Childcare vouchers scheme closes to new applicants

By Rachel Lawler – PLA
The government’s childcare voucher scheme has closed to new applicants.
Originally due to close in April, the scheme was kept open to new applicants until 4 October after pressure from campaign groups.
Closed to new applicants
However, despite continued efforts to keep the scheme open, no new applicants will be now able to join.
Instead, parents will be able to sign up to the tax-free childcare scheme, which launched in April earlier this year.
Those who are already receiving childcare vouchers will be able to do so as long as they continue to be employed by a company signed up to the scheme.
Tax-free childcare
Tax-free childcare is available to all eligible parents, whereas childcare vouchers are only available to eligible parents whose employers are signed up to the scheme.
However, some parents say they will lose out under the tax-free childcare scheme.
The #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign has been calling for the scheme to remain open to new applicants since January 2017. It says it will keep putting pressure on the government to re-open the scheme to new entrants.
Posted in Uncategorized

Use Amazon Smile when shopping online and support Duchy Preschool!

Do you shop at Amazon?

Would you like to help support Duchy Preschool and Playgroup?

All you need to do is shop at Amazon Smile.

When you shop at Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price to the preschool!

Click on the image below and Amazon will recognise that you’re asking them to make the donation as you shop.


Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 13.57.46

Please note, unfortunately you cannot use Amazon Smile with the Amazon App on the iPhone. However, the good news is that you can set up a shortcut to the Amazon Smile website which gives a near identical experience to the app. It’s very quick and easy to do. If you have the Amazon App installed you should remove it.


Posted in Uncategorized

New Ourschools App is here!

We are pleased to inform you that we have introduced a new app service to the Preschool.  This aims to make our communication with you easier, quicker and more efficient.

The app, (called ‘OurSchoolsApp’) is personalised to the Duchy Preschool and Playgroup and will allow us to keep you updated with the latest news, calendar events, school documents and links to other school information (e.g. our website and other social media channels).

If you have a smartphone (Android or iPhone) you can download OurSchoolsApp from Google Play Android or the Apple Store for FREE.

When we update OurSchoolsApp with new information or news about the preschool, a push notification will be sent to your device to inform you of this update.

OSA Social Media Graphic (1)Instructions for download


Posted in Uncategorized

Summer 2018 Newsletter

Hi everyone, we hope you have been enjoying the lovely weather!

Here is our latest Summer 2018 Newsletter… enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized

Join us at Bradninch Christmas Fayre

The nights are starting to draw in and many of us are now getting up before the sun.  Somehow Christmas is just around the corner again and we have got a bumper Bradninch Christmas Fayre in store for you!

There is a wonderful assortment of unique artisan gifts and goods, where you will find presents for even the trickiest person to buy for. Luxury homemade fudge and cakes for those with a sweet tooth, homemade pickles for those that prefer savoury. Usborne books for the avid readers. Bethan Jones Ceramics functional, honest pots made right here in Bradninch for those who love beautiful and useful things. Wooden toys and gifts for the little and not so little ones. Handsewn cushions, paper craft and decorations. Artisan jewellery and bags for that friend who can never have enough accessories (we have all got one of those).

The children (and any adults who would like to) will meet Father Christmas and whisper in his ear what they would like for Christmas. We can all get our faces painted and this year we are having a surprise new kiddies activity.

The prize draw has some monster prizes including tickets to Exeter Chiefs, a Morrison’s hamper, a voucher from Bernaville, tea and cake for two at John Lewis and lots more. Check out our Prize Draw prizes.

Once you have made all your purchases you can enjoy a cuppa and delicious cake, catch up with friends and really get into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Fayre

Join us for Bradninch Christmas Fayre, Sunday 3rd December 2017 at Bradninch Guildhall!

Posted in Uncategorized

Enter our Prize Draw and you could win big!

Here is the latest list of prizes available at the Bradninch Christmas Fayre Prize Draw.

A huge thank you to all our generous donors:


Tickets will be available to buy on the day, in advance from Duchy Preschool or contact

Posted in Events and Fundraising

Autumn Term 2017 – Welcome and Administration – November Update

A warm welcome to our new families, we hope you and your child will have a happy and positive start to the beginning of their out-of-the-home education. Parents are a child’s first teachers and what happens in their early years at home shapes the child and the adult they will become. If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share please email me We welcome all parents into playgroup and there is always an open invitation for you to come along and play.

