems to be a valid option in my opinion. Why not?

GobbolinoCat Thu 07-Nov-13 20:02:03

I wouldn't give a shiny shite how I the great best care worker felt if CCT was introduced!

The bottom line is the children and vulnerable people not the bloody workers, EGO.

Amber spot on.

Some woeful ignorance of human nature here or a lack of empathy.

GobbolinoCat Thu 07-Nov-13 20:04:58


Fantastic idea and shows it can be done.

All these worlds are a dark world with a veil drawn across it.

We have seen time and time and time again hideous atrocities being committed against vulnerable people.

When do we stop trusting people and start protecting are vulnerable by whatever means necessary?

MoveYourArmsLikeHenry Thu 07-Nov-13 20:07:30

I work in a nursery. I am 25, started when I was 20. Does that mean I dont know what I am doing and dont care about the babies I work with? We all have to start somewhere, why on earth does it mean that because nursery workers are young this equates to bad/negligent work practice? I am actually offended by this.

I also worked hard to obtain my level 2 and 3 childcare qualifications. But having these qualifications doesnt mean much? Wow, well, theres 2 years of my time, money and efforts down the drain.

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 07-Nov-13 20:09:30

Interesting thread.

I wanted to post about my experience of nursery because I think it is an interesting different model. Dd went to a cooperative parent run nursery from 16m to 2 yr. There were 7 children in a session aged 16m - 3y, with one nursery worker & a parent - there was a rota. Parents managed & ran the nursery. Because you were there every 7th session you really got to feel comfortable with the setting & a sense of community with the other families.

Obviously everyone involved had flexible schedules that allowed them to do this but it really was great. I wish there were more options like it.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 20:14:37

Arabella that sounds so lovely. I couldn't nec do that with wokr but it sounds really lovely.

stopgap Thu 07-Nov-13 20:16:42

Arabella, a friend of mine is doing this. They hired a preschool teacher and have two parents stay (ten kids total). The mothers in question are either SAHM, small business owners or freelance, so it works for them.

I really hope this thread gains some momentum, as too frequently this discussion dissolves into a SAHM vs WOHM bunfight.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 20:18:23

Move - I don't think being young in and of itself is a problem. I think what makes a difference (from visiting lots of pre-schools) is the ethos. A setting with just leaders in their teens/early twenties is very very very different to a setting with a mix of older, experienced workers alongside younger workers.

I wouldn't discount someone because they were young - but I think its best to have a balance. There's lots of professions where this is the case. Would you want a GP practice where all the GPs are newly qualified? THey'd all be qualified but having more experienced GPs around means there's help to draw on, etc.

As a teacher I've valued the experience of older teachers. I was a good teacher in my 20s, but I've learnt a lot from older staff.

Some settings see younger workers as more malliable and cheaper sadly.

somewherewest Thu 07-Nov-13 20:28:47

Putting poorly paid workers with no sense of vocation in charge of vulnerable, non-verbal people in an institutional setting is probably never going to end well, as we're seeing with the series of scandals regarding care for the elderly sad. The thought of putting a pre-verbal child in institutional care scares the life out of me (luckily I have a choice - I realise many parents don't!)

janey68 Thu 07-Nov-13 20:45:27

.... Although of course childcare, particularly nurseries, are often so expensive (relative to earned wages) that actually many people using them do have a choice. Certainly a choice between nursery and childminder, and often the choice about how much they work. You have to be on a pretty decent wage to make nursery care worthwhile, so you're likely to shop around and have the choice of provision. The people I feel more sorry for are those who can't afford to give up work yet can't afford childcare and end up leaving their kids with unpaid relatives who frequently (judging by MN threads) don't do things the way mum and dad want.

I'm not denying there are some poor nurseries around (just as poor hospitals, schools and indeed all kinds of workplaces ) exist ..and I am truly shocked at the posters who worked in poor places and did nothing about it until years later.... But there are also bloody fantastic settings out there. The key is to look around a LOT, call in unannounced and trust your instincts... As the parents you know what is right for your child

TiggyD Thu 07-Nov-13 20:58:07

Young staff are not a problem. They tend to give an originality and energy to a nursery. But it's best to have a blend of skills and abilities and ages.

Imsosorryalan Thu 07-Nov-13 21:01:48

We chose a nursery for my dd when she was 1, only two days a week but I think unless you know a childminder personally, I'd be wary. How do you know what they do all day? They could be sticking your child in front of the tv for most of it. Let alone anything else. They are alone with your child in their home. Maybe they spend the day hoovering etc and not paying much attention to your child. ( obviously, I'm being a bit ott) I think even though some nurseries are getting a bad press, I'd still choose one ( a good one) over a childminder purely for accountability. This is only my opinion mind you, not wanting to flame any other choices.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 21:03:31

Oh Janey - I envy my friends who are able to leave DC with relatives - they are with someone they know loves them!

We can't afford for me not to take an opening that's being offered. By the time we've paid childcare I won't really have any income, but its the long game. I wish it were different. We can't look around a lot as there's only one local. I'm a teacher so I really CANT be off if a CM is sick/on holiday, and the CM I really liked who worked with her husband is booked until next Sept anyway.

I think the one I've seen will be "ok". But I can't see it being one I love.

NorthernShores Thu 07-Nov-13 21:04:53

I'msorry -when I looked at the research it indicated that a nanny/cm was better for under 3s. If I knew one personally I'd leap at the chance - but all the reasons you say make me wary of picking one I don't know.

alarkthatcouldpray Thu 07-Nov-13 21:08:03

Pato in answer to your brave question about what options women want regarding their work when they become mothers:

I would like to see much more flexible working schemes - there are many jobs it is perfectly possible to do efficiently 1 day per week but it is not currently possible to organise this in a predictable way. Eg being an A&E nurse - no continuity of care required, shift work yet many departments would refuse to give someone a single set shift per week as it would make rota planning too difficult. There should be financial incentive to run schemes facilitating this which women could be on for 5-6 years before building things up again during the school years. It would be much easier to get a single shift's worth of childcare covered per week working round your partner's hours or asking family to help than it is to cover FT hours.

Obviously this would have financial implications for the woman and her family. Which leads to accusations of working for pin money. I work 12 hrs or so per week and we have accepted that our starter home will remain as such for longer than the 'average' professional couple. I think this is the sort of decision people refer to on the 'but you always have a choice threads'. Not where the choice to to feed your family or cover bills but where status is at stake. I have two DDs and plan to bring them up in as reasonably modest a way as I can regardless of our financial circumstances at the time. I don't want them to get used to annual foreign holidays, a huge house, status cars as this may have implications for their expectations of their own adulthood and 'trap' them into working more than they actually want to.

Rightly or wrongly I will be encouraging my DDs into careers which can be flexible. Yes I want them to follow their dreams but there's no point encouraging them to train in Intellectual Property Law if they fancy it and then lamenting years later that they will have to move to London in order to practice and no that means I can't help with childcare and yes they will be working in order to finance even a basic family lifestyle.

