Nursery News 15th January 2021


15th January 2021 – Edition 212


Find out About:

A: Willow Nursery School is closed.

B. .Why the school is closed.

C. What if I have paid fees for Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of January?

D. Letting us know if your child receives a positive test result whilst we are closed.


A: Willow Nursery School is closed.

The school is closed. We plan to reopen on Wednesday 20th January. Any updates will be posted on our website: Please look there for most up to date information.


B. Why the school is closed:

We have had one confirmed case of Covid 19. It is a pupil in the Main Nursery Bubble. Please understand we have to maintain confidentiality, and so cannot reveal the name of any confirmed cases. The child first began to show symptoms on Saturday 10th January. We received confirmation of a positive test result on Friday 15th January.

As a school we have a duty to contact the Department for Education/ Public Health England for advice.

We had to work out which children had shared a classroom with the confirmed case, when they were last in, and these children would have to self isolate for 10 days.

If your child was in on Thursday 7th January or Friday 8th January, and was in the Main Nursery Bubble, then your child should isolate for 10 days from Saturday 10th January (when the confirmed case had their first symptoms), until Tuesday 19th January.

Children who attended on 7th and 8th of January in the Catkins/Blue group Bubble, do not need to isolate, as they had no contact with the confirmed case. Normally they would be able to continue to attend school.

We have had to close the school, because 10 of our 14 staff had contact with the confirmed case, and therefore need to isolate.

We sent two letters out earlier today from Public Health England. One letter was sent to the parents of all children, to alert them to the fact that we have had a single

confirmed case of Covid 19.

A second letter was sent out to the parents of all the children considered to be a close contact of the confirmed case, advising that their child would need to isolate.

Please be aware that some parents have reported that some of these letters had been delivered to their Junk file on their email account.

The information given above in bold italics will allow you to work out for yourself if your child was a close contact of the confirmed case.


C. What if I have paid fees for Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of January?

All fees paid will be carried forward, if your child cannot attend a session because the school is closed.


D. Letting us know if your child receives a positive test result whilst we are closed.

If any child has symptoms, then takes a covid 19 test and receives a positive test result, please inform Mrs Flynn by email at:

We would then go through this process again, advising parents if their child would need to self isolate.

If any further cases are reported, the school may stay closed for longer. Please check our website for further updates. We plan to reopen on the 20th January. If no further updates appear on our website, we will be open on the 20th January.

Please note that the school is physically closed. There will be no staff in school until the 20th January.


11th January – Edition 211


Find out About:

A: Willow Nursery School is open.

B. .Staffing updates.

C. Our January Intake.

D. Term Dates

E. Funding forms for the Local Authority must be signed by parents.


A: Willow Nursery School is open.

I hope you all had a restful break. I know the staff used the time to rest, and ready themselves for the Spring Term.

We are open, and we are operating in the same way that we were in December.

We have an in depth document, written by the government, that Early Years settings have to follow to keep staff, pupils and parents safe in this pandemic. This document is regularly updated. Scientists from the Sage committee say that even though we have a new covid variant that seems to be very contagious, we do not need to take additional measures to keep ourselves safe, we just need to continue with the same measures that were in place, but make sure we adhere to them very well. Remembering that regular handwashing is of utmost importance, trying to stay socially distanced wherever possible, and using face coverings where social distancing is not possible.

We are still following all the important rules to keep children safe.

We are still operating two bubbles. One bubble is all the children that will leave us in July 2021, the other bubble is all the children younger than this. Children still have free flow play, both inside and outside for most of the session and come together for a group story time or activity towards the end of their session.

We understand all families have different feelings and views about whether their children should attend Nursery or not at this time. We do understand.

We also know that individual parents views may change over time, so what you choose at the moment may change in the coming weeks. That is OK too.

Almost all parents have contacted us if they have chosen to keep their child at home at the moment. We are very grateful for this information. We have made a note of what each parent has advised, so we have an overall picture.


B. Staffing Updates

Miss Howe’s daughter is in Year 4. She attends her school as a Keyworker child. Her bubble was closed from today as a child in her class tested positive for coronavirus. Miss Howe’s daughter has to isolate for 10 days. We will see Miss Howe again on Tuesday 19th January.

As a school we are very vulnerable to closure.

We have two teachers, Miss Howe and Mrs Davies. A teacher must be on duty for the school to open. Both of us have primary aged children attending school in keyworker bubbles. We could end up with both of us having to be at home looking after our own children if both their bubbles close. In this scenario our school would close.

