Monthly Archives: October 2019

Blewbury Pre-School needs your help

October 31, 2019

Blewbury Pre-School is proud to have been open since 1971, educating generations of children from here, the surrounding villages and Didcot.

We are a registered charity, and as such, the management committee is made up of volunteer Trustees. We run our Pre-School with funding from three sources:

  • Government ‘free hours funding’ for every 3-4 year old for 15-30 hours per week
  • fees directly paid by parents/ carers for two-and-a-half year olds
  • fundraising by the management committee & staff and other financial donations

Sadly there is a significant gap between what it costs to have a child at Pre-School and what the government provides as part of the 15 free hours for 3-4 year olds (or 30 free hours if both parents work). The level at which these ‘free hours’ are funded was set and frozen in 2015, and now only just covers our staffing costs. Government rules on free childcare means we are not allowed to charge top up fees to make up any shortfall. Pre-schools across the UK are therefore having to find other ways of making up the difference or risk becoming unsustainable. According to the National Day Nurseries Association, the rate at which early years providers are closing has increased by 66% since the introduction of the free 15/30 hours funding scheme. Government data backs this up, stating the number of early years providers fell by almost 10,000 between 2016 and 2018. Indeed MPs have warned that “severe financial strain has been placed on private and independent nurseries offering the government’s flagship free 30-hours scheme” and “childcare in England risks becoming the preserve of the wealthy, unless a £660m funding gap in a free childcare scheme is plugged.”

Fundraising is therefore vital to Blewbury Pre-School’s continued existence and our volunteer management committee and staff have worked tirelessly to cover the gap in funding the provision of our early years education.

Here’s a few examples of how increases in costs over the last few years have impacted the Pre-School budget:

  • the minimum national living wage has increased from £6.70 in 2015 to £8.21 in 2019 – an increase of 23%
  • as an employer, pension auto-enrolment for all members of staff became mandatory in 2017
  • both the minimum national living wage and auto-enrolment pension contributions are set to go up again next year, with a further increase planned the following year
  • since 2018 Oxfordshire County Council stopped its commercial waste removal service, so we now must pay for a professional waste and recycling management service

Then there’s the increases in costs of things we’re all familiar with, such as utility bills, rent, annual boiler servicing, building repairs when something breaks unexpectedly, and the cost of replacing worn out equipment – all of which have hit the Pre-School’s budget significantly in the last year.

The result is that Blewbury Pre-School needs your help. In order to continue to offer the same high standard of care and education to all long into the future, we’re planning a big fundraising push on the run up to our 50th anniversary year. If you would like to help, or offer a donation of any kind, please contact the committee by emailing We’d love to create an Alumni or Friends of Blewbury Pre-School group!

Thank you for your consideration – we are extremely grateful for all your continued support.

Blewbury Croquet Club

The lawns are now in use again after the autumn treatments.

The 2019 AGM was held at the Melland Room on 15th October at which it was agreed that the club is in a good shape financially with well kept lawns. Paul Wolff, Chairman, thanked the committee and all the members who had helped with various maintenance and other jobs without which the club could not function nearly as well.

The club trophies were given out by Coral Richards, President. The Player of the Year was awarded to Peter Allan who not only won the Association Croquet (AC) Prebendal Manor Trophy, the local round of the AC All England Handicap competition but also won the Greek Open Championship, held in Corfu! As a result of all this his handicap dropped during the course of the year from 16 to 9.

Paul also presented the past Chairman, Deirdre Cochrane, with some flowers and thanked for all her work as Chairman for many years before she had to step down last year.

Last, but not least, the afternoon finished with tea and cakes.

For more details please contact David Long, secretary, 07484 360169,

Blewbury School Update

October 8, 2019

The Interim Executive Board of Blewbury Primary School has released the attached letter as an update for those who were not able to attend the recent Community Meeting at the School.

It provides a summary of some recent developments at the School including the progress being made in relation to a conversion to becoming an academy before the end of 2019.

Click here to link to the letter.