Nursery News 18.10.2021


18th October 2021 – Edition 239


Find out About

A.Parent Consultations for Big Nursery. A reminder

B: October Half Term Break Approaching:

C. School Photographer Visit.

D. Doing up their own coats.

E Wednesday lunchtime drop off and pick-ups.

F. Becoming a school governor.



A. Parent Consultations for Big Nursery.

This week (week beginning 18/10/21) will see Big Nursery Consultations taking place.

These consultations will be carried out on the telephone. These consultations are scheduled to last no more than 10 minutes.

Miss Skai                   Monday 18th October.

Mrs Cashmore          Tuesday 19th October

Miss Howe                Wednesday 20th October

Mrs Patterson           Thursday 21st October


B: October Half Term Break Approaching:

Time has flown seven weeks of this school year has passed already. Next week will be the Autumn Half Term break. School will be closed from Monday 25th October to Friday 29th October. School is also closed for staff training day on Monday 1st November.


C. School Photographer Visit.

A school photographer will be here on Wednesday 3rd November, for Big Nursery children, and Thursday 4th November for Little Nursery children. If your child is in Little Nursery but does not attend on a Thursday, and you would like your child to come in just for a photograph, please talk to Miss Tyler or Mrs Brinkley and they will suggest a time.                                                                      Our photographers name is Victoria Mitchell and she is based in Dunstable. She uses colourful backdrops and props within her photography.


D. Doing up their own coats.

We try to help children to learn a whole range of skills in school, including Self Care skills. The weather is getting colder now. The children continue to have the choice to play outside every day should they wish to. In Big Nursery we have been focussing on teaching the children to put on and fasten their own coats. Please encourage this at home too. It is important that you show your child what to do if the sleeves on their coat are inside out. If a coat has a hood, it helps to show your child to put their hood on their head first, then the sleeves are in the right place for your child to find the arm holes to their sleeves by themselves. At this age, children will often say ‘I can’t do it’ and expect their parent or teacher to do this for them. Putting their own coat on moves them further towards independence with their self-care skills. We ask all children to ensure that their coats are fastened before they go outside to ensure they keep warm.


E. Wednesday lunchtime drop off and pick-ups.

We aim to make drop off and pick up routines work as swiftly and smoothly as possible. On Wednesday lunchtimes we have to manage the changeover of children who attend the 2 ½ day beginning of the week attendance pattern and the children who attend the 2 ½ day end of the week attendance pattern.

So please think through what happens:

  1. Little Nursery children are dismissed out to parents
  2. Big Nursery children are dismissed out to parents.
  3. Big Nursery children arriving for the afternoon session are taken in.

Parents for Little Nursery children should wait at the Little Nursery side of the front gate. Parents of Big Nursery children should wait at the Big Nursery side of the gate.

Big Nursery Parents: This is the one time of the week where you do not need to wait by your child’s colour group sign. If you are collecting, you need to be at the front of the queue. If you are dropping off a child, please queue behind the parents who are waiting to collect their child (these will be the parents waiting without a nursery age child).  My guess is that the queue for dropping off children should begin near the orange group sign.

Staff will not send children out if the front gate area is congested. Please try to keep the area near the front gates as clear as possible. Step up when it is your turn, then move away.

This process will work quickly and smoothly if all parents work together.


F. Becoming a school governor.

Ever Thought About Getting Involved At School As A Parent Governor?

The governors are responsible for making sure that the school provides a good quality education for the children at Willow. The Governing Body comprises of voluntary representatives from the local community (3 people), the staff (2), and of course the parents (2). We are a small friendly group who meet to discuss the Headteacher’s termly report, the budget, policies and matters arising. The Governing Body usually meets once per term for approximately 90 minutes.  Meetings are usually at 4:15 pm, and recently due to Covid have been happening online. Our next meeting is on Thursday 4th November. We currently have a Parent Governor Vacancy. Please speak to Mrs Davies if you might be interested in the role.



11th October 2021 – Edition 238

Find out About

A. Stay and Play for Little Nursery- A reminder

B. What the children are learning this week.

C. Parking.


A. Stay and Play for Little Nursery-A reminder

The Little Nursery Staff would like to invite parents of our current Little Nursery children to ‘Stay and Play’ in Little Nursery. Parents are welcome to stay and play within the morning sessions from Monday 11th October to Thursday 14th October. The session must be one of your child’s regular sessions. Parents can stay from as soon as we open at 8:45am to the end of the morning session at 11:45am if they wish.


B. What the children are learning this week.

We use our newsletter to share information about what the children are learning at school. We do this so you can take an interest in current topics and maybe support this learning at home.

This week though, I’d like to talk about the whole class grouptimes that we are teaching at the moment.

In Big Nursery, we plan to teach the children five grouptimes across the week. Children attend in different patterns: some do 5 mornings, some do 2 ½ days M-W, some do 2 ½ days W-F and some do 5 full days. We arrange children into groups across the week to ensure they all experience the 5 different grouptimes.

Children have free choice to move around the school both inside and outside during the majority of the session time. In the morning we stop and come together at 11:00am and split children into 3 groups for grouptime. Grouptime is 25 minutes long. These are our current groups.

Music- The children will experience 10 music sessions that are carefully planned to build on what they have learnt in previous sessions. The staff had training from the De Capo music organisation. We use De Capo materials , music, songs, picture cards, beat cards, etc. to teach children music skills through singing, movement, using instruments and playing rhythm games.