I suppose I feel that compromise is necessary in most areas of life. The area I want to compromise least in is how my children are raised, who cares for them the majority of the time and what the influences on them are. I have made career compromises instead - not just the hours and money but also exactly what I did. I know people in specialist areas of surgery and pathology who have had to trek round the country in training, use far more childcare than they wished and who do feel they are running fast just to stand still. They would have scoffed at my choice (GP) back at university but have admitted that they would have chosen differently had they known what a wrench it would be to use FT childcare.

However I feel more sorry for people for whom the choice is FT work vs no work. I would certainly caution my DDs as against such didactic professions. No, I wouldn't stand in their way but if you are old enough to work in a nursery age 16 you are old enough to hear a few home truths about how the world works. Sometimes I do think women have been sold a pup regarding the concept of career (and probably men too). Most people do their best at work but at the end of the day they are there to pay the bills and get on with their lives. It is only when children come along that some people realise this and by then it is too late.

I hope this thread doesn't descend into a SAHM vs WOHM debate because the real issue for so many women I know (okay it is a cheapish area of the country to live so possibly not representative of the majority of MN) is the availability of flexible PT work.

LimeLeaafLizard Thu 07-Nov-13 22:03:38

This has been an interesting although somewhat scary thread.

I use a nursery for my 3 yo DS3 and have done for the others too from age 1. It is small, and meets the chipped paint and some older staff criteria. Overall I've been pretty happy with it - been using it for 8 years and known at least 4 of the staff for all that time.

I'm still pretty paranoid right now though, especially thinking about DS2 when he was a baby. He was so whiney at home, I wonder how they treated him at nursery.

alark I found your long post very thought provoking, especially about women (and men) being 'sold a pup' about career. I certainly was told that I could have an amazing career and a family and struggled when reality caught up with me.

scarletandblack Thu 07-Nov-13 22:52:44

With regard to reporting poor practice in any care setting, I think a lot of older people would find it very difficult to rock the boat in their place of employment, let alone 16/17 year olds, who have only just started work.

We all like to hope and think that we would do the right thing, but it sometimes takes a lot of guts to go out on a limb.

PeriodFeatures Thu 07-Nov-13 23:08:08

Oh my god. This thread has made me cry. I am resolved to drive a 10 mile round trip to a nursery i trust.

moldingsunbeams Fri 08-Nov-13 05:51:13

my dd went to a nursery with cctv, after our awful experience. You could log in and see your child but could not hear anything, it was wonderful.

moldingsunbeams Fri 08-Nov-13 06:01:57

and fwiw in reply to the poster above, lots of places I have worked in have outside of the nursery have had cctv, I am not doing anything wrong other than plodding along doing my job, you forget the cameras are there because your just doing your job.

Its pretty boring and no one really watched it unless a complaint was made.

In regards to cctv in nursery I used to log on for a few minutes in my break or lunch. After my dd being hurt by what the hospital thought was a member of staff at a different nursery it was very reassuring to me that I could see her engaged or being talked to or cuddled.

I have to say in terms of qualifications that I have done both the nvq 3 in childcare and the NNEB and I would say this.
For the NNEB I did three years I think it was of 9 - 5 full time study with everything from child development and care, SN care, how to play with the children, how to create routines, how to plan etc and then went on blocks of placement.

With the nvq3 I do not think that this was a patch on what the NNEB taught. No where near as in depth or thorough.

janey68 Fri 08-Nov-13 07:04:06

I agree that alark's post is thoughtful and thought-provoking. However, the one thing that makes me uneasy is that she focuses 100% on women. She talks of steering her daughters not sons towards jobs which can be done for one day a week. While people keep thinking and writing about this as a women's issue, it's missing the central point that this is about parents.

If you believe in widening flexible working opportunities then great, but it applies to men too. And I would hate to feel I was placing different expectations on my dd to my ds. Quite apart from anything else, not everyone wants or can have children. Also, if we encourage our dds to enter careers with the expectation they will work a few hours fitting around their husbands job, the logical conclusion is that we should be encouraging our sons to see their role as having to have a full on full time career

Parenting and all the major decisions that are part of it, what childcare is used Etc are to do with both parents, and any hint that things default automatically to the woman is a retrograde step

Slutbucket Fri 08-Nov-13 07:05:08

My job involves me looking at standards so I know not to take notice of rating systems. I assess in adult care settings and I know that you've got to see past it.
I was looking for a nursery for my 3 year old and I did an I
Unannounced visit to look round. The nursery looked like a bomb had hit it and it wasn't the most modern or in the best repair. Was just about to run when I observed the children. They all looked so happy all joining in a game outside. I sent my son and he had a ball they were great at building his confidence and he did well there. My little girls have gone and settled straight away. It is a very happy place,

alarkthatcouldpray Fri 08-Nov-13 07:16:59

Well janey68 I have no sons & will never have any. I would be encouraging any I did have towards more flexible options too. I know plenty of burnt out men in medicine too. Until the system changes to reduce the emotional burden of caring roles never I wouldn't really be keen to see any young person commit to them at the age of 17. That's not a career, it's a millstone. I can think of several male GPs who choose not to work FT hours.

Shonajoy Fri 08-Nov-13 07:45:31

I think nurseries can be very good for children, but I think it's also really important for children to be with their parents for as long as possible before nursery. We had two children very close together (not planned that way!) and I simply couldn't afford to send them to a private nursery, so they both got places at a council one when they were three- not in the area we lived in, I travelled about 7 miles to ironically a more "deprived" area as my mum (who sadly died years ago) was head teacher there, and the new head was someone she knew and loved. There was also a threat of closure as they didn't have enough kids attending ironically! Anyway, the kids thrived and didn't want to leave, routine tantrums on way home, covered in paint, sand, clay, just fabulous so I was delighted. But these people were teachers- not carers, with sometimes next to no qualifications or interest in the job. This is what galls me- how do we pay child carers more? We raise prices, and make it an attractive job, a skilled job and one that can be a career. Under threes to me are so vulnerable as they can't report to their parent, so it's even more important.

One comment earlier in the thread said child care costs nearly half their salary already- by that standard I should go into a Prada shop and ask for a £5k bag for £2500 because I can't pay £5000. Or I won't. The government should definitely help parents who are working hard to ensure they still have a job to go back to after having children, and they should also have a good hard look at the qualifications needed to be a child carer- it shouldn't be a second class job, it should be a career choice, because that's when people who love their job shine.

AmberLeaf Fri 08-Nov-13 08:30:54

Did you mean the part about not being trained? Does it take training to recognise inappropriate behaviour and to look into how to report it and to who?

