Esklets Playgroup

Committee Meetings




  1. Present
  2. Apologies
  3. Minutes of last meeting
  4. Matters arising
  5. Treasurers report
  6. Progress towards a CIO
  7. Supervisors and Chairs reports
  8. Staff and staff appointment.
  9. Wages – impact of increases to minimum wage.
  10. 30hour extended childcare offer
  11. Policy Review
  12. Maintenance of premises
  13. Fundraising – Co-op
  14. Safeguarding children update


Minutes of meetings:

Esklets Committee Meeting 20th October 2016


Kate Smith, Lizzie Watson, Rachel Todd, Robbie Wilson, Jane Wright, Jemma Champion, Gilly Perry, Pat Pearson, Alix Lillie, Helen Beadnall,


Jo Kevan, Imke Pearson, Stuart Haswell,

Minutes of Last Meeting

All agreed to be a true record.

Matters Arising from previous meeting

Steve has filled the dip/hole in the playground.

Sainsbury’s toys have arrived and the caterpillar purchased with Ainthorpe Trust money.


Treasurer’s Report

Funds good at the moment, council have not requested the sparsity money back so the £4000 is still in the savings account just in case. Renewed the electricity with Npower until October 2019

Smartie tube fundraising went very well as did the Longest Thistle competition. Kitchen all paid for.

Possible closure of the post office in Castleton causing concerns for banking fees and withdrawing petty cash.

More people are paying by BACS, this is much easier for banking. Accounts are available for all to see, passed around, this shows the difference from last year (14/15) being a loss on paper to this year (15/16) being in profit.

Next year, September 2017 is supposed to see the introduction of funded 30 hours for children whose parents meet specific criteria, the funding per hour is set to drop. This is a concern as all our running costs are going up, such as wages, utilities, insurances etc.


Supervisors and Chairs Report

Handed out, copies available.

Kate to organise Thank You letters for Mike at Howden’s for organising the kitchen, Martin (Lizzie’s Dad) for giving up his time to fit the Kitchen with Mark (Lizzie’s Husband) Also Steve Tindall for filling the dip in the playground and emptying the parking bay to fill the tractor tyre.


Staff Contracts

A meeting was held to budget for the next year, staffing required and paying staff for a portion of the extra unpaid work that they do. Contracts have been renewed.


Policy Review

As Bev has left Rachel is undertaking the role of Safeguarding Deputy, she is attending training to meet the requirements for this position. All policies have been updated to reflect this.


Maintenance of Premises

Robin Lonsdale has built a new bridge for the jungle and is prepared to undertake more outdoor jobs. Nick Hood and his Father Cyril are going to help to clean up the outdoor area by power washing the yard and toys and also will make a gate to make the alley way between the classroom and the big shed safer by preventing children accessing the slippery steps on the fire escape.







Coffee Morning

Helen is organising a coffee morning on November 12th , Moorsholm village hall, 10am -12pm. Raffle prizes desperately needed as well as cakes to serve with the tea and coffees, scones, buns. Volunteers needed to help on the day please.


Co-op Scheme

We are now a chosen charity at Castleton Co-op, if you have a card you can either call them or go online and choose to have all your charity dividend given to playgroup instead of split between the three chosen charities. Every time you purchase co-op products this donates money to playgroup! PLEASE SIGN UP!


Christmas Cards

Lizzie has organised all children to make charity Christmas cards that we will sell to parents and they raise money for playgroup.


Children’s Christmas Party

In past years we have held the party at playgroup, this is fine in good weather. This year we would like to hold a party in the village hall with a bouncy castle. We will ask Tony O’Donnell if he will be Father Christmas again, back up we will ask Cyril Hood. Shared supper.


Any Other Business

Children in Need week 14th -18th, spotty party on the Friday 2pm-3pm.

Christmas Meal – Lizzie to organise at the Postgate, minibus collect and drop off.

Helen to contact Mimi O’Malley to come to playgroup to do a half hour session with the children.


Esklets Playgroup Committee AGM
Monday 6th June 2016


Lizzie Watson, Kate Smith, Robbie Wilson, Jan Baker, Emily Wheldon, Jo Kevan, Alix Lillie, Lis Watson, Pat Pearson


Jane Wright, Ellen Sayer, Rachel Todd, Anna Watson, Sarah Tindall, Helen Beadnall

Minutes of last meeting

Were agreed by all to be a true record.

Matters Arising

Thanks to Alison and John for removing the mosaic from the garden.