Oxford Reading Tree- Oxford University Press publish a reading scheme to help early reading. We have a set of picture cards to introduce the main characters in the storybooks. The children discuss the detail in the pictures. The staff tell a story about each picture. Staff write a caption under the pictures for the children and staff to read together. We have some whole class size books for early readers which the

staff read with the children. (We have a number of Oxford Reading Tree books in our library that the children can re-visit by themselves.)

Theraplay Sunshine circles- sunshine circles are planned activities to encourage children to listen carefully, take turns and join in with co-operative activities. These activities help children’s wellbeing. (Children currently have 2 sessions per week of Theraplay)

Big Books- We have a good selection of children’s storybooks (such as The Hungry Caterpillar and Elmer the Elephant) that are big enough for the whole class to share at the same time. Staff read the stories to the children, discuss the text, look at the pictures, and play some rhyming games with the children.

Little Nursery also have a grouptime at the end of each morning session. However, the attention span within the Catkins age children is much more varied. With the very youngest children we aim for grouptime to last for about 3-5 minutes. Those who are a little more experienced join a group for a slightly longer grouptime, generally between 10-15minutes.

At the moment the Catkins the grouptime sessions are:

Lift off to language- A program of activities to encourage Two year olds to become more confident using language. The sessions are planned to give all children the opportunity to speak and be listened to.

Music time: Children learn nursery rhymes and songs, they play along with basic instruments such as shakers and bells, and they dance to different kinds of music.

Story time: Staff choose books to share with the group that are suited to their age and development level. Lots of simple stories, with short texts and interesting illustrations.

Theraplay games- Games to support Well being, social interaction and being kind to each other.

Finger rhymes and counting songs: Children can learn basic counting skills through nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Black Sheep: Using fingers to represent 1,2,3 bags of wool, or from learning songs like ‘Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed’ where one monkey jumps off the bed in each verse and the number of Monkeys reduces by one in each verse. This is the beginnings of teaching subtraction!


C. Parking.

Please can all parent’s consider the needs of our neighbours when parking your cars in the area local to the school. Please do not park across neighbours drives. We try to maintain good relationships with our neighbours. We are not able to control what happens outside school, we can only suggest that parents park with consideration.


4th October 2021 – Edition 237


Find out About

A. Parent Consultations for Big Nursery.

B. Parent Consultations for Little Nursery

C. Stay and Play for Little Nursery

D Forest School

E. Pupil with Food Allergies in Big Nursery.


A. Parent Consultations for Big Nursery.

We plan to offer Parent Consultations to parents of children in Big Nursery during the week beginning 18/10/21. Your child’s Keyworker will speak to you, either at the front gate at the beginning or end of sessions, or by telephone to arrange a suitable appointment time.

These consultations will be carried out on the telephone. Appointments will be a maximum of 10 minutes in length. Appointments will be available from 3pm, on the following dates:

Miss Skai Monday 18th October.

Mrs Cashmore Tuesday 19th October

Miss Howe Wednesday 20th October

Mrs Patterson Thursday 21st October


You do not have to have a parental consultation. We aim to offer a Parent Consultation once each term.

Big Nursery’s next parental consultations will be in February 2022.


B. Parent consultations for Little Nursery

This week, (week beginning 4/10/21) will see Little Nursery Parent Consultations taking place.

Miss Tyler will be speaking with parents on Monday 4th October from 3:15pm onwards on the telephone.

Mrs Brinkley will be speaking with parents on Wednesday 6th October from 3:15pm onwards on the telephone.

Miss Gaffney will be speaking with parents on Thursday 7th October from 3:15pm onwards on the telephone.

These consultations are scheduled to last no more than 5 minutes.


C. Stay and Play for Little Nursery.

All the Big Nursery parents were offered the opportunity to stay and play with their child when we returned to Nursery after the Summer Break. We wanted to offer this opportunity for all parents, but due to our staggered settling policy with Catkins age children, we wanted to make sure all children were on roll, and mostly settled, before inviting parents in.

The Little Nursery Staff would like to invite parents of our current Little Nursery children to ‘Stay and Play’ in Little Nursery. Parents are welcome to stay and play within the morning sessions from Monday 11th October to Thursday 14th October. The session must be one of your child’s regular sessions.

The purpose of these sessions is so that you, as parents can play with your child in our setting. This will help you to talk about your child’s nursery experience with them, as you would be aware of the environment that your child is spending their time in. It is also a very good opportunity to speak with your child’s keyworker as you play, and to meet the other staff that support your child whilst at nursery. It may be an opportunity to meet with the other parents of children in the same year group as your child. Firm family friendships often form through children being at school together.

It is not compulsory to come, just come along if you would like to. You know your child best. We know some children may become unsettled if their parent suddenly stays. The choice is yours.

You are welcome to bring your younger children with you, but we ask you look after them carefully in the Nursery. You can stay for as little or long as you like within a morning session. Parents can stay from as soon as we open at 8:45am to the end of the morning session at 11:45am if they wish. You are also welcome to drop in at any time between these times if you would like to stay for a shorter time. For example, you could arrive with your child at 8:45 and stay for just 30 minutes if you would like to. We have decided to offer these stay and play visits over four days to give everyone the opportunity to stay and play (some children only attend one session per week), and hopefully to spread out the number of adult visitors to Little Nursery across the week. We are happy for one or both parents to join their child, but we do not want the children to be overwhelmed by the number of adults in their rooms.

I would also ask that parents should not have their mobile phones out in school. It is an Ofsted Safeguarding requirement that mobile phones and smartwatches should not be used in classrooms to take images of children. Staff will ask you to put your devices away if they see you using them. Staff phones are locked away in the staffroom.


