Pre-School & Busy Bees News

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself – my name is Vicky Starling and I have the pleasure in taking over from Caroline in the role as Head of Unit; for both Pre-School and Busy Bees. What a half term it has been!  Thank you to everyone for all your best wishes and support. 

We have had a busy term in the unit and are all looking forward to the Easter break. Hopefully we will have some more of the beautiful warm days that we had last week to get out and about.

We hope you have all had fun during the holidays. Term starts on Monday 3rd September 2018. See you soon!

Summer is here at last and we have been making good use of the dry weather to play outside for much of the day. We hope you have seen some of the lovely outdoor photographs on your child’s Tapestry account.

Sunny weather

Please make sure that you have put sun cream on your child, before they come to Pre-School when we are experiencing sunny weather. We can help them to apply more later in the day as long as they have some (named) sun cream in their bags. Please also remember the named hat. We do provide shade over activities on the hottest of days and encourage the children to drink plenty of water, your help in keeping the children safe in the sun is greatly appreciated.

Good news!

We congratulate Harry on passing his apprenticeship and gaining his level 3 in Children’s Learning and Development.


Please make sure that your child’s name is on their lunchbox. It is not unusual for more than one child to have the same lunchbox. We do not have fridge space to store all the lunchboxes so a small ice pack is advisable during the warmer weather. Please remember that Pre-School is nut free, so do not include nuts, peanut butter/Nutella products or nutty cereal bars.


This term is always busy with the Toggles children being involved in lots of events with the school as they prepare to move on in September. We have also got our end of term disco and the trip to Cattle Country (see separate letters for more information) to look forward to.

Transition reports

Toggles parents will find a sheet attached to this newsletter (paper copy), which needs to be filled in and returned by Friday 29th June. This sheet forms part of the report that is sent on to the school’s Reception teachers.

New Email address

Please note the new email address for our Administrator Jo. The new email address is

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please add to your address book to ensure you receive email.


School grounds

Please do not drive into school unless you are collecting a sick child, or bring dogs onto the grounds. Children coming to school on scooters should get off and push once they arrive at the school gate.

Baby Hub

Will be held at the Baptist Church alongside Little Fishes. The first session will be held on 5th July and will be fortnightly after that. No appointments needed.

Request for Sessions Autumn Term

Buttons Parents/Carers - You should now have received the Request for Sessions form for the Autumn Term. Please complete and return these by Monday 25th June. Confirmations will be sent out mid July.

Toggles Photo

The End of Year Toggles’ Photos are here  - orders and money need to be back by Friday 29th June.


 Invoices for this term have been sent out via email.

Please remember to pay your invoices on time (within 2 weeks of receipt) in line with our policies.

Dates for your diary

Friday 29th June – Deadline for photo orders

Thursday 5th July - Pre-School Disco

Friday 20th July – End of Term Pre-School Trip to Cattle Country

Wednesday 25th July – Last Day of Term

Due to adverse weather conditions Blue Coat Pre-School & Busy Bees will be closed tomorrow, Friday 2nd March 2018.

Welcome to the Autumn term everyone. It’s lovely to see you all after the Summer break and to meet our new families. This term is always a busy one but promises to be lots of fun.

Staff matters

The staff would like to thank everyone for their generous end of term presents and cards, we do appreciate them. At the end of last term we said goodbye to our Deputy Mandy who has moved on to a job with South Gloucestershire Early Years and we welcome Vicky as our new Deputy Manager. Vicky works mainly in the Buttons room, but is in Toggles some afternoons and helps to run Stay and Play on a Friday morning, so will soon become a familiar face.

New Playhouse

Another big thank you goes to our volunteer Management Trustees who organised for a new play house to be built during the Summer holidays and then gave up their time to paint it so it would be ready for the children starting back this term. Many thanks – the children have had lots of fun in it already.

Phone number

Our landline number is 01453 525022, however we also have a mobile number 07957 639561. Please put this number into your phone now so that you will recognise it if we need to call you.