Robbie is still ok with using a cheque to withdraw cash from the bank. We cannot have a bank card to pay for things so Kate is using her own card and Robbie does a BACS transfer to pay her back.
It was decided we would keep £2,000.00 in the bank just in case the council request we repay some of the sparsity funding from Autumn 2015/Spring 2016, we expected they would but as of yet they are yet to request any be paid back.

Changing the charity’s constitution

Kate explained to those present about the need to become a Charitable Incorporated Institution. This removes the financial liability of committee members for debts incurred by the charity. At present the members of the committee act as trustees of the charity (Esklets Playgroup).  The financial implications of the change to a CIO were explained.  Kate also explained that this requires that we re-register with OfSTED but that this would give us the opportunity to change our name from Esklets Playgroup to Esklets Pre-School. Changing to a CIO is a very time consuming task involving notifying every group concerned with the playgroup.  We will have to change bank accounts, notify everyone with whom we have a contract including NYCC, Ofsed our landlord (Network Rail), all utilities etc.  Re-registering with ofsted will mean they regard us as a new setting and will inspect our premises and the nominated person will have a 3 hour interview to check all the paperwork and policies.  However considering the financial implications all members present agreed that becoming a Charitable Incorporated Institution was the best decision for Esklets.  Work will begin as soon as possible on this and will be updated at the next meeting in October.

Chair/Supervisors Report

This was given out to all present, see attached.

Treasurers Report

Handed out to all present, please see attached.

Election of Officers

Lizzie Watson Nominated Helen Beadnall to be Chair of the Committee, Jan Baker seconded.

Jan Baker nominated Lizzie Watson to be Secretary of the Committee, Lis Watson seconded.

Jan Baker nominated Jane Wright to be Assistant Treasurer, Lizzie Watson seconded.

Lizzie Watson nominated Robbie Wilson to be Treasuer, Jo Kevan seconded.

Jan Baker co-opted Kate Smith onto the committee.  She  agreed to be Nominated Person for OfSTED, Robbie Wilson seconded.

Kate Smith nominated Helen Beadnall to be the committee member responsible for Safeguarding, Robbie Wilson seconded.

Lis Watson, Jo Kevan, Emily Wheldon, Alix Lille and Pat Pearson to join the committee.


Committee Meeting

Minutes of Previous Meeting – all agreed these were a true record.

Matters Arising

The fence and other maintenance work has been carried out by Robin Lonsdale

Numbers are very good at the moment, all morning sessions are fully booked.
Monday afternoon session is doing well and has enough children attending to be sustainable

Steve Tindall has repaired the pot holes in the car park and repaired the drainage by the main shed. Steve will next look at repairing the dip in the playground.

The sainsburys vouchers have been counted and we have 1080 which have been spent on some balance toys for outside and some other smaller toys.

The neighbouring property is proving problematic with dog poo and general untidiness. Kate explained to all that this has been an ongoing problem, our Landlord cannot do anything as the house is owned and not rented. Kate explained that contacting the council regarding the dog mess resulted in us being given stickers and posters to display about the dog poo fairy not existing so please tidy up your dogs mess.  The council cannot act as it is not on public land.  The landowners, Network Rail have also visited but no action was taken.



Policy Review:

Kate and Lizzie have reviewed all the policies and have updated as required.  A list of updates is available with the master copies of the policies.  These were outlined to the committee and explained as required.

Wages and staffing issues:

All staff wages have increased by 50p per hour in line with rise in national minimum wage.  Bev Mahood has given official notice that she is taking an unpaid leave of absence for the half-term up to summer.  Her hours have been covered by remaining staff except for Monday mornings when a Mrs Megan Mackfall has been employed.  She has undergone an enhanced DBS and has excellent references which have been verified.  She is presently undertaking level 3 training.  Lizzie Watson is now acting as our SENCO and has undertaken ‘New to SENCO training’.  Rachel and Bev have also attended training to help extend their knowledge when dealing with SEND children.


Monday Afternoon Sessions

Monday afternoon sessions have been a big success and most Monday afternoons have upwards of 10 children.  It was agreed to try and keep these going unless it affected the overall sustainability of all the other sessions.


Sustainability Update

Due to increase in numbers we are currently ok, although numbers will drop in September again. We may have to pay back some sparsity funding due to the increased numbers. It was decided we need to send out a questionnaire to assess childcare needs in the locality.



Alix and Jo volunteered to think of a fundraiser.  They mentioned the possibility of holding a ‘Longest Thistle’ competition.  It was agreed that fundraisers were an important way of keeping Esklets linked with the local community.

