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Need advice before morning - Am fuming, what to say to head?

(25 Posts)
PinkChick Wed 15-Oct-08 20:31:05

MY dd has been attending a before school activity since she was in reception...she (this was on letter) do their activity, once finished have snack, juice and go to class.
(shes just gone 5 BTW)

My friend from school has just fb'd me to say dd was wandering around school this morn looking 'unsure' and 'concerned'..when friend asked were i was she told her shed been to this activity and mrs x had told them to 'Go outside now'...NOW being 8.30 in the morning, before anyone gets into school..they have 3 gates wide open, leading onto an extrememly busy main road with no crossing patrol until later..with people coming and going (busy access road) and NOT ONE teacher or teaching assistant in the playground with them?

just asked dd and she said yes, theyve been telling them to go outside more lately!..
Letter DID NOT say, your child will attend for as long as we can be arsed then we'll kcik them out into unsecure playground with busy road outside but wont bother supervsiing them as its a bit cold for us!!??

Am absolutely fuming and so is DP..and the funniest thing is they got outstanding from ofsted only 2 weeks ago!..just shows how you can talk the talk!

PinkChick Wed 15-Oct-08 20:46:47

BUMP, am sat fuming here, dp is too..maybe this IS what schools DO and i was living in a dreamworld!!!???

debs40 Wed 15-Oct-08 20:49:26

That is awful! I'm not surprised you are concerned.

My advice (having had several run ins with teachers) is that they can be a defensive lot so tread softly but make your point firmly.

I would ask to see the Head and tell her very calmly what your friend witnessed and that your child verified this. You can tell her that you found this very upsetting news for obvious safety reasons and so you immediately recognised that s/he would want to investigate this properly.

The head may know nothing about this and should take this seriously. So keep your cool. You do right in raising it and she should see that.

Twiglett Wed 15-Oct-08 20:52:19

is the breakfast club run by the school or by another agency

certainly go to the head but you need to tell him you are "extremely concerned and upset" calmly

you need to explain how there is a 'duty of care' that 'health and safety issues' are crucial and that you would appreciate it if they would investigate and respond to you by the end of the day as it is a serious issue

calm, concise, reasoned

PinkChick Wed 15-Oct-08 21:07:42

yes it is IN school, but they 'hire' in a gym teacher to teach them gymnastics.

It's one of the T/A's that TOLD them to go out, dd THANKFULLY found one of the older girls i used to childmind (shes 10) and stood with her, but its not up to this child!!!!

Am wondering if i CAN stay calm as im edgy now!, thing is i 'thought' i had great relationship with the school, i help out all time and they KNOW i know rles andreg being a childminder, so why take the pee and put mine and other childrens safety at risk!!angry

PinkChick Wed 15-Oct-08 21:28:23

its just hit me that if dd had been that 'concerned' she could have thouught oh i know my way home, i need to see my mum and walked out!!shocksadangry

rachelp73 Wed 15-Oct-08 23:02:55

Could it be that the TA simply did not know that your DD was there early for the gym activity, and therefore asked her not to come inside the school until the time they allow the rest of the children in for the start of school? I'm unsure whether it's a good idea to go in all guns blazing until you know the full reasons why the TA asked her to go outside. Did the gym activity finish too early for some unavoidable reason eg gym teacher had an emergency? And should the gym teacher have explained this to the teaching staff present, but neglected to do so, for whatever reason? Maybe the gym teacher would not have been aware that finishing early would mean that children would be left unsupervised outside?

whatever the reason, it sounds like communication between the gym teacher, teaching staff and children is poor, and I think you have a right to point that out and hear what they have to say. Also, I assume that you are paying for the gym activity, and if it's finishing early you have a right to be annoyed about that.

sustainablysourcedwhitefish Wed 15-Oct-08 23:08:27

So was the gym activity not on or did it finish early?

chapeloffearstickchick Wed 15-Oct-08 23:20:54

I think you should go to the head and say in a nice tone 'good morning thankyou for seeing me so promptly,I am very concerned that littlepinkchick was sent out into an empty playground yesterday by mrs ****,there was no supervision in the yard and obviously the gates were open,can you tell me how this could happen?'

she will then probably say she needs to investigte it herself so you should arrange a time to go back.

when you go back they will probably have concocted some 'legitimate' story in which case you can counterct her with your evidence.

PinkChick Thu 16-Oct-08 07:23:38

Morning, thanks for the replys.
trying to answer them quick before i get readysmile

Gym has been on for over a year now and i pay for dd to go EVERY wednesday morning, so t/a knew why she was inside, so didnt send her out alone without realising.

