View Full Version : ******** childrens centre

07-10-2010, 04:05 PM
:censored: :censored: :censored:

since our local ss centre opened 2 years ago we have had nothing but problems!

1) when we started we were promised the earth, our cm group is self run and get NO support from any of the staff.

2) we have to pay for the use of the room, unlike parents who can use any of the facilities for free.

3) if we want to do anything creative or messy we have to bring our own resources, as you can imagine its always the same cm's bringing things whilst others claim they "didnt know" or "forgot"

4) we started in a nice creche but now a private company is hiring it during our spot so we have been moved to a meeting room which obviously isnt designed for kids, no sinks, toilets or small furniture and more importantly NO TOYS!

5) we are there for 2 1/2 hrs and have to bring our own cups, juice and snacks, we have now been told after 2 years we cant have a toaster as it hasnt been safety checked, we are not allowed hot drinks (which i understand) yet the staff members walk around with hot drinks

6) we now recieve the dregs of all they toys as they either go to a stay and play group or to the private creche, last week we had 20 kids and we got a pram, 5 pieces of toy food and 2 dinkie cars, whilst the creche had a whole nursery of toys 4 staff members and 3 children

7) they now expect us to stop the children playing with the toys and hour before we leave so we can dis-infect them.

8) they now refuse to let us advertise or give out a list of vacancies as they said it was unfair on cm's that dont use the centre.

we are treated like second class citizens and they "put up with us" because they have to. Unfortunatly we are stuck there as we cant find another venue that doesnt cost the earth but im so tempted to tell them were to shove their cc and let them explain to ofsted why no cm's will work in partnership with them

07-10-2010, 04:09 PM
omg report them to your LA

level 2 cc partners have to work with you... and not many do..

and if you still dont get any joy do what others do to us ring ofsted

(((Huggz))) to you all

cc like some nurseries think they are better than us.. oh and they are not allowed by law to charge you for the room xx

07-10-2010, 04:11 PM
cc like some nurseries think they are better than us.. oh and they are not allowed by law to charge you for the room xx

thanks thats very interesting to know!:thumbsup:

07-10-2010, 04:22 PM
They sound really useless at your children's centre. Ours has just started CM only sessions - the 1st one was mid Sept, next one end of Nov, then Feb. It would be better if they were more often, but they provide everything for us and clean up after us etc etc. They seem quite helpful and are keen for us to let them know what we'd like them to provide each session and we don't have to pay. A woman from the NCMA also attends the session.
Guess we'll have to see how the sessions go, like I said we've only had 1 so far.
Hope yours improve otherwise there seems little point in going.

07-10-2010, 04:35 PM
Definitley report to your LA. We have 3 childrens centres near us and sadly only one is accommodating to childminders. One is so appalling that all the minders in our area have boycotted it. We've been made to feel totally unwelcome and frankly a bit of an inconvenience :angry: Our LA has been made very aware of how bad the situation is and are said to be dealing with it.

Such a shame for you that you don't have any other suitable venues nearby :(

07-10-2010, 04:36 PM
It sounds as though they're trying to get rid of you by making you so unwelcome you stop going!

I didn't think they could charge you for the use of the room either - our cc doesn't and they also provide all arts and crafts stuff - we get the keys to the toy cupboards and can help ourselves.

Hot drinks is an issue though and we have to provide our own drinks/snacks for the children.

I'd put your complaints in writing to the manager and see what happens - cc's are accountable and are supposed to be working with us

Miffy xx

07-10-2010, 04:37 PM
all the "local" childrens centres are too far to walk to. I have only been once and it was a pretty sad affair...only two CMs were there. It took me 50 mins pushing a double buggy to get there...not going to bother again

mandy xxx

07-10-2010, 04:41 PM
definatly trying to make us feel unwelcome!

a few months ago we had more kids than usual and ran out of cups so asked if we could borrow some, the receptionist phoned a member of staff (the receptionist is the only person nice to us) we heard the member of staff say " we have but tell them we havent as i cant be bothered to get them!"

07-10-2010, 05:12 PM
Why not ask to have a meeting with them?