Nope. I meant the rest of my post explaining some of the possible reasons why the people posting here now in their 30s/40s may not have felt able to report some 20 odd years ago when things were very different to how they are now.

jellybeans Fri 08-Nov-13 10:31:52

Alark makes some great points. I stress to my DDs to get a great education etc so that they have a choice of whether to work etc after children. I never say any choice is better/right/wrong. In fact I have corrected them if they make comments judging one way or the other. I also stress they may not have a choice and you need a good education etc in case you end up on your own. I am a SAHM but there are lots of people they know that work f/t and p/t as well as some SAHDs.

usuallyright Fri 08-Nov-13 11:13:56

there have been threads in the past where posters have actually argued that nurseries offer the same level of care as being at home with a parent. Which is rubbish, but some people actually believe that.

Goldmandra Fri 08-Nov-13 11:21:54

*there have been threads in the past where posters have actually argued that nurseries offer the same level of care as being at home with a parent. Which is rubbish, but some people actually believe that.*~

That's because there are studies that show that day care can offer better outcomes for children than being cared for at home for some sections of society.

You're probably comparing nursery with high quality care at home in which case there's no contest in my opinion.

Grennie Fri 08-Nov-13 11:27:20

If people are not well parented themselves, they do need high quality training. If you have had high quality parenting, then I think it is far easier to be a high quality childcare worker.

insancerre Fri 08-Nov-13 17:56:01

We have seen time and time and time again hideous atrocities being committed against vulnerable people.
Been reading the daily mail again, dear?
I have worked with children for over 20 years, in several settings and have never witnessed any 'hideous atrocities'.
There are systems in place in nurseries to protect the children.
I don't need monitoring to make sure I do my job properly.
Do you think that schools should have cctv so that parents can check on their children when they are at school too?
Or are teachers different?

Grennie Fri 08-Nov-13 18:08:14

Children services are well monitored to make sure that abuse is rare. That is not the case in adults services.

hardboiledpossum Fri 08-Nov-13 18:11:51

insan - I am not the poster you quoted but I did suggest cctv. children of school age are mostly able to speak to parents if someone is treating them badly, babies and young children are not able to. I have also never witnessed ' hideous atrocities' but have on many occasions witnessed staff not treating children as kindly as they should.

Goldmandra Fri 08-Nov-13 18:22:50

I don't need monitoring to make sure I do my job properly.

Nor does anybody else who is conscientious and cares about the children they look after.

How would you suggest parents ensure that their children aren't subjected to the kind of situations described in this thread if it isn't by using webcams or CCTV?

Hideous atrocities are very rare but I don't think children need to be protected only from this level of serious abuse. They have the right to be cared for in positive environments where they feel safe and secure.

I've seen enough myself, and I'm clearly far from alone, to know that not all practitioners are professional and positive in their interactions with children. When those children are not able to report back to their parents and any upset on arrival at the setting is put down to separation anxiety, is it acceptable for trust to be the mainstay of their safeguarding?

I don't know. I can imagine that working under the glare of CCTV all day every day would be difficult and I'd be worried about people misinterpreting what they saw, especially if there were no sound involved.

It's a difficult one.

That's because there are studies that show that day care can offer better outcomes for children than being cared for at home for some sections of society.

Outcomes in what respect? Numeracy? Social? Are the outcomes short lived by any chance? Do the SAHM children catch up on these areas once they reach school? Are the so-called 'better outcomes' you speak of weighted against the worser outcomes?

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 10:10:35

Outcomes in what respect?

I'll have to put my uni head back on and find the studies.

They were long term studies and I think the outcomes were based on employment, involvement in the criminal justice system, etc as young adults. I will try to find some links later if you're interested.

My point is that the studies showed that children from certain socio-economic backgrounds benefited greatly from good quality Early Years care but it is often quoted to justify the view that all children are better off for it.

Are the so-called 'better outcomes' you speak of weighted against the worser outcomes?

Can you explain this a bit more? I'm not sure what you're asking.

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 10:52:01

I have never ever seen a thread where anyone claims that nursery offers the 'same level of care' as that at home, or indeed which even suggest that they are intended to provide the same experience.

I would consider myself a fairly typical parent who used nursery . My children started with a cm (they were a few months old when they started childcare) and then progressed to nursery, and the maximum they did until they reached school age was 3 days a week. That was fairly typical of the situation for most children at the nursery. The vast majority of parents used it part time. ( though having said that the minority of children who were full time seemed perfectly fine.) Nowadays with long maternity leave, it's even more rare to see young babies in nursery. However, where a parent does do something differently to how I did it, my first assumption would not be that it was 'wrong', but that that parent had weighed up everything about their own circumstances and made the decision which suited them best. Some parents are very against cm or nanny arrangements ( and who knows, there might be all sorts of reasons I don't know about from their past which means that they are wary of settings where a child is alone 1:1)

I think the important thing to recognise is that while there will inevitably be variation in quality of childcare (just as in every other kind of setting , schools , hospitals , families, ) loving and caring parents make decision based on their research and knowledge and experience of their own children. The way some people speak, you'd think parents just pick a nursery out of yellow pages, stick their child in it and pay no regard to how their child is responding.

I completely agree that we should always strive for high standards consistently, and that poor practice should be exposed. But tbh people who use childcare do spend a great deal of care and thought picking the best place for their child, not expecting it to be a replacement for the care at home, because that parent relationship is unique, but as a different experience alongside the primary care they receive from mum and dad.

I also think this is a thorny topic and some people have very polarised views and just don't like the idea of nursery full stop. It did strike me as a tad ironic though to read the threads a few weeks ago about financial help for childcare for working parents, when suddenly a number of SAHP were up in arms that they wouldn't qualify for the help too, and claimed that they felt their children might be disadvantaged by not getting as much time at nursery!

I think the whole debate about 'is nursery better' is a total red herring because for most families who care for their children appropriately, it's not a case of being 'better'. We're not looking for it to be better; we are looking for it to provide good quality childcare in a particular type of setting. And different parents will want different things: eg A child-led setting was very important to me, as was having quite a bit of outdoor time. For other parents, other aspects night be more important. Just as there isn't one 'right' way of parenting, there isn't a one size fits all 'right' childcare.

insancerre Sat 09-Nov-13 10:58:41

the studies you are thinking of could be the High/Scope project in the us, and the EPPE project in the Uk

My point is that the studies showed that children from certain socio-economic backgrounds benefited greatly from good quality Early Years care

The important words here are "good quality", which most are not (see Oliver James who cites studies to this effect).

We're not looking for it to be better; we are looking for it to provide good quality childcare

Odds are that you're not going to find that in that particular form of setting.

