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Concerns with the nursery I work at and DS goes to.. . . LONG sorry

32 replies

SammyK · 02/07/2009 00:38

I work as a nursery nurse, been there a couple of months, before which I was a cm. When I am working DS goes too, he is 4y.

I have a few concerns/annoyances, and wanted other people's opinions as I am considering phoning ofsted after today. I am normally asleep at this time but just laid in bed with this all going through my mind so got up to ask MN!

The nursery manager likes the preschoolers to go out in the very large lovely garden straight after dinner, it has been pointed out to her by a member of staff in the past that small children shouldn't be out between 11 and 3 if possible during hot sunny weather, her response to which was, well they would never go out. The nursery opens 8-6 so plenty of time.

Manager went into preschool on Monday during day and turned fans off 'I'm tring to save electricity'. (heatwave)

Even in this heat wave the preschoolers are still going out after lunch (usually for an hour, sometimes even 2), my DS' face was wet with sweat and tears today (will get to the tears later), so much so I called his dad to come pick him up on his way home from a long early shift.

The sinks in the children's toilet area, out of the 5 only 2 have plugs, of these two, one the hot doesn't work and one the cold tap doesn't work. The cook went without an oven for 2 weeks last month, and last week the whole nursery had no hot running water for 2 days. Very hygienic.

There is currently a virus; chicken pox; hand, foot and mouth; and tonsilitus doing the rounds.

The room supervisor in preschool often disappears off upstairs leaving the room understaffed. Say 2 staff to 23 children aged 3-4. She can usually be found chatting to the manager so can't go to her about it.

I have been warned by other staff that pay cheques have been known to bounce.

After school children have no activities or older craft materials provided, just the preschoolers crayons and paper.

DS is autisic and has toilet phobia, and we have had a major breakthrough in him doing his first poo on the loo last night, asked staff in DS's room to carry on his simple toilet routine/schedule which incorporates relaxation techniques and a small reward incentive, only for it to be forgotten and him crying and sobbing. Dad took him home, he immediately cheered up, cooled down, and did his second ever poo in the loo!!!

There is more I could go on and on listing things, am I being neurotic or is this as shoddy and unprofessional as I think it is??

I have also realised if anyone reads this who knows me it will be glaringly obvious who I am but sod it, I need opinions and for that I need to give details.

OP posts:
SammyK · 02/07/2009 01:17

Must be the only one awake, will try to go back to bed and come back online tomorrow.

OP posts:
daisy99divine · 02/07/2009 01:22

Hi Sammy
I am up and didn't want you to go unanswered. It sounds horrid to me. Not sure what you should do about it but no, this does not sound like a well run and happy place to be

Well done your DS and poo though

purepurple · 02/07/2009 07:21

crikey, what a crap manager!
Someone needs to point out to here that they needs of the children come first!

I work in a nursery and bad practice makes me so mad.
If I am given duff advice by my manager I just ignore it and do what I believe I need to do. As long as I can justify it on the grounds that I am complying with OFSTED etc I have got away with it so far.
The staff need to stand up to the manager, she is obviosly a loon.
Well done to your son and his breakthrough, just politely remind the staff every day, they will soon get the message.
FWIW, if it is too hot, I make the decision to stay in, we have stayed in lots this week.
It's amazing what goes on in some nurseries, isn't it?
But, I will say, that if people just shut up and put up, she will be allowed to get away with it all.
People need to start standing up to her.

SammyK · 02/07/2009 08:15

Thanks for your replies, unfortunately the preschool room supervisor and the day manager seem to have some sort of blind/soft spot for each other and so these things are just going on!

The baby room and toddler room supervisors (I work in baby room ATM) decide for themselves when we go out, yesterday the babies didn't go in the garden until after 4pm.

I just don't know what to do. It seems the manager has been called up on it in the past, and I have even heard grumbles that staff have gone over her head to the owner before too. Nothing seems to change and the staff who have been there the longest seem unsurprised by hwta I have witnessed since I started.

I have also been told that sometimes pay cheques bounce!

There have also been occasions where manager and supervisor of preschool are nowhere tobe found so no one is in charge.

As a member of staff and a parent using the nursery I am becoming more and more about it. As I work there I am getting a much fuller picture than most parents . .

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hindsightisgreat · 02/07/2009 09:27

I would def report the nursery, not just as an employee but more importantly as a mother. It scares the life out of me to think that these type of things go on in nurseries where we entrust them with the most precious things in our lives. I say good on you for raising your concerns & def take it further. After all, like you say, you have inside knowledge - think about those parents that no nothing of whats going on. I'm sure you can report it to the relevant authorities without giving your personal details so as not to risk your job or future jobs etc. By the way, at the nursery my DS attends they are not allowed out in the garden between 11 & 2 (i think that's the time span!) if the UVA level &/or temp reaches a certain point. Good luck hun x x x

rubyslippers · 02/07/2009 09:30

phone OFSTED

it is bad practice, poor management and penny pinching which is putting children at risk

no fans, out at the hottest time of the day = utterly unaccpetable

to forget a reward is really off as well

you must call = all these things added together make for very poor care

hindsightisgreat · 02/07/2009 09:31

Have any parents raised concerns about the issues you've mentioned? If my DS mentions anything that i'm not sure about (he's 4) i always ask his keyworker or one of the other memebers of staff that i trust straight away. So would be interestig to know if concerns have been raised by parents??

