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Help Pre-School Relocation


LouiseP
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Hi,

 

I'm joint supervisor at a charity committee run pack away pre-school operating from the village hall 4 mornings a week. Our numbers are going to be very low in September (8 Children), we have advertised, held open days etc etc., As staff we feel the only thing we can do is cut hours/staffing with the hope that we can raise them again if numbers go up. Our committee have decided that they want us to relocate within the village to a small football pavilion in the playing field as the rent is cheaper and we could open five days a week. The staff feel the new location is wholly unsuitable as it is v small and has no fenced off safe area for the children - we feel strongly we would compromise what we offer the children in our 'outstanding' setting. We have told the committee if the relocation goes ahead all the staff will be leaving. We are also concerned that the families that will be affected in September are being kept in the dark and have not been given a say (majority of committee's children will move onto school in Sept). The new location has been inspected by ofsted last year when a holiday club was set up there. Myself and the other joint supervisor are the 'registered person' for ofsted.

 

Can the committee make this decision on their own?

 

If the staff left I'm guessing there would have to be a re-registration for the new registered person? and if so could this be a lengthy process?

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, we tried PSLA Lawcall but they tell us they are only there for committee members.

 

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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

 

This isn't a very happy situation at all. Is there any way that you could get a rent reduction until Christmas to tide you over a bit if you explain the situation to the hall committee - they won't want to lose you as a regular user, I wouldn't have thought.

 

The Ofsted inspection for holiday club won't have been as thorough as one for a preschool, and it would have to be inspected again at any rate, so that argument doesn't stand.

 

If it's unsuitable for safeguarding reasons, then you will have to use that as your main thrust. Can you visit it with the chairperson for a walk through?

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Thanks Cait, yes this is something we have looked into and the hall committee are very supportive and have said they would help us out, we already get the cheapest hirer rate of about £5 an hour and they would look to reduce. The pre-school committee and particularly the chair seem very determined to relocate to 'save the pre-school'. The inside of the pavilion is nicely decorated but extremely small so we feel we wouldn't be able to offer all the continuous provision we do now (let alone storage problems). We have talked about safety the committee say they will erect a fence but this would have to be high and sturdy as there are dogs off their leads in the field also we run the risk of property getting damaged by people climbing the fence etc., of an evening. I will look further into the safeguarding argument to put to the committee! Thank you

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something else to consider with a shared pavilion is that during foootball season, you might come in to cleaning issues, nasty toilets and all manner of 'blokey' stuff. I share with a sprts club and those are the main issues...........

 

BUT, having a huge playing field next to us is a wonderful bonus. Yes people exercise their dogs, but we teach the children about dog safety and the fields give us wonderful opportunities to explore, so don't dismiss the proposed new location out of hand, thinks about hw you could make it work if it went ahead, rather than the negatives. You're Outstanding.........I bet you'd keep that standard up wherever you run from

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Thank you Narnia, I know what you are saying but we have thought long and hard about the new premises making lists for and against. Yes cleaning would be another issue esp after other users as they don't have a cleaner and it would be up to us! Yes there would be potential benefits for the playing field enabling us to do forest school types of activities etc., At the hall we have lovely free flow play inside and outdoors. The outside area is purely for our use with a garden area, mud kitchen, soft play and outdoor toys - its safe and accessible to all. Also at the new location there is a private day nursery just a short distance (it is very busy they are building an extension) this setting is also outstanding with lovely grounds etc., - I know we have great staff but future parents comparing settings?

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Yes agreed it is my life too!! with a husband and son both football players!!

 

........... but this is a worrying situation and I am concerned I will lose good staff - I have contacted the Citizens Advice as well to see if they can help from a legal stand point.

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Also will you have to re-register if the address is different as you can only relocate to new premises for 14 working days? Check as this may be your saving grace!!

 

Whilst not being absolutely sure about re-registration it is not a quick process and takes a couple of months (tells you on the Ofsted web site) during which you can't open!!

 

Why do I know this? Last year the setting I was employed at had to relocate due to issues with our heating. We were given 14 working days by Ofsted and when I asked if we could stay longer was told quite categorically that we would be breaking the law if we did and they would close us. We could however move to another temporary premises for you guessed it 14 working days!

 

You are a committee - use parent power, get those not on the committee on your side!!

 

Good luck

Edited by PaseyLtd
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It is possible for a committee to make the decision,but I would expect them to ask the parents as well of their views, especially those expecting to stay and any booked for the next year..

 

just a few thoughts..

 

I think it is not as simple as they think.. I too believe it would be a re registration of a new business at the new address, and all that entails, not a fast process. ... We wanted to move to hall next door and they wanted us to re register.. decided to stay in the end..

