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Committees and pre-schools, running out of helpfull parents!

(75 Posts)
Ripeberry Tue 09-Sep-08 10:06:58

Hi, been on this thread in the past about pre-school committees and this year is no different.
We had our AGM last night and we have 16 famillies on the books and ONLY one new parent showed up.
The other two parents me and another committee member were present, together with our employed playleaders X2, employed treasurer, the exiting chairman and a overseer from playlink.
So, as usuall, the only two people left on the committee have to stay.
That one new parent was a total star and took up Treasurer/Vouchers clerk role and i'm doing fundraising, chasing voucher forms and liaising with Ofsted and doing the EYFS "suitable person" interview.
BUT, the biggest hot potato is the CHAIR, they tried to get me to do it but NO WAY as my youngest will be finishing pre-school next year and i want to make a quick exit from the committee as i've been doing this for 4yrs running, even when i had no kids at pre-school.
We will have another meeting in October and basically if NO-ONE takes the chair then the pre-school HAS TO CLOSE.
The parents need to come forward and we will write to them about it, but i've done my bit and won't be held responsible for the end of the pre-school.
It's the wider community that is letting it down, not the parents that actually get off their arses and do something to help.
This kind of problem happens in most pre-schools and in the future all this "can't be bothered" attitude is going to mean that pre-schools will all have to become nurseries and parents will end up paying much more.sad

Ripeberry Tue 09-Sep-08 14:06:30

You must have loads of helpfull parents! Care to send them over here?

andiem Tue 09-Sep-08 14:08:47

tbh ripeberry I have a friend who is on a village pre school committee and it is the same maybe the days of committee run pre schools are over and things do need to be a bit more formal

handlemecarefully Tue 09-Sep-08 14:13:53

Ripeberry - don't be pushed into being Chair. Sounds like you've done your time.

I'm currently Chair...my youngest has just started Reception so after the October AGM I am going - frankly I don't give a damn if there isn't a replacement...I feel like I've done my time too, plus I no longer have children attending...

I've put out plenty of feelers and nobody is stepping up to the mark. Same situation as your Pre-School, it's a condition of registration with Ofsted that there is a Chair in place or the Pre-School is not allowed to continue...

I don't mind the mums with new babies or those who are working not wanting to get involved, but there are SAHMs (and this isn't anti SAHM since I am one!) with no big pressing commitments who could take it on, but can't be bothered....

Katw3kitts Tue 09-Sep-08 14:13:57

I think you have done your bit and you are more than entitled to sit stand down.

FWIW I was the treasurer when my middle one was at a village preschool, and basically I could have written your OP.

Sad, isn't it ...

We did eventually find a new committee, so it didnt go under, but it was bloomin' close.

Nagapie Tue 09-Sep-08 14:20:16

But are clear guidelines and job descriptions given for these positions??

I get very wary offering help when someone says, 'it will only be a hour or so a day' or 'it's a really simple role' ...

It is hard getting people involved as very often these 'part time' roles end up swallowing an enormous amount of time and come with so many strings and committments ....

Ripeberry Tue 09-Sep-08 14:22:10

At the moment i am a SAHM but i'm in the process of registering as a childminder.
So i don't mind helping the pre-school in the meantime by doing duties every week, but there are plenty of working mothers who are only part-time and they just give excuses as well.
All the committee members in the past have been the shift-workers and full-time workers, i think in the last 4yrs only 2 of us were SAHM.
The main problem is that it's the DOERs that are moving on and the new SAHM and working mothers don't seem to want to get involved.
We are even thinking of asking them if their husbands or even grandparents would like to be the chair!

taxiservice Tue 09-Sep-08 14:33:13

Ripeberry you can't hope someone will turn up to the AGM to become chair! If they don't come to the meeting, go out to them. Make a presentation to the new parents early on. The job of a chair per se isn't that time-consuming. You can get away with 3 or 4 meetings a year which you simply oversee.

If there are other jobs that need to be done, like fundraising, you may need to insist that every parent takes on a job. Make a list of all the jobs, a space for names alongside, put it in a public space and watch people fight it out to get their names in the best spot!

mum2amykatie Thu 25-Sep-08 14:38:45

hi does anybody know the ins and outs of running a committee. i was involved last year and sort of got volunteered for chair. now all the mums who's kids have started primary have stepped down it is the AGM in couple of weeks and now there is just me.
i,m a bit worried now i do not want to take everything on.
is there a legal amount of people required and if not the nursery must close???
as usual no one seems that bothered about taking any responsibility and i have no clue how it should run
help please!!!!

bumpybecky Thu 25-Sep-08 21:34:18

ou have my sympathy - I'm in a very similar position shock

yes there will be a legal number of people required - it should be in your constitution (assuming you have one....). Have you asked the senior pre-school staff member? he/she might know where the official papers are. I found our constitution in the back of the operational plan.

Ours is based on the PSLA model one and says that we need a minimum of 5 familes represented at the AGM. Our committee must have as a minimum a Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and two normal members.

If we don't manage to have people in these postions the preschool must close.

Having been in this position twice previously, spelling that out to parents normally means some parents step foward. They all say they're busy and don't have time, but who does really? I know I don't. But it's required for the group to run, so it has to happen.

Good luck!

norksinmywaistband Fri 26-Sep-08 10:20:42

This Happened at DD's preschool last year. only 2 parents turned up for Agm noone to take posts.
The next day a board was put up across the door into preschool stating that preschool had shut down due to lack of comitee and a emergency meeting was being held in the hall next door immediately.
A comitee was elected within the hour and preschool opened again the next day.
Shock tactics definately worked on our parents grin

I am now Chair of ours.

