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oh dear this could be the end!


flowlow
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Hi all

I just wanted to ask what I think it probably an obvious question but I guess its desperation that makes me ask any way. I have a horrible feeling that my committee may all step down, we at the moment have a chair who is working so hard doing all three officer roles as no one else will, while she is trying hard to get others to take them on. She sent and email in desperation saying she needs help and is feeling unsupported and already (within hours) two people have taken offence one stepping down and planning to withdraw her child.

If the whole committee step down do we have to shut?? or are we given some time to try and get together another committee?

I am feeling so down. Staff issues this week, Committee issues this week, hall issues this week, parent issues this week I just feel like throwing in the towel!!!

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Oh Johanna - I couldn't possibly just read and run - but I can't offer any help - i have absolutely no experience of committee run settings - what I do know though is that lots of our fantastic forum members will be along to help you very soon.

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Sometimes it does feel as if all is against you and that it is all problems to sort out... sounds like you have has a real week of it...

When I ended up without a committee I informed Ofsted who gave me a few weeks to sort things out.. I did have one parent willing to help and they allowed her to take on the 3 main roles until we had it sorted... I gave her a lot of support and took over the finances at that point with her supervising.. and it remained that way when we had found the committee.. with me doing the books etc as a paid role supervised by a treasurer...

Then it was an emergency meeting and I was very blunt about the fact that with no committee we would close next day... and I would not open the setting. It did get sorted but was 3 months of hard work for all staff who were so good taking on some of the work so we could stay open. Probably not the correct way to do it but was the only way we could see a way forward.

I know many on here have managed to change the way they run and if I was in the same situation now that I was then would have looked into a way to change it ..

Now take a break, things will work out one way or another..

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Are you a member of the Preschool Learning Alliance - if so give them a call. They will be able to advise you.Our pre-school development officer from the PLA came and spoke to all of our parents and committee members. Laid it out that if they wanted a pre-school they needed to be part of it or else no more and ta-dah we suddenly had a committtee. May be worth a shot!

FF

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I suggest your first step is to contact your local authority early years team, or Pre-School Learning Alliance (if you are a member). They should support you, and perhaps arrange a meeting with them and all families, not just those on committee to fully explain the issues. Generally parents can think we are being dramatic when we threaten closure, but support from your local authority will help them see the seriousness of the situation.

 

 

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Have an emergency meeting with all your parents and really spell it out that unless they take on the roles the group will have to close. This will probably scare them enough to take some action!! I know our LA team our brilliant, but it depends what area you ar in. Have you got a local school that you could approach and be taken under their umbrella? Thats what we did when we were struggling to form a committee. I am sure some other good people on here may come up with some better advice.

Wish you luck, keep your chin up and let us know any developments.

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Hi Joanna1, so sorry everything seems to be such a struggle for you at the moment.

Can I suggest you ring your LA team and ask for your PSLA advisor.

I'm sure they will try to do all they can to support you and your setting so as not to face closure.

Fx

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  • 1 month later...

Hi thumperrabbit

 

yes and no in answer to your question. We had no real luck with PLA they basically just said send out flyers and if you have 4/5 members you are lucky. However they seem to have missed that we need 6 and that however many names we had there was still only one person doing all the work and they couldn't keep up.

 

Essentially we have an old member of the committee that has come on in name only to help us stay open and a member of the committee was put down as treasure in name only. We did get someone to 'do' some of the treasures role but doesn't want to be on committee and we are limping on like this. Not ideal and don't know how long it will work but cant' see any other way at present.

 

you have my sympathy thumperrabbit I hope you find a new member :-(

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That's terrible thumper :( but maybe you need to start taking steps. I know from reading your posts you've tried to keep things going but sometimes we have to accept the inevitable. Put a note out asking for committee members, wait two weeks then if nobody comes forward put out a note giving everyone a closure date. that might bring people forward, I hope so anyway, but if it doesn't then at least you'll know. So sad little playgroups ate going this way :(

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Yes you're right Rea I will start to make plans once the school nursery places are allocated as it is only then I know for definite who will be staying

I know I will definitely have 3 families as their children aren't old enough to start school nursery but then their little ones will probably leave at Christmas as they will have turned 3 - it's too much of a battle now, had enough.