Mrs Davies and Miss Howe both work with the Main Nursery children every day. If we had a confirmed coronavirus case in the Main Nursery, either a child or member of staff, then the entire bubble would close. If Main Nursery bubble closes for everyone to isolate for 10 days, Miss Howe and Mrs Davies would both be sent home. In this scenario our school would close.

If a child or member of staff tested positive for coronavirus in the Catkins/ Blue group bubble, the bubble would close. In this scenario the school may be able to stay open, if Mrs Davies or Miss Howe were able to remain in school to manage the Main Nursery.

The important message to note here is our day to day vulnerability. We want to continue to provide care and education for the children that do attend. Please do not send in any children who are unwell in any way. If your child is ‘under the weather’, or ‘out of sorts’ please keep them at home. If your child becomes unwell at school, we will ask you to come and collect them.

Please help us to stay open. One staff member off, things become tight. Two staff off, things become difficult. Three staff off and we face closure due to staff shortage. So as parents, please behave in a covid secure way whenever possible. Please do not bend the covid rules during your daily lives.


C. Our January Intake.

We have just admitted 11 new starters, who have just turned three. These children, along with four children already attending Nursery make up Blue Group. Blue group is based in room 3, and they are looked after by their Keyworker, Miss Gaffney.

I’d like to welcome all these new families to our school.


D.Term dates:

Spring term begins Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Half term from 15th-19th February 2021

Term ends for Easter school holidays on Friday 26th March.

The best place to look for the most up to date Term dates is on the Central Beds Website. The Local Authority have been known to move school holidays to bring them in to line with neighbouring counties. I would always suggest double checking there before booking a holiday or other important event.#


E. Funding forms for the Local Authority must be signed by parents.

All parents that claim 30 hours funding for their child must sign a parent declaration form provided by the Local Authority, every term, to enable to school to receive the additional funding for their child. The majority of our parents were approached by the office staff during the last week of December to sign their child’s declaration form.

Some parents still need to sign their child’s form. For example, some parents have decided that they want to keep their child at home, in the short term, due to isolation, shielding, or personal choice. There are outstanding forms for about 12 children. The form is required by the Local Authority to confirm your child’s eligibility, and your child’s attendance pattern at Willow Nursery School.

This form must be signed for us to eventually receive the 30 hour funding. Failure to sign will mean your child will not receive 30 hour funding. Your child will then have to drop to attend for 15 hours only.

All forms must be signed by the 22nd January.

There are 3 options open to you. Note, with the first two options we will complete the information required on the forms, and you will need only to add your signature.

1) Drop into the school between 9am and 3pm to sign your child’s form in person.

2) We can scan and email the form to you electronically, for you to then sign, scan and return back to Mrs Flynn.

3) Complete an online form downloaded directly from the Local Authority (we will provide the link to the form). In this option parents must fill in all the information required on the form themselves, and submit directly to the council ( and then please inform the school office once this has been submitted.) As yet this form is not yet available, we anticipate it will be available by Monday 18th January. ACTION REQUIRED: Please email Mrs Flynn at to inform her of your preferred choice of method of completing your child’s form

Covid 19 January 5th Update




The government has said:

Early Years Settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open.


Timings attendance patterns remain the same

Open plan organisation remains the same with free flow inside and outside.

You can decide whether to send your child or not.

You will not lose your space if you choose not to send your child during this time.

If you are choosing for your child not to return at the moment, please call or email and let us know your plans.

Telephone: 01582 662600       email:

We can understand your feelings may change over time. Schools are likely to be closed until at least 22nd February. If you wish for your child to return, please contact us the week before.



If you pay for your sessions…

In normal circumstances, sessions must be paid for in advance, and no refunds are given for child absence.

We have decided to have alternative financial arrangements for this term spring 2021 (Jan- Mar). If you choose to keep your child at home, you will NOT be charged for the allocated sessions you miss. Any fees already paid will be carried forward until your child returns.

If you wish your child to return to catkins, please remember sessions must be booked and paid for by Thursday 9.30am of the preceding school week.


As a childcare provider, we are deemed to be fully open. Therefore, we will not be providing home school learning packs.

Weekly newsletters will be sent to everyone on roll so we can keep in touch with you. Our website will be kept up to date with current announcements.


30th November 2020 – Edition 210

Find out About:

A: Arrangements for the end of Term

B. .Christmas Party

C. Parking

D. Covid 19 reporting.


A. Arrangements for the end of term.

The last day for Catkins Class is Thursday 17th December.

The last normal school day for the Main Nursery will be Thursday 17th December.

On Friday the 18th December the school will be open for the Main Nursery Party only.