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 12:56:29

Ooh you're scaring me now wombles! Most nursery settings aren't good quality eh? Is that from your own extensive nationwide research, or just from your reading of Oliver James? Personally Id be a tad wary of Oliver James.. He has some very dodgy ideas about women

Seriously though, those of us who use, or have used, nursery care, really do spend an awful lot of time researching and visiting and doing the instinctive day to day checking that our children are thriving- which presumably all good parents do whether they use nursery or not. Aside from anything else, nursery care is amongst the more expensive form of care, so it's unlikely something people will default to, to save a quick buck. Believe me, when you pay out your entire income on two nursery places as I did, you ain't gonna do it unless you know your children are getting a really good deal smile

There will always be some people who will never, ever use any form of childcare because they don't wish to. There is another group, I believe, who don't use it because they don't work and don't need it, and perhaps don't feel totally comfortable about parents who do work, and therefore feel more secure in their choice by undermining other people's.

But honestly- why not let's all strive towards ensuring all childcare is as good as it can be, and offers the range of experiences which parents want.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sat 09-Nov-13 13:01:53

My CM charges £4ph which yes, is below NMW, however she can take three under three. All there 40hrs pw, so thats 160pw per child, or 480pw. Not bad at all!

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 13:11:04

Yes mortified- that's the point I made earlier. Our dc started off at a cm, and then nursery, but we returned to the same lovely cm for before/ after school care when my children reached school age. She had her own pre school child and childminding was a way that she could use her skills (ex primary teacher) while being at home with her child and then later on being able to do the school runs. There aren't many jobs where you can earn without paying childcare yourself, so in that respect it's the perfect job for someone with those skills

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 14:29:48

I'm weighing up cm vs breakfast club/after school for my older one at the moment.

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 15:10:37

The important words here are "good quality", which most are not (see Oliver James who cites studies to this effect).

I completely agree.

I am not saying it is right that the studies are used in this way.

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 15:17:17

* it's unlikely something people will default to, to save a quick buck. Believe me, when you pay out your entire income on two nursery places as I did, you ain't gonna do it unless you know your children are getting a really good deal*

One of the place I saw the worst practice and the most unpleasant attitude to children was a very expensive, beautifully resourced setting with an outstanding Ofsted rating and very well-spoken staff. I'm absolutely certain that the parents who were paying top dollar thought their children were thriving. They turned the charm on and off depending on whether parents were around.

It seems I'm far from alone in this experience.

why not let's all strive towards ensuring all childcare is as good as it can be

Maybe we need to acknowledge how deceptive outward appearances can be in order to do this.

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 15:18:31

the problem is that the default setting is now both parents working. At no point in their musings about what's right for the British economy and what's right for women/men, do the government consider what's right for children and what do the parents want, given the option?
I hear people cry "sexism" because returning to work is usually a decision made by the mother. But it's a result of women being the one to get pregnant, give birth and breast feed, taking extended maternity leave etc... until men can give birth and lactate, more women than men are going to want to stay at home and look after the kids.

usuallyright - I agree. It's a huge problem that staying home to raise children isn't valued by our government, and hugely ironic when you consider that they will be paying the price for maladjusted kids and depressed parents.

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 15:47:04

Ireally resent the implication that my having to go back to work will create a maladjusted kid. (I might be abit depressed at the thought though!)

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 16:01:22

having to go back

That's the problem.

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 16:15:29

Ireally resent the implication that my having to go back to work will create a maladjusted kid.

I agree. There's no need to tar all settings with the same brush. I've seen more good practice than bad. It's just that the bad is so damaging and the parents are oblivious to it.

It would be better for many children if the government supported SAHMs in the same way they subsidise childcare but some figures, somewhere, have been published about the benefit to the economy of both parents working so that is what they are striving for.

While we have the likes of Ms Truss pushing formal education on younger and younger children this is not going to get any better.

* I've seen more good practice than bad.*

Your limited (and potentially biased) experience does not correlate with the studies I'm afraid.

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 16:18:46

Maternity leave is now a year long, so frankly, the giving birth and lactating bit is irrelevant to working or not. Besides, even those of us who had much shorter maternity leaves often continued bf for ages after returning to work.

I think it's quite malicious scare mongering to try to suggest that having parents who work will result in maladjusted children. And also, lets be perfectly honest about it, if it really were costing the govt so much more in addressing the problems that those pesky working mums create, then frankly the govt would be chasing mums straight back into the kitchen! The fact is, there is absolutely no proof that children whose parents work are going to end up unachieving, unhappy maladjusted wrecks.

It always strikes me as quite interesting that those of us who have used childcare just get on with it without trying to make any great claims that its better for our children : like I said, it's just another part of their experience.

Yet this vocal minority of parents who dont work or use childcare are so desperately at pains to tell us how dreadful it is!!

If you've had your own bad experience with childcare then I'm very sorry for you. If you are one of the people who used to work in a childcare setting which tolerated poor practice then that speaks volumes. But please don't assume everyone else is in your situation. It begins to look a teensy bit desperate that you almost wish that were the case

insancerre Sat 09-Nov-13 16:22:41

links to said studies please

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 16:26:23

So what defines "bad practice" then? IF most nurserys fall into that category how would I know when viewing?

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 16:30:53

So what defines "bad practice" then? IF most nurserys fall into that category how would I know when viewing?

Just to be clear, I haven't said that they do at all.

You wouldn't know when viewing because poor practitioners generally know what they should be doing and do it very effectively when they have an audience.

insancerre Sat 09-Nov-13 16:33:33

I think to some people on this thread just being a nursery is bad practice.
When viewing nurseries look at the children
are they happy, do they look busy, is there lots to do?
how well are the practitioners interacting with the children? is there bonding, cuddling and laughing? are they lisening to the children?
does it look 'lived in', is there mess and stuff everywhere?
look at the practitioners
do they look happy, do they make eye contact with you and smile and say hello?
do they look busy, bored, indifferent?

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 16:34:20

links to said studies please

High Scope is the first that comes to mind.

I'm sure there are more but my notes are in the loft and I'm not prepared to face the Armageddon up there today smile

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 16:35:48

Janey, you sound very defensive and angry.
I've always believed that people who are both confident and happy in their decisions don't waste time defending or justifying them, especially not to strangers on t'interweb.

insancerre Sat 09-Nov-13 16:37:07

I am familiar to highscope, in fact I linked to it upthread
I was meaning womble's studies that prove there are more bad settings than good

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 16:38:15

Well I don't feel it usuallyright- but like I said, perhaps some people see what they want to see smile

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 16:39:07

Yes, that will be it, I expect smile

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 16:41:22

I think to some people on this thread just being a nursery is bad practice.

I hope you don't mean me. I wouldn't have been working in nurseries if I thought that.

I've seen the wood pulled over parents' eyes and inspectors' eyes and I've seen dramatic changes in behaviour when adults are around at the beginning and end of sessions. I've reported to Ofsted on more than one occasion and I've seen them come in, inspect and find nothing of concern when there would be plenty to worry about if they saw the real setting.

I've also seen and been a senior practitioner in excellent nurseries where the care has been the best it could be and the children are genuinely well cared for and happy.

I can tell you categorically that their Ofsted results and outward images were very similar and I would defy any parent to tell the difference from a visit.