Help needed to fix outdoor chalk board

The wooden frame on the outdoor chalk board is in need of repair. If anyone is able to help repair this for us we would be very grateful. Many thanks


In response to our summer questionnaire, a number of parents wanted to know what our themes would be for the coming term. The reason that we don’t publish them in advance is that we don’t know! We like to follow the children’s interests as much as possible, so apart from the first week of term we take inspiration from what has caught the children’s attention in the previous week/s. We will however cover harvest and autumn in some way as well as fire safety, once we get nearer to Bonfire night. So if you find conkers, pretty leaves etc. when you are out and about, feel free to send them in for us to look at and talk about.

Internet safety

It has been brought to our attention that there are some rogue (and by all accounts very disturbing) versions of young children’s cartoons available on the internet. Peppa Pig in particular has been targeted by these creators. Please ensure that your children have access to the genuine versions, by using reputable channels and where possible using a “nanny net” or “restricted channels” to prevent them stumbling across the wrong ones. Gloucestershire Police and the NSPCC  both have information on their websites about internet safety.

Buttons group

Just a reminder that we take children from 2 years old. Please let friends and neighbours with young families know. More information can be obtained from Jo Bell, Administrator, 07873 890689, or ring the unit to arrange a visit. There is a Pre-School open morning on Wednesday 27th September, 9.30 to 11am.

Fruit/bread buyers wanted

For the last year one family has been doing the shopping for all the fruit, butter, bread etc. that is used in both the Pre-school and Busy Bees (the out of school club, that is also run by our Management Trustees). They are not going to be using our setting for the foreseeable future and it would be nice if some volunteers would come forward to take on this job.  It can be done in a number of ways, but being able to get fresh fruit and bread into Pre-school on a Monday morning, and possibly again later in the week is important. If you, or a pair/group are interested in helping in this way, please come and chat to staff about what is involved. (All expenses are reimbursed.) In the meantime, a big thank you to Kelly and Darren!

Information for new starters (reminders for old hands)

Please ensure that you close the school gates behind you when walking on/off the school site and leave dogs at the gate.

Only bring cars on site if you have been asked to pick up a sick child.

Please name everything! In particular if your child wears a Pre-school jumper, please write a name on the label. The same applies to lunchboxes as a number of children do have the same style box/drink bottle and it is important that these do not get mixed up. While on that subject, please remember that we are a “nut free” site due to a number of children with nut allergies.

Social media

We are taking our first steps into the world of social media so please look out for our posts on facebook (Blue Coat Preschool and Busy Bees) and Twitter (Blue Coat PSU and BB) and let us know what you think. Nice comments and shares welcome.

Dates for your diary

18th – 29th September collecting harvest donations for Wotton Food Bank

22nd September – INSET day Pre-School (Toggles & Buttons closed). However, Stay & Play still running 10am to 11.30.

27th September – Pre-school Open Morning for prospective parents/children/Blue Coat Primary School Open Morning. 9.30 to 11am.

14th October - Parents social evening at The Edge, 7.30pm.

16th October – Photographer will be here to take individual photos of the children (ready for Christmas)

18th October – Pre-School & Busy Bees AGM

20th October – End of term

31st October -Term restarts

7th November – Pre-School Open Morning for prospective parents/Blue Coat Primary School Open Morning

14th December (morning) – Christmas performance and party

15th December – End of Term


Caroline Lee and the Pre-School Team

Pre-School Unit: 01453 525 022

Mobile:              07957 639561

Administrator (Jo Bell): 07873 890689

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It’s been a while since the last newsletter so before I go any further I would like to welcome our new families. We hope you enjoy being part of the pre-school family. Here we are in the traditionally busy summer term and there is indeed plenty going on.

Last term

The children in Buttons enjoyed lots of sensory play and made a lovely Spring display. The fork print tulips looked especially good.  In Toggles they also explored the topic of Spring and took an interest in baby animals. The highlight being the visit of a lamb one afternoon. This term the Toggles have been learning about life under the sea and the Buttons about minibeasts and Summer.


Please send your child in with clothes suitable for the weather and also for being both indoors and out. We do go outside every day so if we get sunny weather a named hat is really important.


Active kids vouchers

These are no longer being given out by the supermarkets, so please check your bags and pockets and drop off any that you find in our collecting box in the Toggles room. We are usually able to order lots of outdoor toys with this scheme which is a real benefit to the children.