 

If they want to move they should also factor in the cost of cleaning materials and a cleaner and not expect staff to do it.This may cost more than expected. We went through this with a committee. They did hire someone when we insisted one of them came in and did it as we were not contracted to clean up others mess, and refused to open until it had been done as it was unsafe for the children in the state it had been left it in.

 

Numbers may be low at the moment but in a smaller space what is the maximum that could attend..would this have an impact on staffing if less than your current maximum numbers.

 

Storage.. always an issue , you do need enough space to put it all away.

 

I assume you would be allowed to fence off a play area.. I know at our local pavillion it would not be possible..

 

It may work.. so could be worth considering.. maybe a scaling down to a smaller more intimate setting.. I always preferred a smaller space , less room to run , and found it easier to work with the children as it was usually quieter..

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Committee are quoting finance but

You need to re-register which will cost time and money

The fencing will be expensive and possibly require planning permission (again time and money)

Equipment will need moving ...another cost

What's the difference between rents? I would suspect that a small amount of money spent on targeted adverts may outweigh the costs of moving.

can you change hours at the hall you are at? it does seem to cause huge issues when not open every day or for extended hours during the week.

Can you increase income any other way?

Have you worked out how many children you can have in the pavilion ? is it enough to cover your possible numbers??

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Hi LouiseP

 

First of all congratulations -you actually have a committee! There again this can be a good thing or not.

 

I do feel that all parents must be informed of the situation. I would be calling an emergency meeting for everyone to explain the situation and if you are part of the PLA they have a right to vote even if not actualy on the committee, I'm sure they can have a say. Might need to check on the constitution if you have one?

 

When we had to move, some of the parents who would have stayed with us in th September, couldn't only because of the location. They didn't drive and would have to mess about with buses. We also ended up with only 8 children. Luckily we had enough money to keep us going for the year, then we would have to re-asses. There is only 3 staff so we cut our days down as only needed 2 staff per session. Like you we sent out posters especially to Toddler groups, put adverts in magazins etc. To be honest though it was word of mouth from ex/current parents which eventually got our numbers up to where they are at present with 23 on the books. We only have 15 per session as village hall room is quite small, but we now have a bonus of an outside play area, which we never had in the old venue. This has also been good for recrutment of new children, as other settings round us dont have one. Sept we will be down again, but then after Christmas when the children are funded they will take the 5 sessions and we will be up to 11/12 per session.

 

Sorry gone on a bit there. I think what I am trying to point out is that committees come and go, but you the staff will still be there and have to cary on with the decision they make.Then depending on how long they have left to serve on the committee, they eventually leave but the damage has been done.

 

I am with you on this one to stay where you are and do what you have suggested very sensible. Moving is such a hassle with all the paperwork, Ofsted, moving equipment etc etc I could go on. Been there, done it, worn the t-shirt.

 

STEP AWAY FROM THE PAVILION!

 

Good luck

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Thank you for your feedback I will speak to ofsted about re registering and put to the chair that we would need to employ a cleaner. Our hall does become smaller for 1 month in the year as a stage is put up and I agree Inge that this makes for a much more intimate setting but the new location is much smaller at the moment we can have 25 children and at the new premises it would be 14 children (this is what we've been quoted but think we need to measure as this seems far too many children for the size of the room). I agree with you (manor) that it will be a big hassle to move at our current hall we have a large inside cupboard, a large filing cabinet in the meeting room and two large sheds full of resources outside. The pavilion has a large container at the bottom of the field for the sports/football club and the only other place we could use would have to be the changing rooms unless we fundraised for some secure outside storage together with a sturdy fence.

 

Over the last couple of years we have tried to offer extended hours to meet the needs of parents but have tended to find parents nowadays use their 15 hours but spread thinly over the week and often don't do any extra with us and then we have children who use funding at nursery and then maybe just do 6 hours a week with us. With regard to opening times, we are unable to have the hall on a Tuesday as this has been used by the bowls club for the past 30+ years, the committee have tried to get this moved with the hall committee but as our village hall is a community hall donated to the village the staff understand why the bowls club want to stay - most of the members are elderly and wouldn't want to use the hall in an evening particular on cold, dark evenings.

 

We held an Extra Ordinary Meeting at the end of May to vote on whether we dissolve the pre-school or continue. We had very few parents whose children will be there in Sept, the majority where committee members who have stayed on but children have gone onto school or committee parents of those leaving this year. They voted to keep us open. We then had a crisis meeting a couple of weeks ago whereby the committee pushed for the relocation to the pavilion but this wasn't put to the vote it was what the committee felt was the right move. The committee have met on their own this week and have put figures together for staying where we are with reduced hours/staffing against the figures of moving to the pavilion and they will be feeding their decision back to us tomorrow. In the meantime, I shall be sending the parents for September a questionnaire today giving them the options and asking for their feedback.

 

Sorry for the dis-jointed rushed reply - all becoming a big headache and difficult to think straight!!

 

Thank you for all your replies :1b much appreciated

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