D. Forest School Program

Big Nursery Orange Group have begun Forest School activities with Mrs Brinkley on a Wednesday morning.

Mrs Brinkley spent a year studying part time to become a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner in 2017. In order to support her work in school, all other school staff studied to become Level 1 Forest School Practitioners during the 2018 school year.


What is a Forest School? -this is a quote which outlines what a Forest School is and the ethos of them:

‘An inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular

opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment’ (Forest School (England) network 2002)


Whilst we have some trees and shrubs, we acknowledge that we do not have a ‘Forest’, but Forest School teaching and learning is all about participating in activities in the outdoors, learning new skills, building strong relationships and thinking creatively. Mrs Brinkley has planned 7 activity sessions that Big Nursery children will take part in during their final year at nursery. Mrs Brinkley will work with a small group once a week for 7 weeks. We aim to have worked with Blue, Orange and Yellow group children by Easter 2022.


So, for your information, these are the seven activities the children will be participating in:


1.Fairy/ Gnome Dens. Children will use natural materials that they find in the garden to build a small den for an imaginary fairy or gnome.


2. Making Fairies or small people. Children will be shown how to make a fairy using twigs and clay. Children will be encouraged to make their own character, using their imagination to add hair, wings or other accessories.


3.Larger Dens. Working as part of a small group children will build a den from tarpaulins and ropes. Children will then join Mrs Brinkley inside the den for a story together.


4. Clay Faces. Children will mould a flat circular clay shape onto a tree trunk. Children will then add natural objects to the clay to create a face. Children will be shown how to make marks in the clay using sticks found in the garden. Children will compare their own features with those of their friends. Children will discuss similarities and differences.


5.Bug Hunt. Children will look around the garden areas, trying to find bugs to put into their bug collecting pot. They will tip their collections out onto a white paper surface, then use a magnifying glass to look carefully at the bugs. We will be teaching them about being careful with the wildlife and to look after nature.


6. Mud Kitchens, Mud Potions and Mixtures. Children will be provided with pots and spoons. They will have the opportunity to mix soil with sand and water to make liquid mud. Children will then be able to add leaves and grass, and anything else that they find in the garden, into their mixture.


7. Making Woodland Medals. Children will be shown how to use a hand drill to drill a hole in a small disc of wood in order to make a medal. Children will decorate their medals using felt tip pens


Mrs Brinkley’s Thoughts….

I am really excited to be now teaching our children ‘The Forest School Way’. The children are enjoying the new experience and their ideas are extending learning further. Forest School learning has so many benefits to the child’s learning and covers all areas to support the overall well being of the children.

Welcome to Forest School learning Willow!


E. Pupil with Food Allergies in Big Nursery.

In Big Nursery we have a pupil with a severe life threatening allergy to milk, and a less severe allergy to egg and nuts. Since the beginning of term we have been trying to create a safe environment for this pupil. We have introduced some measures to reduce the risk for this child. We have reviewed our risk assessment and we feel the measures we have in place do not go far enough to keep this pupil safe.

I have decided further measures must be implemented to reduce the risk to this child.

Big Nursery pupils will no longer be offered Milk as part of their snack time. We will continue to offer fruit at snack time, and we will bring all the children’s drinks bottles to the snack room at snack time (10:30am-11:00am) so that they can access their own drink during snack time.

Drinks bottles will be available to the children at all times throughout the day and will be stored on a trolley in the Library corridor. Drinks will be moved to the appropriate rooms at lunchtime, so children can access their own drinks.

For this pupil, consuming even a small amount of milk would poison their body. The child would have an anaphylactic reaction, causing their throat and airways to swell, which could lead to unconsciousness and in the most severe cases, death.

I cannot eradicate this risk, but the strongest measure I can take is to remove Milk from Snacktime.

I will remove all food from curriculum activities. The only food items we will use in Big Nursery will be rice and pasta, used dry as messy play materials, and the ingredients we use to make home made play dough. I have checked the ingredients and allergy statements on these products packaging but I will work together with this child’s parents to ensure they agree these products are safe for their child.

This pupil attends full time, so stays for lunch every day at school. I have allocated member of staff to sit next to this pupil at lunch time, to support the child to eat the contents of their own lunchbox and not to touch anyone else’s food. This pupil is still very young, is very inquisitive, and does not yet understand the enormity of their allergy.

We have to work as a community to keep him safe. Big Nursery lunchboxes will be stored in the front entrance hallway, away from the children, and transported to the lunch areas at lunchtimes, then returned to the entrance hallway after lunch.

Please, can I ask all parents not to place any foodstuffs in their child’s changing bags as these are in the classroom with the children. Milk is hidden in all sorts of foods that may not be obvious and you may not expect.

I feel very passionately about this issue, as I myself (Mrs Davies) have a similar life threatening allergy to nuts, I carry an Epipen and I have experienced a full blown allergic reaction, resulting in full Anaphylaxis, and a very scary night at Accident and Emergency at hospital.


27th September 2021 – Edition 236


Find out About:

A: Big Nursery and Little Nursery.

B. No changes to sessions for children attending Big Nursery

C. Applying for Primary School note from Hadrian.

D. Little Nursery offers.

E. Parent consultations for little nursery

F. Please keep Unwell children at home.


A. Big Nursery and Little Nursery

We have everyone here now, well almost, we are just waiting for two more tiny two year olds to start in the coming week. I can now begin explaining things about Nursery to all parents.

