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take over or not to take over this is the question


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HI all

 

not sure after the year I have had I can believe I am even contemplating this but.... we are at present a charity run by parent committee and I am the manager. I have been seriously considering if I can take over 'ownership' of the pre-school. has any one else done this?

 

there are so many questions I have at the moment running over, round and through the issues but I just wondered if anybody had any experience of doing this?

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Not much help but I am in a very similar position - I have been considering taking over the setting I manage, the committee fully support me and are ready to resign, but it is such a big step and the 'business' is barely breaking even at the moment so not sure I want to take on the financial risk. Will be interested to read others comments - good luck if you make the leap

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I've been asked to put the same idea to our staff and committee by a friend. The owner of the breakfast/afterschool and preschool she manages would be interested in taking us over. Staff would remain the same buy she would be looking to develop and extend the provision. I'm all for it purely because it would negate the need for a committee. If you are solvent and have a waiting list I don't see how you can fail :)

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We looked into this but one thing that would have happened with us was that if we closed as a charity, under the PSLA constitution, all equipment must be offered to all other charity pre-schools, we couldnt simply take the equipment over. It was just not feesable. check your constitution if you have one.

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We use the PLA constitution, all finances and equipment would need to go to pla or another charity with the same aims, you can sell the equipment and give the proceeds. In the case of a takeover so long as the new owner 'bought' the business and gave the money to the pla, that would be enough.

Edited by Rea
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We looked into this but one thing that would have happened with us was that if we closed as a charity, under the PSLA constitution, all equipment must be offered to all other charity pre-schools, we couldnt simply take the equipment over. It was just not feesable. check your constitution if you have one.

thanks for that hadn't thought of that angle will look.

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i suspect a trip to your accountants would be advisable as the assets will have to be valued and 'bought' ...those these may be at a very low price. Also your staff may have an issue as their contracts of employment wll be with a different company so they may not have continuity of service. You need to remember things like pension arrangements too which will make a big difference to the bottom line next year

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There is a huge part of me that wants to do it. Even when the committee is supportive (which is not very at the moment excellent chair but struggled so hard to get the committee and the ones that we have a not wanting to do anything) I feel that I have a hand in most things and to be honest do a lot of the work towards most things but you have the illusion of support.

I just worry that as much as I feel I know and put some of the work into that there is more that I don't if that makes sense. Also how much does the illusion of support, support me.

Although to be fair I felt a bit like that being manager all those years ago! I have no capital so not sure where the money to buy the pre-school out would come from but it seems there are so many different ways to do it that might not be an issue.

 

soo much to think on

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Have to say Johanna that i came to the conclusion years ago that if i wanted anything done i would have to do it myself! I have a lovely group of trustees who are very supportive (we became a limited company+registered charity 2 years ago) but i now employ an administrator and do all the day to day stuff myself. I really don't think that by the time you get to a certain size it is fair to expect volunteers to do lots of the work. They are often not trained for it and are only there because their children are involved...which is great motivation but doesn't necessarily mean they have the skills. The trustees now pay me bonuses on performance so i get a reward for doing above the norm but there is no way that the pre-school would be the success it si without the team i have and without the dedication i have put in to it. I could have done it myself i guess but the rewards would not be high unless i changed the whole ethos of the group ...and then it wouldn't be the group we created! I really feel if you are registered for more than 20 children per session that you need to find a more business like approach to running.....volunteers are just that!

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Hi I am in the same boat as you. I have been with a preschool for over 11 years running it as manager. It has always been a struggle to get on board committee members and keep them. There is so much paperwork to do now and I do a lot of it myself but now feel that I either need to come out of the child care work myself or I take the preschool on as a business. I have worked hard in developing the preschool, achieve a degree in early years and bring up a family. But now feel that it is all getting out of hand. I try and manage my staff, be with the children and do the paperwork. its just not possible. We are a limited company and a charity and still its been hard trying to get people on our committee and to get theme to do jobs. Parents do not want the responsibility and haven't got the time to give as have their own life's and jobs. There is too much responsibility on these committee roles now and I think the legal structure of preschools has to be looked on. The parent committee I have are great people but are not professionals in early years and I don't think its fair on them. You are very lucky now days if you have members on board and to keep them. I have a meeting with the committee members and myself this week to discuss how we go about closing down as a charity. I just hope that I am doing the right thing but for me to keep the preschool going and for it to be run effectively I feel that the time is right to try and change over to a business. I have been reading other comments made and hope there is some way I can buy some of the equipment. we are also under the PSLA constitution. I have been to see our accountants, spoke to my early years improvement officer. Ofsted and the sufficiency team at the local authority and they have given me lots of info. I just need the current committee to help me and hopefully it will all go to plan. fingers crossed. good luck to us both :-)

