Castleton Playgroup was started in 1988 by Sharman Morgan as a private playgroup and was originally based in the Church Rooms at Castleton Baptist Church. At an early stage. Sharman kindly donated the playgroup to the church to be run for the benefit of local children. Jane Bradley, took over the running of the playgroup in 1992 and over the years much change has been seen. Following the sale of the church, the playgroup relocated to St Brides Village Hall in 2002 before moving to its current home in the grounds of Marshfield Primary School in September 2005. Following Jane’s untimely death in September 2010, Carol McIver took over the reins as supervisor and whilst the playgroup entered a new phase in its development, the main aim, namely for the well established ethos of the playgroup to be maintained, has been achieved. Indeed during Carol’s six year period in charge, she steered the playgroup through a highly successful Estyn inspection and two equally positive CSSIW inspections, all at a time when much change is being seen in the organisation and expectations of the pre-school education sector. Carol stepped down from the supervisory role in July 2016 although she continues to act in an advisory capacity and to provide staff cover from time to time. September 2016 sees a new era for the playgroup with Sarah Duance, a qualified primary school teacher, taking on the challenges and changes. She will be guiding the setting as we enter a new phase in the playgroup’s life as a provider of full day care and wrap around care for the new school nursery.
The current premises consist of one main playroom, a quiet room, toilets, store cupboard and office/kitchen. Excellent facilites exist outside and ‘free access play’ is encouraged.
The playgroup is a feeder setting for the adjacent Marshfield Primary School with which there is an excellent relationship.
Castleton Playgroup is the working name of Castleton Baptist Church Playgroup, and is a Registered Charity, No.1096204.
Early Years Education Providers
In April 2016 the playgroup successfully re-applied for the tender for Early Year’s Education funding, which the setting had previously provided for the last nine years. This allows Castleton Playgroup to continue to offer funding for 3 and 4 year olds, subject to certain criteria being met. We also deliver educational provision for parents who would like more flexible sessions around the working week. The playgroup is a feeder setting for the adjacent Marshfield Primary School with which there is an excellent relationship. This relationship continues to grow as we provide wrap around care for the school nursery.
The playgroup is inspected annually by CSSIW (Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales). The last inspection was in November 2018 and details of this can be viewed here (.pdf). Details of the previous inspection can be found here (.pdf).
The playgroup is also accredited under the Wales Pre-School Playgroups’ Association (Wales PPA) Quality Assured scheme. The playgroup was the first in Newport to achieve the latter distinction.
The playgroup is a registered provider for the Newport Childrens’ Partnership and as such parents of 3 and 4 year old children receive funding subject to certain criteria being met.
In 2002, Castleton Playgroup became the first playgroup in England and Wales to receive the Basic Skills Agency Quality Mark, this being successfully renewed in 2005 and 2008.
In 2004, the playgroup successfully took part in the Sure Start Healthy Playgroup Award and was recognised accordingly. In 2008 the playgroup was reaccredited.
In 2007, Castleton Playgroup was selected as one of the pilot pre-school settings for the new Early Years Foundation Phase.
The Staff 2016-2019
The members of staff have a wide variety of relevant qualifications which meet the requirements of both the CSSIW and the Newport Early Years Partnership. All staff have current First Aid accreditation or are in the process of renewing it and a currently accredited member of staff is always available. Furthermore, the majority of the team have undergone Food Hygiene, Special Educational Needs and Child Protection training. Staff regularly attend Wales PPA and Newport Childrens and Young Persons Framework training courses and seminars. Furthermore, the majority of the team have undergone Food Hygiene, Special Educational Needs and Child Protection training. Staff regularly attend Wales PPA and Education Achievement Service (Foundation Phase) training courses and seminars.
In addition to the regular staff there are a small number of volunteers who help out at various sessions during the week.
The Playgroup Committee
The affairs of the playgroup are managed by a committee comprised of church members and parents, with staff and the headmistress of the adjacent primary school being invited to meetings.
The Fundraising Team
Families are encouraged to help and support the various fund raising activities, which are spearheaded by a very committed team of parents, (known as ‘The Beautiful People’), who have generously given up their time to make our fundraising events such a success. Without such help, the playgroup would not have the high standard of equipment that it does.