Many thanks to everyone who volunteered and supported our coffee morning and fireworks fundraising events. Both were well supported and we made a staggering £200.00+ just at the coffee morning. As soon as we know how much the fireworks have made, we will let you know.

Bradninch Christmas Fayre takes place on Sunday 3rd December at the Guildhall, another key fundraising event for us. Please come along, enter our prize draw and volunteer if you can, we really appreciate your support.

Of all the terms, I think this is the most magical. The end of the last half-term of 2017 is too quickly approaching and we are entering our glitter phase of the year – so be warned!

We were recently contacted by a very special person, Father Christmas, who asked if our children at playgroup are amazing; naturally we told them they are! He explained that he is very busy, but this year he and his elves are extra busy. He then asked if we would have an ‘Elf Surveillance Camera’ fitted so he can see just how great our children are. So when your children come home telling you all about it – you will know what they are talking about. Of course, should you wish to ‘talk’ to Father Christmas via this camera, please feel free to do so.

Parents’ night is on Wednesday 29th November from 17:00-18:15. Please select a time slot with your child’s key worker, the sheets are on the hallway notice board. If you cannot make the evening and would prefer a day time appointment please speak to your child’s keyworker.

We will be having our Christmas celebration in the Baptist Church next month; details will be posted up in the setting nearer the time. Please remember that any photographs you take containing other children must not be posted on social media. This follows recommendations from Devon Children’s Safeguarding Team. It’s for all our children’s safety.

We will be sending out preference forms for next term, it is vital that these forms are returned as soon as possible, we need to know how many children we have in each session so we can staff it. Please return it even if you do not want to change your child’s hours. If we do not have the forms returned confirming your sessions then you may run the risk of being turned away for that session if we are under staffed. So PLEASE when the forms go out, send them back as soon as you can.

If your child does not attend playgroup, for example for sickness or holiday, please fill in an Absent Form. These are in a container on the wall in the hallway; a pen should be in there too. Or please ask a member of staff. We are required by Devon Early Years Funding to have a form for each absence.

We have been busy working with the children to make their Christmas cards for you to purchase. Hopefully you have returned your forms by now if you wish to buy anything. Thank you to everyone who purchased Tempest photographs. At the time of writing they are being delivered back to us and will be handed out as and when they arrive.

The new Parent Play rota is on the notice board and has been put in your child’s pocket. Please consider coming in to see what your child does when at playgroup, how they learn and perfect new skills all the time.

Please note we are now emailing invoices. This will not only save costs but also the small forest cut down each term at invoicing time! Please email Kasia at  to confirm or update your email address. Also please try to enter your surname as a reference when paying your bill so we know who has paid!

If you do not have an email address please speak to Kasia, Donna or Bridget.

Please remember to check your email inbox, spam filters etc. for our email within the first few weeks of each new term, thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has donated toys to the playgroup, the children are always excited when they see them and very very eager to play with them! We have been so lucky to have received these toys, they have given the children new play and learning experiences and that is always a good thing.

Our last day of playgroup is Thursday 15th December 2017 and we return on Tuesday 2nd January 2018. The school has an extra day off so there will not be any walking bus that day; however there will still be Out of Hours for playgroup children. Regrettably we cannot open these sessions to children who have already started school.

Can I remind everyone not to send items into playgroup in plastic bags, especially when packing the much needed spare clothes (also in lunch boxes). Plastic bags are very dangerous and our children are very precious. Should we change your child for whatever reason we will leave their clothes in a named bag in the access toilet on the window sill, away from the children.

Finally please feel free to click on the link below for a brief child development update:

Autumn Term 2017 – Child Development Update

On behalf of the Staff and Trustees I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best Regards

Bridget Cross – Managing Supervisor

Posted in Setting News

Autumn Term 2017 – Child Development Update

This Autumn Term 2017 we have used all seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. This update does not reflect one single week’s work but rather how we have taught each of the areas. Below I have set out some examples of our activities, based on the seven areas.

We are required to have British Values underpinning all of our teaching. To reflect this at an Early Years level is slightly harder than at school level because of children’s understanding. Below I have given examples of way we have linked British Values to the teaching.