The school office will be closed on Friday 18th December. The deadline for payments for the beginning of the Spring Term will be on Thursday 17th December at 9:30am.


B. Christmas Party.

The Main Nursery Christmas Party is planned to be on Friday 18th December from 11:15am until 1:00pm. , The school will be open only for the party.

All children who attend Main Nursery are invited to attend the Christmas Party regardless of what days they usually attend.

Parents and children should arrive for 11:15, and wait outside on the pavement outside the nursery. We will follow normal routines to admit the children, with Green group coming in first followed by Red group, then Yellow group. Children will not require a water bottle or a packed lunch on this day as we will be providing refreshments. Children will not require their change of clothes bag.

Children may wear party clothes if they wish, or regular nursery clothes.

Please be prompt to collect your child at 1:00pm. We will use normal routines for departure.

Catkins Class will not miss out on the Christmas fun. They will have party food, a disco and Christmas crafts within their regular sessions every day during this last week of term.


C. Parking

It has come to my attention that one of our parents was reduced to tears last week over where she had parked her car in Goldstone Crescent. A resident came out to complain that she had parked too near to their drive. Then someone parked on the other side of the road to her, but then she got complained to for not parking with consideration and making the width of the road too narrow.

Goldstone Crescent is a small road that is used by Hadrian, Willow and Vale parents. Please be considerate of each other. Please show patience and tolerance towards each other. I’m appalled that one of our parents felt so upset.


D. Covid 19 reporting.

If your child is showing symptoms of Covid 19 and you decide to take your child for a Covid 19 test you must inform the school office.

If your child receives a positive result Covid 19 you must again report this to the school as soon as possible.

A positive test result must be reported to school so that we can inform pupils/staff of the need to self isolate after contact with a positive case.

The school office has an answering machine, so messages can be left at anytime.

During the Christmas holidays schools have a duty to engage in track and trace to protect other pupils and staff, for the first few days of the school holidays.

So, if your child receives a positive covid test result on Saturday 19th December or Sunday 20th December, please email the school : so that we can identify all those that have had contact with your child in the preceeding 48 hours, and we can contact them to inform them to isolate for 14 days.

Please keep as Covid safe as possible over the Christmas break. We look forward to seeing everyone safe and well in the New Year.


7th December 2020 – Edition 209

Find out About:

A: Applying for Primary School.

B. 30 hour codes and funding forms.

C. Fruit at snacktime

D. Naming Belongings.

E. Mrs Davies not in school.


A: Applying for Primary School.

34 Main Nursery children are yet to apply for a place at Primary School.

Please remember that you must apply for a school place through your home Local Authority. You need to apply before 15th January 2021. We are able to access a list from Central Beds Authority which shows which of our pupils have not yet applied for a primary school place.


B. 30 hour codes and funding forms

Thirty hour codes must be valid on the 31st Dec 2020 for your child to receive 30 hour funding in the Spring 2021 term. Check to see if your code needs renewing. Your code number remains the same, but you will receive a new renewal date. If the code is not valid, your child will not receive funding. We cannot override this system.

Mrs Flynn will be preparing the Spring Term funding forms for parents to sign. So in the coming two weeks she, or the other office staff will be asking you to check and sign your funding forms.


C. Fruit at snacktime

Thank you for your overwhelming response to my request for fruit. Parents have been extremely generous. We have lots of happy children!


D. Naming Belongings.

Please name everything. Last week we had a back-pack mix up, as two children had identical bags. There are two water bottles that have remained on the Catkins trolley for over a week, they keep going out at the beginning and end of the day and nobody collects them. Two identical coats went home with the wrong children. Labelling your child’s belongings with your child’s name will help staff to resolve these problems as they occur.

Remember, name lunchboxes and water bottles. Name the tubs inside lunchboxes. Name coats, hats, scarves and gloves. Name any layers that may be taken off, such as cardigans, fleeces and jumpers. Some names have worn off. Please check and rewrite if necessary.


E. Mrs Davies not in school.

My daughter is a pupil at Vale Academy. Year 6 has been sent home to isolate until Tuesday 15th December. So unfortunately, I must stay at home to look after her. I will be working at home, and in contact with the school on a daily basis.

Miss Howe, as Deputy Head Teacher, will manage the day to day running of school at this time.


30th November 2020 – Edition 208

Find out About:

A: Catkins Parent Consultations.

B. .School Photographer

C. Term Dates

D. Arrangements for the end of term.

E Lack of fruit at snacktime!

F . What the children are learning this week.


A: Catkins Parent Consultations.