We'd used our cc since it first opened & it sounds very much like your's - shoved out of the way when anyone else wanted the room, left with no toys, once they came & took all the chairs because their was a meeting in the other room. When someone from the other meeting had asked for chairs they were told "take them from the creche - it's only the childminders in there!" This was despite another unused room being full of chairs! The creche regularly had 3 members of staff, all the toys & access to the outside play area - for 1 or 2 children. We'd have 20+ children, a small room, very few toys & nowhere to play outside.

Luckily we had a very good childminding support worker & took all of our issues to her. She arranged a meeting for us with the cc staff & it really did help. There had been misunderstanings on both sides & it was a good opportunity for everyone to have their say in a controlled way.

I have to say, things run so much better now, so it was definitely worth doing.

07-10-2010, 05:24 PM
wen ours was in the making I was on the focus group, we were told there would be stuff put on for the juinor school age child,, well, there was,once and then never again,, then me and a freind were asked to run the toddler group which we did then one day we got there and everything was set up and so we no longer were welcome to run it noone explained why this was, at the begining we were welcome at every group, now because of the goverment cuts we can only go once a week to the childminder drop which is fine but i dont have the same children every day so at least 2 of my minded children will never go to the center, seems they started off well an now its going downhill fast

Heaven Scent
07-10-2010, 05:55 PM
TBH If that is how they are behaving towards you I wouldn't go - We (well I'm new to the group) have had a room paid for by cc for our childminder support group for the past 10 years then about a year after the childrens centre opened they withdrew the funding. The minders always paid a nominal sum which was put towards replacing toys - I don't know where the majority of the toys came from in the first place but I do know that some of thecurrent fad stuff such as multi cultural clothes, inclusive books and things like musical instruments etc were given by the council. But now we fund it - we pay £2.00 pw which goes mainly to paying the rent which is really not too bad - we have the room for 3 hours every Tuesday a.m.and the rest goes towards snacks for adults and children, buying small christmas presents and for replacing the odd toy - to be honest we also take turns at buying milk and biscuits and/or crackers n cheese etc. With the help of the admin staff of the New Life Church where we hire the room and me typing up a begging letter and short Group Constitution this week we were given £500 funds to help us towards rnning costs.

At our childrens centre they will do anything to get us to go our session is held on mondays they provide everyting and the room is free but there is almost always someone from the council there usually our development worker - if she is not there the number of people such as family support workers etc who just happen to have to pop in to look for something is unreal - imo its a way for the powers that be to spy on us. The latest ploy to get minders to attend is due to there being more funding been made available to minders but our council are not giving any to us directly they are buying us outdoor resources for boysto encourage them to write, so that we can be enhance our already over loaded stetford childminder homes which will give parents even less choice and remover any chance of us offering diverse services. (Soap Box moment) They only way a minder has any hope of getting their greasey paws on these resources is if they actually go to the Childrens centre to collect them BAIT so they can spy on us. I go there every week when I have children, as its something free for me to take the children to so its no skin off my nose. But there are minders in this town who don't drive and who may not work on a Monday when the session is on so there is no hope of them going also we are not welcome at any other groups so why should we go???? The only other thing we can do is make use of the small sensory room by appointment - again as its on the other side of the town I'm not very likely to load all my mindees into the car for 10 minutes in the sensory room.

So to me the moral of the story is hire your own room at a local church or community centre and hold your own support group.

07-10-2010, 06:14 PM
I wouldnt mind but we dont get any funding or grants from our council EVER! i have been minding for 4 years and never recieved a penny or any resources when we ask why we are told that all EY funding/grants have gone to the childrens centre.