The children have been looking at the Very Hungry Caterpillar and all activities and learning experiences have been based upon this topic.

Personal Social and Emotional

The children have talked about how they feel at different times of the day sharing with each other how they feel when they are hungry, tired, happy etc. So there has been lots of conversations at the snack table about how being hungry or tired makes them feel. The children have been able to vocalise emotions to a physical need, e.g. feeling sad when they are tired.

British values

The children listened to others and have shared their thoughts with others, while respecting the thoughts of others as being as important as their own.

Communication and Language

The children have had lots of discussions to show their understanding of the Very Hungry Caterpillar book and have looked at language specifically related to the topic, for example egg, caterpillar chrysalis, and cocoon. They have been building upon vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences. They listened to the story being told to them and they have read to each other and themselves.

British Values

They know that not everyone is the same as them and that is ok. They all have the right to speak and to be heard and if another person thinks something different, that is ok too.

Physical Development

They children have pretended to be butterflies, flying around the playground making sure that they did not run into other butterflies by negotiating space and adjusting speed or direction to avoid them. They have experimented in moving in ways they think a caterpillar would move, such as slithering, shuffling, crawling and sliding. They have also observed the effects of this activity on their bodies, and could describe how they felt.

The children have told adults when hungry or tired or when they want to play. They have used tools to enable them to make and colour the amazing things for our displays.

British Values

Not everyone has the same ability. The Children recognised that some people are different but just as important to society (or in this case playgroup) and how we must respect and value them as such.


The children not only read the Very Hungry Caterpillar but could re-tell it verbatim. They looked at factual books about the life cycles of other insects. They also looked at other Eric Carle books, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Quiet Cricket and The Bad Tempered Ladybird. These books have been available for the children to look at independently, with other children or with a grown-up.

British Values

Not all the children wanted to listen to the same books, so the children were asked to ‘vote’ for which story they wanted read first, second etc. The book with the most votes was read first and so on. They learnt that this was called a majority vote, which meant more people wanted story A than story B.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar lends its self well to number, the children counted how many different things the caterpillar ate, they matched the number to the quantity of food stuffs. They counted how many segments the caterpillar has and then drew some themselves. The children sequenced the story using pictures taken from the story.

Understanding the World

The children found a moth and this led to discussions about differences and similarities between moths and butterflies, using the setting’s tablets, they learnt that they are both from the same insect family and butterflies usually fly during the day while moths fly mainly at night. The children recognised some of the plants they had in their own gardens which butterflies liked.

British Values

The children learnt that respect should be shown to many things including people, property and living things, and cruelty to animals is against the rule of the land.

Expressive Arts and Design

The children have all had an input in making the displays in playgroup, from the large display in the main classroom to the smaller ones in and around playgroup. In doing so they have looked at how mixing colours changes them into different colours, they have used different techniques and tools to do this and have used them safely, competently and appropriately.

The children have also used their imaginations and thought what it must be like being both a Hungry Caterpillar and a beautiful butterfly.

British values

As the children were making display work they thought and talked about what their aim was and how to achieve it, and in doing so they made decisions and as a group they kept to them.


We hope to give opportunities to learn and thrive through play and interaction, while enjoying their precious early years.

Please feel free to contact Bridget Cross if you have any questions or comments.

Posted in Setting News

Duchy Preschool – Autumn 2017 – Welcome and Administration

Dear 2017/18 parents

A very warm welcome to the new families who have joined us this term.  If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share please email There is always an open invitation to parents and carers to come in and see what your child actually does at playgroup and how learning underpins every activity we offer. Please check out our white board in the hallway, we use it to display just some of the learning the children have done during the week, if you want to know more please speak to a member of staff.

We were visited by some amazing magical fairies over the summer holidays and they have transformed our rather sad and somewhat colourless playground into a bright and exciting place for the children. It looks absolutely amazing, the staff cannot thank the fairies enough for all their hard work, we are sure the children will appreciate it too. So a huge thank you Freya, Cas, Gosia and Blair for all your hard work, thanks also to Sarah for opening up the playgroup and helping them. You will also not have failed to notice how tidy the entrance to preschool is and thanks goes to Adam for offering to take the items to the recycling centre.