A reminder for those that have booked consultations with Catkins class staff, they will be taking place at the following times:

Miss Tyler’s Keyworker children: Monday 30th November: 3:00pm to 3:30pm

Miss Gaffney’s Keyworker children: Tuesday 1st December: 3:20pm to 3:50pm

Consultations for Mrs Brinkley’s Keyworker children:

Appointments available: Wednesday 2nd December 2:40pm to 3:50pm

Mrs McGrath’s Keyworker children: Thursday 3rd December 1:30pm to 2:00pm


B. School Photographer

All orders must be returned to school by Tuesday 1st December.


C. Term dates:

Autumn term ends Friday 18th December 2020.

Spring term begins Tuesday 5th January 2021.

Half term from 15th-19th February 2021

Term ends for Easter school holidays on Friday 26th March.

The best place to look for the most up to date Term dates is on the Central Beds Website. The Local Authority have been known to move school holidays to bring them in to line with neighbouring counties. I would always suggest double checking there before booking a holiday or other important event.


D. Arrangements for the end of term.

The last day for Catkins Class is Thursday 17th December.

The last normal school day for the Main Nursery will be Thursday 17th December.

On Friday the 18th December the school will be open for the Main Nursery Party only. The school office will be closed on Friday 18th December. The deadline for payments for the beginning of the Spring Term will be on Thursday 17th December at 9:30am.

The Main Nursery Christmas Party is planned to be on Friday 18th December from 11:15am until 1:00pm.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic the party will be slightly different to what we usually offer. We will have a Christmas Magic Show, party food, and (if we are good) a visit from Father Christmas.

We have reduced as many Covid 19 risks as possible. The magician will be distanced from the children, and nobody will be called upon to be the magician’s assistant. The school will provide all the party food. Each child will have an individual pre-prepared plate of food. (Food will be vegetarian) Father Christmas (one of the teaching assistants) will come and wave to the group. We will not have individual visits to Father Christmas in his Grotto this year.

Catkins Class will not miss out on the Christmas fun. They will have party food, a disco and Christmas crafts within their regular sessions every day during the last week of term.


E Lack of fruit at snacktime!

We have had very little fruit brought into school in the last week or so, to share at fruit time. I know we have some parents who regularly donate fruit, so a big Thankyou goes out to them. We ask that every parent consider donating a six pack of apples, or a bunch of bananas or a bag of satsumas once every six weeks. If all parents send in some fruit we have plenty to share at grouptime. We give children a small portion of fruit to have with their milk at snacktime, usually about a quarter of an apple/ banana/ satsuma. The children really enjoy their snacktime.

F. What the children are learning this week.

Catkins will be focussing on some of the storybooks about Maisie Mouse By Lucy Cousins. Mrs Brinkley will use the story: ‘Maisie’s Bus’ to teach the children about numerals 1 to 5, as the bus in the story stops at numbered bus stops along the bus journey. The frame we used for the dark tent last week can be rebuilt as a big red bus. Children will have the chance to role play going on a bus journey.

Miss Tyler will be retelling the story of ‘Maisie Goes Swimming’. In this story Maisie has to take off many layers of clothes to be ready for the pool. The children name the clothing types and name the colours. We have a handmade Maisie Mouse, and all her layers of clothing that a group of clever parents made a number of years ago.

Mrs McGrath is going to help children to cook some cheesy mouse biscuits.

Main Nursery Children will begin exploring the theme of Christmas. At Willow we try very hard to make our Christmas feel exciting, busy and full of glitter. We try not to start Christmas crafts etc too early as it is very hard to sustain excited 2,3 and 4 year olds for more than three weeks. We teach the children about the Nativity Story and allow the children the children to consider that this story is a story that Christians believe to be true. We provide a role play stable and props so children can retell the Nativity Story. We learn about Christmas traditions. The children have their own Christmas tree that they can decorate as they wish.


 23rd November 2020 – Edition 207

Find out About:

A: Covid 19-Impact on our forward planning:

    Pupil Numbers Jan 2021 and April 2021.

B. Hats and Gloves

C. School Photographer

D Job Vacancy- Part time School Secretary.

E. What the children are learning this week.

F. Catkins Parent Consultations.

G. Hadrian Academy Flier


A: Covid 19-Impact on our forward planning:

    Pupil Numbers Jan 2021 and April 2021.

Main Nursery

I have found that in the past few weeks I have had a number of requests from parents in Main Nursery about increasing their child’s sessions. I have tried to fulfil as many requests as possible.

There are 52 children who are Main Nursery age and there are a variety of attendance patterns. Planning for September 2020 was difficult because of the pandemic. Most offer letters were sent out before the pandemic arrived.