There were some government requirements we had to follow in the last academic year in order to keep children safe during the Covid pandemic. One requirement was to keep different year groups in separate bubbles. Most requirements have been relaxed now. We found some real positives in the practice of keeping year groups separate, so this is something that the staff wish to continue with.

We need to find some language that everybody can understand when we describe particular groups of children/ physical areas of the building.

We have decided to use terms that the children can understand.

Big Nursery is for the children in their final academic year at Nursery. So, current Big Nursery children are Mrs Patterson’s Blue Group, Miss Skai’s Orange group, Miss Howe’s and Mrs Cashmore’s Yellow Group. All the children in Big Nursery are entitled to 15 hours Universal funding because they are 3 or 4 years old. Some are entitled to 30 hours funding if both parents are working.

Big Nursery children all queue outside the school on the pavement between the front gate and the school car park. All these children will leave Willow Nursery School in July 2022 to join their chosen Primary School in September 2022. The physical areas of school used for this age group are Room’s 1, 2 and 5 and part of the outside area.

No additional children will be added to Big Nursery once the year begins. Big Nursery becomes very settled and we can really move the children forward as the year progresses.

Little Nursery is for all the children younger than the Big Nursery children. The children in Little Nursery will leave Willow Nursery School in July 2023, or for the very youngest two year olds, July 2024. At the moment all the children in Little Nursery are Catkins age children. Children who are Catkins age are not yet entitled to the universal 15/30 hour funding that children receive in the term after they turn 3 years old. The oldest children in Little Nursery turn 3 years old in September 2021.

Some Catkins age children are entitled to 15 hours funding for two year olds. Parents entitled to this funding are usually informed by the Local Authority- Central Beds Council. (This funding is based on parents with a low income or in receipt of certain benefits).

Little Nursery will have additional children added to it as the year goes along.

Little Nursery children who turn 3 years old between the 1st September 2021 and 31st December 2021 will be entitled to Universal 15 hours or 30 hours funding in January 2022. They will stay in little Nursery until July 2022 In January 2022 they will cease to be known as Catkins children, and will become known as Green Group. Green Group’s Keyworker will be Miss Gaffney. Some children from our waitlist who are Green Group age will join Little Nursery in January too.

Little Nursery children who turn 3 years old between the 1st January 2022 and the 31st March 2022 will be entitled to universal 15 hours funding or 30 hours funding after the Easter Break from the 20th April 2022. They will stay in Little Nursery until July 2022. In April 2022 they will cease to be known as Catkins children, and will become known as Red Group. Red Group’s Keyworker will be Mrs Brinkley. Some children from our waitlist who are Red Group age will join Little Nursery in April too.

Little Nursery children who turn 3 years old after 1st April 2022 will remain as Catkins age children for the entire academic year from September 2021 to July 2022..


B. No changes to sessions for children attending Big Nursery.

We have had a few enquiries from families in September regarding having additional sessions either now or perhaps in January. When I make offers to families I try to offer a choice of 15 or 30 hours to as many families as possible. When you make your choice of sessions, I add this to a big timetable. I then ensure we have enough staff on duty to meet ofsted adult to child ratio’s in every session. We cap the number of children in lunch due to the space we have available. We had a t least 6 families ask for more sessions when we returned and I said no to every one of them. I finished the timetabling for this year group before the Summer holidays. This year group is now fixed.

Within two weeks of the start of term I begin looking at the next intake of children, and these will join Little Nursery in January.


C. Applying for Primary School.

Apply for a lower or primary school place in Central Bedfordshire

When to apply for starting school in 2022

Children born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018 are due to start school in September 2022.

You need to apply before 15 January 2022, even if your child already attends a nursery or pre-school on the school site.

How to apply

· if Central Bedfordshire is your council, you need to apply through them

· if Central Bedfordshire is not your council, you’ll need to apply through our home Local Authority.

You will need to look on your Local Authority Council’s website for further information on how to apply.

This applies to all children in Big Nursery.


D. Little Nursery offers.

I will soon be writing to all parents in Little Nursery, whose children will become entitled to universal 15 hours funding (or 30 hours funding for working parents) in January or April, to make offers to you regarding your child’s attendance when they become entitled to universal funding. There will be a choice of attendance patterns. Look out for these letters in the next week or so.


E. Parent consultations for Little Nursery

We plan to offer Parent Consultations to parents of children in Little Nursery during the week beginning 4/10/21. Catkins staff will contact parents, either at the front gate at the beginning or end of sessions, or by telephone to arrange a suitable appointment time.


Parent Consultations for Big Nursery children will follow later in the term: more details next week.


20th September 2021 – Edition 235


Find out About:

A: Keeping Children Safe.

B. Milk and Fruit time.

C. Can you help with some Tissues?

D. Early Years Pupil Premium

E. Progress so far….

F. ‘All About Me Week’.


A. Keeping Children Safe.

Parents entrust their children into our care. There are rigorous procedures in place outlined by the government to keep all children safe from harm. I think it is important to let you know about some of the procedures that may affect you and your family whilst being part of our School Community, and I will try to explain the reasons for having these procedures.


We need to know where children are if they are absent from school. If for any reason you decide to keep your child at home, on a day when your child should be at school please telephone in to school as soon as possible and let us know. When registers are completed at the beginning of the session we have to put codes in the registers regarding the reasons for a child’s absence. If we do not hear from you, you will receive a call from one of the office staff or the headteacher asking about the whereabouts of your child.

