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After school care providers - advice sought

(11 Posts)
TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 18-Feb-14 21:34:44

I'm looking for some advice/other perspective on this situation.

My DD attends ASC in a building where there 'room' is upstairs. You have to walk through another hall to get to stairs that take you up to collect DC. One day a week, there is an activity in the hall downstairs, for primary school aged DC. To get from ASC to this activity you just walk downstairs to this hall.

About 18 mths ago, I spoke to the people who run the weekly activity and asked if my DD could come down stairs to take part in the activity. I was told yes, that would be fine. I then spoke to the ASC manager and explained that DD would like to go down to this weekly group and would they allow her to go downstairs to this. The manager was very resistant, citing health & safety, child safety etc. I then explained this to the people who ran the weekly activity and the senior co-ordinator offered to come upstairs to collect DD. All good so far.

ASC manager still not happy but reluctantly agreed - I gave my permission for DD to be collected by senior co-ordinator. DD being collected each week by this woman drew curiosity from other DC who also wanted to join in. The number who wanted to do this apparently necessitated ASC to produce a 'waiver/authority' form so I signed this, confirming I authorised DD to be collected, agreeing ASC were not responsible for DD from point DD collected. This has continued for 18 mths.

Today my DD's friend's mum collected DD & DD's friend from ASC. DD should have been at activity but had been stopped from going. I've been told manager from ASC has complained and a discussion has taken place between her and a manager from the group who run the activity. I've not been spoken to/advised of any of this. As far as I was concerned DD should have been at activity, not ASC.

The woman who collected DD each week has been told she is now not allowed to collect any DC from ASC. I have no idea why. Can anyone shed light on any reasons why this agreement had now been stopped? I obviously need to talk to ASC but I'd rather have some knowledge of where ASC manager is coming from before I go in with questions.

tinyturtletim Tue 18-Feb-14 21:50:53

To be honest it sounds like an insurance nightmare.

If something happens on the stairs who is reliable..if something happens to a child etc.

the two are separate and I can imagine the asc leader isfed up of being bugged by kids to go down there

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 18-Feb-14 21:56:57

Thanks. Where I'm unclear is if the ASC have gone as far as getting me to sign a waiver/authority form, why it would still be an insurance nightmare. Surely that's the whole point of the waiver?

Littlefish Tue 18-Feb-14 21:58:53

That's ridiculous. We have lots of children who go to an afterschool activity (inside or outside school, but on school property), and then go to the afterschool club. The children are looked after by one of the teachers to make sure they get to the activity, and then accompanied by whoever is running the activity, or a teacher, to the ASC. No hassle and no stress.

However, a child must be booked into the activity for a term at a time, so everyone knows who is supposed to be at the activities - you can't drop in and out.

tinyturtletim Tue 18-Feb-14 22:00:23

Hmm good point about the waiver.

Sounds like they are being awkward.

Can you get both leaders together in the same room to find out?

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 18-Feb-14 22:35:57

I don't think I'd be able to do that - I've never seen/spoke to the manager of the group running the activity, and I wouldn't be in a position to arrange that sort of meeting.

I think I'm annoyed more because ASC has not said a thing to me, no indication that there was even an issue, and not even bothered to tell me that my DD was not going to be where I thought she was.

I'm going to try and speak to the woman who has spoken to the ASC manager and try and figure out what's been said/why this has suddenly become an issue. I have absolutely no qualms about my 8 yr old DD walking down a flight of stairs so if I've said OK then I'm not quite sure why the ASC manager thinks that's now not possible - especially as it's happened now for 18 mths without incident as far as I'm aware.

tinyturtletim Tue 18-Feb-14 22:39:35

It does all sound very weird. Hopefully there is a reasonable explanation.

Do you have to pay extra for the asc and the activities?

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 18-Feb-14 22:44:01

I pay for the ASC regardless - there are periods around holidays when the activity isn't on so still need the cover. The activity is free/voluntary payment/pay what you can afford so no great cost at all.

Ill make some calls tomorrow and see what I can find out.

Thanks for the input.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Wed 19-Feb-14 22:51:20

So, got to speak to a manager at the group who run the activity DD now can't attend. Not sure how it came to light or who raised it as an issue but it seems the staff who volunteered to collect DD and 7 other DC to attend activity didn't have the right/correct clearance? to be able to walk the 8 DC down stairs into the hall. She told me that they had said they would be happy for someone from ASC to deliver the DC to the activity but manager from ASC has said this isn't possible due to staff/child ratio.

Now, I'm not sure what the staff/child ratio should be but surely 1/8 wouldn't skew their ratio to the point they couldn't walk down a flight of stairs to let those DC attend activity? ASC have apparently said that they will not sign the DC out to allow them to attend, and are insisting that only each child's parent can collect/sign DC out. So a parent cannot now say 'I authorise X person to collect DC' because ASC might then decide that this person doesn't have the right clearance (?) to be able to do that.

I also found out from DD that ASC told the kids last Thursday but I wasn't told anything when I collected DD on Friday (DD doesn't go on a Thursday) so I'm still not sure why I wasn't told, to the point I had no idea DD wasn't where I thought she was supposed to be. Seems odd that ASC are being excessively pedantic about the finer points of who has authority to do one thing, while completely ignoring their responsibility to let me know they kept DD at ASC without telling me.

I've no doubt I'm going to encounter a defensive ASC manager on Friday when I collect DD...hmm

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Wed 19-Feb-14 23:06:27

Hmm, just checking the staff/child ratio and it's 1:8 for ages 3-8 and then over 8 there is no ratio.

Can anyone tell me what that means in terms of say, letting DD take herself downstairs without supervision/someone else collecting DD if she effectively doesn't require supervision as she's 8? Can my DD sign herself out if she's over 8 - in theory, not suggesting I'd do that in response to this, just musing over the implications of what's going on etc.

busyDays Sat 22-Feb-14 14:12:16

To be honest it sounds to me like the ASC is just using the whole staff/ration thing as an excuse. Perhaps there is some other reason why they don't want children going to the activity. Maybe they are scared of losing business or maybe the children left behind all start whining to go too.

It's pretty common practice for various types of activity/after school clubs to collect minibus loads of children from school and take them to offsite premises and Ofsted have no problem with this. So it should be possible for the activity staff to collect from the ASC in the same way.

As far as I know, Ofsted does not specify any particular age when children are allowed to leave a setting on their own. They are not counted in the ratios once they are over 8 but they would still need to be supervised. The ASC would probably be well withing their rights to put a policy in place saying that 8 years olds may not sign themselves out without the presence of an adult so you may struggle to get around the rules that way.

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