We are currently operating with 52 spaces in the morning and 32 in the afternoon.

I am worrying about the implications of staff shortages due to the pandemic. I have had a full time member of staff off at home for the last two weeks, because her young child’s school bubble was closed. Both I -Mrs Davies, and Miss Howe have children and we could very easily end up in the same position.

Willow Nursery School can only open if Miss Howe or myself are on the premises.

We are more vulnerable than most schools to staff shortages causing us a problem because we have strict adult to child ratios which must be adhered to at all times laid down by ofsted.

I am concerned that if I over commit to the number of children we can care for in the afternoon, then I am increasing the likelihood that the school would have to close if we had a staff shortage.

So please bear with us. The virus is expected to be at is worse between now and April. I do not want to raise the pupil numbers we are caring for in the Main Nursery during this uncertain time. We may consider offering more spaces to parents for the Summer term, but this will require some additional staffing to be put in to place. I am aware that there are a few parents who would like some full days for their child that are not available at the moment. The majority of Yellow group were only offered morning spaces, I know some of you would perhaps like lunch and full days for your child in the Summer Term to get them ready for school in September. It is something we will revisit as the rest of the academic year unfolds.                                                              So, to summarise, there are no further additional lunch or afternoon sessions available in the Main Nursery until April 2021.

Catkins Class

For January 2021 we have some spaces available if any Catkins parents wish to take up additional sessions. Some parents have already spoken to me and I have made a note of what you are looking for and I will get back to you this week. We will have additional spaces available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday MORNINGS. Please contact us this week if you would like an additional morning space for January 2021.

On the 1st December I will release any remaining spaces to be made available to families on our waiting list.


B. Hats and Gloves.

It is becoming very cold now in the garden at school. In the past we have had a big box full of spare gloves and hats that the children can use in the garden. Due to Covid-19 we are unable to allow children to share clothing. Please consider providing gloves for your children, some children had very cold hands when playing outside with me last week.

I would suggest buying the most inexpensive gloves you can find, just in case they get lost.  Put your child’s name /initials on the tag inside, and we will do our best to send them home each day with the correct owner.


C. Job Vacancy- School Secretary -Part time.

Mrs Flynn is moving on in January to a new position. So we are looking for a new School Secretary.                                                                                                                    Please see the advert on the following page for details of the job.                                                      If interested please contact the school office and we will email you an application pack containing the following:

  • A copy of the advertisement
  • A person specification for the post of school secretary
  • A job description for the post of school secretary
  • An application form.

Or we can arrange for you to pick up a paper copy of the application pack.


LOCATION: School Name: Willow Nursery School
Address: Goldstone Crescent, Dunstable LU5 4QU
Telephone Number: 01582662600
E-mail address:

School Secretary

To start as soon as possible.

HOURS: 14 hours per week, spread over three days

Monday 8:15am to 3:15pm (with 30 min lunch break)

Wednesday 9:00am to 11:30am

Friday 8:15am to 1:15pm

Term time only.




Grade/Level: 3
Minimum and Maximum range: Pts. 5-7

( £10.01 to £10.41 per hour)

rate subject to confirmation from Payroll provider










We are looking for an experienced office administrator, with at least 3 years office experience. Some experience of working in a school office is preferred.


  For further details and an application pack please contact …….


Contact Name: Mrs Cathy Shambrook
Tel: 01582 662600.


CLOSING DATE: Friday 27th November 2020


INTERVIEW DATE: To be confirmed



D. School Photographer

I have not heard from the school photographer yet.


E. What the children are learning this week.

Catkins will be focussing on the theme of ‘Colour and Light’. We have a dark tent that we can use in the classroom. We have a big cube frame that we cover with a fitted thick black cotton tent. It is dark inside when the entrance flap is closed. We let the children explore inside with torches, toys that light up, a light table and translucent plastic shapes, both 2D and 3D.

They will be reading a book together, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?’ which is all about different coloured animals, by Eric Carle, the author of the Hungry Caterpillar. Children will represent animals from the story by making collage pictures. Other art activities include making stained glass window pictures using coloured cellophane, making binoculars and exploring colour mixing with paint.


Main Nursery will be learning about electricity. We have some science kits which the children can use to make basic circuits. Using batteries, little bulbs and other components joined with crocodile clips and wires, to make a bulb light or to make a buzzer sound. We talk about electrical items we use in the home. We have an excellent game on the interactive screen where the children have to teach an alien how to use electrical products. The children have to remember to switch the equipment on and then press appropriate buttons and switches to make it work, for example controlling a television, a cooker, a blender etc. In room 2 children will use box modelling materials to represent electrical items, making irons, toasters, microwave ovens. Children will be painting drippy pictures using pipettes. Outside Miss Howe will be organising running games. She will have a bowling alley where children have to keep score by making marks on a tally chart.


