Our History

Our History

Abacus Pre-school is a non-profit making charity and is run by a voluntary parent committee.  Without this parent committee there would be no pre-school.  We take on the management roles of a business, for example personnel management, fundraising, health & safety, training and finances to ensure the pre-school is kept running.

Why are we here?

Many of you may not be aware that up until July 2001, Abacus was called St. Colman’s Nursery. The Church ran the nursery and was responsible for the hiring of staff, managing the budget and all the day-to-day requirements.

In March 2001, all parents received a letter from the Church to say that St. Colman’s Nursery would be closing its doors for the last time at the end of the summer term. All the children attending would need to find somewhere else to go and all staff would therefore lose their jobs.

The parents were shocked and worried about where their children could go to continue their Pre-School education and the staff wanted the nursery to stay open too.

To cut a very long story short, after many petitions, letters to the Church, local MP’s and The News, ways were found to open a new Pre-School for the children, as the Church was quite clear that they no longer wished to run one.

By law, the new Pre-School had to be run by a parent committee, who would take on the management roles previously pre-formed by the Church. A group of parents volunteered to set this up with the help of the Pre-School Learning Alliance who attended many of our early meetings. The new committee and staff decided on a name for the Pre-School, and staff had to be re-employed by the committee.

When Abacus Pre-School started there were meetings and discussions on almost a daily basis as we all worked through what had to be done. It was, and still is, a working partnership and the committee’s role is crucial to keeping the Pre-School running.

Those first few months were a very steep learning curve for everyone, but the staff and committee worked close together to ensure that the new Abacus Pre-School was every bit as successful as St Colman’s Nursery had been.

Abacus Needs You!

In the early days, most of the parents were well aware of the struggle to keep the Pre-School open. They strongly supported the new parent committee in the full knowledge that if there had been no committee, there would be no Pre-School. Over 60% of parents attended the first Annual General Meeting. However, this figure has been reducing year after year. Every July, more of the committee’s children leave Abacus Pre-school to go onto Infant school and there has to be a new generation of parents who are prepared to work on the committee and keep Abacus running.

Summary of what the Committee do?

  • Meet approximately every 5/6 weeks
  • Ofsted (Office of Standards in Education) preparation
    • With Staff,  ensuring that all paperwork is ready
    • Good results from inspection in 2010 (see report on Ofsted web-site or look in our  Parent Information file available in the Pre-School entrance)
  • Manages the budget
    • Purchasing new equipment
    • Paying in cheques/petty cash
    • Pays Staff salaries
    • Pays hall rental
    • Ensures insurance is up to date
    • Arranges external audit of accounts
  • Ensures  adequate Government funding every term
    • Make sure parents sign funding forms
    • Return forms  to Portsmouth City Council before deadline
  • Personnel management
    • Assist Pre-School Leader with hiring of staff
    • Obtain Police checks from Ofsted
    • Enduring Staff and Committee’s training needs are met
  • Health & Safety management
    • Risk assessments
  • Fundraising
    • Entertainment visits
    • Photographs
    • Easter/Summer Fairs
    • DVD and  Videos of Christmas show. Precious Moments
    • Sponsored events

We are always happy to recruit new parents to suggest new ideas or just to help organise a fundraising event at the pre-school. If you are willing to commit some time  and would like to join our committee , or if you purely want to find out some more without any commitment, please contact a member of staff or committee, or contact Helen Blundell email: hblundell11@yahoo.co.uk