AGM 2017-18

Middleton Cheney Pre-School Limited End of Year Report


Please note: This report covers the last financial period April 17 to March 18 and is part of our submission requirements to the various governing bodies.


It is hard to believe that we have been in our new premises for a year, having moved in during April 2017. It has been a year which has seen the setting grow and develop, and go from strength to strength.


Our much loved old premises had served us well for many years, but changes in the curriculum and the ever growing demands imposed by OFSTED and the Government, meant that it had become increasingly hard to maintain the high standards of education and care so deserved by our children. The move to our new building was difficult, and at times seemed impossible, with many hurdles and acres of red tape to overcome, but it was worth the effort and persistence, and has led to huge improvements in the service we offer.


By far the greatest change for us has been the addition of an outside area. At the end of our first day in the new building, the children were asked to comment on their favourite thing they had done that day – it would perhaps be expected that they would talk about the new toys and equipment, instead of which the majority replied “Running - just running!”.


The impact of this open space on their wellbeing is beyond measure and the installation of our new shared courtyard area along with the recent completion of the play boat in the main garden, has encouraged even our most reticent pupils to get out into the fresh air.


One of our greatest successes this year, came in the summer term with the development of our link with the Cheney House Care Home. We have been taking small groups of children up to Cheney house to sing songs and read stories, and we have also had a visit to the setting from a couple of the residents. The benefits to the children and to our elderly friends at Cheney House are evident to see, with the children asking to go on visits and the residents asking when we are coming back! We will be continuing this project in September.

April 2018 saw us full with 79 children on our role, the vast majority of which are from the village.


Our staffing has remained stable, and we have also welcomed Emma Thomas in the new role of Administrator. This has taken an amount of pressure off the Manager with jobs such as managing the Waiting List, but she has mainly taken on many of the jobs done in the past by Directors e.g. funding, billing and wages, which were often tricky to do efficiently when this work was being done alongside full time day jobs. Her commitment and hard work is very much appreciated and she has become an invaluable part of the staff team


Staff have undertaken training in areas such as communication and language, science for the young, ‘Happy Healthy Me’, safeguarding and First aid. We did however lose two much loved members of staff from our permanent staff team – Claire decided not to return after maternity leave and Lesley retired after 29 years. It is an indication of the strength of our staff team that both wish to remain on our Relief Staff Register.

This has been another very busy but successful year for the Pre School.  We have invested heavily on the outdoor spaces in our wonderful new setting which the children and staff love. In 2017/18 the team focused on improvements to our outside areas, looking to increase usability, improve safety and bring the outside areas up to the standard of our lovely indoor space. Its been a major success, the kids have loved their new areas and its been a huge benefit making the areas more accessible whatever the weather. Its also had a positive effect in doors which the canopy helping to lower temperatures during the summer months and significantly less mud being trampled in from the garden.

Courtyard = Total spend of £30,410.41: Broken down as follows = £19,800 canopy, £9,936.16 flooring, £464 pole safety pads, £134.94 costumes, £77.31 planter and tyre painting. Donations = £500 Parish council, £19,999 South Northants Community Fund, Tesco £500, and the rest from our fundraising reserves.

Garden: Boat and groundworks = Total spend £3,862.98. Funded through 2017/18 fundraising activities.

Within the management team John Taylor plans to step down as a director and will only take on anything to do with the building and potential sale from now on. Kate continues to be a Director and we have welcomed Taiba Smith from the management team as a Director. Alongside the Directors are a management team made up of Frankie Martin, Vikki Harris and Alli Collier.

This year we have been busy rewriting and checking policies to ensure they are up to date. We have also managed to chase and secure approximately £3600 in bad debts which we have reinvested on new toys for the setting.

Finances are looking good thanks to the continued efforts of the fundraising team. We have a strong fundraising team and we are very grateful of the time and effort they give to the Pre School in order to keep raising money to enhance the Pre School. Throughout the year we held a total of seven fundraising events all of which proved very profitable for the Pre school.

2017 saw the introduction of our Christmas Fayre which enabled us to raise an additional £917.46. The event was so successful that we have decided to make this an annual event.

A massive thank you goes out to Pete Marsh and all the volunteers that came out to help with the Christmas float. The weather wasn’t on our side, but it made for a very magical weekend for the whole of the village. After rebuilding the float, we raised an amazing £1,707.30.

The Easter Eggstravanza proved so popular this year that we have now decided the event needs to be held at a bigger venue. We are hopeful that this will enable us to raise a lot more money this year. This event raised £2396.76.

We also had the added benefit of receiving matched funding from a number of parents / volunteers last year. The companies they work for agreed to donate a lump sum to the preschool - £1160.00 to be exact, if they helped at our events.

As a whole the Pre school fundraisers made a grant total of £29,348.42 in the 2017/2018 academic year (This includes the grants previously mentioned by Kate) or £9,148.42 without the grants.

Last year was a huge year of change, with many financial projects undertaken. We are looking towards this next year with more of a steady spend as we don’t face the financial challenges we did in the last financial year. 

As a registered charity we rely on prompt payment from parents as well as funding through the government, so please bare this in mind when settling invoices and reconfirming government funding status.

We look towards the future with great optimism, as the setting changes and evolves to meet the needs of the children, staff and parents at the setting. We would also at this point like to pay tribute to the part played by Dave Edwards (Director and Trustee), who died suddenly and unexpectedly in October 2017 aged 50. His boundless energy and enthusiasm, along with a total belief in the importance of early years education and a determination to provide the staff and children of the setting with a purpose built building and outdoor area, was truly inspirational. His sudden loss was devastating, but it is true testament to him and to the strength of the staff, parents and management of the setting that we continue to move forward and carry on his vision.


Brief Update for 2018-19

We have recently welcomed James Cromack onto the management team.


We have already begun working on our other outdoor area with investment in a mud kitchen and path. The total spend so far on this project is £2,764.42. Broken down as follows = £2,551 ground works and £213.42 for fossil structures. Thanks again to everyone who has been involved in these projects. 

Just to give an insight into this academic year, we currently have 61 children enrolled at the setting with 7 new starters in January and 9 new starters in April. This means we're running at 99% capacity which leaves only 1% of sessions free for changes or new starters (this equates to 4 afternoon sessions (3 Monday and 1 Friday). At the end of July, 48 children will be leaving us to move to Primary School


There are currently over 30 children on the waiting list to start in September and we are still getting a steady stream of parents emailing to be added to this list or requesting to be added to later start dates.


The future looks bright, and can I (Jacqui) take this opportunity to thank all of the staff and the Management Team for all their continued support and hard work.

I (Kate) would just like to finish by saying a big thank you to the staff as always for doing an amazing job, the children are comfortable and confident and the management team are very grateful for their continued hard work. A big thank you must go to Jacqui for her passion and continued amazing work and vision.

Written by the Middleton Cheney Management Team

Presented at AGM by Jacqui Edwards, Pre School Manager, & Kate Bannister & Taiba Smith, Directors