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To complain to the sure start?

(36 Posts)
Oddthomas Tue 01-Apr-14 16:35:10

I have a 6wo newborn and, after posting an upset thread at the weekend, I've realised I'm feeling a bit isolated. With that in mind I've booked myself into a free course at the local sure start centre. It's nothing major, three hours a week for six weeks, and is about building computer skills. I have basic skills but want to learn a bit more. It'll help me when I go back to work but mainly it's to get me out of the house and get me using my brain so that I don't feel like I'm drowning like I do at the minute.

My toddler is allowed to go to the onsite crèche while I'm in the classroom but they won't take the baby until he's had his jabs. He gets his first set the second week of the course.

He is BF and I can't find anyone who can look after him. I asked sure start if, seeing as he is BF, I could bring him into the classroom in his pram and see how it goes. There are only three of us on the course, he will likely fall asleep on the way up to the centre and hopefully stay that way until home time, and as its all computer based learning at your own pace if he did wake up I can just pop him on for a feed and work one handed. Obviously if he screamed it wouldn't settle or was causing any disruption I'd take him straight out. I also explained why I'm doing the course and actually got teary talking about how cut off I'm feeling.

They said no. No reasons given, just no.

AIBU to take it forward to the centre manager as a complaint?

LIZS Tue 01-Apr-14 16:39:19

yabu . If they said yes to you and everyone who asked it would not only be one 6 week old bf baby in there and descend into chaos. There must be other groups you could attend until your baby is old enough for the crèche, presumably only a few weeks away.

Oddthomas Tue 01-Apr-14 16:41:49

They've accommodated it before though according to the course coordinator who also can't understand why they've flat out said no.

SJisontheway Tue 01-Apr-14 16:42:10

YANBU. If a sure start centre can't be flexible then where can. Crazy.

sarahquilt Tue 01-Apr-14 16:42:39

A baby could be very noisy and disruptive for the other people on the course. YANBU

Dsheetsbucks9 Tue 01-Apr-14 16:42:56

Can you not go in the next six week block?

It would be unfair on the others in the class who are there to learn if they have to put up with unnecessary interruptions.

sarahquilt Tue 01-Apr-14 16:43:01

Meant YABU!

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Tue 01-Apr-14 16:43:30

YABU! It's a free course, children are not allowed on it - they don't have to give you a reason.

Can you speak to you HV or midwife about any post natal groups in your area? It's really lonely having a new born, well I found it was anyway as none of my friends had babies at that time and my post natal group really saved my sanity.

quietbatperson Tue 01-Apr-14 17:27:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gen35 Tue 01-Apr-14 17:30:30

I think yabu. I get that you are desperate and sorry for that but they have the right to say no to you bringing a tiny baby and book you on the next course especially as there is a crèche. Can you get out to more play groups meanwhile?

BertieBotts Tue 01-Apr-14 17:33:58

That sounds crap sad And it's all well and good to say wait for the next course but 6 weeks is a long time when you're feeling low. But if it comes to that it's better than nothing.

Can you find a nice toddler group for now? Or a breastfeeding support group is often a great supportive place for mums who are feeling low.

NCT might be able to put you in touch with a group of mums who have little ones the same age as yours although may be more difficult with a toddler.

LIZS Tue 01-Apr-14 17:34:09

Often courses are run by external charities and voluntary groups whose public liability insurance and h & s policy may simply not accommodate children in the group. Let alone how distracting it might be for others who have left their children in the crèche or elsewhere, maybe to appreciate some adult company and upskill.

Andanotherthing123 Tue 01-Apr-14 17:39:24

Yanbu - I can't imagine if they say yes to you that there will be a flood of bf mums wanting to do a computer course while they have a new born.

Oddthomas Tue 01-Apr-14 17:41:34

There isn't another six week block of this course and there is a postnatal group but my 2yo isn't allowed to go to it, ditto the mother and baby group. My only babysitter, my DM, is at work during the times needed otherwise she would look after whichever DC I needed looked after. Best part of it is that they recommended the PND support group to me .... but children aren't allowed to go and I can't get a babysitter for the times its on. They don't see the irony.

