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
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