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Hi

Have been reading this thread with interest. we took over our pre-school, previously a charity run setting five years ago and run it as a private business. i have to say they are pros and cons for both types of setting. as a private company you have to consider that you will pay business rates, corproation tax and TUPE all exisitng staff into your new business.if you rent your building you may find the owners may increase your rent as the format of the setting has changed amd obviosly OFSTED have to be notifed .

On A positve note you can determine the needs of the setting and grow your business but there is a financial risk and a serious case of overload of work. i havent had any holiday for nealry six years as the butt stops with me .

as for winding down the charity it wasnt too bad but any money in the settings account has to be distributed to similar causes, we gave money to a setting who then used it to partially fund a new setting to expnad their services. as mentioned you then have to value all the resources and decide if you want to buy them or not. staff have the right to come with you and all pay , terms and conditions areprotected . The Tupe site is interesting. we had to write letters to our parents ensuring their werent any objections or anyone willing to take on the pre-school. also you may need to conisder storage for any old papaerwork tha has to be kept,

 

good luck for anyone considering changing over !!!!!

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Hi all

thank you so much for your input and thoughts. There is just so much to think on I am not in a position to buy equipment or have any capital behind me. The money in the pre-school isn't much but again more than I could cover. I think as managers as well we all work so hard already I am concerned that I might not be able to find any more hours to do it all properly. Yet this week alone we have lost our treasurer again this will be the 4th or 5th since October, the chair has had enough and wants to step down. One member of my team is on an improvement practice measure so needs policing, one due to unexpected home situation is leaving at Easter and we have only just found out, so unless I can find someone in a week (as we are shut after this for Easter and I am on holiday) we cant open as I don't have enough staff. The chair is a qualified level three and wants to come work for us as she wants to get back into work but then I will have no chair and still cant open. I have spent the last week trying to get someone else to stand even if its only until October in the hope that some one brilliant will appear in the Summer or Autumn term.

The wages are just one more issue.

lots of food for thought

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The staffing problems for me are enough to know I wouldn't want to do it.

It sounds awful, but at least I know I could walk away if I really, really wanted but if it was my own business I wouldn't be able to.

Staffing problems are always there whether committee run or not.

BUT I really, really know how hard it is with getting a committee together, in fact I'm still only running with a Chair :-(

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thumerrabbit how do you get around not having the other officer roles? do you just no mention it?

Who ever asks?!

Maybe we will struggle if Ofsted ask, but not sure if they do? They certainly haven't in the past but then that's just typically because we used to have great committees - it's only been the last 2 years that we've struggled.

We 2 have staff members and my husband does the treasury role - but the only current parent is the chair

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it's amazing just how many of us are in the same boat! We are not renewing our PSLA membership next month so we are free to make changes which hopefully will be fairly easy as we aren't a charity. We are leaning towards a Community Interest Company. Once the changes are made we will join the PSLA once again.

 

Regarding Ofsted...... We were just inspected on a concern and even though they knew I have very little support from our committee (which is virtually none existent at this point) they still didn't ask who they were or to speak to them.... They didn't even check names as they had in the past, so don't worry too much.

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yeah I agree it does seem like we are all experiencing similar problems and finding similar solutions. I did think about trying to see if we could change to a community interest group, been looking into it although there has been so much else going on still not 100% sure I know what it all entails. I do feel that I could AHEMM run things better (can I say that) but I think I will take Easter to think on it at the moment I am a little demoralised so probably not the best time to make any decisions.

The committee is having an emergency meeting on Monday to try and sort themselves out, I know for a fact the chair is stepping down, she has already updated everything to hand over. Staffing is still not sorted and tomorrow is our last day before Easter so how I will open after that I am not sure I am determined however to get some time off and not work all through because they haven't got their finger out!!!

I know its not the chairs fault she has worked so hard with no support! I can't really see us closing but not sure how we can stay open either.

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