I asked if I could bring him to the first session as a trial run and made it clear I'd use a computer near the exit and that I will take him straight out at the first sign of a whimper. The course isn't a teacher at the front explaining and teaching, it's all individual based, learn at your own pace using a teaching package on the computer, three of us in a room built for twenty.

I'm not expecting them to hold him for me, or wait on me, or entertain him or whatever. I just want to put my (more than likely) sleeping baby next to me so I can feed him if he needs to be fed while I do something to try and combat my current state of mind before it does get to the point where I'm actually ill with it.

Oddthomas Tue 01-Apr-14 17:43:29

The lady running the course doesn't see a problem with it. It's the sure start themselves who are saying no.

BertieBotts Tue 01-Apr-14 17:44:23

There must be other baby or toddler groups around, though - not run by the sure start centre? Netmums has a good facility where you can search local groups like this.

LIZS Tue 01-Apr-14 17:45:10

your 2 yr old can't go into the crèche for the postnatal group ?

Thetallesttower Tue 01-Apr-14 17:46:21

I think of all the places that should be set up to help mums who are isolated and at risk of PND that should be a sure start centre. I don't find it a big deal to bring a baby along, I have had students do this when they were totally stuck for childcare to a 2 hour lecture- it has never been a problem if it is a one off/irregular.

It seems ridiculous that all the support offered is conditional on you not having the baby with you or obtaining childcare- presumably if you had loads of childcare already you would not be as tired, exhausted and lonely!

YANBU, this is not a workplace, this is a place paid for by government to support new parents in the early years. If it can't do that, and that includes having provision for people with babies ffs, then they should not bother at all.

Oddthomas Tue 01-Apr-14 17:49:17

There is no crèche for the postnatal group, they only have the crèche on when they're running courses.

DH reckons I should ask the manager how saying no fits with their breastfeeding policy but I don't want to turn it into a BF issue.

JabberJabberJay Tue 01-Apr-14 17:56:20

I think, on balance, YABU.

I think that it may be very disruptive for everyone else if there is a small baby making noise. But it would also be distracting for you too. Will you honestly get the most out of the course if you are worrying about your baby being noisy, popping out to calm him down etc? It sounds like a stressful learning environment for you.

I would either see if you can re-book for when your son is a bit bigget or see if you can start the course in week 2 after his jabs.

Does the Surestart run any toddler groups you could take your DCs to? What about local NCT groups etc?

LIZS Tue 01-Apr-14 17:57:03

The target audience for a free IT course is almost certainly not mums of young babies but those thinking of returning to work, whose children would be old enough for crèche or preschool. It is unfortunate that your combination of children's ages is not catered for onsite for courses or support groups and maybe that is something to take up with the centre. Could your elder dc go to a child-minder one morning/afternoon a week to coincide with a group for you and lo ? tbh you will have forgotten all this once your dc are both of a suitable age to be catered for.

mynamesnotwendy Tue 01-Apr-14 18:01:29

Total madness, its a children's centre, they should be more accomadating.

JemimaPuddle Tue 01-Apr-14 18:05:13

The sure start near me provides crèches for every group they put on! So a baby group could still be attended by a parent with a toddler for example as the toddler would attend the crèche.

They fall over themselves to help people who've never been before to make sure they're comfortable and there are no rules re vaccs either.

Is there another centre nearby?

soverylucky Tue 01-Apr-14 18:14:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aermingers Tue 01-Apr-14 18:15:07

I think it would be very unfair on the other people doing this course. I work in the adult education sector. This course will be vital for other attendees job prospects and hope of future employment. If it is disrupted and they can't give the course full concentration it will affect their grade and the funding won't be available for them to retake unless they failed altogether. It would be extremely unfair if they had to go out into the workplace with a qualification which didn't reflect their abilities.

On the flip side of the coin if they've done this before it's very much possible that they have had complaints and potentially could have had to pay for people to retake the course. With funding so stretched I don't think it would be reasonable for them to take the risk of potentially having to double fund several other people on your course if it's disrupted. That would take away opportunities for other service users.

6 weeks isn't that long. Isn't there an alternative in the mean time that isn't academic that you could do if you're feeling isolated, something you could take the baby to like baby massage or a baby group?

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