I don't relish that fact and I wish I knew a way to solve this problem. It isn't a reflection on good practitioners. It's a reflection on a system which, IMO, doesn't adequately protect children.

insancerre Sat 09-Nov-13 16:45:06

no, not at all, goldmandra
but there are plenty of posters on this thread just in it for the nurserybashing
i know there are good nurseries and good practitioenrs out there, i've seen plenty of evidence myself having worked in them for well over 20 years
in fact, I have been in more good settings than bad

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 18:24:58

Goldmandra- We are all agreed that there are some poor nursery workers out there. As well as a lot of good and excellent ones. I think your mistake though is in assuming that parents are making judgements based on a few visits, where as you know from your own experience, poor places try to pull the wool over people's eyes. Perhaps you need to credit parents who use nurseries with the same intuition and care that you'd credit other parents... We know our own children, better than anyone else. We don't give a shiny about 'ofsted outstanding ' or 'research' which can (and does) variously 'prove' that nursery is bad/good

Insancerre you are right; sadly there are a few people on MN who just delight in bashing people who do something they don't do. Witness usually rights retort to me above: "yes, that will be it I expect" In reply to my comment that some people just see what they want to see. Clearly what she wants to tell me (but hasn't got the balls to spell out so tries her dark hints instead) is that my two teenagers are somehow damaged by their nursery experience. They can't possibly be the secure and happy individuals they are- she knows better... And of course, as their mum, I'm just being deluded by these well adjusted teens I live with!

Just wow. That anyone can even think like that.

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 18:52:26

oh dear.
I didn't say any of that; you did.
I didn't say anything even vaguely insinuating what you implied, so please don't put words in my mouth. It's lazy and inaccurate and could be a classic case of projection, but I won't say that cos I'm not a shrink.

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 18:53:07

oh and I've used daycare, both nursery and cm, so no axe to grind here..

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 18:54:17

I've had some other parents who've used the nursery tell me its ok, I really get on with the nursery manager (she's outdoorsy,play based learning type) but the actual carers in the room are young.

I will have visited twice. Next time I'll take my daughter. What should I know? They have outstanding ofsted and good outdoor space but . Know that's not the be all and end all. Ideologically I'd like to stay at home orhave a nanny. What else do I need to know? How else do I tell?

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 19:01:13

northern, kts impossible to tell.
I put our eldest in an outstanding nursery. It was only years later I got chatting to a woman who ran a baby yoga class and she'd worked there. The subject came up and she told me several horror stories about this 'outstanding' place. Obviously ofsted weren't going to see any of that.
In the end I used a childminder who was also a personal friend who had a similar parenting style to me, but she still did some things differently. I bit my tongue. You can't be in total control when you hand your school over. And I got used to it in the end. I still use a cm, but I'm only do about 8/10 hours a week and our toddler is getting verbal so I know it won't be long before she can tell me what she's done and if she's happy or not.

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 19:02:08

when you hand your dc over, bloody predictive!

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 19:12:38

Northernshore- personal recommendation from other parents is good. If its a well established nursery, talk to parents whose children are now older, as well as other parents who are using it now.

Make plenty of visits, both with and without your dd. Chat to and watch a range of staff- not just the manager. Look at the ethos and the kind of routine the nursery follows. Are they child led, what is the food like, range of activities Etc. Dont let isolated things in themself put you off. eg if a carwr doesnt immediately respond to a child then actually thats nlt necessarily a bad thing... as a SAHP you are sometimes in the middle of a task, putting the washing on or whatever, and its actually just normal life that sometimes a child has to wait a couple of minutes. of course if children are always having to wait thats not a good sign, but what im saying is: be really honest with yourself about what you would be doing at home with your child. If (like me) you want a home from home ethos, then you won't want an overload of activities; you're more interested in the natural flow of the day rather than staff micro managing every second

Dont be afraid to ask as many questions as possible- a good nursery will give you time to do that and won't want to mislead you or pull the wool over your eyes. They will want to have a happy secure child in their care. Finally, the most important thing ime is the day to day intuition you have of your child.. You pick up as a parent how your child is feeling better than anyone, so have confidence in your judgement about your family .

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 20:41:25

I think your mistake though is in assuming that parents are making judgements based on a few visits

I know from years of experience that plenty of parents are taken in. That's why the settings I complained about still had customers. If parents really realised what was going on those settings would have been shut down PDQ.

The fact is that children crying on arrival is put down to manipulation or separation anxiety. Children respond positively when practitioners offer positive interactions in front of parents because children generally live in the moment.

I've watched a manager screaming at a 3YO child for dripping water on the floor when drying his hands then ruffling his hair and telling his very articulate, intelligent and all round good person, mother what a lovely morning he's had while his mother encourages him to take his face out of her skirt and say thank you to the manager.

Don't tell me that parents can always tell when something is amiss in an Early Years setting. It's simply not true. Some people might suss. Many don't.

Perhaps you need to credit parents who use nurseries with the same intuition and care that you'd credit other parents..

I'm not sure why you think I'm putting parents who use nurseries down. They are just parents like you and me. I have no issue with anyone using nurseries. I just want them to be getting the good quality childcare they are paying for.

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 20:52:57

Sounds awful. I'm glad I don't operate in a workplace where I wouldn't hand on heart want my family to be clients

Anyway, thankfully not all, or even most , early years settings are filled with such awful practitioners.

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 21:00:21

*Sounds awful. I'm glad I don't operate in a workplace where I wouldn't hand on heart want my family to be clients

Anyway, thankfully not all, or even most , early years settings are filled with such awful practitioners.*

My DD was at that setting with me. I had to reduce her days to only the ones I was working so I knew she was safe because the manager was angry with me for challenging her.

I then left in order that my DD could attend a different setting and wrote a comprehensive letter of complaint to Ofsted.

You are right that most settings are not like this. As I said before, I saw more good practice than poor but working in various settings over the years has taught me that far too many are and there seems to be little anyone can do about it in the current system sad

Children's Elevated Cortisol Levels at Daycare: A Review and Meta-Analysis says:

"Our main finding was that at daycare, children display higher cortisol levels compared with the home setting. It was shown that the effect of daycare attendance on cortisol excretion was especially notable in children younger than 36 months. We speculate that children in centre daycare show elevated cortisol levels because of their stressful interactions in a group setting."

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 22:28:48

Wombles - would that apply for just 2 days a week - or be reduced? What would you do in my position with a 2 year old and needing care soon?

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 22:29:23

The one that I'm thinking of sending mine to - the manager's children attend. That's got to be good?

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 22:30:52

Oh Gold - I'd hate for my child to be shouted at at all. THe poor child. Is there anything I can do or accept the not-knowing as part of the package of an all round good childhood at home?

