Our History

St Catharine's Under Fives is an OFSTED registered Playgroup and Preschool, operating for over 50 years, located in St Catharine's Church Hall. We have a strong team of long standing, highly qualified staff of NVQ Level 3 or above, led by Amanda Coombes and assisted by Ola Swiatlowska. The Playgroup has close links with local schools, but has the independence to accommodate each child's individual needs. Recently rated OUTSTANDING for our work with children and families. Children are prepared very well for the next stages in their learning and their eventual move to school in a safe and fun environment.


In March 1969, the Young Wives of St Catharine’s Church set up St Catharine’s Playgroup to run every Wednesday morning from 9.30 – 11.30, with Mrs Kennett as Leader and Mrs Bruce and Mrs Woodcock helping. The Sunday School allowed the use of their chairs and tables, and the first toys were donated by the Young Wives themselves.

In the 1970’s, with 25 children on the register and under Mrs Cohen’s lead, our group expanded to run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We became affiliated to the Gloucestershire Pre-School Playgroups Association who encouraged parents, carers and helpers to attend their training and education sessions.

The 1980’s saw the start of a weekly ‘Stay & Play’ session running alongside the Playgroup. Since then, we have become members of Ofsted and have gone from strength to strength under the watchful eye of many different leaders and helpers and our ever-faithful committee, currently chaired by Bethan Hayes.