Dear Parents and Carers,

I’m writing in response to a question that I’ve been asked many times since starting at White Mere in September 2017 – the possibility of school offering 30 hour Nursery provision.

School has explored the idea in the past and found that it was simply too expensive to run in a small Nursery at a time when schools are experiencing many financial challenges and pressures. However, following close liaison with the Local Authority and colleagues at other small primary schools, I am delighted to announce that we will now be able to offer 30 hour Nursery places from September 2019.

We can do this by changing the way we operate Early Years at White Mere, so that instead of having separate Nursery and Reception classes, we are going to operate an Early Years Unit. It is important to note that this in no way means that both sets of children will simply be taught the same sessions or simply share all of the same experiences. While all children in our Unit will learn in the same environment and share elements of their provision, our Reception-aged children will be taught separately for their Phonics, Maths and English sessions, re-joining the unit for the rest of their curriculum. This approach is based on the model used by other successful and established Early Years Units. The unit will be led by Mrs Lowrie and the full staffing of the unit will be arranged in the Spring Term once we have our final pupil numbers.

We are very excited about this move as it means that from next September we can offer the equivalent of 26 full time Nursery places through a combination of 15 hour and 30 hour Nursery provision, as well having our current limit of 30 children in Reception. The implications for school numbers will be positive, which will, in turn, have a positive impact on our budget going forward.

Parents who wish to send their child to our Nursery from September 2019 will be able to choose between the full five day, 30 hour provision or can send their child for two and a half days (Monday and Tuesday plus Wednesday morning or Wednesday afternoon plus Thursday and Friday). For those parents who have already signed up for five morning sessions, they will be able to have those sessions if they still want them but they will be the last set of children to have five mornings.

Any parents who are unsure about their eligibility for 30 hours provision can check this on the Government’s Childcare Choices website (www.childcarechoices.gov.uk).

We will be providing more detailed information about the organisation of the school day for those children who will be in our Early Years Unit in September 2019 but should anyone have any questions about this positive step for White Mere, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Chris Boddy

Headteacher

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