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Annual General Meeting 2013 – Chairs Report

Ben Rhydding Preschool Playgroup Chair’s Report 2012-13

This year has, as ever, been another busy year at Playgroup. The focus for the committee in the previous year was:

• Assessing what parents and carers wanted from Playgroup;

• Ensuring we were as flexible and responsive as possible to those needs; and

• The marketing of our new facilities. The success of our last committee’s aims has certainly come to fruition with consistently strong attendance figures throughout the year.

This year we have:

• Redesigned and launched a brand new website;

• Changed the, much debated, ‘Stay and Play’ policy to be more flexible and fairer to all parents and carers*, with positive reactions; and

• Employed a part-time Admin Assistant, to assist staff and committee members with the growing amount of necessary administrational duties, due to large attendance numbers and longer opening hours.

*Details of this are attached at the end of the report.


• 2012-13 was the playgroup’s busiest year so far regarding admissions. The decision (taken last year) to open for a Wednesday afternoon session proved to be the right one, as by the end of the year almost all sessions were running at full capacity. By the last term there were 36 children on the roll in the older group and 27 children in the younger group.

• Starting next year in September 2013 our attendance numbers (out of a possible 25) are: Monday am 25 pm 25 Tuesday am 25 pm 20 Wednesday am 24 pm 20 Thursday am 14 pm 15 Friday am 14 pm 9

Staffing Our excellent team of staff, of whom we are very proud, have completed a number of vocational qualifications throughout the year.

• Peggy Witty, our Joint Leader, has completed her Batchelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Studies gaining a first class honours.

• Imy Gurney (Playgroup Practitioner) has been developing the Early Language Lead Practitioner role with further training as our ECAT (Every Child a Talker) Representative.

• Hannah Lyons (Playgroup Practitioner) has completed higher level child protection training and an outdoor play course.

• The majority of staff have updated their first aid qualifications.

• Tricia Darlow (Joint Leader) is currently working on the field committee which is looking at how to improve the playing field we occupy. Suggestions have included a level football pitch, trim trail and sensory wooded area.

• Sandy Leach will sadly be leaving Playgroup at the end of this term and going to work full-time at her current position at Dixons Academy in Bradford.

• Bela Shaw sadly left us at Easter for a full-time Teaching Assistant role at Ben Rhydding Primary School.

• On the flip side however, we are happy to announce that Sarah Joynson joined us in January as a Playgroup Assistant and Helen Northway joined us as our new Administration Assistant in April. They have both become valuable members of our team.

• The revised Early Years Foundation Stage has been implemented by all staff.

• We also have some wonderful casual members of staff who have made themselves available at the last minute to cover any staff shortages.


• For the financial year ending on 2nd July 2012 our accounts showed we made a surplus of £6253. We raised £1744.54 through fundraising

• Our hard-earned fundraising money has been spent so far on fruit trees, bedding plants, gardening equipment, further windows in the fence to smile through, big wooden building blocks to construct spaceships and obstacle courses, a replacement easel, storage trolleys for toys, and the wardrobe upgrading of our extremely well travelled bears, Baxter and Beatrice. Who now have their own Trunkies, skateboards and Jedi costumes!

• Remaining money is to be spent over the next couple of months on new ICT equipment, further outdoor play equipment and more maths based play equipment.

• We have used Morrisons “lets grow” vouchers on seeds and tools, and Tesco sports vouchers on foam building bricks.

• A really big thank you also to John Beevers and SAGARS Accountants for preparing our Annual Accounts. Administration

• All policies have been reviewed and updated in accordance with Early Years Foundation Stage requirements

Monthly activities round up

• The year started with a visit from Tempest Photography

• A coffee morning was held for new and old parents to get together, meet new people, have a chat drink tea/coffee and eat cake ☺

• Lynne Wright Dance Company came in for free to give the children a variety of dance sessions.

• The Christmas Shopping Night proved to be another enjoyable evening although numbers and takings were down on previous years.

• The nativity play that the children performed was extremely popular. It was a joy to see the children dressed up, looking very cute and singing their hearts out. The play was filmed and DVDs were sold. The older group also had their annual trip to Kirkwood residential home where they performed again.

• The older group enjoyed a fun filled Christmas party led by professional children’s entertainers.

• The primary schools cross country race was held on the field and allowed us to fundraise selling teas/coffees and hot chocolates to complement donated cakes and biscuits and wonderful bacon butties cooked fresh on the bbq.

• The staff were hugely successful in holding an Open Day which has contributed to the healthy numbers of children starting.

• The Easter performance took place in April with the children singing their favourite songs. It was well attended by parents who stayed for some Easter refreshments and a fantastic raffle with prizes generously donated from local businesses including Nell Bank, and Harewood House

• The Pamper Evening was held at Preschool. This is the 8th time it has run and as always proved very popular with pampering, shopping and wine on tap!