F. Catkins Parent Consultations.

We would like to offer all Catkins parents a parent consultation for their child. As parents are unable to come into school at the moment due to the Covid pandemic, we are following government guidelines and offering parent consultations on the telephone. Parents will have the opportunity to have a 5 minute phone consultation with their child’s keyworker.

We ask you to telephone the school office to make an appointment for your child.

Staff with have a list of times available. You may select an available time. Staff will ask you for some details: your name, your childs name, and the phone number you would like us to call you on for the consultation.

We have only one phone line at school so the consultations will be at the following times:




Consultations for Miss Tyler’s Keyworker children.

Appointments available: Monday 30th November: 3:00pm to 3:30pm


Consultations for Miss Gaffney’s Keyworker children.

Appointments available: Tuesday 1st December: 3:20pm to 3:50pm


Consultations for Mrs Brinkley’s Keyworker children.

Appointments available: Wednesday 2nd December 2:40pm to 3:50pm


Consultations for Mrs McGrath’s Keyworker children.

Appointments available: Thursday 3rd December 1:30pm to 2:00pm


Appointment dates and times have to be fitted around individual staff availability in Catkins class.


G. Hadrian Academy Flier.

Please see below a poster from Hadrian Academy regarding starting school in Reception Class in September 2021.

Please remember for children born between 1st September 2016 and 31st August 2017 are due to start school in September 2021. You must apply for a school place through your home Local Authority. You need to apply before 15th January 2021



16th November 2020 – Edition 206

Find out About:

A: Covid-19 Review.

B. 3+ Enrolment.

C. Job Vacancy- Teaching Assistant Level 1- Lunchtime support.

D. School Photographer.

E. What the children are learning this week.


A: Covid-19 Review.

We constantly review our practice at Willow, in order to improve organisational strategies and the experiences for the children. We have government advice which we must follow on a day to day basis throughout the pandemic. We have a risk assessment which we review and update as necessary.

So what have we achieved?

Firstly, I want to thank all the parents for being so supportive with all the measures we have put in place. The Arrival and Departure routines are working well. The children arrive and depart in a certain order so that we can fill each classroom in turn for registration. On Wednesdays, we try to send home all Main Nursery children’s artwork, because that is the day that everyone is in. Staff have to help their keyworker children find their coats and belongings at the end of the session, help them to dress, and then take artwork from individual folders to give to individual children to take home. Parents may have found out that the going home process on Wednesdays takes a little longer because of this additional task.

The children follow our extensive hand washing routines. They are aware of the need to Catch it, Kill it, Bin it, using our tissue stations to blow their nose and dispose of the tissues in specific tissue bins in each classroom.

We are finding that we have less colds circulating, we have less snotty noses than we usually have at this time of year! The staff feel that there is a more hygienic than normal school environment because of these strategies and because people are mixing less in their home environments. So all good.

We have assessed all the children in Main Nursery against all curriculum areas. There are some materials that we are not allowed to play with at the moment during the pandemic. Children are not allowed to share malleable materials such as playdough or clay. We are not allowed to use materials that children could put their hands into, add germs, then another child puts their hands into and pick up the germs. We are really missing playdough! The children learn lots about shape and quantity from rolling, chopping, shaping, and stretching dough. These physical movements help strengthen hands in readiness for writing. Children learn to share with playdough. Children play imaginatively with playdough, often making cakes and cookies. So, if possible, we would encourage all parents to try and provide playdough/ plasticine at home, or even have a go at making some simple flour and water dough together. I know it is messy, but the children really need this experience. It is a gap in their experience. We are also not allowed to play with sand, again because germs stay in the sand and it cannot be washed. The children are really missing digging!

Some materials and opportunities are restricted here during Covid 19, but the staff try hard to think of innovative ways of working, to give children a broad experience of the curriculum.

So what are we focussing on?

Some children missed a whole term of school between May and July, in both Main Nursery and Catkins class. We are determined to help children catch up with any experiences that they missed. Our aim is to give this years children all the skills and expertise they need to progress successfully to their next stage of education.

What can be improved?

Both our local schools: Hadrian Academy and The Vale Academy, now ask all parents to wear a face mask when dropping their children off to school.

There are positive Covid 19 cases recorded in the Dunstable Icknield Ward (the council ward our school is in) on the Central Bedfordshire Council website.

