Par­ent power en­sures pre-school stays

Hyde Heath turns im­por­tant cor­ner and now has a ‘bright fu­ture’ just a year af­ter be­ing threat­ened with clo­sure

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

Par­ents at Hyde Heath Pre-School have come for­ward to vol­un­teer for the man­age­ment com­mit­tee and the ap­point­ment of a new man­ager.

Last year, the pre-school was fac­ing clo­sure be­cause three trustees and the chair­man re­signed at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing.

A com­bi­na­tion of no longer hav­ing chil­dren in the pre-school and longterm ill health left a di­min­ished com­mit­tee.

The pre-school made a public plea for trustees and, luck­ily, vol­un­teers came for­ward to ful­fill the va­cant chair­per­son and sec­re­tary roles.

Shortly af­ter­wards the man­ager had to re­sign due to long-term ill health.

To­day, the pre-school is thriv­ing un­der new man­ager Claire Ruther­ford and new chair­per­son Ali­son Cordiner’s su­per­vi­sion.

Ms Cordiner took over the role of chair­per­son in re­sponse to the public plea from the trustees of the pre-school.

She said: “The very real prospect of the vil­lage no longer hav­ing a pre-school would have been very sad, which is why I vol­un­teered to take on the role.

“I was in­volved as trea­surer years ago when my [now teenage] chil­dren at­tended. If fam­i­lies are forced to travel out­side of the vil­lage for early years ed­u­ca­tion, it would po­ten­tially have an ef­fect on the in­fant school too.”

Ms Ruther­ford comes from a back­ground of 17 years of ex­pe­ri­ence with pre-school age chil­dren, hav­ing spent the past nine years work­ing as a nurs­ery leader in Hemel Hemp­stead.

She is ex­cited about the fu­ture of Hyde Heath PreSchool, adding: “I am so ex­cited to be given the op­por­tu­nity to give the preschool a new fo­cus for the fu­ture. By pur­chas­ing new re­sources and equip­ment, the chil­dren can at­tend a pre-school which of­fers a stim­u­lat­ing en­vi­ron­ment with ex­cel­lent learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Ms Ruther­ford has been in the po­si­tion since Novem­ber and has al­ready im­ple­mented a staff train­ing sched­ule for on­go­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment of the four per­ma­nent mem­bers of staff. The pre-school is now un­der­go­ing mod­erni­sa­tion, hav­ing in­vested in new out­door equip­ment in­clud­ing bikes and push chairs, with more im­prove­ment to the out­door area planned in the near fu­ture.

New re­sources to­talling £3,500 have been pur­chased for the preschool, in­clud­ing art and craft ma­te­ri­als, age ap­pro­pri­ate ed­u­ca­tional toys and games, a light box, ta­bles, stor­age equip­ment, a sofa and two new iPads in or­der to up­date the preschool’s learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment. The preschool has a char­ity sta­tus and is in­de­pen­dently run by a vol­un­tary par­ents com­mit­tee.

It has long­stand­ing close links to Hyde Heath In­fant School, rent­ing a room and small play­ground area within the site and us­ing its hall and out­door play­ground when ap­pro­pri­ate.

It op­er­ates morn­ings and af­ter­noons, through­out term time with highly qual­i­fied staff and re­ceived a ‘good’ Oftsed rat­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

For the last year it has also run a baby and tod­dler group in the nearby vil­lage hall on Mon­day morn­ings.

Teacher Louise Mar­shall with chil­dren last year when the school faced clo­sure

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