Safeguarding issues:

5 staff members have renewed their first aid training, thanks to them for giving up their own time to achieve this.


Fees were discussed, they are currently £12.50 and will rise to £13 a session in September, this was agreed by all. Lunchtime will remain at £2.50.   They need to rise to keep up with increased costs such as the new national minimum wage and also to keep in line with funding received from NYCC.



The train ride and walk was well attended and enjoyed by all.

It was decided that on the last day of term there will be an outing to Danby Moors centre followed by picnic lunch. Jo Kevan will ask her Mum about the use of a room in case of bad weather.

Parents meal out Thursday 14th July at the postage, Lizzie will organise and book and will look into cost of a minibus.

Next Meeting

AGM – June 2017


2)Esklets Playgroup Committee Meeting
Monday 14th March 2016


Lizzie Watson, Kate Smith, Robbie Wilson, Rachel Todd, Jane Wright, Bev Mahood, Jan Baker, Helen Beadnall


Gemma Hind, Jo Kevan, Ellen Sayer, Alix Lillie,

Minutes of last meeting

Were agreed by all to be a true record.

Matters Arising

Helen has found a kind gentleman who will come and replace the rotten fence panels. Robbie has sourced the required wood so this will be carried out potentially on a Wednesday when the children are not at playgroup.

Robbie has put up the sign on the fence outside the gate to the station.

Chair/Supervisors Report

This was given out to all present, see attached. Pleased to see such a dramatic increase in children on the register from 16 to 27!

Treasurers Report

Now all set up to pay wages and some other bills by BACS, this has made things easier on the whole although a little more time consuming. See attached report.  Staff areconcerned that wage costs are set to increase due to the introduction in April of an increase in the minimum wage from £6.70 to £7.20.  This will impact on all staff wages as staff have differing qualifications, responsibilities and experience.  There has been no increase in the funding for the ‘free’ 15hours given by the Government.

Sustainability Update

Due to increase in numbers we are currently ok, although numbers will drop in September again. We may have to pay back some sparsity funding due to the increased numbers.

Monday Afternoon Sessions

Monday afternoon sessions will be going ahead because there are enough children requesting the extra session to make it viable. This will be until the end of the school year when we will review the demand for opening hours.

Messy play will be informed that Monday sessions will be ending after Easter, Lizzie will discuss options for opening Wednesday morning.



Policy review

Promoting British values is now high on OfSTED agenda, this involves promoting sharing, saying please and thank you, consideration for others, noticing the seasons, Easter, Christmas etc. (basically following the EYFS)

Safeguarding – DBS checks

Kate is the nominated person with OfSTED, the nominated person needs to be a committee member, Kate cannot be a committee member as we follow the pre-school learning alliance, Kate will be enquiring about this with our adviser.
The DBS checks for committee members have proved problematic as they are a rather lengthy and require 3 steps to be completed. Some staff  (3) also have to renew their checks.  This costs nearly £60 each but is very important in safeguarding.

Maintenance of Premises

There is a drainage issue in the garden that affects the large shed, Steve Tindall has offered to look at this issue for us.
There was a discussion regarding the state of the car park and the enormous pot holes – we will ask Steve for a price to do this work.
Concerns were raised regarding the neighbouring property and the amount of stuff collecting outside in the car parking area, we are unsure as to who owns what part of the property, be it private or railtrack. This is to be investigated.


Health and Safety issues

First aid certificates, staff are currently doing a refresher course and the first aid kit has been updated.



Helen has enquired with Whitby Falconers, they would charge £60 for one hours session at playgroup as something that would be nice for the children to encounter. Jane will ask as she thinks she may be able to get a cheaper price as she knows someone that does it.

We discussed outings and the difficulties of arranging outings when parents are working and not able to help with transport and ratios.  The last outing to Danby Fire Station was not well attended, but was enjoyed by those who did attend.  It is hoped to arrange the train ride and walk outing sometime in the summer term.

2)  Esklets Playgroup Committee Meeting

9th November 2015

Present – Kate Smith, Jan Baker, Lizzie Watson, Jane Wright, Robbie Wilson, Sarah Tindall

Apologies – Sarah Tyreman, Gemma Hind, Jo Kevan, Ellen Sayer, Imke Pearson, Alix Lillie,

Louise Harding, Kathryn Watson

Previous Minutes

The minutes of previous meeting we read and agreed to be a true record.

Matters Arising

Messy play – to let it run as it is until after Christmas then review again.