SammyK · 02/07/2009 12:05

I don't see me being able to change things as an employee, as it is the management at fault in most intances, so questioning them may simply mean I get it in the neck.

None of the staff have contracts, I was promised one on starting and it never materialised, this means they mess staff around with their hours, even cutting hours with no warning when quiet. Having no contract I feel quite vulnerable - I need to work/earn a certain amount of hours to pay bills.

If I call ofsted will I have to give my name, and also will I be taken as seriously if I don't give my name?

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atworknotworking · 02/07/2009 13:29

SammyK sounds a bit of a mess from all sides, as a parent if my child was in a state as yours was from being outside I would request that they be kept in, you may work there but you are also still a paying customer. With regard to bad practice you are right the manager / room leader are obv not bothered by what goes on or how they run the place, as a result of which the staff have no leadership therefore work ad lib by the sound of things. Do you know who actually owns the nursery, could you write an anon letter to them as a concerned parent?
It definately needs sorting out you can contact Ofsted you don't have to give your name and they have a duty to investigate, with regards to the employment issues ie: no contract I doubt ofsted would get involved in this side of things, but I bet a wise MNetter on the Employer thread would give you some advice and stear you in the right direction. I worked in a similar situation, it got to the stage where I wouldn't allow my LO to be there without me, not great but it was pretty appaling that nurery had many complaints and a huge turnover of staff, I left after about 6 weeks. Nurseries like these give the other excellent settings a really bad reputation it's not fair. If I were you I would try to find another job asap, before you get worn down.

Sometimes what happens is that after a while the small things don't seem as bad as they did and you end up seeing it as the norm rather than bad practice and before you know it your just like the rest.

Not saying that is what will happen, you are obv very concerned and you are right to be so, but I have seen this many times and it's

I would write to owners and ofsted.

nurseryvoice · 02/07/2009 14:52

Firstly, children's needs must come first.

Get those damn fans back on!!!saving electricity, tell her to get a life...
If anyone is funny about it tell them you will not allow children to be put at risk on your shift! doesnt she know heat affects behaviour.
If she threatens you, say you will be ringing acas for advice (do that anyway)
and also threaten ofsted.

In the meantime do you have staff meetings?
because you need to stand up and be counted!
have a list of suggestions to improve practice, try and get at least one other member of staff to back you up.
You also need to ask for a time scale for these issues to be sorted out and it needs to be quick.
If she is funny and doesnt do anything I would ring ofsted too.
I am an owner by the way, and the manager.
I bought air conditioning units for all our rooms and fans.
I hope your children have access to water too.
Please let us know how you get on.
Id name and shame on here too if nothing gets done.....

SammyK · 02/07/2009 16:20

I actually wasn't in the room where the fans where turned off, only heard about it at the end of the day, am presuming staff just turned them back on when she went out again.

All of the children have water, but could be done to be prompted more to have it IMO (problems are mainly in preschool room), I went into garden one day at 5, my DS had no sun hat on, and no drink to be seen. Both were indoors, drink bottles all rinsed out on drainer for next day, so children going home at 6 wouldn have gone at least an hour without water on offer.

No staff meetings since I have started working there. The place just seems very badly managed, with no organisation.

I am not worried about her threatening me, but I am worried about her cutting my work hours in 'revenge' at me speaking up, as I need every penny of it to pay bills. Am keeping an eye out for jobs.

I did raise the toilet issue the other day and the preschool room supervisor cried. Manager then tol me to have a word with her as she thought I was mad at her. Err yes I was mad! I had asked each memebr of staff in the room to stick to his toilet routine, and they didn't. I could hear him crying two floors up. Small changes really throw him and the amount of effort we at home have put into to the toilet issue is huge. We are so proud of him for even trying to do it.

Also it seems to me that people have spoken up in the past and nothig has changed. I am leaing more towards calling ofsted as a parent TBH.

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Littlepurpleprincess · 02/07/2009 19:22

Sound very familiar. In my experience, kids are kicked out after lunch because it is convient. That's how it was in the last nursery I worked at. I left.

You could call OFSTED and ask for advice, I think it would be good to have them on your side tbh. So you can say, well this is what OFSTED say....

nannynick · 02/07/2009 21:22

I feel you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you go to Ofsted, while Ofsted will treat it seriously - as you are in effect whistleblowing, I feel it will get back to the nursery management that you were the one that told Ofsted. You need the job... if the nursery closed, or you got dismissed (or made redundant) then either way you lose the job.

