So what does the Pre school Learning Alliance have to offer? (and some feedback from Worcestershire)   4 comments

This blog contains feedback from the second Worcestershire Pre school Learning Alliance Sub Committee ‘Meet and Greet’ but actually is not just about Worcestershire – it is about the Pre school Learning Alliance in general – and what is have to offer all members- including childminder members


Last night – Wednesday 2nd July 2014 – the Preschool Learning Alliance sub committee held their second  ‘Meet and Greet’ event.

You can read about the first ‘Meet and Greet’ event HERE


At the request of the attendees of the first ‘Meet and Greet’ event – this one was planned as a networking and information sharing event – and was very informal with no set agenda and just a ‘free flow’ discussion.

In Attendance were;

Myself  Penny Webb –  Chair of the sub committee

Linda O’Rourke – Treasurer of the sub committee

Raj Babber – Development Manager for Pre school Learning Alliance

One Group setting member

2 childminders who are not currently members of the Alliance

3 childminders – who are members of the Alliance through their Childminding Group membership – but not members in their own right.

So a small group – but a very significant move forward for the sub committee as the childminders in the room were attending to find out more about what the Alliance has to offer – and in particular what the Alliance has to offer childminders.

As Chair, I did the introductions – Linda and Raj then said a little bit about themselves and what their roles are. It is important to note that Raj is a paid member of  Alliance staff who support the sub committee, and Linda and myself are volunteers.

After an explanation / reminder about the purpose of the event – and a welcome cup of tea / coffee, we got down to the serious business of ………….. ……..CHATTING.

Comment was made about where were the member settings – it was explained that because the Worcester sub committee and been dormant for so long (was only re established in Sept 13) contact details for member groups are a little out of date as no one has been keeping on top of maintaining these records – this is particularly a problem with committee run group setting as the committee is constantly changing and so is the name of the person who receives the emails / post.

So a plea to any Worcestershire setting read this – If you are a member of the Alliance – please do get in touch so we can check our records.

And please can you pass on the message to those you network with.

In fact if any Alliance member in any part of the country  is reading this and are not getting their copy of ‘Under 5’ the member magazine – there is a good chance that your contact details are out of date – so please do get in touch.


The childminders in the room that are not members through a childminding group said that they did not even realise that the Alliance offers childminder membership and insurance, and they thought that many of their colleagues did not realise either.

Raj made some notes about this as clearly the information – which is available is not being  accessed as well as it could.

There were a lot of discussion around what the Alliance does offer all members – and  as such is available to childminder members.

The group member (and myself as a childminder member) said that the FREE training provided by Educare was brilliant – and on its own well worth the membership fee. A key point was that all staff / assistants in the same setting can access the training again for FREE

If you are interested in finding out more about the training provided by the Alliance through Educare CLICK HERE Childminder colleagues will note that there is a free one on setting up your childminding business – worth prospective childminders joining – just for that and the other essential training – especially as Local Authority support / training is  being reduced / removed.

It should be noted that there is other training available at a specially negotiated price.

So what else do members get?

WELL …..

A member magazine

The support of a regional office and staff such as Raj

A voice  nationally- can attend and vote at the National AGM

A voice locally – as can ask for training that you need to be put on, and you pass on your opinion through the sub committee

Through the Alliance Chief Executive Neil Leitch – a  nationally respected voice in early years sector. Just check out how often he is quoted in Early Years Magazines – and in those that extend beyond the Early Years sector representing the views, concerns and wishes of members.

Insurance if you require it – and at a good price to members

The opportunity to make your training needs known – and for that training to be put on at a time that suits you (with in reason of course)

Which leads us back nicely to the discussions going on at the Worcestershire sub committee ‘Meet and Greet’

In Worcestershire we are in a very fortunate position as we have what might be called ‘a healthy budget’,  due to the fact that Worcestershire funds have not only be held safely over the dormant years but have also been added to via the allocation each year of part of members membership money. To explain – each member pay a membership fee annually – and a portion of that is used to support  services provided in the members own area – mainly through the sub committees.

So as mentioned Worcester sub committee has access to a healthy budget ………..however the sub committee can not just spend it as they think fit – they have to spend it on services that members want. Therefore a bit of a chicken and egg situation – Worcestershire has the funds available, we can provide training / workshops, social events, networking events and so  but we need to know what members want first.