School Holiday Clubs – there was much discussion regarding this matter, we discussed the implications of opening during the holidays, insurances, staffing costs and that we cannot sub-let the premises to another company to provide the club. It was decided by unanimous vote that we will not provide holiday clubs but will provide information regarding suitable alternatives such as local childminders and advertise for other clubs.

Robbie has priced up a sign for outside playgroup, costing £27, we have decided to go ahead with it.

Lizzie has priced up flyers for advertising playgroup, 25 x A4 and 100 x A5 costing £30 – to go ahead with this option.

Treasurers Report

See Attached. Jo Kevan has sourced the best option for the phone and internet deal and Lizzie Watson sorted the electricity price plan.

Policy Review

Jan read through the policies and updates have been made to the Safeguarding Policy to include prevent duties of staff. Updates were made to the Key Person Policy.

Sustainability Update

Sparsity Review – we still have to watch every penny. The current worry being the introduction of the Living Wage at Easter.


Lizzie has worked very hard to organise the event! She now just needs the support of the parents to supply cakes and raffle prizes and also helpers for the day – this was such a successful event last time so we really need you help!

Smartie tubes – this time we have large tubes and are asking for people to fill them with loose change. It was decided to hand them out after February half term and back for Easter with regular reminders.

The next fundraiser will be a school dinners night out followed by school disco! Help with planning needed!

Maintenance of Outdoor Space

Planning for a spring overhaul in the garden, removal of the mosaic.

Safeguarding DBS checks

It was decided that Kate, Bev and Rachel require their DBS checks updating as they are over 5 years old, safeguarding is such a crucial part of passing an OfSted inspection so must be kept up to date.

Esklets Meal

It was decided seen as we are all so busy with the build up to Christmas that we will have a meal out in January.

Christmas Party – to ask Cyril about Santa. Pray for good weather!


Lizzie and Jan requested to step down – need more volunteers for the committee. Need to have a certain number of parents on the committee.

Letter to David Ross – he has an educational trust so we will write to see if his trust can support Esklets in some way.


3). Esklets Playgroup Minutes of meeting held on 26th Sept 2015.


Kate Smith, Jan Baker, Robbie Wilson, Lizzie Watson, Anna Watson, Jo Kevan, Alix Lillie, Ellen Sayer, Bev Mahood


Jane Wright, Jemma Champion, Sarah Tyreman

Financial Report

Nothing to note since previous meeting.

Sparsity Funding

Kate introduced the action plan from the financial advisor. We need to look at the finances. Action plan handed out. Fees have been put up to £12 per session, £2.50 for lunch. We are going to get the business support lady to come back. We are reviewing overhead costs, Jo Kevan will look for a new phone and broadband provider and Lizzie Watson will look at the Electricity. Lizzie Will contact Railtrack/network rail to try and get a rent reduction, ask for sponsorship, talk about losing are valuable setting. The government initiative to support small businesses has meant a reduction in PAYE contributions, this has helped.
Lizzie has launched a messy play session to promote the awareness of playgroup to people along the valley. There was much discussion regarding the age limit on the group, many ideas regarding uptake of older children, we need to have 4 x 2 year olds to have a member of staff at the group just for the 2 year olds. The decision was that children aged 2-3 years can attend so long as they attend Esklets at a rate of £5 or it is £8 per session if they do not attend Esklets, from October half term to pay upfront per half term. Fee changes to come into effect in October for messy play.

Anna raised the idea of providing holiday activities, this was a popular idea with the parents at the meeting. It was suggested to ask Steph Raw if she might be interested, to look into providing holiday activities.

Kate raised the idea of being open Monday afternoon anyway and running messy play alongside playgroup, it was decided to let messy play run until half and re assess the numbers and funds.

Lizzie to approach the gazette to see about a piece for new messy play to help raise awareness of playgroup.

It was decided to put a wooden A board on the grass near the entrance to playgroup.
Ellen will ask the head of Lealholm to link to Esklets website.

To print some flyers from vista print to pop to health visitor, childrens centre, baby group at the surgery, moors centre, post office, tea rooms in castleton and danby, health food shop.

Lizzie will TRY to book a pamper do for November/December themed on Christmas, she has struggled to book Danby hall over the summer. playgroup to have a stall for selling to raise funds, reindeer food, Alix will help. Lizzie to start gathering prizes and get the hall booked.

The issue of charitable incorporated status was discussed, it was decided to check the liability insurance cover and clarify the terms of the lease. It was decided by unanimous vote to leave the charity status as it is in light of the fact we would have to completely re-register with Ofsted which is a gruelling lengthy process.