Advice is that face masks should be worn if Social Distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained. There is no way all our families can queue outside with a 2 metre distance between families. If we asked that, families would be queuing right down the path to the Vale Academy! So we would ask where social distancing is not possible parents consider wearing masks.

Some parents wait over the road and join their colour group queue when their child’s keyworker arrives to take children in. This is very sensible. At Parent Consultations we were reminded that some parents are Clinically Vulnerable and should be shielding, but they want their children to access education. Please be aware of others need to social distance, when everyone is waiting outside. Overall I am pleased with our school’s community spirit. I see only courteous, polite and thoughtful behaviour. Please may it continue.


B. 3+ Enrolment.

Government advice is that Early Years Bubbles can be of any size, but where possible year groups should be kept apart where possible. We have adopted this way of organising the children, which is different to how we would usually operate. The children leaving us in July 2021 all attend the Main Nursery and have formed one Bubble. We decided that no younger children would join Main Nursery, in order to establish and maintain, a consistent group throughout the year.

In January we have another cohort of children joining the school, those children who turn three between September and December 2020. These children will leave Willow in July 2022. In past years these children would have joined Main Nursery. This year the children will form a Bubble based in Catkins Class. Additional classroom space, Room 3 has been allocated to this Bubble.

Recently, parents of children in Catkins class who will be three by the end of December 2020 (Blue Group), were asked to choose an option for their child’s attendance pattern from January 2021. All parents have been allocated their child’s first choice, (including the 30 hour option if this was requested.)

Similarly, parents of children in Catkins class who become three between January 2021 and March 2021 (Orange Group), were asked to choose an option for their child’s attendance pattern from April 2021. All parents have been allocated their child’s first choice. (including the 30 hour option if this was requested.)

I will write to all Blue and Orange group parents individually to confirm your child’s attendance pattern.

Children in these age groups on our waiting list have been invited to enrol, and to choose an attendance pattern for their child. This part of the enrolment process is now complete.


C. Job Vacancy- Teaching Assistant Level 1- Lunchtime support.

Due to the induction of more children in January, we now need some help at lunchtime in Catkins class. We would like to employ a Level 1 teaching assistant, from 11:00am to 12:30pm Monday to Friday, term time only, from January 2021 to the end of term in July 2021. The rate of pay will be £9.25 per hour.

The job may suit one of our parents, as no formal childcare qualifications are required. Your experience of bringing up your own child is sufficient experience.

The role requires supporting Catkins children outside in the playground from 11:00 to 11:30 with other Catkins staff. You would then help settle the children for lunch. You would support four of the youngest children to eat their packed lunch, and then help them beginning to play at the start of the afternoon session.

If you are a Main Nursery parent, and you are interested in the job, we would be able to accommodate your nursery age child at lunchtime to allow you to work. For example, if your child attends mornings at Willow we would look after your child until you finish lunch duty at 12.30, then they would go home with you. Similarly, if your child attends for 2 ½ days, your child could arrive with you at 11 o’clock on the days you need to work, on the days your child doesn’t normally attend, and be looked after by Nursery staff until 12.30 when you would go home together.

If you are a parent in Catkins class, and interested in the position, we may be able to help with childcare, but staff ratios in Catkins are tighter.

If anyone is interested please get in touch with me, Mrs Davies, this week. There is an application form to complete, and there would be a short interview. If this

newsletter does not generate any interest in the position, I will have to advertise more widely. We are a friendly group of staff, I hope it would be a nice job for someone!


D. School Photographer

Our school photographer spent quality time with all the children to capture good images. She remained 2 metres away from all the children, so special thanks must go to the classroom staff who supported the photographer, as they were responsible for organising children into position, adding props and trying to get the children to smile.

Proofs of the photos will be returned in about a weeks time. Parents can take the proofs home with an order form. Orders are to be returned to the school by a specific date. This will be advised on the order form. I will update with more information next week.


E. What the children are learning this week.

Catkins will be focussing on the song ‘Five Currant Buns in the Bakers Shop’. Children will be doing lots of counting with the song. Children learn about ‘subtracting’ using these repetitive songs. Children will be learning about Matching pictures.

Main Nursery will be talking about their local community. We will be talking about what they see on their way to school, and they will have the opportunity to make some 3D representations of local shops using box modelling materials. Mrs Patterson will be organising a role play supermarket. We will use boxes and packaging, baskets and trolleys, cash registers, play money, pretend credit cards, purses and bags. It will be very popular! We expect the stock to be sold out in minutes! Miss Howe plans to take the children bug hunting in the garden. There are plans to go digging for worms! Children will have clip boards and complete an Autumn hunt, having a check list of things to look for, making marks on a tally sheet to record how many of these things they have found.