If you know in advance that you will be absent, for example for a medical appointment, please let staff know and the appropriate code can be entered in the register.

If you plan to go on holiday in term time, please fill in a holiday form (available from the office staff) which again will let us know the dates that you will be absent. Unexplained absences have to be followed up. If a child is absent for any length of time and we have not heard from their parents as to the reasons for their absence, the child become a ‘Missing Child’. In this circumstance we are compelled to contact the Police and Social Care.


We need to record all injuries. If your child has a fall or receives a bump in school that we are aware of, we will fill in an accident letter to tell you about the incident. This letter will be passed on to you outside, by a member of staff. There is another copy kept in school.

Please inform your child’s Keyworker if your child comes into school with an existing injury that has occurred outside of school time. Staff must make a note of any existing injuries a child has. Our children at Willow are young. They are sometimes unable to tell us how they have hurt themselves. Please tell us if you know of any marks/cuts etc as it will save staff trying to work out what has happened.


Teach your child to use the toilet. Guidelines say that we should offer as little assistance in the bathroom as possible. With the three and four year old Nursery children we prefer to give children verbal assistance from outside their cubicle, only offering physical assistance if absolutely necessary. If an adult is needed to help a child in the bathroom another member of staff will always be aware, and support if necessary.


B. Milk and Fruit time.

The government provides all children at Nursery with a carton of milk. We ask all parents to donate fruit or vegetables, so we can share these at the snack table alongside the milk we provide. We ask parents to donate a bag of fruit such as apples, satsumas, pears or bananas, or vegetables such as peppers or carrot sticks. If every parent was to donate a bag of fruit every half term we will have lots to share.


C. Can you help with some Tissues?

Sometimes we ask parents for some specific donations that help our school. During Covid, in the last academic year, we were asked to provide ‘Tissue Stations’ in every classroom and to teach the children about the importance of using tissues hygienically to blow their nose. We have a tissue bin in each classroom, stored near to tissues and hand sanitiser and posters reminding children to ‘catch it, kill it, bin it!’ Most formal covid requirements imposed upon schools last year have been removed. As a staff we have discussed which elements of the previous Covid requirements we would like to continue with. We think that the hygienic use of tissues, combined with frequent handwashing helps maintain a cleaner, healthier school environment. Last academic year, whilst trying to protect our staff and pupils from the spread of Covid, we saw much lower incidences of general colds and sickness bugs. We also did not see any cases of chickenpox last year, which is unusual, as chickenpox does usually pass around most of the children at some point in the year.

So, I am asking if all parents could donate a box of tissues for the children to use, to help keep everyone healthy.


D. Early Years Pupil Premium

What is Early Years Pupil Premium?

This information has been taken from Central Bedfordshire’s Website.

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is designed to narrow the attainment gap between young children from low-income families and their peers by improving the facilities, equipment and learning experiences to benefit the growth and development of eligible children.

All children aged 3 and 4 who meet the eligibility criteria will benefit from the funding. It will be paid to early years providers on an hourly rate basis, linked to claimed hours for eligible children. The annual value for a 15 hour place over a full year will be just over £300, or 53p per hour.

Any provider registered to offer funded early years places will receive the EYPP if they have entitled children. All parents will be asked to supply details to allow a check to be run by the local authority, eligible parents will trigger a payment direct to the childcare setting.


Eligibility criteria

Children will be eligible if:

· they are 3 or 4 years old and receiving government-funded Free Entitlement in any OFSTED registered childcare provider and their parents are in receipt of one or more of the benefits used to access eligibility for free school meals

· parents receive Universal Credit

· parents receive Income Support

· parents receive Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

· parents receive Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

· parents receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

· parents receive the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

· parents receive Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

· parents receive Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credits

or if they have been:

· looked after by the local authority for at least one day

· have been adopted from care in the local authority

· have left care through special guardianship; and subject to a child arrangement order setting out with whom the child is to live (formerly known as residence orders) in Central Bedfordshire

If any parent has considered the eligibility criteria and believes their child is eligible please telephone or email the school office and together we can make a claim.


E. Progress so far….

All 3 and 4 year olds are now attending Nursery. All 54 children have enrolled. It is amazing the progress the children have made in the past week. At the beginning of last week I walked into Room 1 to work with the children after lunch, and the children were having a great time. Children were exploring all the toys and equipment. I could hardly see the floor! Every drawer of equipment had been accessed, tipped onto the floor, played with for a bit then left behind. We had dinosaurs, trains, dressing up clothes, magnetic numbers, the entire contents of the home corner, puzzles, duplo, dolls house furniture, binoculars and magnifying glasses strewn all around the room. I encouraged the children to help me tidy up, and we had a tidy room back after around 45 minutes! We have been steadily explaining to children that they can choose whatever they like to play with, but they should tidy up after themselves. This is an important lesson to learn and we will help the children with this. As time goes on we hope the children learn to independently look after the toys and equipment, enabling us, the staff to spend more time playing and learning with them, rather than tidying up after them!


‘Lunch’ with 40 children has been interesting. There are four staff on duty working directly with the children at lunchtime. So that means that 1 member of staff is generally looking after 10 children. We have a variety of levels of self care that the children present with. Our most able children collect their own lunch box and water bottle from the lunch trolley and unpack it onto the table. Staff then help them to open their wrapped food and storage tubs. The children get on eating their lunch, with little support needed from the adults. They put their rubbish in the bin, they pack their lunchboxes away, returning them to the correct lunch box trolley and go to the bathroom to wash their hands.