Bristol Standard

I am pleased to say that the staff have once again been able to gain the Bristol Standard Quality Assurance accreditation for our setting for another year. This involves the staff considering all parts of their practice and the physical environment and seeing where improvements can be made. These are then set as targets which we work towards achieving over the year. It involves a lot of work, but it is a valuable way of reflecting on what we do and improving the experience families and most importantly the children have.

Mobile phones

Please can I remind parents that the use of mobile phones is not allowed in pre-school except by prior arrangement.

Head lice

We are getting reports of families struggling to get rid of head lice or getting rid of them only to be re-infected shortly after. Please can everyone check their child’s and their own hair regularly. It is not always obvious that a child has head lice, not all children get itchy, so please have a look just in case.  For more information see: which is the NHS information, also available on the poster in Toggles window.         PTO

Wanted – plants, jars, clothes

If you have a few too many bedding plants at home, our garden could do with some colour and we are happy to accept your surplus plants.

We are also collecting small glass jars (the sort sandwich fillings or gift size jam often come in) for an activity in Busy Bees.

Please drop them off to staff if you can help with either of these requests.

And finally if anyone is having a clear out and has spare girls socks/tights (2,3 4 years), or boy trousers (2,3,4 years) please send them in. Our spare clothes supply of these items is getting low.


End of term trip

We are planning a trip to Puxton Park on Thursday 20th July, with a coach taking us there and back. The timings will fit in with those who have to be back for school pickups. The Management Trustees have agreed that the coach can be heavily subsidised by the fundraising account, so hopefully everyone will be able to join in.

End of term pre-school disco – organised by the Friends of Blue Coat Pre-School & Busy Bees. The disco will take place in the Blue Coat School hall from 5pm to 5.45 on 11th July. Tickets to follow.

Friends of Blue Coat Pre-School & Busy Bees are always looking for volunteers to help out with fundraising activities. If you can give a little of your time, no matter how small to help out occasionally please email Alex at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to add your name to the list of volunteers. Without help from parents the fundraising activities can not happen. You can also ‘Like’ the Friends of Blue Coat Pre-School & Busy Bees facebook page to keep up to date.

Staffing news

We are sad to say that Mandy will be leaving us at the end of term. You may have noticed that she is currently only working part-time with us and this is because she has got a new job supporting pre-schools in South Gloucestershire. We are sure she will be fabulous in her new job and we will miss her. We thank you her for all her hard work and dedication over many years and we wish her all the best for the future.

The new deputy in pre-school will be Vicky Starling who we welcome to the setting in September.

September Sessions

Thank you to those who have already sent in their session requests for September – I will be in touch shortly to confirm the sessions. With the new 30 hour childcare coming into place in September, please bear with us while we work through new systems to put this in place.

Just to remind you that from September 2017, some working parents of 3-4 year olds will be entitled to a further 15 hours of childcare on top of the 15 hours that everyone 3 & 4 year old is entitled to. Information can be found on the Glos families Directory website or via which will explain who is eligible and how you apply through HMRC.

Dates for the Diary

Pre-School Disco (organised by parent fundraising team)        11th July 2017  

Parents Social Evening (The Star Wotton, pm – all welcome)    18th July 2017

Puxton Park Trip          20th July 2017

End of Term                 21st July 2017

Autumn term start       4th September 2017

Caroline Lee and the Pre-School Team

Pre-School Unit: 01453 525 022

Administrator (Jo Bell): 07873 890689

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Parents

I feel it is a little late to be wishing you a Happy New Year, however I do hope that you have all had a good break from routine over Christmas and New Year and are now settled back into the rhythm of term time.  We are happy to have a number of new families joining our setting and are confident that the “old hands” will do what they can to help them feel welcome.


Can I start off by saying thank you on behalf of all the staff for the cardstn thankyou and presents that we were given at the end of term, your generosity is much appreciated by all the pink people.

We ended term with our version of the Nativity, led by Liz Martin, who as usual did a great job in encouraging the children to sing. We hope you enjoyed the occasion and can we also say thank you to the Management Trustees and helpers who provided drinks for the audience. The children had a special Christmas snack after the performance and a visit from Father Christmas, who gave out presents that had been provided by the Parent Fundraising Group funds. Thank you to everyone who helped make the morning go well.