I'm seriously thinking of stopping all the fundraising as there is no point in having the money in the bank if we are going to close - it's just making that final decision that I'm struggling with

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- it's just making that final decision that I'm struggling with

Its the reason I'm still associated with 'my' playgroup 9 years after leaving. I dont want it to ever have to close, but I can see a day when it will have to. No money in the bank as we speak to pay wages on the 19th! Fingers crossed grant goes in before then otherwise I wont need to worry about staff, they'll walk!!

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Just catching up on his thread again. Feel so sad for you to be in this position. We all know what passion and dedication it takes to do what we do and it seems crazy that there is no other way around it. I think committees and laws should be adjusted to be flexible around the quieter times that groups do get some years.

Have to say I feel incredibly lucky at the situation we are currently in. We are the only pre-school for six miles and are rurally isolated, so we have a high number of children attending and a waiting list. But I am aware that this can all change a couple of years down the line.

Keep us updated about how you both get on.

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Hi Johanna it is a recurring problem for committee run preschools, have you tried a grandparent or someone in the community who may be willing to take on a role, worth a try , I know when I first joined a grandparent had taken on chair and then another parent took on role as chair , fortunately we have some interested parents but it is difficult and I do sympathise. You may need to have a very to the point meeting and say stand up or we shut up and then you will have to find somewhere else for your child to go xx

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ok so the next part of the saga. We have now lost our treasure again!!!! (how careless of us) and therefore are again running a little illegally until we get it sorted. I am not looking forward to telling Ofsted but I know I must this afternoon. We are just run down with the whole thing now, my chair is convinced its personal although I keep assuring her it isn't it is just the parent base we have.

Anyway we are now again thinking about trying to work out how to 'run' differently. My chair has asked if I could ask all you lovely people if there is anyone among you who has moved away from committee run to a business and what you experience of this was, what sort of things you had to do. We have also considered asking the local primary school if they would allow us to become part of their organisation. I don't know how easy this would be again if anyone has experience of this I would love to hear it if you would be willing to share.

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Oh Johanna

I think you and I are in 2 very similar settings!!

My husband is my Treasurer ... don't suppose you could persuade ???!! xD

I have a meeting with my advisor from the PLA in 2 weeks time ... I know she will say right lock the doors and I'll see what I can do, and quite frankly for the first time I won't persuade her not too!

Is it a big thing for Ofsted that your Treasurer is leaving??

Actually is Committee a big thing for Ofsted at all can anyone tell me?

I know obviously that whoever is on committee needs DBS checks and they do check that, but what do they do if you haven't got a committee? As manager I am our 'nominated person'

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just want to add my support I know how you are feeling in wanting to throw the towel in I came very close recently too!

go back to your PLA or go on their website there is info about changing from a committee on there Im sure. As they sent us some info last academic year!

Andrea

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I can't say it was definitely above board but we had a parent do the books for us but not the actual role of treasurer. In fact for a while we had an accountant doing our books as a freebie and the manager organsied the rest of the treasurer's roles alongside the chair. I'm sure Ofsted knew it was happening and the Charity Commission and didn't mind one bit. I thought it was only the chair who we couldn't run without.

 

My sympathies though, it is really an awful situation to be in whatever you are thinking might cause you to close.

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Well I am a bit confused about Ofsted apparently we are supposed to let them know as it is a factor that could affect the pre-school and children's welfare (as it could close us down) that is what I have been told but the for the life of me can't think who told me!! would prefer not to tell them in some ways as it can cause more harm than good!!!

