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starsdance

Moving to school site

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Has anybody else moved their pre-school from a village hall to a school site and succeeded?  We are a small village pre school that has run from the village hall for the last 40 years but have struggled for children. I think we have exhausted all the children in the village who have been through me in the past so are relying on children from the outlying villages and towns. As a consequence of this the village school is really struggling. We are sending them 2 children this year and they will have only 4 in reception for September and 7 in Year 1. They are a junior school so only go up to Y2.  In the past they haven't wanted much to do with us as we had asked a long time ago if we could merge and they said no. Come to now and the lack of children and I was asked today if I thought it was a good idea that we are merging. Now, I didn't know anything about this and said so! Quick backtrack to say it was only an idea but what a good idea.

Is it though? It would mean our own building which would not be a packaway as we are at the moment. They say they wouldn't interfere but would they?

Can you please let me know if you have done this and have you benefited massively or has it been a nightmare.

Thanks 

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Wow starsdance those numbers are incredible - I am seriously surprised that they haven't closed - that would be the case in my area - close and merge with next nearest primary

If you gave up your village hall and the above happened next year or sometime in the near future would you be able to return to your hall?

Sorry not much help really......

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I think Sunnyday has a very valid point...they need you but you don't need them They are in a very unstable position and putting your eggs in their basket may be a big mistake. If they close do you end up closing too?

Maybe a good bargaining tool though with your current lanlords...do you want need anything from them? you could say you have had an offer from the school but would like to stay if they gave you xxxxxxxx/////?????

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They say they will never close as they are a CofE school and have the backing of the diocese. But - never say never. That is a good point to bear in mind. 

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Hi, my mum was a school governor at a CofE Junior school, that was struggling with pupil numbers. Eventually two schools were merged as it was the only option. The diocese won't close it unless they have to but those numbers are very low!

 

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Sorry for the late replies - have had an evening at the cinema (we saw McQueen, and it's very good if anyone wants to see it :) ) Unfortunately, our current landlords (the village hall) have no money so really do rely on us to keep going. I know this isn't a reason to stay but they have been good to us.

There is no option for the school to merge with another. It is only an infant school and the children move up to another CofE school which is a couple of miles away. This other school runs from Reception so if the first school closed the children could be absorbed into it.

I worry about losing our identity. Would people still consider us as a pre-school if they have no intention of sending their children to the school of whose site we share? Would they only think that if they came to us they would have to go there? I know that parents can choose whichever school they like but some parents don't. Also, I could see the school doing a hard sell on my parents to try and boost their numbers. 

I presume we would have to have two separate Ofsted's as we are too separate companies. Would this cause problems? 

I'm really not sure about it but can't quite put my finger on why. I think it's the desperation in how I was asked today as if it was a done deal.  I have emailed my Chair who has now had an apology from one of the people who asked me as it was something they had discussed at their last Governors meeting but was to go no further.......yet. I'm bloody annoyed that they've even discussed us and makes we want to stick two fingers up at them even more.  

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We are a small pre-school in a rural and quite isolated village.  We rent a room from the school and it has been suggested (by the school) that we come under their ownership.  I have always and will always fight against this.  Purely because I believe that they would change our running completely. I think they would stick a qualified teacher and one member of staff in to run from 8-5 everyday and the finances would be soaked up within the school system.  We work closely with the school which benefits the children but still remain independent.

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zigzag we are the same as you, rent a classroom from a local primary school. The school have just become an academy and they have approached me with regards the pre-school coming under the school umbrella! I don't think i will have much choice but to agree, I feel that if I don't they will hand me 6 weeks notice to move out. I have a level 6 but no teaching degree but they are asking me to stay and run the Pre-School for them working alongside their EYFS leader. Think it is a sign of the times and can see my pre-school becoming part of the school.

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Bit late joining this thread but wanted to add i'm also in limbo with school. A few years ago they tried to open a Foundation Unit which was to be made up of 7 x 4 year olds included in their Reception class. This was quashed by us and parents. Prior to this we had an agreement to build a preschool in the school grounds but could not find enough finance. This was when a new Head suddenly tells us that we can't build on site. 2 years later we have  worked with the Neighbourhood planning group to be included under community fund from new houses to get a purpose built preschool which is not on school land. But - and here is the big BUT numbers into school have decreased - 12 in Reception in September - and school have contacted and offered a classroom. This i declined as in other comments i don't trust they won't toss us out in the future. Currently we struggle in the village hall because of setting up each day and not having enough time to offer 30 hours. School have now come back offering us the land we previously had earmarked and suggested using the community fund to build there. This has split the parents/committee and staff because parents would like one drop of point and better working with school ; committee don't trust school and staff don't want interference from the Head. Really don't know where to go from here - what does anyone think?

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Personally I would continue with the plan that you have now and avoid the school.  I know it’s hard for us Pre-schools these days but at least you will be independent and could then concentrate on building up good transitions with the school rather than being possibly taken over by them.

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Thank you Zigzag. Yes it is tough being a preschool. Currently schools seem to be so concerned with money and hitting targets today that i wonder about the outcomes for some children particularly those with additional needs

 

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The treasurer of my village hall is becoming awkward and my Chair would love to tell them to stuff it and move to the school site. My biggest fear is that the children who come to us do so as we are not affiliated to a particular school. They are free to go where they want - obviously we recommend the local school but don't pressure them into going. We feel this would change once we are on their site and parents who would've chosen us won't as they had no intention of sending their child there. It's a hard choice - for us it would be good as we wouldn't be a packaway setting but I can see parents not considering us. Oh well, time will tell. 

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I am on a school site and run independently.  Most of the children who come to us will go to the school but I do have quite a few who will not meet the school's faith based criteria and so go to other schools.

I have a 10 year lease and there are break clauses and I think the school has to give us a term's notice to leave.

In reality if the head teacher left and another took over and felt that the nursery would be better in their hands there is very little I could do about it..  But when I ran from a local church hall there were similar "threats."  If the Church was offered a higher rent from a martial arts group I would be asked to clear my cupboard to make space for them.  so sadly we are never in a secure place.

In answer Starsdance make sure all the parents are aware of the schools you feed into, I often say "yes most of our children went to... but 5 of our children went, 2 went to..  and it was really nice when i went to visit the school and meet the teachers at.... School and they have a fabulous outdoor space."  This does help to reassure parents that you help all children with the transition.

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