The only decent thing about it is the toy library but oh we have to pay more than parents as there is a higher chance of the toys becoming damaged in our care :rolleyes:

I so wish i could tell them where to stick it, but untill we find another venue its not fair on the children.

we have hand numerous meeting, are promised things will change but it never happens. does anyone know what would be the next step in the complaints procedure (council, LA, ofsted etc)

carol cameron
07-10-2010, 06:37 PM
So interesting to read about everyones different experiences with children's centres. Our childminding group started to meet in the creche room when our local centre first opened- fabulous toys etc. However, after a few months they needed the room for nursery so we had to leave.What we did was negotiate for the children's centre to pay the rent for a session at the local community centre so that we still could meet. The children's centre get the statistics ( of numbers of childminders /children) and can ignore us the rest of the time and we get to meet up so everyone wins!
I would add that when they opened, we were promised that we would be invited to participate in training/courses/events and have our details made available to parents...needless to say still waiting for any of that to happen:)

07-10-2010, 07:15 PM
A friend invited me and a lo to a stay and play at the local children's centre recently.

We were allowed to stay but at the end asked not to come back to that session as it was for parents, not childminders.

The lo had so much fun it made me really really sad. I don't go for me it's the lo who is missing out :(

07-10-2010, 07:17 PM
The only decent thing about it is the toy library but oh we have to pay more than parents as there is a higher chance of the toys becoming damaged in our care :rolleyes:

At our CC parents pay £2 to join toy library and we pay £5 BUT we get the toys for 6 weeks whereas the parents are only allowed them for 3 weeks.

07-10-2010, 08:20 PM
I really feel sad for all of you who have such negative experiences of children's centres as ours are mostly pretty good. We are welcome at all sessions and are actively encouraged to go. We have also had training through the children's centres, specifically for childminders and the workers have always been supportive.

For those of you who aren't allowed to attend certain sessions as they are "parent only" - what happens if you have your own child with you? When I had a couple of days off once I actually took my dd to the childminder session at the children's centre cos she wanted to go (and like Sarah said it is about the children). I was made really welcome and told not to be so silly when I questioned whether we were allowed in!

Hope the situation can be improved. Good luck!

07-10-2010, 08:22 PM
OMG we are really lucky then, everything is free of charge, rooms, toy library, and our details are handed out to parents whenever people ask. We are invited to all the meetings and focus groups. I must admit I don't go that often as I do sometimes feel I am not part of the 'click' but have recently thought that I must try harder:blush:

07-10-2010, 08:34 PM
Sadly I can understand where you are coming from.

The new manager of the CC basically killed my drop in that I had painstakingly built up for 2 years. He lied to my face, he fed me half truths and then got someone else to tell me his real agenda.
Now the bloke won;t even be in the same room as me.

On the other hand, I get on alright with most of the other CC staff although i can find some of the EYP's rather condescending and superior.

We have had some ups and downs which have been smoothed out, such as locking us out of the toy and resource cupboards, saying we couldn't use the fruit and milk, couldn't use the paints, paper etc.

It just seems ridiculous when its part of the core offer that they are supposed to be working with all services within the community. Cohesive working etc.:panic: :rolleyes:

Lady Haha
07-10-2010, 08:34 PM
I am going to a childminding group at the local ss on Monday that is just starting that day. I will be a total fraud as I won't have any mindees with me as mine are all schoolies, I'm going to meet other childminders! Will let you know how it goes! Wonder if they will tell me I can't come again as it's for people with children only :laughing:

07-10-2010, 09:11 PM
I use two local SureStart centres but they both have sessions that are specifically for childminders - a number of parents have complained to the county council that childminders who are being paid to look after children should not have the same free access to these facilities because they are free - I can actually understand where they are coming from.

I know from a relative that in her county, the SureStart centres require a fee upon each visit so whether you are a parent or a minder does not make a whole load of difference. Where there is no fee seems to be the situation that upsets some parents.

On the Childminder sessions, the full array of toy, games and activities are available but I do know they are considering charging childminders for the other sessions if they wish to attend.

The Juggler
07-10-2010, 09:31 PM
Hon, go on the government website and have a look at the 'core offer' that children's centres are working to (and inspected by ofsted on). Look at the part relating to Childminders. You read that then request a meeting with the manager and go and quote to them what they are supposed to be providing in order to meet that core offer.

Asking for donation to attend - ok but providing your own equipment -for heavens sake!

They are funded based on meeting and providing the core offer and will be inspected on it. You could always threaten a call to ofsted too.

Can you get some help from your D.O?