Tried to get help from the PLA but apparently our representative is not as dedicated as some of yours as we were told think ourselves lucky we have who we have pretty much and have we thought about sending out flyers?!? well Duh! :(

We have committee meeting tonight and already I have one of the only remaining members (who quite frankly has done nothing but cause trouble and moan since he got on the committee, hasn't done anything useful) on the ware path to the ex chair complaining about what is not getting done!! I can't see it being a very positive meeting really :(

We may take advantage of the PLA doing the wages and money side of things but still need a treasurer for constitution!!! that is why we are struggling we have and are trying to change it but basically it says we shouldn't run if we have less than 6 on the committee and if all 3 officer roles are not in place. Oh joy!!!

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Had a telephone chat with my PLA advisor this week and she told me that as long as we had a Chairperson that now (and this has changed since last year when we were in the same situation) PLA are happy! Because so many groups are now struggling they aren't enforcing the 6 people rule from the constitution - so I am going along with that at the moment

 

BUT how Ofsted take that I really don't know

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Right, hang fire on Ofsted, you dont have to tell them committee members roles, they just need to know the names, so if you've lost a treasurer that wont matter to them as long as they are still on the committee.

If any members of committee have left you'll have to fill in EY3 form and send it to them.

...and a further piece of information, after February hard copies of EY2 and EY3 wont be available, all forms will need to be completed online, so download them now if you need to.

As to recruiting committee members in general, if you're working to the PLA Consitution of 2011, sytaff can be included on the committee. One of ours is the treasurer, but if you go down that route, be very clear to the Charity Commission that the staff member receives no remuneration for the role only for the work with the children. They must understand the roles are completely separate.

With parents, you have to be blunt. Tell them that without a committee you are operating unlawfully and the charity commission can and will close you down. Give all your members a cut off date, after which time let them know the playgroup will have to commence closure procedures.

Good luck, I had 6 new members join last November. They haven't actually done anything yet but I have plans for them :rolleyes:

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Had a telephone chat with my PLA advisor this week and she told me that as long as we had a Chairperson that now (and this has changed since last year when we were in the same situation) PLA are happy! Because so many groups are now struggling they aren't enforcing the 6 people rule from the constitution - so I am going along with that at the moment

 

BUT how Ofsted take that I really don't know

We found that the PLA might be happy but the Charity commission isn't :(

 

Right, hang fire on Ofsted, you dont have to tell them committee members roles, they just need to know the names, so if you've lost a treasurer that wont matter to them as long as they are still on the committee.

If any members of committee have left you'll have to fill in EY3 form and send it to them.

...and a further piece of information, after February hard copies of EY2 and EY3 wont be available, all forms will need to be completed online, so download them now if you need to.

As to recruiting committee members in general, if you're working to the PLA Consitution of 2011, sytaff can be included on the committee. One of ours is the treasurer, but if you go down that route, be very clear to the Charity Commission that the staff member receives no remuneration for the role only for the work with the children. They must understand the roles are completely separate.

With parents, you have to be blunt. Tell them that without a committee you are operating unlawfully and the charity commission can and will close you down. Give all your members a cut off date, after which time let them know the playgroup will have to commence closure procedures.

Good luck, I had 6 new members join last November. They haven't actually done anything yet but I have plans for them :rolleyes:

Thanks Rea will pass this on with a huge sigh of relief although I don't think we are on this constitution we have tried to change but the Charity commission has given us a real hard time and as far as I know we still haven't been able to change this :(

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The constitution can be changed at a committee meeting, the current committee just need to vote on adopting the 2011 one, or whichever is the most up to date and then tell the charity commission.

They just have a record of which one you're working with. The charity commission were declared 'not fit for purpose' a while back (cant remember who by though). I know from following them on Twitter they've been looking at how they govern and ensure charities are following the rules so maybe they just needed a shake up.

You can always phone them, they are very helpful if a little strict when you ask them things so be careful not to give anything away that you're not sure of!

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This is why we have converted to a community interest group, no committee needed. Stressful process but worth it to ensure the sustainability of the group. Our LA were fab support and took us through the whole process x

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