Eddas Fri 26-Sep-08 10:36:38

we're nearing our AGM, chair/treasurer/secretary all leaving. we have the minimu allowed, those 3 plus me and one other person. Us 2 have basically got the job of running it now, unless someone else wants it and we'd gladly let them take over! I was gonna voluteer for chair, but I don't have time. I will be treasurer(already doing it!) so that one job filled. the other person will do one of the other roles. So we need 3 more volunteers at the AGm.

We're sending a letter out soon, putting up the poster telling people about the AGM asap.

Last year was my first AGM and I was disappointed at nobody turning up. From what i've read on here it's the norm.

I too wonder if it might be better to run it as a profit making business rather than a charity. I wonder if this is feasable and 'allowed'IYSWIM?

I suppose someone could buy the business from the charityhmm I should know really, or be able to find out(i'm an accountant)!

jicky Fri 26-Sep-08 10:56:00

Eddas, Another way around this would be to raise your fees sufficiently to employ an admin person to do the bulk of the committees work - treasurer, admissions, minutes, staff stuff etc. Then the committee would just need to meet and oversee this persons work. But think the cost would be too high for most pre schools.

Fimbo Fri 26-Sep-08 11:00:38

I work in a playgroup (used to be on the committee (twice)).

We are having our AGM shortly and doubt very many people will turn up.

We too will need to close as our present Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are giving up.

Eddas Fri 26-Sep-08 11:00:56

tha's an idea jicky. We've already decided (me and the other lady) that we'll review the role of each member as atm the chair does things I think she dhouldn't. We do have an admin lady. I think some things should be done by her or the manager. Might have a fight to get them to agree though!

jicky Fri 26-Sep-08 11:06:41

I think if you can clearly write down what each person is responsible for then it makes it easier to recruit people - because they know what they are taking on and how long it will take.

Would paid staff not do the work for more hours - or do you think they should be able to fit it in to their current hours?

Eddas Fri 26-Sep-08 11:44:55

i'm not sure yet jicky. I'm waiting for the chair to write a list of the responsibilitie of each role as she's pretty much been doing all 3 this yearshock, it might not be that bad, the current chair is really lovely and will do anything for anyone, so i suspect some things she does, which make it seems as though it's a huge role, could and should be done by someone else! Once we have the list of roles my and the other lady'll sit and work out which ones should be done by others and rearrange things a little. The other toruble the chair had last year was the manager changed, and she was new to managing so needed more help than she would this year IYSWIM. She also had to deal with an ofsted inspection and all the EYFS business so had loads to do!

I hope it's not as bad as i'm imagining it'll be come AGM time.

Ripeberry Fri 26-Sep-08 17:06:14

The main thing that is putting people off is that the Chair is legally liable for paying any redundancy money. As our pre-school has hardly any funds, no-one is going to want a job like that where they could lose thousands!

Ripeberry Fri 26-Sep-08 17:10:07

I've put something in the AIBU? thread. We have some new children on the books so hopefully maybe they will turn up!

bumpybecky Fri 26-Sep-08 22:31:17

the personal liability is our worry too a preschool on the edge of town has folded and staff are planning to sue the committee for their pay shock shock I knew it was theoretically possible, but it's come as a nasty shock to find out it's really happening so close to home

have you actually worked out how much the redundancy money is?

it's my job this weekend! (I get to have all the best jobs......)

my plan is to work out how much we'd need to wind up tne group (so redundancy pay, rent for the notice period and a bit over for unexpected stuff) and work on getting a second bank account for that much money - our contigency account. That way we've got it covered

I've also heard it's possible to be 'limited by guarantee'. I think this is like a limited company, where directors (in this case committee) are only personally liable for a certain amount of money (as little as £1). This needs proper legal work doing though. I've seen ads online for companies offering it as a service for approx £100. his is my plan b if we can't get the £££ for the contingency bank account.

VanillaPumpkin Fri 26-Sep-08 22:39:27

We have insurance to cover our personal liability. Could you be covered that way??

Orinoco Fri 26-Sep-08 22:41:16

Message withdrawn

bumpybecky Sat 27-Sep-08 00:56:11

oooh thanks for that - will contact the PLA then

I've started to trawl through our accounts from last year shock I think we made a loss of over £3.5k shockshock I've not been willfully negligent yet - only been in job 2 minutes!

bumpybecky Sat 27-Sep-08 01:02:26

sorry to further thread hijack, but...

can I ask, what does the paid admin person do in terms of paperwork?

from what I can gather as treasurer I'm responsible for pay roll (calculating and paying wages, PAYE and NI payments), sorting petty cash, collecting fees, issuing receipts for fees, paying cash and cheques into the bank, balancing the books against all receipts and statements, applying for grants for funds, adminstering the coupons scheme for points from the local paper, collecting Tescos and Morrisons vouchers, sorting out prizes for the Christmas raffle, general fundraising (raffle tickets, letters to Santa, lucky dip etc).....

argh! regretting this big time

Eddas Sat 27-Sep-08 07:54:59

bumpybeack i've copied and pasted your treasurer roles and explained how it works for us below.

our admin lady does the payroll, sorts all fee realted stuff, main petty cash stuff, paying in bankings, collecting Tescos and Morrisons vouchers (she must do this)

as treasurer I deal with, balancing the books against all receipts and statements.

sorting out prizes for the Christmas raffle, general fundraising (raffle tickets, letters to Santa, lucky dip etc)..... the committee does this jointly. The secretary does all letters begging asking for prizes from companies. other than that we tend to by cheap tatt prizes when we see them through the year. Well I do! I have a box at home. Then we ask parents to donate prizes etc etc

applying for grants for funds i think our chair does this but it's something i'm not sure if she should do.

adminstering the coupons scheme for points from the local paper, i don't think we have these

So basically, our admin lady does most of what you seem to do as treasurer!

HTHsmile

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