07-10-2010, 09:45 PM
The ones round our area are all far too small for the amount of parents and minders that want to use them.

They have started to limit numbers, one CM group only allows 20 children, so if each minder had 4 mindees then the grand total of minders allowed would only be 5.

And we are supposed to use these groups to network, well with 5 of us that is more like a coffee morning. :rolleyes:

08-10-2010, 05:47 AM
I agree with wendywu - our cc is good - fairly friendly but way too small. There is no space for more than say 15 kids and 5/6 adults without them falling over each other. Loads of messy play resources all freely available - not great for my 3 under 2's who just spend the sessions walking round with lolly sticks, spoons and glue bottles :rolleyes:
But it is a valuable place to go - great sensory resources but we are made to feel very uneasy some days about making every thing cleared away (not easy with all children still around) and no buggies allowed in the centre for sleeping babies.

08-10-2010, 07:11 AM
I got told that CMs would be discouraged form going to the stay and play sessions before our even opened. As far as I can see this is discrimination toward childminded children and they aren't being allowed the same access to sessions and equipment as SAHM's children...

Last Friday there was a drop in for Cms there (the first one). I had no children so didn't go. I didn't actually get told it was on by the staff that are supposed to tell me though, they phoned one CM and left her to ring around the rest of us. CM drop ins are once a month. Parent S&P are weekly - go figure...

You're not allowed to take a pram in for a sleeping baby at ours either...

candy cat
08-10-2010, 03:10 PM
Ours are brill.....:blush: These centers are funded by our blooming taxes, how dare they charge. We may lose them in a few months anyway if Mr cameron as his way with the cut backs! Ours are having to justify spending and useage. I would have a meeting with the manager and if no good go to your local MP....Ofsted encourage us to use local facilities so so out of order.:angry:

blue bear
08-10-2010, 03:32 PM
our children's centre is very small and in the early days when they had no one attending S&P they welcomed childminders but became increasingly cool as parents started to use the centre.
Last Christmas I took three children to the Christmas party and had arranged for parents to meet me there towards the end of the party, There was a free raffle and each family was given two tickets (there were more tickets than families so they went round twice) They told myself and another childmider our children could not have them because we are childminders, I explained about my parents joining the party they said they could not have them because the children were with a childminder!! supposed to treat all children equally? I think not!! needless to say my firend and I walked out when the raffle was starting, the little 4 year old I had with me was asking a worker over and over "why can't I have a ticket for my mummy?"

Heaven Scent
08-10-2010, 05:10 PM
Well I never - Do they really think that we will be happy to pay for them to spy on us and the families of the children in our care?????:panic: :panic:

I don't feel I have anything to hide so I am happy to go along on a Monday morning but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for the pleasure - LOL!!!

I'm off to see this core offer thingy.

08-10-2010, 07:40 PM
My local childminding support group, set up over 6 years ago, have recently left the cc we had been using since it opened and moved to a community centre where we have to pay rent.
We had been using a large hall and had provided all our own resources, using the hall twice a week for over two years. We had very little interaction with any cc staff, but the children loved the space they had for ride on toys and prams etc.
We were recently told that 'to meet the 6 areas of learning' we had to move to a small room with toys and activities already set out by cc staff. The staff must have no real idea of how children play as some toys, like a chinese themed set had tiny pieces, perfect for choking and a dolls' house which had to be left in PRECISELY the way it was set out!!:angry:
Despite telling the manager that we provide ample opportunity to cover all 6 areas of learning in our own settings and the children really enjoy the chance to push a pram for more than 10 steps! and to be able to run about with their friends we were told ' if you don't like it.... leave!' We were told the hall was needed for adult training, but it was never used.
As well as feeling angry for being lied to, it is so dissappointing that children centre staff do not put the needs of children first!:angry:
So, despite now having to find rent, our group is much happier and the children are enjoying the sessions again.
We do intend to complain in writing to the cc manager and perhaps to ofsted but it is good to hear that not all childminders find their local cc to be as welcoming as the ones promoted in a widely circulated magazine!!:blush:

