Newport Pre-School



Newport is where our journey continued



Newport is the newest edition to Early Explorers. Carrie and Kate became trustees of their previous committee in September 2021 to ensure the setting didn’t close due to problems recruiting a committee.  

The setting is going from strength to strength with the support of Early Explorers and the committed staff team at Newport. In October 2021 the manager was supported to recruit an apprentice and resolve other staffing issues. Early Explorers helped the staff build the settings relationship with the village hall committee in which they rent their room, this has opened up opportunities for joint working and grant applications. Carrie and Kate supported and attended fundraising events which earned the setting some much needed funds for new recourses. Early Explorers arranged for the setting to receive a free website, email, domain and hosting. 

November saw the manager receive her first supervision as the manager, this ensure they are meeting Ofsted’s requirements. Early Explorers created a much needed financial forecast and spending budget to ensure the sustainability of the setting.  

In January 2022 both Howden and Newport were suffering from Covid illness, luckily the settings were able to offer support by sharing staff which meant both settings remained open as much as possible. Early Explorers were able to support the staff with strategies to help a child with additional needs, they also attended meetings in support of the SENDCo. Newport started using Early Explorers policies and new staff contracts were drawn up. Following months of communications with the Village Hall Committee, Early Explorers helped to secure a tenancy agreement to ensure the security of the setting. 

In February we receive the excellent news that our application for the donation of a new kitchen to be installed was successful. We are looking forward to this arriving later this year. Early Explorers continued it’s support with recruitment when we successfully recruited a maternity cover deputy.  

November 2022 saw the resignation of Michelle, Newport's manager. In the short term Carrie and Kate were able to jointly manage the setting to ensure the smooth running of the pre-school and continuity for the children. They began their manger journey by improving partnerships with the local primary school, located just meters from the pre-school. To support transitions, it was arranged for the EYFS teachers to visit the pre-school several times per week to deliver fun and interactive phonic sessions. 

Hannah, Early Explorers SENDCo was deployed into the setting to support staff with strategies for the children with additional needs. Extensive support plans were drawn up and financial support sought. Needless to say, children with SEN are making excellent progress.

The setting was in need of a curriculum and tracking re-think, with input from the staff, a new planning system was introduced. This proved successful in just a few weeks, parents commented on the improvements in their children's behaviours and their confidence in attending pre-school Staff were confident in understanding where their key-children were developmentally and how to move them forward, whilst using their interests to engage them. Children were fully engaged in purposefully planned activities and rapid progression was recorded.  

In December 2022 parent consultations began, following the tracking of children's development, staff were armed with information regarding the children's progress which they could celebrate with parents. 

Word of our improvements were being shared in the village and more families were joining the pre-school. This was helped by the introduction of stay and play sessions in January 2023 which was open to all local children under 4 years old. 

January 2023 also saw the employment of Summer, an experienced and enthusiastic manager for the setting. Carrie and Kate will continue to support Summer to ensure the setting remains heading in the right direction. 

Early Explorers have applied for a grant to renovate the garden which we're hoping will commence in the summer of 2023. We are working on updating policies and working with the village hall to install a much needed landline. 

We are very excited for the future of Newport Pre-School



Testimony from Michelle Appleton, Manager of Newport Pre-School

As a new manager of a charity run preschool, I was faced with having to find committee members urgently! The committee members at the time I took over had been with the preschool for several years and their children had moved on. They also wanted to come off the committee, but without a functioning committee the preschool would have to close! We also had times in which we had safeguarding or financial issues in the setting, but it could be hard to approach the parent committee members as it could be classed as a conflict of interest, or it was something they didn’t know how to deal with as they had no knowledge of the issues to help us! At the time myself and another member of staff were considering turning the preschool into a private setting as we couldn’t see any other way forward.

We met Carrie and Kate by coincidence when purchasing something from their setting. They asked to meet with us to discuss a proposal they had for us, we met in a neutral place to talk about what they could do to help us out! They came forward with the proposal of joining them under an umbrella charity called ‘Early Explorers’. We liked that they wanted to help and stated that we shouldn’t see other local preschools as competitors and that we should all be working together for the children to improve settings. We discussed how they could support us to progress the preschool. They didn’t for a second pass any judgement on how we run our setting and stressed how we would always ‘be us’, the fact they wanted to support us and not ‘take over’ us was the reassuring part! We were worried that they wanted us to be like their current setting, but once we had explained how we work, they were happy to see that we run differently and meet the needs of our local community.

To begin with they helped by joining our committee as an interim committee, so the other members could leave happily knowing we were moving forwards. They were also able to advise us with some issues we had been having with the committee of the hall we hire. They were also able to advise on ways to improve our staffing problems.

We then moved forward by looking at ways in which we could save the preschool money, and additional funding we could access. Sometimes these things aren’t made clear for managers. Support and funding aren’t readily available so having people to suggest strategies was so helpful.

They also helped us to set up a website to further the preschools advertising and digital footprint! They could also suggested other local businesses that could help us out with things too. Carrie and Kate have also helped at our fundraising events. The main thing for me as a manager is knowing if something crops up and I’m not quite sure how to handle it, I know I can pick up the phone and call them for friendly non-judgemental advice, and I hope they could do the same with us! Its also great knowing we can share our pool of staff should we need to; I always like staff to see other settings to share ideas too!

Moving forward we are excited to becoming part of the CIO alongside our now ‘sister setting’. We hope to continue to improve our provision soon by extending our kitchen area so the children can do more food orientated activities. We also want to progress with our plans to add to our outdoors area. We were already working hard to fund-raise for this but with the support of Early explorers we have been able to save enough funds to start our plans sooner! We want to add a canopy/shaded area for the children, as well as play sheds to ensure the continuous provisions are always available outdoors too!



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