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 22:35:21

My advice would be to talk to people locally in RL who use that nursery northern. And of course lots of visits, pop ins and asking questions. That's going to be far more relevant to your situation than asking people who don't know you and your child, or reading myriad reports which are often based on research done in all sorts of countries and contexts and which will all have conflicting conclusions anyway!
This is your child and trust me, you will know better than any stranger on an Internet forum how your child is doing

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 22:38:04

Thanks Janey68. I guess I'm conflicted as I don't really want to be in the position of needing nursery. I've spoken to some people whose children have been through it, I like the manager. I would rather it wasn't teenage girls supervising, but I guess I'd need to see it a bitlike babysitting/creche for those 2 days. I'll go and look again.

janey68 Sat 09-Nov-13 22:47:03

If you're not keen on nursery then how about a cm? And go for someone older if you're more comfortable with that. A cm is usually cheaper or the same as nursery, so if you can afford nursery there's no reason why you shouldn't afford a cm. And be prepared to travel for the right childcare... My children's wasnt the most convenient distance wise for my workplace but it was the right place for my children.

Actually my advice would be to look at a range of options... This is what we did and we settled on a cm for when they were very young and then nursery , then back to cm for wraparound school care. Having said that, my children have friends who were in nursery as young babies and they are perfectly fine and well adjusted, as are their friends who had SAHP too.

NorthernShores Sat 09-Nov-13 22:52:20

There's a cm I love but not with space until next September. I will need care within a few weeks and have no recommendations so feel terrified leaving them in the care of just one person, at least with nursery there's others there. I prefer the cm option just in my circumstance I can't have the one that does come well regarded. I could use them next Sept.

I'm a teacher, so need to be at my school by 8.15ish which limits how far I could travel to drop off children.

Goldmandra Sat 09-Nov-13 22:56:10

The one that I'm thinking of sending mine to - the manager's children attend. That's got to be good?

I'd take that as a good sign, Northern.

I think you need to look first off for a setting that makes you feel comfortable and one where the children are in charge of their own learning, not being constantly told what to do or made to keep to lots of silly rules like no cars in the sand or don't use a painting apron for water play. Listen to how the children speak to each other as they may copy the staff.

Second I'd say, if your child isn't happy, don't assume it's separation anxiety. Listen and respond to messages that your child doesn't want to attend and be willing to believe them over the adults.

I don't think you can ever really know what goes on when you're not around but that applies to all settings including schools. My DD1 has just left a mainstream autism unit where I have a feeling that the staff may have been bullying her and others. If so it was done cleverly, subtly and with much gaslighting. My instincts tell me that I'm right but I had no evidence. I do know that she is much happier in her new school.

Maybe webcams are the answer but the systems are expensive and practitioners don't always want to be on camera as is evidenced further up this thread.

you will know better than any stranger on an Internet forum how your child is doing

Of course. More to the point, if you feel something is wrong, don't be persuaded by any other adults not to listen to your instincts.

usuallyright Sat 09-Nov-13 23:15:47

that's very true, re. schools and never knowing what really goes on. Dd2 was bullied by a teacher horribly. Luckily she was 8/9 at the time and could tell me what the teacher was doing. The teacher had form and has gone now, but yes, schools are not safe havens. They also have their fair share of crap staff.

TiggyD Sun 10-Nov-13 08:09:41

I've been critical on this thread, but I've only been critical of crap, poor, and average nurseries. I am a huge fan of brilliant ones and dream about setting up my own, which would be very extra brilliant.

I wonder if Mumsnet could use it's power to improve nurseries? I'll start a separate chat thread about it.

NorthernShores Sun 10-Nov-13 08:39:16

Tiggy -what makes the difference do you think? And would a parent know?

NorthernShores Sun 10-Nov-13 08:40:35

As in - noone would send their children to nursery they thought was crap would they? I hear great reports about all the pre schools near us but there's only one I'd send to! The parents all think they're at a great pre school.

janey68 Sun 10-Nov-13 09:40:45

Tiggy- you have hit the nail on the head- being critical of poor or average nurseries is good, and very different from just slagging off nurseries generally and spouting the 'I'd never send my child to one' and even worse, hinting that those of us who have used nurseries have damaged our children somehow.. and the even darker hints that as parents we can't see how we've damaged them!

You have summed up what shocked me greatly about this thread- that some people (a minority I know) who have worked in nurseries in the past have not been critical enough... They have colluded with bad practice and poor standards and then turn around years later and almost seem to delight in telling other parents how awful nursery is and how they'd never darken the doors of one as a client (only as a worker it seems!!)

Your aspiration to set up a nursery sounds wonderful, I hope you achieve that dream. It's something I have visions of sometimes - inspired I think by the wonderful experience my dc had- I don't think I ever would, because my skills and career are in a totally different area but hats off to you

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 09:47:09

that's the problem with reports and ofsted. Drop off/Pick up is such a brief moment. The only way to know beyond doubt that they're ok is a)when they become verbal and b)if you work in a nursery and bring your dc with you. Everything else is down to instinct and trust. It took me a while to trust our babysitter because I had an unpleasant experience with a babysitter when I was 4.(took me to the beach and threatened to drown me if I didn't behave and then kicked sand in my eyes) I think she did it because she assumed I wasn't very verbal (was painfully quiet, shy kid) but I did tell.
That's probably what shaped my logic in not leaving with anyone until they can speak/communicate properly.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 09:56:18

a minority I know

The reasons why these practitioners didn't feel able to challenge the poor practice they saw was addressed early on.

Surely it's better to discuss the issue of not knowing what's going on behind closed doors than constantly laying into people for sharing their opinions and continually highlighting the judgemental comments about nurseries always being bad which are best ignored.

Northern makes the point well. Nobody deliberately chooses a bad nursery for their child. Some staff are very adept at keeping up appearances for parents. Some parents don't have the insight to see what's happening right under their noses. Some parents, like young, vulnerable practitioners, don't have the life experience or confidence to challenge experienced practitioners who bulldoze them into believing that their child is just playing them and crying for effect.

How do we, as a society, protect those children?

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 10:09:12

how do we protect them? The obvious answer is to make it easier, both financially and from a socially acceptable perspective, for a parent to look after them at home a bit longer than the average 12 months maternity leave.
The last 2 governments have made staying at home with the children a socially unacceptable, financially ruinous occupation. Whenever they carry out a study, the vast majority (almost all of) mothers don't want to work full time after having a baby. It is different for Mothers, whatever people say about sexism, because we carry them, birth them, feed them, take time out to establish that (the breast feeding) Its a nonsense to suggest that women should fight the patriarchy by going back to work sooner and for longer. Women who do that contribute to the problem without realising it. The solution is making it easier for parents to be with their children and work: flexible working,
Part time working, home working etc. And if you have to return to work faster, choose a childminder with a small number of children, or a nursery with CCTV.

janey68 Sun 10-Nov-13 10:16:17

Completely disagree that women who choose to return to work earlier than 12 month maternity leave are doing something wrong. In fact I think that's a terrible accusation.