At the other end of the scale, we have children who require a lot more support… Some children struggle to sit at the table without getting down to wander off. Some children have difficulty not touching other children’s food. Some children have difficulty deciding to eat. Some children require prompting to take every bite of their sandwich. Some children wet themselves as they sit down to lunch, after just being asked to use the toilet. Some children tell us they dislike the food their parents have given them. (Which we can never quite believe!). Many children expect 1:1 attention as they are not used to being part of a larger group.

Our challenge is to help and support all these brand new children, for them to gain a good level of self care and independence during lunchtime. We have seen progress in the last week. We are getting to know the individual children, working out how to seat the children into table groups to maintain an ordered dining area. We give as much support to individual children as we can but we cannot give everyone’s child 1:1 support.

We are already realising that we have some wonderful little characters emerging in this year group. We are looking forward to the journey with them in the coming academic year. The children have so many skills to learn, but they are making a good start.


F. ‘All About Me Week’.

The week beginning 27/09/21 is ‘All About Me’ week. We have weekly themes that we work on with the children. We begin with learning about something all the children can be familiar with and contribute to discussions about. This work will be happening with the older children in Nursery, which we will refer to as ‘Big Nursery’ in these newsletters. (that is Mrs Pattersons Blue Group, Miss Skai’s Orange Group and Miss Howe and Mrs Cashmore’ Yellow Group.) The adults will be working with the children on various activities and talking to them about their own life stories and family history. To help the children understand we would ask if you could send in a family photo that they can share with everyone. Mrs Patterson would also like to include these photo’s as part of a display. So, if you would like to send in a photo, please do so during this week (20/09/21) or at the beginning of next week. Please hand your photo to your child’s keyworker, so we can keep them safe. Please write your child’s name on the back of the photo, and if possible the names of other family members shown in the photograph. We will then be able to return the photos to you when we take our display down later in the year.


13th September 2021 – Edition 234

Find out About:

A: Newsletters

B: School Term Dates

C: Labelling belongings

D: A Good Start


A: Newsletters

I (Mrs Davies) write a weekly Newsletter to parents to help keep parents up to date with everything going on in Nursery. This weekly newsletter will be emailed to all families on Mondays.

Copies of this newsletter will also be placed on our website in our ‘Latest News’ section. Previous Newsletters are also available within the latest news section, should you need to search back for some information.

Please do read the weekly newsletter as we share important dates, including parent consultations, open school events etc


B: School Term Dates

The Local Authority, Central Bedfordshire, publishes details of term dates and school holidays on their website:

Type: ‘School term and holiday dates in Central Bedfordshire’ into your search engine to find the correct page.

Be aware that sometimes the Local Authority adjusts school holiday dates. I would recommend you check the holiday dates on their website before booking a holiday.


C: Labelling belongings

Label all lunchboxes clearly with your childs name, on the top, so staff can see the name when the box is on the trolley. Label all drinks bottles and containers.

Label all coats and shoes, and any other items that children can take off-cardigans/jumpers/ fleeces. It is much easier to return items to owners when things are labelled.


D: A Good Start!

What has happened so far?….

To start the year we spent two days, on Monday and Tuesday last week, holding stay and play events with all our three year old children and their parents. We used the first two days of term to allow all these parents and their children to visit the school, meet all the staff, and have a chance to play in the school together. We felt

this was a very important thing to do, because some children have been attending Willow since January 2021 and their parents have not seen inside the school. On Wednesday 8th, the school reopened to pupils. We have a staggered approach to inducting all our pupils. We try to get all children started as soon as possible, and have quite a short time frame in which we try to enrol everyone, but we do have to make decisions about who can start when, so that we can meet all the children’s needs appropriately.

So on Wednesday 8th, we welcomed back all children who were already attending Willow in the Summer term. We also invited some new Yellow Group children to start, those that would be attending for 15 hours at the end of the week, so they could attend on Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday.

What happens next?………….

During this week we will induct the rest of Yellow Group, with 5 children joining the school on Monday, 5 children on Tuesday and 6 children on Wednesday. All of our 3+ children will then be enrolled, a total of 54 children in the yeargroup, with around 40 children attending in each session.

Catkins class begins to add new pupils this week. We add only one or two children to each session, to enable staff to give their keyworker children their full attention. This means that it will take us nearly two weeks to induct the 12 new Catkins children.

I do have lots of information to share in these newsletters, but I will not share too much until everyone is enrolled in school.

We are so enjoying meeting all our pupils and getting to know them, and hopefully over time we will get to know all their parents too


19th July 2021 – Edition 233


Find out About:

A. Staff changes

B. End of Term arrangements July 2021- A reminder

C. Leavers Day –Thursday 22nd July- 8:50am-11:50am- A reminder

D. The end of the 2020-2021 Academic Year is rapidly approaching.


A. Staff changes

Saying Goodbye….

Mrs Shambrook will be leaving us at the end of this term. She has been working at Willow for the past 20 years in a variety of roles, both in the classroom and in the school office. Prior to that she volunteered as a Parent Helper when her two daughters attended Willow. Mrs Shambrook looks after all the staff, is kind, and very generous with her time. We will all miss her from the staff team. Mrs Shambrook said: ‘It is with a heavy heart that I am saying goodbye to Willow, and I will miss everyone dearly.”


A Warm Welcome Back….

Mrs Cashmore has been working at Willow as a Teaching Assistant since January 2013. Since then she has been studying hard, achieving her Science GCSE, then Maths GCSE, following this with a foundation degree in Child and Family studies, then completing a BA degree in Child and Adolescent Studies. In September 2020 Mrs Cashmore left Willow to study full time to achieve her Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) to become a fully qualified Primary teacher. I’m pleased to say she has returned and will be joining our team in September.


