Kelly Perreira gives a flavour of what it's like to run a pre-school.
What does your company do?
I am employed by the local church to run a pre-school. We provide childcare for children from the age of two to five (prior to starting school).
How many people do you employ?
We employ seven permanent and four supply staff.
Where are you based?
We are based in London. The pre-school was set up by the local vicar. It has been established for 24 years and I was appointed when the previous manager retired.
What types of roles do you offer?
Being a small organisation, my excellent deputy manager and I do all the administration, cleaning, preparation, recruiting, advertising and accounts. We employ staff to do childcare and cooking.
Do you have to be qualified in a specific area or subject to work for the company?
You can start out by volunteering, but you must be prepared to undertake relevant childcare qualifications. Local FE colleges offer a variety of childcare courses, depending on what level of education and language ability you have already.
All our staff are qualified with NVQs from Levels 3 to 6. Some of them are working towards completion of a degree in early years education.
I look for people with a real interest in working with children and I expect them to have had considerable experience with this age group. This could be with their own children or in a childcare setting.
What’s next for your business?
There is growing demand for childcare places, but with government cutbacks in tax incentives and funding, many families are facing difficult decisions. This means that some nurseries are in danger of closing unless prices are increased to cover running costs, and that may mean more people deciding not to use childcare services.
In the present economic climate, parents are very reluctant to pay out more money when costs go up. We have to pay staff £8.25 an hour, so even allowing for government funding for some of our children, we work to very tight budgets.
The de-regulation that is often talked about might mean that some staff do not have to be qualified and some of the ‘red tape’ and paperwork could disappear.
How do you see this affecting pre-schools in the future?
Employing new staff who don’t have qualifications could be a problem, as you wouldn’t be sure what a new assistant is capable of. NVQs or other relevant qualifications mean that a certain standard has been achieved.
I am also worried that de-regulation could mean that some organisations might not be able to provide the excellent care and early learning that is currently overseen and ensured by Ofsted inspections.
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