Many mums do choose to work p/t, or take the the full 12 months off, or indeed to give up work completely- which is fine... But equally there are women who find it works best for their family to return earlier. And that's ok.

Btw I also think the transferable parental leave is a fabulous idea, I would have welcomed it in my day, and It would be great to see mums taking off say, 6 months and then dad taking the next 6 months... That's a real life way of showing that dads are As important as mums, and valuing parenting.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 10:26:59

The obvious answer is to make it easier, both financially and from a socially acceptable perspective, for a parent to look after them at home a bit longer than the average 12 months maternity leave.

This, definitely.

It would be great to see mums taking off say, 6 months and then dad taking the next 6 months...

It would be better for them to be able to take 12 months each. After two years the child would be better at communicating and the need for a few secure attachment relationships is less.

You still have the problems of what goes on behind closed doors even if they don't start nursery until the age of two.

janey68 Sun 10-Nov-13 10:40:41

Two years leave... Well, it's certainly an idea but there would be lots of issues to factor into that, and the implications for employers (particularly small businesses) would be huge...

The key thing is: it would be awful to have a situation where women - and it is women, not men! - are blamed for exercising their choice to return earlier, or return full time.

If you don't want to use nurseries, or if you are really genuinely happy being at home for a year or more, then that's great, but please don't fall into the trap of thinking that this is the "right" or "best" way. It's horses for courses. It should be possible to express your own preference without criticising what others do - and the post upthread did say mums who return to work earlier than 12 months are somehow letting the side down and contributing a 'a problem' which I think is a terrible accusation

FWIW many of us mums with teenagers had much shorter maternity leaves anyway, and I'll be perfectly honest, I think it was probably easier in some aspects to return to work with a 3 or 4 month old than with a 12 month old, because separation anxiety hasn't kicked in at all. Now- let's be clear, I'm not suggesting we should return to 3 months paid leave, because I think greater choice is a good thing, and if a woman wants a year off then fine. But with the experience of having raised 2 (happy, well adjusted!) teenagers where I had a total of 6 months out of the workplace for the two maternity leaves (though I worked only p/t til youngest started school) I can honestly say that raising a happy family and maintaining a career isn't all about needing to have masses of time out of the workplace. It's as much about having good quality childcare which meets the child's needs, whether they are 3 months or 3 years

TiggyD Sun 10-Nov-13 10:49:38

Tiggy -what makes the difference do you think? And would a parent know?


No, seriously. Everything anybody does in a nursery should be done with the children in mind.
-From designing the building. Are the windows low enough for the children to see out of? Is there enough room in the cloak room for the children to sit down on benches to take their wellies off?
-The activities done with the children. Are they done with the children in mind? There is a temptation for staff to avoid messy activities, or just 'free play' instead because it's 'easier'. Proper free-play isn't easier by the way. You shouldn't just leave the children to get on with it. You should be constantly monitoring them and working out what stage of development they're at, stretching them, and coaxing them to play in ways that would help them learn.
-How the staff talk. Not just to the children, but around them.
-The equipment. Has it bought because it's good for the children or because it looks good? The wooden 'captain' baby chairs nurseries seem to like so much are bloody impossible to clean. Food dries on in minutes and bonds to the varnish. As a result, in most nurseries if you run your hand round them they feel all bumpy from dried on food. Gross, but they look good so who cares.hmm

A lot of the things parents wouldn't know. Poor or average staff are usually bright enough to know how to seem good when there's parents about. I believe there are some good indicators which I'll do a separate post for.

I'm aware that nurseries are businesses and have to make a profit, but if you can't make a profit AND be a good nursery it would be better all round if you just closed.

janey68 Sun 10-Nov-13 10:54:56

Goldmandra- just to clarify, my comment about 2 years leave is because if 12 months were offered to each parent, you would invariably have situations where one parent wanted to take the whole leave- eg sometimes one parent earns a lot more than the other and they wouldn't want to split the leave. You'd then have a situation where employers had to hold jobs open for 2 years... While employing someone to do that job without the security of knowing they had the job after that. Personally I think the knock on would be too great- employers would find that workers covering a maternity leave would move off elsewhere mid- term because they'd find a better offer elsewhere...

Ultimately it's all a balancing acts: meeting the needs of parents with employers. Get the balance wrong and it helps no one because businesses will go under

My gut feeling is a year off is about right . I also think its natural human tendency that whatever the status quo is, people tend to want something more; so if 2 years leave became the norm, you'd soon have parents asking for 3 years off, then perhaps leave for the whole pre school period... Also if you have more than one child, you'd find one maternity leave was running into another... You'd end up with women returning to work for a couple of weeks and then disappearing again! Imagine the difficulty of trying to run any sort of business or service with that scenario.

I think it's good that there is a forum to discuss these issues but as a mum and as someone responsible for recruitment to my team at work, I am really conscious that there are two sides to this and there has to be a balancing of needs

NorthernShores Sun 10-Nov-13 10:56:45

Thanks Tiggy. I'm going to need to use a nursery and would really welcome any insight for factors for sussing out whether its ok or not. I can really believe a lot aren't but don't know how I would know that if it makes sense.

I only now know about how good pre-schools can be as my daughter went to an amazing one. If I'd only seen the one over the road I'd have just assumed that was how they were...

We're also limited by lack of choice, so its not like I can visit 3 and compare them. I just want to be sure the one I'm thinking of will be ok.

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 10:57:16

I didn't say that women returning to work sooner. I said they might be unwittingly contributing to the problem by carrying on as normal at work, as if nothing has happened. Society functions on a supply and demand basis, so if people are returning full time, using full time nurseries, they're sending out a message, whether they know it or intend to, or not...that they don't want flexible or part time or home working options. And yes, I know some employers are rigid and unhelpful and I know some sectors are inflexible due to the nature of the work. A software developer has more freedom to work flexibly than a heart surgeon!

hackmum Sun 10-Nov-13 10:59:37

This thread reminds me of some of the stories you hear about old people being bullied and abused in care homes. The trouble is that when you have a vulnerable group of people (e.g. very old, very young or with a learning disability), it becomes easy to get away with neglect and bullying because the people you are caring for can't articulate what is happening to them. With young children, there is also an assumption that they are just finding it difficult to "settle", and parents are told things like, "He stops crying as soon as you leave."

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 11:01:11

my sister works for the DSS and they have the option of working flexibly, part time and term time, after having a baby. And they also have the option of taking a career break and returning to work once the kids are at school. These employers do exist. I can see how it doesn't work for smaller businesses though..

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 11:36:51

Goldmandra- just to clarify, my comment about 2 years leave is because if 12 months were offered to each parent, you would invariably have situations where one parent wanted to take the whole leave- eg sometimes one parent earns a lot more than the other and they wouldn't want to split the leave.