In fact the only event that we can /have to put on without members expressing an interest is the AGM (and as a ‘heads up’ this is going to be Saturday 4th Oct 2014 – more details later)

All we need is an expression of interest from TWO members (that is members with a personal membership number – so the 3 childminders present who belong to an Alliance member Childminding Group – count as one member because one membership number)

And last night we had an expressed interest in some training – the group member present asked for some training on the changes to SEN as from September 2014 when becomes SEND.

The childminders from the childminding group also would like this training – so there we are – we have an interest from two members (and as an aside – I would also like this training and have my own membership number – so technically 3 members – although for obvious reasons I don’t get counted – and neither does Linda – otherwise between us we could say – we have two membership numbers between us …. and we want ……)

Raj is therefore going to arrange the training for Worcestershire members – for Free (please note non members will be very welcome to attend – but we will have to make a small charge – simply because with this training every participant will be given the associated Alliance book resource FREE – so we do need to cover at least part of the book cost  for non members, by charging a small fee. However if people become members they will get this training and the training over the coming year for free – in my opinion – well worth considering joining.

After discussion with those present last night – we aim to put on the training in  2 – 4 different areas of Worcestershire – and we will provide at least cake with the drinks – if not something a little more substantial, as many – including the trainer and the sub committee volunteers will have to dash straight from their ‘day jobs’ and so not have time to eat. These things are very important – and so will be covered and nourishment of some sort provided.

I hope that readers can see that by attending the Meet and Greet those present have been able to have direct input and have ensured their own training needs are met. The SEND training  will be put on as soon as possible so the members can benefit and hopefully  have the information in time for the start of the new term


As a subcommittee we aim to put on 4 events with training in the next academic year – starting with the AGM – and then 3 other training events – to meet members needs – so why not come along to the AGM on Saturday 4th October to have your say and to share the training programme for Worcestershire Alliance sub committee?

The AGM will be at Perdiswell, in Worcester – all booked – including lunch and refreshments. The event will run from 9am – 1pm  and will be FREE to members Details will be coming out to members soon – and will be posted on this blog in due course.

Non Members will be welcome and will be able to attend for FREE  as well – subject to availability of places as of course members will have priority.


Getting back to the feedback from the Meet and Greet …… there was more!!!

It is surprising what you can fit into about 1.5 hours  – so we also discussed changes to the EYFS 14 and after the meeting all attendees were emailed information on this. We discussed Childminder Agencies – and all the concerns that those present have. We discussed the telephone discussion that I had had with Gill Jones who is Deputy Director for  Ofsted Early Years – and the work that Gill is doing with Nick Hudson in reviewing the whole Early Years inspection process. And we chatted in general about things connected to early years.

And there was MORE – all attendees took home a FREE goody bag and all had a prize from the FREE raffle – something which will be a feature of all Worcestershire events – for as long as we can.


Speaking from a personal perspective – I found the Meet and Greet event to be very useful, and certainly I have some ideas about how to get the information ‘out there’ about the Alliance and indeed the Worcestershire sub committee – for example;  leaflets giving facts and contact details;  trying to get myself / Raj invited to local childminding groups to talk about the Alliance and the Worcestershire sub committee, and to offer the same to group settings and so chat face to face.



I am going to leave the  almost final comment to the long standing Alliance group member who attended. I will call her ‘A’ as I have not asked permission to mention her by name – but everyone who was there will know who she was.

‘A’ said some thing on the lines of  – ‘really we have come full circle , and we are all going to have to be do what we can to support ourselves and each other, the Alliance locally used to do such wonderful things  that I was personally part of;  and we can do the same again –  if we all do what we can’

I agree we can and here in Worcestershire  – as an  Alliance sub committee, myself and Linda – supported by Raj – are waiting for members to come forward and say how we can support them – and for new members to come forward, pay their membership fee – and to let us know how we can support them as well.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Alliance take a look at their website – and  good pages to start with  are the pages that give details of membership

Group settings CLICK HERE



You can contact me on

Raj can be contacted via the West Division regional office Tel:  0121 643 0063




Posted July 3, 2014 by psw260259 in Pre School Learning Alliance

4 responses to “So what does the Pre school Learning Alliance have to offer? (and some feedback from Worcestershire)

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  1. Great blog…..

    Sharing a few SEND links and Ann Gross the Director of Special Needs and Children’s Services Strategy, from the Department for Education – will co-host #YTalking on Tuesday 15th July 8:00pm – – 9:00pm. On the subject of Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND)

  2. Well done ladies! We definitely need to network, collaborate and support one another..

    • Totally agree Catriona – and with things like Ofsted Big Conversation we can all work together as a sector

      It is equally important that all organisation work together where appropriate – and I certainly value the partnership working that I personally do with all organisations

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