Bitsy Beans
08-10-2010, 07:45 PM
the first time I attempted my local-ish CC for a CM stay and play they hadn't bothered to advertise the fact that you have to book a space :rolleyes: I'd spent half an hour pushing 3 kids all the way there to be looked at like I was a bit of dirt on the shoe before being asked haughtily if I WAS a CM. Well would I be here if I wasn't :angry:
Went a couple of weeks ago to another CC for my friends local CM drop in - TBH the room was too small (although it did have it's use of outside space) and if they consider a couple of slices of banana, 2 chunks of cheese and one tiny strip of apple a snack then all my kids would be starving :eek: We had to pay £1 contribution towards snack and it was totally insufficient.
My friend told me the same CC was trying to insist they brought their own craft stuff etc and that they wouldn't be providing a snack and yet was still charging them the £1 contribution towards snack :angry: Thankfully she kicked up a fuss but from what I've seen of the staff in reception they aren't very friendly at all.
Sticking with my local CM group which is far nicer (albeit a bit cliquey) and more pleasant to be in :D

Oh and in the one centre they had these lovely little wooden tables and chairs but the chairs were soooooooooo heavy no little person could possibly move it (perhaps that's the point?) so they couldn't tuck themselves under the table or kept tripping over the bases of the chairs.

20-10-2010, 08:32 PM
I'm afraid that I too have experienced some difficulties at one of my local cc's. Our childminding group was invited to hold the weekly group there. Then they soon started picking at us, no hot drinks, we had to show a copy of our liability insurance, and had to ask parents to fill in a rediculously invasive (in my oppinion) form before we could bring children.

Children Ha! They only allow us to take in children under 4. Since when did children stop being children when they turned 5????

They gave us a letter basically kicking us out. They'd arranged for us to go to a different location and moved the days that we always met?

So we gave them a letter back! have booked our own hall and now its soo busy every week. Everyone who had stopped coming has now come back.

I would like to say though that my other local cc is FANTASTIC!

18-11-2010, 01:01 PM
really really dont like cc centre word of warning ladies and gents becareful, there like little spies there ;)

Chimps Childminding
18-11-2010, 03:33 PM
I got told that CMs would be discouraged form going to the stay and play sessions before our even opened. As far as I can see this is discrimination toward childminded children and they aren't being allowed the same access to sessions and equipment as SAHM's children...

Last Friday there was a drop in for Cms there (the first one). I had no children so didn't go. I didn't actually get told it was on by the staff that are supposed to tell me though, they phoned one CM and left her to ring around the rest of us. CM drop ins are once a month. Parent S&P are weekly - go figure...

You're not allowed to take a pram in for a sleeping baby at ours either...

We have also had a letter to say that we are not really welcome at the stay and play sessions as they are for parents and children who may need help and support, not professionals (childminders). But CM have a once monthly meeting (first one today) and like you we have to leave buggy's in the porch not allowed to take them in!!

18-11-2010, 04:19 PM
=CAROLYN;818395]We have also had a letter to say that we are not really welcome at the stay and play sessions as they are for parents and children who may need help and support, not professionals (childminders). But CM have a once monthly meeting (first one today) and like you we have to leave buggy's in the porch not allowed to take them in!![/QUOTE]

This is the thing that hacks me off, the centres hold play and stays more than once a week. Yet us childminders get one group per month.:mad:

Only one of our local centres holds a minders group weekly and she is a lovely lady :thumbsup:

18-11-2010, 04:28 PM
I used to go to an under 2's group at the CC before I started minding, and still go now. I also go to a few other things there now and then- music group etc. Nobody has ever said I can't go with mindees. I have found all the staff to be really friendly and helpful there.

I haven't been to the CM group though, i'm worried i'll get turned away. From what I have read on their notice board it looks like you have to be an NCMA member to go, and i'm with MM. I'd be mortified if I went only to be told I shouldn't be there! :panic:

It does bother me that we can't take buggies in though- if I have a sleeping LO with me I have to miss the group. In one room we use there would be 3 doors between me and the child in the buggy and thats just too far. Also nothing to stop people coming in the main door and taking what they like from the buggies!