Yes, i pay for gym and no i dont think it finished early, but it is only for approx 30 mins as they got busy so put another group on 8.30-9, but we were told dd would be INSIDE having morning snack and juice UNTIL she gos into class, so at no point have they said the children will go outside unsupervised until the bell go's.
The session was as normal and dd tells me they do this (get sent outside) 'most of the time' now!'

She found my old mindee and dd' thinks' she was ok with her!hmm, but also said that she 'thought i would be there' and was worried when she couldnt see me1sad..dont know why, dd knows i leave her at gym and collect mindees but FSR she expected to see me there?

Not sure how many were 'sent' outside, am trying to find out if its all or some of them?

Will speak to head and be clear and calm letting her know as you have said i am extremely concerned and upset that dd was Sent out into playground unsupervised when i am told shes inside with a teacher or t/a..will see what they say but have told dd this morn that because they havent kept their promise to me she cant go anymore and ill take her to prper dance class on weekendsad..she dissapointed but i cant risk her safetysad

MollieO Thu 16-Oct-08 08:41:45

If this is happening on a weekly basis then it is worth talking to other parents too as it must be happening to all of those dc who do the class with your dd. Who is supposed to be responsible for your dd after the class has finished? It can't be the gym teacher as from what you say there is another class after your dd's so it must be someone at the school. It shouldn't be a problem for your dd playing outside provided that a teacher or ta is outside supervising.

aintnomountainhighenough Thu 16-Oct-08 09:14:35

I would try and establish some more facts before going in to see the head. Talk to you DD and find out roughly how long they have been being sent outside. Talk to other parents and see if they are aware of it. Talk to the organiser/person in charge and ask them to re-explain how the morning works. Don't give any indication you have a problem and see what is said. It will put in you in a much stronger position if you have facts otherwise you may get met with 'it was only 1 morning it happened'. That said this should never happen, ie a child being left in an exposed playground and you need the school to tell you how they are going to improve procedures so that it doesn't happen again.

PinkChick Thu 16-Oct-08 09:53:40

hi, been to see head..told her i was very concerned over what i had heard from a parent last night which was confirmed by dd...she genuinly looked shocked when i said there were no T/A out there with them..BUT then said..the problem is, sometimes the t/a or teachers gets "sidetracked"!!! by a parent/other teacher and has to speak to them for a couple of minutes so they may be out there for a few minutes on their own!!!!! although shocked, ADMITTED staff would rank the childrens safety way below having a chat with another teacher/parent!

i said there was no risk assesment in place, neevr mind folowed through, nor were they to 'know' which children would or would not walk out of those gates like dd to 'see were mum was'!

She asid (only after i asked her mind!) that she wuld make sure there WAS a T/a outside with the children (er shouldnt this have been in palce already?) when they play out after gym and that she wished id spoken to her before id told dd she wouldnt be going any more!
I said that as i wasnt informed of this until last night, i couldnt have spoken to her until now and that as i was promised dd would be kept inside school after gym until class and this was no longer the case, how could i put my full faith in accepting there would always be a t/a with them...this feels stupid typing this..this is a school, I shouldnt be needing to TELL them the NEED a t/a with the children at all times!angry

rachelp73 Thu 16-Oct-08 10:39:07

Hmmm....PinkChick, afer you've explained all this, I think I'd be as concerned as you are. Hope you get it all resolved to your satisfaction.

I know in our school, though, that parents are strictly instructed NOT to drop children off before 8.45 as there are no staff to supervise them until this time. Any one who has to be dropped off before this must pay to attend the breakfast club. Is there a clear policy such as this at your DD's school? It sounds like they don't have enough staff available to supervise children until the official start of school. If they are telling parents that children WILL be supervised inside between 8.30 and 9 then theyh're going to have to provide enough staff for that to happen, otherwise don't make promises to parents you can't keep.

I find it a bit strange that the TA would send the kids outside even if she WAS distracted by other teaching staff/parents. Why couldn't they have been left in the place where they usually go, albeit unsupervised for a short period - surely that's better than being sent outside unsupervised for a short period? (if it is short like they claim?)

sphil Thu 16-Oct-08 10:54:18

At our school the breakfast club kids are ushered in a crocodile from the hall where they have it to the main school - it's about 200m! There are two teachers supervising about 20 children and they're always looking round, counting, checking etc. I would be very unhappy if children of reception age were unsupervised at this time.