1)Esklets Playgroup A.G.M – Monday 15th June 7.30pm at the Fox and Hounds, Ainthorpe.

4.)  Esklets Playgroup AGM Monday 15th June
Fox & Hounds 7.30pm
Present & apologies
Present – Kate Smith, Robbie Wilson, Lizzie Watson, Jan Baker, Ellen Sayer, Jane Wright, Kathryn Watson, Jo Kevan, Alix Lillie, Gemma Hind, Louise Harding
Apologies – Rebecca Craven, Clare Robinson

Minutes of last AGM – these were agreed to be a true record.

Matter Arising – Ramp has been rebuilt and it looks very good with the new porch. Ivan did a great job. Gemma Hind and Louise Harding volunteered their husbands to come and remove the mosaic from the garden.

Chairs & Supervisors Report – handed out, all read. (see attached)

Treasurer’s report – see attached – Natwest in Castleton is closing, this raises issue of how to get petty cash, Robbie suggested he would write himself a cheque and then withdraw cash from his bank account using a card as playgroup do not have a debit or credit card.
It was agreed this would be ok. Sparsity funding – meeting next week.
Changing the Charity’s Constitution

Proposal to change the constitution of our charity because as it stands any trustees/committee members could be financially liable. It was proposed to change the constitution to become a charitable incorporated organisation.
In order to do this we have to close the current charity down and transfer all the assets to the new charity. The pre-school learning alliance have a guidance book that will help with this.
It was agreed by unanimous vote that this would be a very good idea and we should go ahead with doing this as soon as possible. This process involves a lot of paperwork, Ellen Sayer and Lizzie Watson volunteered to help with the process.
It was suggested that this should be done before the next committee meeting in October, Robbie will go to the bank and see Wendy to see if we can start the confirmation of identity for committee members. All agreed that we will aim to have this done by the 1st October.

Election of Committee members
Jan Baker nominated Lizzie Watson to continue as Secretary and Safeguarding – Jane Wright Seconded
Lizzie Watson Nominated Jan Baker to be Chair, Jan accepted, Jo Kevan seconded
Lizzie Watson Nominated Jane as Assistant Treasurer Jan Baker seconded
Treasurer – Jane Wright nominated Robbie Wilson – Lizzie Watson Seconded
Fire Safety – Jan Baker nominated Jane Wright – Jo Kevan Seconded
Health and Safety – Jan Baker nominated Rachel Todd, Gemma Hind seconded
Clare Robinson will be leaving the committee, Rebecca Craven will stay on the committee.
Jo Kevan, Gemma Hind, Alix Lillie, Kathryn Watson, Louise Harding and Ellen Sayer will join the committee.

Review of fees – going to rise in line with funding.  Date of next meeting – June 2016

2)Esklets Committee Meeting 15th June 2015
Fox and hounds 7.30pm

Present & apologies

Present – Kate Smith, Robbie Wilson, Lizzie Watson, Jan Baker, Ellen Sayer, Jane Wright, Kathryn Watson,

Jo Kevan, Alix Lillie, Gemma Hind, Louise Harding , Bev Mahood

Apologies – Rebecca Craven, Clare Robinson
Minutes of last meeting – agreed to be a true record.
Matters arising the mosaic still to be removed, Gemma, Louise and Ellen volunteered their husbands to do this.
Change in opening hours–  responses to the survey show low numbers on a wednesday and a higher uptake for the thursday afternoon. Majority of parents spoken to are agreeable to the proposed wednesday closure and thursday full day.
Vote took place – All in favour of changing the hours, closing on a wednesday and opening full day thursday.

Maintenance – Rachel concerned that the plumbing (drainage might need looking at as there is a funny smell at times) To ask Mike to look at it if drain unblockers do not solve the issue.

Fundraising – to ask Esca, Donna Scaife, to aim to hold the event in september/october time.
Free fundraising when shopping online. Still get up to £300 a term from Ainthorpe trust to be spent on resources or activities for the children.

Sainsburys Vouchers – Collected 1500 vouchers. Needs to be spent by 25th June, will use to buy baking trays and kitchen things.

Policies – Reviewed the SEN policy due to a change in SEND code of practice (which came into force in September 2014), chair read and signed.

Safeguarding children update – all staff signed the disclaimer regarding childcare disqualification regulations.

End of term sports party – Helen will do the sports for us at Castleton Playing Field on the 17th July. Friday 10th July – water fun day at playgroup.

Adults end of term meal – Friday 10th July POSTGATE 7.30pm – sign up in playgroup

AOB – Fire Station Visit – To ask Steve Tindall.