We are delighted to be able to say we have been joined by a new member of staff, Naomi who will be covering some of Laura’s hours, mainly in the Out of Hours provision. Naomi has a great deal of experience and knowledge about Child Care and I know she will be an asset to our playgroup. Laura has not left us, she has just cut back on her hours so she can concentrate on her University course.

As most of you know Venetia started her new job this term, she has been in touch and apart from missing us, things are going well and she is enjoying the challenge of her new job.

Even after so many of our children have gone onto school, numbers of children are good and we are already nearly full on a Thursday morning. We need to know how many children we have in each session so we can staff it, it is therefore really important that when the Preference Forms go out each term that they are returned even if you do not want changes to your child’s hours. If we do not have the forms confirming your wish to attend days then you may run the risk of being turned away for that session if we are under staffed. So PLEASE when the forms go out, send them back as soon as you can.

The lunch club staff have asked that if grapes are included in your child’s packed lunch, please cut them into quarters, grapes are just the right size to become stuck in a child’s throat. Likewise please do not send clothing, food etc. in plastic bags.

Our Early opening session is proving to be very popular, especially for those who have to leave Bradninch on the 8’ o clock bus. If this can be of any help to you please speak to a member of staff. It costs £2.00 per session per child.

Thank you for collecting your children on time, especially at the end of the day, it means that the Out of Hours children do not have to sit on the carpet for any longer than necessary while waiting for the session children to be collected.

May I also remind all parents to remain in the hallway and not to come into the classrooms when collecting their child from Afterschool Club; this is purely for the safety of your children.

Our opening times are:
OoH Breakfast – 8.00am – 9.15am
Morning session – 9.15am – 11.45am
Lunch – 11.45pm – 12.45pm
Afternoon session – 12.45pm – 3.15pm
OoH session 1 – 3.15pm  – 5.00pm
OoH session 2 – 5.00pm – 6.00pm

Please note that any photographs/videos which include other children taken at any preschool event, or the naming of other children or even parents are not to be posted on social media. This follows recommendations from the Devon Children’s Safeguarding Team. This is for the safety of all our children.

For Health and Safety reasons we would appreciate it if prams and buggies are not brought into the setting, the children sit on the floor in both classrooms, and although we wash the floors every day, sometimes the floors are dirty before we start the day. Thank you to those parents who already leave their buggies/prams etc outside; the staff greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness. If it is raining then please use our canopy to put the prams under.

Please bring babies into the setting; the staff will more than happily ‘take’ the babies for lots of cuddles while you see to your child.

If you would like to share lunch with your child, please bring it in, we encourage parents to either join us or sit with the children especially after a morning parent play date session.

Please note we also have a regular e-newsletter which is sent out to our mailing list. Various news involving Playgroup (including a regular child development update and fundraising activities) are shared here, as well as on our website and social media pages. You can subscribe to our e-newsletter via our HOME PAGE.

Finally the staff would like to thank you all for your support given to Playgroup, from being a trustee to  fundraising to parent play dates, your hard work is always appreciated. But also, more importantly for allowing us to care for your child, we are all aware of just how big an honour it is to be part of these very young, precious and most amazing little people.

Bridget Cross – Managing Supervisor

Posted in Setting News

Duchy Preschool and Playgroup AGM 2017

Duchy Preschool and Playgroup will be holding our Annual General Meeting on Friday 11th August 2017 at 19.30 at the Duchy Preschool, Millway, Bradninch, Devon, EX5 4NL. Whether you are a parent, staff member or a supporter of Duchy Preschool, you are very welcome to attend.

The AGM is an annual meeting of the Members of the Charity which runs the Preschool. The Annual Accounts and Report of Trustees will be voted on by Members and Members will also have the opportunity to appoint Trustees.

Please note, our Members consist of those who have completed and returned a Membership Form. These individuals have received a formal notice together with relevant documents. However, all of you are welcome to attend to observe and we will have Membership Forms available to complete should you wish to become a Member and be eligible to vote in 2018.

Others may wish to stand for election as a Trustee for the coming year, in which case please come along and make yourself known to us.

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Thank you

Andrew Boys

Chair of Trustees – Duchy Preschool and Playgroup

Posted in Setting News