PinkChick Thu 16-Oct-08 14:06:06

hi, school used to let us take chldren into reception and told us we had to wait until bell went before we left as they wernt insured to ahve them there on their own until that time! wondering if they DONT have insurance to have the children in the building for gym either!? hence them being kicked out?...a week or so ago when ofsted visited one of dd's friends who gos to breakfast club was again wandering around playground, she told me had brought them back and teacher had told them to go out and play!..same situ as now!...mum contacted school and they said oh its just for today as ofsted are coming and we arnt insured to have them ( i assumed!) in before school!!!???? why didnt ofsted see 4 and 5 yr olds wandering around a playground on their own! and how does that make the school good by saying to get their grade, theyll put the childrens safety at risk AGAIN!!??

MollieO Thu 16-Oct-08 14:13:50

If the school isn't insured for out of school time activities like breakfast club and gym and yet run both I would be putting my concerns in writing to the HT/Governors.

Romy7 Thu 16-Oct-08 14:20:36

erm. if they aren't insured, who is covering the gym club insurance? if a child is hurt or there is an incident even in the building? i'm a bit baffled by this whole thing...
ofsted wouldn't have been bothered by children in the playground before 845 though - especially as school policy is they are the parent's responsibility before school starts.
really odd. and a little worrying, but i'd try and stay calm and rational and ask a few more questions to try and get it ironed out. do you have a copy of the paperwork you signed for breakfast club? it should clearly have stated what the terms were etc... or have you actually only signed up for a gym club between 8 and 830? in which case it is your responsibility to supervise your child between 830 and start of school? really not great if they have mis-sold the gym club as a before school club from 8 until the bell rings?

wheresthehamster Thu 16-Oct-08 17:27:33

One member of staff can't supervise a small group of children in the playground if there are parents, toddlers and other school children milling around in the same place.

What was the explanation for them having to go outside anyway?

PinkChick Thu 16-Oct-08 20:19:18

Hi, yes am wondering if they have any insurance AT AlL for beofre school activities inc, dd's friends mum is also very concerned now as she does gym AND sues!

no, dont have copy of form, just read, signed and sent back, i now know to copy firstsmile

no explanation for them having to go outside from head!!>>BUT tonight dd's friend whom i look after said "its so Mrs x can can tidied up in peace without su running around her"!!!shock..i said did she say this and mindee said "yes, she said we get in the way!!!"

this particular t/a whom i always thought was nice!hmm, told a grandarent this morning (who was looking for her GD after shed ran on ahead into school and now couldnt find her) "just go home, she's be ok and in the school somewere"!!!..grandmother refused and was frantic, only 10 minutes later did they find her GD walking up the busy road outside, crying and looking for her grndmother as she'd realised they got separated and retraced their steps!..this child is also 5yrs old and THIS SAME t/A said oh just go hom, she'll be in school somewere!!!..had grandmother NOT been the kind to worry, her GD would have been left on main road crying and god knows whatever else!

*THEN8 mindee who told me of this t/z words today said shed fallen over at lunch, i asked if she was ok and said we'd check it out when we got home..when i looked, mindee had a huge welt on her leg, still with
gravel inside and blood!..she'd told 2 dinner ladies and NOT ONE had botherd to help her clean it up!!!!!!!!!
arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..what can of worms have i opend here!!

PinkChick Thu 16-Oct-08 20:20:00

how can i find out if they have adequate insurance without asking the head if i can see policy???

staysee Fri 17-Oct-08 01:05:30

I don't know about the insurance thingy (Maybe local council or education board?), but I really hope you get things sorted out! That sounds like a terrible thing to happen and awfully dangerous! If it happened to my DD I think I'd be ripping heads off by now!

PinkChick Fri 17-Oct-08 09:49:26

I will try thre council education dept i think!?

funny thing ..this morning, when i took dd to school..there were NO LESS than 3 t/a int he one playground where dd goes!!! gym or anything on this morning either, but 3 making their presence very known!!!!!hmm..why should i, a parent have to be telling the school what they should 'legally' be doing!?..ofsted replied to me yesterday saying they were flouting ALL rules and enclosed a complaints form with the email!hmm

debs40 Fri 17-Oct-08 10:51:12

Good for you PinkChick for raising all this! It is not easy to take these points with your child's school and many people turn a blind eye as they don't want to 'rock the boat'.

I think they have probably got slack about safety and that is a bad habit to get into and you have made them look again at their practices for everyone's benefit. Well done you!

PinkChick Fri 17-Oct-08 16:24:20

thanks of the children i care for's mum's is a dinner lady there, just started this week and noticed from start of week, to these last 2 days hoe much extra help shes had!hmm..since i spoke to them..although the reception play ground was STILL unmanned today whilst we were taking the children straight through there to get to nursery!!!..meaning the gate was being opened and left open by some parents with again NO member of staff there with the handful of kids!

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