One final note on a Christmas theme. We have a set of lights that were lent to us for the shopping evening at the beginning of December and we don’t know to whom we should return them. Please get in touch if they are yours.

Baby Hub

We are pleased to welcome the Baby Hub to Blue Coat on a Wednesday afternoon. This is now the place for the health visitors and Community Nursery Nurses to meet with new mums and to carry out baby weighing etc.  This is not run by ourselves, but we are happy to be able to support this vital link for new parents.  Please let any families with new babies know that this is now available. There is no parking available on site and visitors should walk from The Chipping/Symn Lane.


Those of you with children in Blue Coat Reception will have heard of the Tapestry programme for digital record keeping and creating learning journeys as it used by them and many other schools and nurseries. The Pre-School pink people have been trialling the system (rather than writing endless sticky notes) during the Autumn term and are ready to take the next step which is to go “live”.  

You will receive a letter asking for email addresses and a signed agreement so that we can begin the process of parents being able to access and contribute to, their child’s records from home. We would like to set this up to start immediately after the February half term.


During the last two weeks of this half term, staff will be moving the snack time slightly earlier, to see if this suits the children better and the flow of the morning’s activities. If successful, the new times will continue after the holiday, if not then it will revert to the current system. If you have any concerns/issues with this, please speak to your child’s keyworker.    

If you would like to do a parent duty with your Buttons child after the February half term (Mon, Tues or Wed) and see what they enjoy during the sessions and join in the fun, please contact Jo Bell.


Please could you name lunch boxes, coats, jumpers etc as it makes life so much easier for staff and children if items can be quickly returned to their owner. This is particularly the case with preschool T-shirts/jumpers and anything with popular characters (Frozen, Spiderman etc as children often have the same lunchboxes  and bags). Thanks


We are pleased that a number of Buttons children are now staying for lunch (on a Monday and Tuesday until 1.30pm) and would like to take this opportunity to remind you, as the makers of packed lunches, of a few guidelines. It is vital that nuts are not included in any form (Nutella, peanut butter, cereal bars etc) as we need to keep safe the children who attend the setting who have nut allergies. It is also advisable not to overfill lunchboxes as young children are often put off, if there is a large amount of one thing to eat. Suggestions to get round this are: to put a few crisps/breadsticks in a pot/bag rather than a whole packet; chop a large apple into slices, with the core removed (again in a pot or bag) and cut rolls/wraps/sandwiches into pieces that they can manage.

2017 01 24 12.52.36 pmSainsburys Vouchers

We are collecting Sainsbury Active Kids Vouchers. If you have any spare (from friends and family too) please bring them in. There is a collection box in the Toggles room. Thanks.

AGM – Management Trustee Committee

Thank you to all those who attended the AGM in November and especially to those who have stepped forward to join the Management Trustee Committee. We have a new Chair, Lou Dolling and 3 new trustees Vicky Starling, Jenny McDonald and Alex Gambrill who are joining Laura Cox, Deanne Cox, Suzy Murray-Davey, Kelly Rowe and Lucy Farmer.

The Pre-School & Busy Bees Unit is a registered charity and is run by a Management Trustee Board who are all volunteer parents. The Committee meet once per half term to review and plan for the Unit. Without them we could not open so once again thank you.

Dates for this term

Last day before half term Friday 10th February

Return date to Pre-School Monday 20th February

Caroline Lee and the Pre-School Team

Pre-School Unit: 01453 525 022

Administrator (Jo Bell): 07873 890689

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

jamjar1We need your help!

To help raise funds for the Unit, Blue Coat Pre-School & Busy Bees will be running a

  Jam Jar Tombola

 at the Christmas Under the Edge event on Saturday 3rd December 2016

We are inviting you and your child(ren) to help us by providing ‘filled Jam Jars’ for the stall.

Simply fill an empty Jam Jar with sweets, biscuits, small toys or anything you have that you think someone else would appreciate!

 If you have time please decorate with ribbon, stickers, Christmas paper or anything you have at home!

Please bring your filled Jam Jars to the Pre-School & Busy Bees Unit by Wednesday 30th November.

If you are able to spare and hour to help run the stall on Saturday 3rd December please let us know.

Many thanks for your help.

Staff and Trustees at Blue Coat Pre-School & Busy Bees