B. End of Term arrangements July 2021

The last day of term in July 2021 for all children will be Wednesday 21st July.This day will run as a normal Wednesday. Timings of the day will be the same as all Wednesdays.


C. Leavers Day –Thursday 22nd July- 8:50am-11:50am

On Thursday 22nd July school will open only for the Main Nursery children that are leaving us. The session will be from 8:50 am to 11:50am. All Main Nursery leavers are invited to attend this session, regardless of your child’s normal attendance days. As children are attending for the morning only, no child will require a packed lunch. Children will require their water bottles. Children should arrive at 8:50 am and wait outside as usual.


D. The end of the 2020-2021 Academic Year is rapidly approaching!


We find ourselves rapidly approaching the end of another year at Willow. I have some ‘Thankyous’ that I would like to share. Firstly I would like to thank each and every parent who has chosen Willow for their child. Parents rarely realise that our funding is directly linked to the number of pupils we have, so without your children, there would be no Willow. Thank you to those parents who have kept us well stocked with fruit for snack time. The children have really enjoyed the ice-pops that parents have provided during the summer term. Parents have been very generous this year. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our collection of boxes and tubes for the children to build models with. All support is very appreciated.


Thank you to all parents and staff for working together to keep all our pupils safe. I know the majority of parents have not been inside school at all this year, so thank you for trusting us to look after your children.


I would like to thank all the children that have been with us throughout the pandemic. Their behaviour has been Outstanding. The children have been resilient and resourceful which has been proved in the excellent outcomes they have achieved. The school has provided a sense of normality throughout this challenging time for staff and pupils. Staff’s wellbeing has been challenged at times, but channelling our energies into keeping the children safe and stimulated has kept us going.

The year group that are leaving us at the end of this week are a very special year group, who will be remembered as the group who went through Covid 19 with us. I want to wish all these children every success as they leave us to move on to their Primary Schools in September. There is a collection of very unique and special

individuals that will be leaving us, and we will miss them.


To those families that are staying, my hope is that we can all get to know each other better, that school will become a more ‘open’ place, and we can resume all the normal Nursery activities that we have been excluded from doing during the past year. (Amongst other things, we have all missed Playdough, Sand play/ Messy play, Dressing up and Cooking!)


The only thing left for me to say is ‘Have a Safe Summer’. None of us know what the next few months will bring, but children are only little for a short time, so try and have some positive family time together.


Leigh Davies


12th July 2021 – Edition 232

Find out About:

  1. Very few tissues left in school.
  2. End of Term arrangements July 2021
  3. Leavers Day –Thursday 22nd July- 8:50am-11:50am
  4. Review of the year- Results.


1.Very few tissues left in school.

We have very few tissues left in school. We still have lots of runny noses!. If you could spare a box of tissues for the children to use in our classrooms we would be very grateful.


2. End of Term arrangements July 2021

The last day of term in July 2021 for all children will be Wednesday 21st July.

This day will run as a normal Wednesday. Timings of the day will be the same as all Wednesdays.


3.Leavers Day –Thursday 22nd July- 8:50am-11:50am

On Thursday 22nd July school will open only for the Main Nursery children that are leaving us. The session will be from 8:50 am to 11:50am. All Main Nursery leavers are invited to attend this session, regardless of your child’s normal attendance days. As children are attending for the morning only, no child will require a packed lunch. Children will require their water bottles. Children should arrive at 8:50 am and wait outside as usual.

We have consulted the children about what activities they would like to plan for their last day and this is what they have come up with:

Children may dress up if they want to. Children may come to school in a dressing up outfit if they wish. There should be no pressure on anyone to buy an outfit. I am aware that due to covid-19 children have not attended parties so may not have any dressing up clothes or special party clothes. Normal Nursery clothes are absolutely fine too.

We have arranged for children to:

  • Make party hats, Ice Cakes and eat them, Have Ice Pops and Ice Cream,
  • Play with Trains, Dinosaurs, Transformers, Toy Spiders, The inflatable fish,
  • Have songs and music, musical instruments, Dancing,
  • Watch a Frozen DVD,
  • Play parachute and Ring games.


At 10:30 am all children will sit down together for a picnic time in the garden. Staff will provide the snacks the children requested: Jam sandwiches, crisps, pizza, party rings, gingerbread men, jammy dodger biscuits, fruit,

The morning will finish with a group time for each colour group, where all children will receive a certificate praising their individual skills and/or qualities.

11:50am Going Home Time- Parents to collect children from the front gate. Children will be dismissed in the regular way, with Green group first, followed by Red group then Yellow group.


D.Review of the year- Results

I had two parents respond to my request to review the school year and to share their thoughts about things we do well and things we can improve. So thank you to those parents for taking the time to reply.

The children were very happy to tell me their views. I have collated their responses to the 5 questions I asked them. I have added the children’s views to the end of the newsletter. Some responses may make you smile.

Response to parents:

My first question to parents was what do we do well? I’m pleased to say both parents recognised the quality of teaching and the variety of activities that children are involved with is a strength.

One said “We are very impressed with the quality of teaching at Willow, our daughter always comes out having had a great day at the nursery (even if she doesn’t tell us what she has done). I think the effort you all put into the different themes of teaching each week shows the dedication you all put into providing a great experience for all the children”.