• Ben Rhydding children came to Preschool to host a buddy picnic with a theme of “goodies and baddies”. Lots of fun was had by all and the pre-school children enjoyed meeting and playing with the older children.

• In June both groups visited Nell Bank and enjoyed it immensely (as did the staff!)

• Lots of visitors from the local community have visited: The Health Visiting Team came in and talked to the children about “new baby”, healthy eating, tooth care and personal hygiene. PC Brian Southgate came (no arrests this year!). The tropical bug lady came in to show the children all manner of bugs and beasties and the PLA funded a native bugs session where the children learnt and made British beastie habitats.

• We had transition visits to Ben Rhydding Primary School.

• Playgroup had a stall at The Ben Rhydding fete selling used toys and providing games and face painting

• Emma Draper has been teaching Zumba to some of the children.

• We have had a variety of weeks including Pirate week, Bug week, Sushi week. • In July we will be holding a leavers performance which we are all looking forward to.


The numbers have increased over the last year to see full capacity in most sessions as we finish the year. The main change to admissions was the decision taken to facilitate the government’s two year old offer. As this offer entitles certain children to fifteen hours of childcare, the committee decided to open some of the sessions other than Thursday and Friday mornings to under threes. This has never been done before, and was agreed on a trial basis. In practice, this did not work very well, as some of the under threes struggled to settle in the group alongside much older children. It was felt by the staff that the mix of ages was not positive for either the younger or the older children. The decision has now been taken by the committee that under threes should not be put into the older group sessions, and therefore from September 2013 under threes will only be offered Thursday and Friday mornings, with other sessions to be made available as appropriate when they turn three.” Following a trial intake of 2 year old places it was decided that in future the 2 year old offer must have a cap on numbers and only the small group sessions would be available for these children until they are older, but this will be done on a case by case basis.

Contrary to Government guidelines, we have brought in extra staff to increase the adult to child ratio where appropriate. Attendance numbers look extremely healthy for September 2013 with 14 children starting and 2 more children starting in January 2013 this is possibly our best ever start to the year. Never before have we began a new year with full sessions.

Playgroup and Ben Rhydding Primary School have been holding regular meetings throughout the year and also including Little Lane Childrens Centre. The working relationship goes from strength to strength.

A massive thank you goes to the hard working staff: Tricia, Peggy, Helen, Imy, Lana, Hannah, Sandy, Katie, Sarah, Chris and Helen for their continued commitment and energy! Going beyond the call of duty in working extra hours at weekends and evenings for the charity events deserves an extra special than you.

Thank you also to the playgroup committee who give up their free time to support us and they have all done a great job this year: Charlotte Norton – Treasurer, Bea Knight – Secretary, Jen McCloy – Admissions, Sarah Burke – Duty Rota, Susannah Oliver – Social/Fundraising, Emma Home – Social/Fundraising, Juliet Green – marketing/ Social, Rachel McKay – Fundraising .

Emma Wood and Carriane Bridgen – Joint Chair July 2013.

* Stay and Play Policy

Ben Rhydding Pre-School Playgroup operates a ‘Stay and Play’ rota for parents to attend a session and participate in helping in the running of that session. Stay and Play is a rewarding experience, enabling a parent to see their child in the preschool setting. The children benefit greatly from parents involvement and play group staff have an extra resource to enable them to focus on their primary role of care and education of the children. This is done on a volunteer basis.

A blank rota sheet with all the half terms sessions by day will be put up on the notice board outside preschool for parents to fill in. Parents should enter their name next to the session/(s) they can volunteer help on. Parents can volunteer for multiple sessions if they wish. Parents should then tick their name off the list of parent’s names next to the blank rota sheet. The sheets will be put up two weeks before the end of the previous term. Stay and play can be done by a child’s parent, grandparent or a carer. Duties of a stay and play volunteer include: Play and interaction with the children. Helping with snack time Helping with clearing up time Progression of Stay and Play Rota role There has been a change in policy of the Stay and Play rota during the year 2012/2013. The old policy consisted of assigning Stay and Play duty sessions to those able to attend, in proportion to the number of sessions their child attends. However the pool of parents available was becoming very narrow and we were struggling to cover some sessions. Some parents were also feeling the number of sessions they were being asked to cover was becoming excessive. As from Easter we trialed operating a volunteer Stay and Play rota policy where we hoped all parents would sign up for at least one Stay and Play session each term. This would increase the pool of volunteers as grandparents or other carers could cover sessions if parents aren’t available. So far the policy change has been received really positively with many new parents taking up Stay and Play sessions and most sessions being covered. The committee has taken the decision to make the policy change permanent.


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