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What Would You Do?


klc106
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Hi all,

 

I opened a palygroup in a small village in september and it hasn't really took off- we still only have 6 children on roll and 3 down to start in september.

I think if things stay the way we are we will be ok for next year but will have to close next summer (2013) when these children go to school.

 

So I am looking for advice on whether you think I should open another playgroup somewhere else straight after this one closes, before this one closes or wait a while?

Do you think its too early to start looking for somewhere else to start another one? It took months to get registered with ofsted so I am thinking start early.

 

What is the best way to research an area to find out if a playgroup would take off?

Any advice would be wonderful. I just don't know what to do. I could say I will find a job in a nursery when we close but there are not many of those around these days.

 

Please help!

Thanks

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We researched the number of children in the area etc. looked at other settings in neighbouring villages and they are both full.

We don't know why numbers are so low. We have done leaflets, made a website, put large banners up. We are not even getting enquiries.

I don't think it helps that one of the playgroups near us has just got outstanding from ofsted. and we have only just got validated for NEF.

I know that when we opened the 2 playgroups near us were not at all happy and one threatened to close but never did. They are still both full

and have a waiting list.

Everyone I speak to (headteacher, improvement advisor etc) says they don't know why we are not full as there are lots of children in the area going

to no setting at all. The village closest to us has no pre-school setting so I don't know why we are not getting children from there as we are the closest

playgroup to them.

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I would also look at Birth rate data for any areas you decide to look at. You can get this from the local childrens centre, and Id look at both this and any potential gaps in the market.

Im sure the fact that you've now got NEF funding will help. Do you take 2 year olds? This is something we have had to do.

 

What is your location in comparison with the other settings? You said the village closest to you has no pre-school would it be worth exploring this further - why not? Is it distance? Where are they going? Would it work better if you would be based in the village?

 

Oh its so tough out there at the moment - Good Luck

Kxx

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up until now it will have been the lack of funding that will dictate numbers... you have gone through that hurdle so now the next one..

 

advertise, let people know you are here and cannot be missed.. ensure you start with the high staff ratios for now.. that brought in a lot of parents when we were low.. one commented it was better than paying for private as out ratios were higher! Once they start coming in it will change but by then you will have a few word of mouth recommendations, which is how ors went..

 

notices in local gp surgery, dentists, and other places mums go. our supermarket also had a board where we had an advert.. in fact all of them did for a month.. local shops and then the schools.. ask to be put in a newsletter as having spaces now with no waiting list.. and then come summer ask if you can have stalls at school fetes.. set up and advertise there.. have a game to play and lots of info.. really helped us that one people knew we were there..

 

it is often a case of shouting loudest for longest and letting people know you are there and have the spaces now.. no need to wait..

 

and we had parents put a notice in car windows for us, we laminated a logo and tel number and asked them to help..

 

we had a very lean year or two and ended up oversubscribed and a waiting list ourselves.. took hard work and a lot of shouting we are here..

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would you be able to open a mother and toddler group outside the hours you do now, they makes a good "feeder" or maybe you could get involved with one at a local church. also can help if you are well known in the local area personally - your children go to the local school etc., find out if there is a baby clinic that takes place and go in and ask if you can hand out leaftlets. Could you do a charity fund raise with the children and get into the local paper, or get a local business to sponsor something the children could make, such as a garden centre giving you bird boxes for the children to decorate, you then get into the local paper and give the sponsor a mention.

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