"The room supervisor in preschool often disappears off upstairs leaving the room understaffed. Say 2 staff to 23 children aged 3-4. She can usually be found chatting to the manager so can't go to her about it."

I consider this to be a breach of EYFS. Appendix 2, A 3 "The ratios relate to staff time available to work directly with children. Sufficient suitable staff must
be available to cover staff breaks, holidays, sickness and time spent with parents, in order to ensure that the ratio and qualification requirements are always met in relation to the staff working directly with the children. Additional staff may be required to undertake management tasks, prepare meals, maintain premises and equipment and so on."
A 10 "Where a person with Qualified Teacher Status, Early Years Professional Status or another suitable level 6 qualification is not working directly with the children, the following requirements apply:
~ there must be at least one member of staff for every eight children;
~ at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification (as defined by CWDC);
~ at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification (as defined by CWDC)."

If the preschool room supervisor is level 6 qualified, then different rules apply... but only apply when the room supervisor is actually present. If they are out of the room, they are not "working directly with the children".

Is the room supervisor aware of EYFS? Could you perhaps remind them that the minimum ratio must always be maintained.

With regard to the employment contract, contact ACAS for advice. By the end of your second month working for someone, you should have a Written Statement which details things such as Holiday Entitlement, Pay, Hours of work, that kind of thing. At this stage a Verbal Contract exists, so all you are wanting is to have it made a bit more official.
Keep everthing you get from the nursery... including e-mails/txts. Without the written statement, those bits of communication could be used to assist a tribunal (if anything ever got to that stage) in determining what terms you were employed. For example, they must be telling you somehow what days/hours you are working.

SammyK · 02/07/2009 22:24

I just don't know what to do for best

Will look into ACAS thanks

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monkeypinkmonkey · 02/07/2009 22:42

I haven't read all thread but could you not get your DP to call OFSTED as a concerned parent? Def recommend acas they've really helped me in past.

MamaMaiasaura · 02/07/2009 22:43

So if you whistleblow it puts job at risk but surely you dont want things to continue as they are and the kids needs must come first? Is a brave thing to do in terms of monetary effect but the right thing imo

gingernutlover · 04/07/2009 09:01

okay as a parent I would be concerned about:

children outside in hottest part of day
The fans being turned off
The lack of provision for afterschool children

as an employee I would be concerned about the pay cheques and also whether any of what you mentioned might make me negligable

i think the other things are unfortunate but not unsafe.

gingernutlover · 04/07/2009 09:03

oh and the ratios is serious

can you get a friend or your dh to phone ofsted?

purepurple · 04/07/2009 09:11

It sounds like a pants place to work.
Look for another job.
Then phone OFSTED
Will your son be going to school in September, if he is 4?

SammyK · 06/07/2009 16:38

Hi I'm back!

Yes my son will be starting school full days in September, that is a whole other thread! Don't know yet if he will cope, long story involving how arduous and soul destroying it can be to get your child with aditional needs they help they require to manage in the classroom.

I have been going over bills and benefits with a fine tooth comb over the weekend and have decided to hand in my notice (4 weeks). I will be raising issues with manager as I can then see if anything changes before I leave, and if it doesn't I will be reporting them to Ofsted giving my name. I just finding it really shocking how shoddy it is there!

I just don't want DS in there anymore, and if I can't trust them to look after my DS knowing ful well I am in the building, then I don't feel I can work there either!

When I started it seemed a really nice place but problems soon became obvious.

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SecretSlattern · 06/07/2009 17:23

I would call ofsted in advance of your leaving giving your name because doing it after the event will make it look like sour grapes on your part and IME, Ofsted are less likely to take it seriously. Unless you omit to tell them you worked there.

MamaMaiasaura · 06/07/2009 20:26

Ditto Secretslattern. I would contact ofsted and explain situation to them and that you are actually going to hand in notice because of this and remove your son. Gives a far stronger message than contacting them afterwards.

SammyK · 07/07/2009 18:53

Thanks, I need to write my notice letter, and want to give as little notice as possible as DS no longer wants to go there, I know preschool room is often over ratios if room supervisor is off skiving upstairs, and I'm not happy with the toiletting issues or the heat of the midday sun issue.

I don't have a written contract and have been there 2 months, how much notce do I have to give them? Am going to link this to another relevant section of MN too I think as want to hand letter in in the morning.

Will be logging in with Ofsted before I leave don't worry!

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purepurple · 07/07/2009 19:57

well done!
A girl at work is taking her previous employer to a tribunal as they still owe her money. She has been advised that because she didn't give them a week's notice she may not be entitled to her money. She had been there under 3 months and had no contract.
She walked out because of similiar concerns to yours, the needs of the children were not being taken into consideration.

SammyK · 07/07/2009 21:01

discussing giving my notice here, seems I only have to give a week which I am so relieved about! Dreading giving notice and working the week but I will get through it!

OP posts:
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