2020 – Edition 205


Find out About:

A: Phone Line fault fixed

B. Green Group consultations rescheduled


D. School Photographer.

E. Keeping warm at school.

F. What the children are learning this week.

G Informing the school if your child is tested for Covid-19 .


A: Phone Line fault fixed.

Our telephone line is now working again. (We had no telephone line here on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.)


B. Main Nursery Green Group consultations rescheduled.

Green Groups Parent Consultations could not go ahead last week as we had no telephone line. The telephone consultations have been rescheduled to take place on Tuesday 10th November. The time you booked will remain the same.


C. Groupcall.

Groupcall is a text alert system. We can use this text system to communicate messages very quickly to all our current families.

We used Groupcall on Tuesday 3rd November to send out a text message to all families, so they knew our phone line was down.

The message is sent to the parent named as the 1st contact on the New Starter Form that parents complete when their child first starts at Willow.

If your family did not receive a groupcall message, please contact the school office and we will look into it.

Please ensure the school has your up to date contact details, including your home address, mobile phone number and email address.


D. School Photographer

A school photographer will be here on Wednesday 11th November, for Main Nursery children, and Thursday 12th November for Catkins children.


E. Keeping warm at school.

Winter is approaching and conditions are becoming generally wetter and colder in the nursery gardens. We go outside every day, in all weather conditions, so please make sure all children are appropriately dressed. A warm winter coat is important, preferably with a hood.

At home, please encourage your child to put their coat on themselves. We know many of the Main Nursery Children have the ability to do this, but they often ask for help. Please try to teach them to fasten their coat for themselves. Mittens are easier for children to put on themselves, rather than gloves. We do not mind helping children to wrap up warm, because they love to play outside. Children enjoy the outside space even when it is freezing!

Our school is generally warm, but unlike your homes we have a lot of outside walls in each classroom and lots of windows. Room 1’s door to outside is opened and closed all day long, so a lot of heat escapes. During the Covid 19 pandemic, we are required to ensure all classrooms are well ventilated. Advice is that windows should be opened, even just very slightly to ensure clean air moves into rooms. This helps to reduce the virus spreading in classrooms.

So, at this time of year consider sending your child to school in warmer clothing than they would need at home.

Please remember to label all items of clothing, especially mittens, hats and scarves, as these often end up on the cloakroom floor. We do not need fancy name tags, just try and put your child’s name on the size/washing instructions tags with biro. Even just your child’s initials or first name on the labels will help narrow things down!


F. What the children are learning this week.

This week, Colour and Light will be the theme across the whole school. Catkins class will be making some firework inspired artwork. Catkins class will have the opportunity to try spinner painting, (Main Nursery tried this last week). A disc of paper is put into the base of a salad spinner. A few drips of different coloured paint are added. The lid is put on. Children turn the handle, making the internal basket spin. The spinning action makes the paint spread out in a spidery fashion. The effect is quite clever, and the children are often surprised by the outcome. Catkins will also be trying scratch painting, scratching paint away to make patterns.

Main Nursery are trying a new art activity, painting onto blocks of ice. Mrs Patterson has frozen a variety of different 3D shaped blocks of ice. Children will use regular ready mixed paint to paint onto the ice. The artwork changes as the ice melts. We have not tried this before so we are looking forward to seeing the end result. Children will be making rocket shapes to represent fireworks. Divali is known as the Festival of Light and fireworks form part of the Divali celebrations. Throughout the year we teach the children about ‘Celebrations’ that some of their classmates may participate in. We also learn about some of the stories and tales behind the celebrations. Main Nursery will be learning about the story of Rama and Sita. Children will be able to make face masks depicting characters from the story and have the opportunity to hear and retell the story.


G. Informing the school if your child is tested for Covid-19 .

So far, we have had no confirmed cases of Covid 19 amongst the staff or pupils at Willow. Cases are becoming more widespread, so we must be prepared to act quickly should we need to track and trace contacts.

So, if your child develops coronavirus symptoms, we would ask that you organise a test for your child.

If the test result comes back positive, please let the school know immediately, even if it is in the school holidays. Send an email to: This email address is monitored during the school holidays.


Unfortunately our phone line is currently down. If you need to contact us please email:

We will monitor our emails regularly during the school day.

If we need to contact you, we will email you.

In an emergency, we will contact you using a staff mobile phone.

Telephone parents consultations will not go ahead unless phone line is fixed 

Please check here for updates.