Minutes of committee meeting held on 18th June 2018

Minutes of the meeting of Esklets Preschool Committee on 18th June 2018.

1.      Present; Present: Helen Beadnall, Jane Wright, Anna Watson, Katie Underwood, Alix Lillie, Alison Hodgson, Robbie Wilson, Kate Smith, Lizzie Watson and Rachel Todd.

2.      Apologies; Received from Jo Kevan and Jennifer Littlewood.

3.      Minutes of last meeting; A copy of the minutes was distributed to all present and all agreed that they were a true and correct record.

4.      Matters arising: None.

5.      Sustainability and opening hours; In September the number of children attending the setting falls dramatically and the remainder of the children are very young so do not attend as often.  There are no families accessing 30hours at Esklets as there were this past year.  Based on the attendance of the children as known at this time it is predicted that the funded hours will drop from 297 to 97.5.  It is likely that this will increase slightly as families start to think ahead and choose to take additional hours or new children join the setting.  However we can only work with the hours we have at present.  There was a discussion about why we may not appeal to working families.  The reasons put forward included being a term time only setting, limited opening hours and rural location.  However in some respects these may also appeal to other families who want their child to access childcare in their local community.  It was agreed that whilst longer opening hours may appeal to some there was limited demand at the present and would result in more staff hours by spreading children across longer periods.  We have good links with local childminders who can bring children to Esklets and collect them.  Some members of staff were willing to run a holiday club during the summer holiday but this would not be possible this summer due to the proposed building works.  The following ideas were proposed to increase  awareness of our setting and what we can offer; visit Mrs Lillie’s music club on some Wednesdays to meet young parents, increase our facebook presence by posting information about activities planned so that parents are constantly reminded about Esklets.  Promotion of Esklets should also be investigated at the Doctor’s surgery (Babygroup).  It was suggested we hold open days and taster sessions and events such as the Water day, a den building afternoon, baking day etc.  Personal invitations to the open days and other events could be handed out to parents.  It was agreed to hold open days on 10th and 17th July.  Alix Lillie also offered to hold a music session at Esklets in September.  Kate and staff to organise.

Lizzie agreed to contact the David Ross foundation to see if they could offer any financial support.  Helen Beadnall said the Children in Need had given long term support to a school on Orkney which also suffered from a limited pool of pupils.  She would investigate further.  It was suggested that NYCC may offer sparsity but Kate said that she had approached the NYCC business support and we would need to provide a detailed cash flow and occupancy figures which she is working on.  She also thought that sparsity funding may no longer be available and that we may have too much money in reserve.  Our staffing level will remain relatively high due to the support we provide for children with additional needs, however this is now completely funded by NYCC.

It was decided to remain term time only for the moment but to review the situation at each committee meeting.  It was also agreed to reduce our opening hours from 8am to 8.30am and to close at 3.30.  This would reduce staff hours by an hour each day as staff would only be paid until 3.30.

6.      Office/restroom – the proposed cost of building work and electrician for this project is £7,800.25 excluding furnishing and floor coverings.  It was debated if we should proceed with this project given the uncertainty of our situation.  After much discussion it was agreed that it would provide more options such as younger children having somewhere to nap so being able to stay longer as well as the possibility of taking children aged 1 to 2 years.  All committee members voted on continuing with this building work (Staff abstained) with it being agreed unanimously to continue.  Kate to look into the implications regarding ratios, space, insurance etc regarding taking children from 1year old.

7.      Maintenance of premises; it was agreed to suspend maintenance for now unless provided by the Men’s shed which do not charge.

8.      Safeguarding update;  Online safety is now important and links will be posted on the website for parents to access information about keeping children safe online.

9.      Children’s end of term party; It was agreed to hold a party on the last day of term at Danby Moors Centre.  It may be possible to book a room in the event of bad weather.

10.  Adult’s summer meal; All agreed that this was an enjoyable event and that they were happy to go to the Postgate Inn at Egton again.  The date chosen was Thursday 19th July.

11.  The meeting concluded as there was no other business.