Just as you would with the six months leave each that you advocated hmm

I'm talking about rights and choice her, not forcing parents to stay at home with their children.

I'm not falling into any traps about thinking I can decide what is best for other parents and I resent the implication that I am.

Currently parents are pushed to get back into work and childcare for under fives is advocated far and wide. Parents who wish to stay at home should be supported too, although, of course, some of them would treat their children just as badly as any nursery. Choice is paramount

Your gut feeling is that about one year off with a child is about right. My gut feeling is that children would, in general be better off with a parent at home for two years. What is better for businesses and how that might escalate are different issues and neither is more important than the safety and well-being of the children.

TiggyD Sun 10-Nov-13 11:37:58

Things to looks for:
Nurseries have lots of little areas. A role play area, sand area, writing area, etc. When you go into the nursery, are all the areas available for the children or have some been closed off for some reason? They should really be out all the time. Most nurseries are getting things ready or tidying up in the first and last half hour of each day, which is technically wrong but I don't think is too bad as most nurseries don't pay for staff to come in earlier or leave later than the children. But if you went in between 9 and 5 and the children were 'free playing' and you found the sand shut and the role play area closed off with chairs or something for no totally sensible reason, if it's more than a rare one off, that's a bad sign.

Feel the baby chairs and tables for stuck on food. Everywhere that children's fingers can go they should feel smooth and clean with no stuck on substances.

Check the menus and compare with what the children actually eat. Last minute changes are sometimes necessary, but if puddings are getting switched to yoghurt (the lazy pudding choice) once or twice a week, that's a bad sign.

Most controversially, Numbers. I do not think it's possible to have a great room with more than 12 babies, 16 toddlers (2-3), and 40 pre-schoolers. I'm not saying that if they have fewer children than that they won't be bad, but more than that they will never be great. It become impersonal, and in the baby rooms, noisy.

To have All young staff is a bad sign. Experience counts for something you know! If the nursery the staff member is working in is the only one they know, they will only know one way of doing things. A member of staff who been about a bit and has worked in several places will have many different experiences to call on.

Qualifications. Do you want your children looked after by people who know what they're doing already, or by people who are learning? Anything less than about 2/3 level 3 qualified staff would be a worry to me.

Grennie Sun 10-Nov-13 11:45:07

Do the children look happy? Are there signs that the staff have a good relationship with the children? If staff are kind and caring and really engaged, children approach them a lot

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 11:52:01

best case scenario in my opinion is childminder from 1-3, nursery from 3-5, childminder doing before/after school when they start school.

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 11:52:46

obviously if staying at home isn't an option.

usuallyright Sun 10-Nov-13 11:54:54

childminders arn't perfect either.
I often see them at toddler groups and they all seem to look after way too many children for my liking. If I was childminding I'd want to look after 1 or 2 children max.

NorthernShores Sun 10-Nov-13 11:55:07

Hmm. I'll be looking at a nursery for a 2 year old, with them doing the afterschool club, and school doing breakfast club. Its only 2-3 days a week.

Sigh. With girst child I was able to stay home and then a lovely community pre-school mornings only before school.

lots and lots and lots of people use nurseries and are fine. Like so much in my life at the moment I'm not able to give optimum care or optimum circumstances or optimum experiences or optimum housing. Sigh.

TiggyD Sun 10-Nov-13 11:55:16

[facepalm]orgot the most important things:

Yes. Are the children happy and busy?

And are the staff happy?

And is it too clean? (Assuming it's not a newly opened nursery).I've worked in nurseries where the staff were largely judged on how clean the rooms were. As a result messy activities were skipped, and staff spent much of their time cleaning.

janey68 Sun 10-Nov-13 12:00:31

I think the best case scenario is going to be different depending on the family and child, because children are unique, family situations are unique and there is no one size fits all.

Personally returning to work earlier than a year worked out well for me, and I'm not convinced that I'd take a whole year off even if it had been available, I think 12 months is a very difficult age to start leaving a child from the separation perspective. But it's horses for courses. My teenage children have friends who were in nursery full time, part time, at cm, and with SAHP and there is no noticeable difference in outcomes which could be linked to their care. And that, ultimately, is what matters.

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 12:30:36

I think the best case scenario is going to be different depending on the family and child, because children are unique, family situations are unique and there is no one size fits all.

Of course.

anewyear Sun 10-Nov-13 12:56:27

This thread has made me feel sad.

I have had tons of childcare experiance in one way or another (Nanny, Assistant to Matron, Youth Worker, Learning support Assistant, Childminder, Pre School Practitioner) over the years.

Many many moons ago, I had 2 great years at college hoping to qualify as an NNEB, but due to circumstances at home at the time, I failed my course and due to those circumstances wasnt able to go back for the 3 months requested and resit.

In April of this year I passed my level 3.
A big acheivement for me, because I found it hard going.
To now be told that apparently a level 3 is not worth the paper it written on. Thanks.

I have worked as a Childminder for the last 5 1/2 years, jumping through hoops for Ofsted, going on courses to continue my Professional Development, this all after the kids have gone home 6.15ish, and my own family fed and watered for less than minimum wage, not that Im complaining as such, I knew it was low paid when I started. The last 3 however have been after school children only, as I also work in privatly owned Pre School during the day.
We are all mums over 30, with children ranging from 3 - 15.
1 NNEB the manager, 3 level 3s and a 5th who has just joined us and is looking at colleges to start her journey in gaining a childcare qualification.
We also have the child of a senior member of staff with us, unfortunately its not wonderfull in this case!!!

I think I can safely say for my collegues and I, that we love our job and it saddens me to think there are some awfull settings/owners out there, that give the rest of us a bad name..

Moldingsunbeam do you mind if Im nosey and how it is that you did both the NNEB and the Level 3?

Goldmandra Sun 10-Nov-13 13:59:56

it saddens me to think there are some awfull settings/owners out there, that give the rest of us a bad name.

I don't think practitioners like you (and me) get a bad name as a result of other people's poor practice. It's pretty clear that the vast majority of posters on here fully appreciate the quality of care children get in many settings and that the poor practitioners are in the minority.

The concern is that those poor practitioners do exists and the culture in some settings supports them.

I just wish there was a reliable way to ensure that those people are swiftly weeded out and some way for parents to know for sure what is happening to their children.

Maryann1975 Sun 10-Nov-13 14:23:53

I worked in an 'outstanding' private day nursery once, for about 12 months straight from school. My children have never and will never be left in a day nursery based on that. The parents thought it was a lovely place, which at pick up and drop off time it was, it was the bits in the middle that were the problem. I was young and naive at the time. My mum did report them to social services, who came round and deemed everything to be fine hmm on the day they visited. I have little faith in the ofsted grading system for this reason.
Op, it's not your fault you did nothing, but I don't think there is much you can do about it now. Do you still work in childcare? Learn from what happened and be the best child carer that you can be and make sure the children in your care have the best possible childhood that you can.

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