The other commented: “I feel that Willow always strive to ensure all children enjoy their time at nursery. I also feel that the children have lots of fun and do great activities throughout the day and it’s great to see the photo’s coming home especially with the chicks and most recently the Giant snails, this was a great thing for the children to experience.”

My next question: Is there anything we can do to improve? especially with regard to involving parents more after the Covid restrictions are removed.

One said: An area we feel the school could improve which is also an area of how the school can include parents more would be how information is passed onto parents about the child’s learning. I’m aware in non covid times parents would be allowed to come inside and look at their child’s folder to follow their progression but due to covid this hasn’t happened and I think other than a newsletter each week not much is passed back to parents.  At the moment we have to wait for a consultation phone call every few months. I’m aware other schools/ nurseries use online platforms parents can log into which shows what has occurred during the school day and includes photos of the learning that’s occurred. I think something like this would be a good way to involve/ include parents more.”

I am considering ways in which the school can become more open to parents in September. We have a very full structured program of open activities that we usually roll out across the year. I hope that early in the next academic year I will publish all those activities in a timetable so parents can see what we aim to achieve across the year.

Parent consultations are offered termly, more often than that, and I know the staff will say that they would not have enough significant information to update parents with. We try to choose times for consultations that coincide with when staff have updated notes on children’s progress and had time to analyse how individuals and groups of children are progressing. All staff are required to be on duty during the school working day to maintain ratio’s, but we will always try to make time for parents to talk to keyworkers if there is something important parents wish to discuss, but for this to happen cover has to be found for the classroom to cover the Keyworkers responsibilities.

Online platforms: This is something we have considered in the past. We have decided to continue using paper copies, to record observations, collect work samples and to add photographs, creating a year book. An online platform would be too time consuming for staff to manage. For example Miss Howe has 22 children that she is keyworker for. Some are part time, so she usually has 17 children in at any one time. If Miss Howe spent 2 minutes per child uploading information that would take at least 34 minutes per day of uploading photo’s etc. We have a lot of children on our registers, we just would not have the time to do this well. I would also be afraid that parents would look daily at the online journal and would be disappointed if there was no update available about their child.

The Ofsted guidance regarding recording information about children’s progress has recently been updated to say that staff should not be recording lots of data about children, that assessment should not take staff away from actually working with the children. This is something I strongly agree with. Our staff create stimulating work environments, and challenge the children, by using language to intervene in the children’s learning, to stretch them, to get them to reflect on what they are doing and enabling them to move onto their next step in their learning.

Getting the balance right, on how staff use their time, is constantly being reviewed, to enable the staff to be as effective as possible. We are putting ‘involving parents’ very high on our agenda for the next academic year. We have a school development plan, where we identify four areas to focus on improving in the next academic year, usually based upon areas identified by staff/ governors/ parents / children/ data in our end of year review.

We know young children rarely share what they have been doing at school, and we do want parents to feel fully informed about their child’s developments and achievement. We will look to find the right balance.

Both parents that gave feed back both mentioned the organisation of drop off and collection time. I have been asked about what will happen in September when the majority of Covid Restrictions have been dropped.

Before Covid, all the main nursery children arrived between 8:45am and 9:05am with their parents, came right into their classroom, took off coats , hung up bags, stored lunch boxes, then went off to choose tasks. I can say, that all staff were tied up with parents and children until at least 9:25am, and teaching would not start until after then.

At that time children were spread across two cloakrooms. With the covid restrictions we had to cut the school space into two spaces to keep year groups apart. This is not something we would ever have chosen to do. However, there have been a number of benefits to how we have been organised for the past year. During the staff review the one thing that staff did not want to let go off is how we manage the children’s arrival and departure. We have one cloakroom for all 50 main nursery children attending on any one day. We could not accept all 50 main nursery families into one cloakroom area all at once. I have spent time giving consideration to this question already. I can say that within two minutes of coming through the door Green Group are already sitting down with their teacher having register time and beginning their learning. Staff find this time invaluable with their Keyworker children. They feel that they really know all the children that they care for really well.  We find that there are less tears. Children have settled much quicker this year. The staff are doing a lot of organisation for the children and families, for example our going home routines begin at 2:30pm. Children wash hands, gather their belongings, put their coats and bags on and are then ready to leave. We match children to parents on the way out. This is the quickest way we can dismiss so many children. At going home time at 2:50, we generally can empty the school in 6 mins. If parents were to come in, we would still have children in the classrooms as late as 3:10pm. Staff have timetabled meetings, assessment and record keeping to do after school from 3pm until 4pm.

We really want to keep our arrival and departure organisation the same. The two parents who responded to my questions both had differing concerns about drop off and collection, which I think is worth sharing for discussion: There is a dilemma. Parent 1 needs to drop off very swiftly. They have to take an older child to a primary school which is not in the close vicinity to Willow. This parent needs drop off and collection to be as swift as possible.

Parent 2 would like the Keyworker at the gate to share some information about their child on a daily basis, just a couple of sentences.

These needs are both reasonable, but they actually conflict. Helping Parent 1 means we have to go as swiftly as possible, passing children to parents as quickly as possible. To meet Parent 2’s needs we would have to slow everything down. If Keyworkers were to give all 50 main nursery parents just 20 seconds each to talk about their child’s day at the gate would mean that the time taken to empty school would be increased by 16 minutes.

The staff can go as quickly, or slowly as the parents need, but for the parents as a ‘group’ it is evident that no one approach will meet everyone’s needs. So again we have to try to achieve a balance that works.

We do accept that some of our parents cannot be in two places at once, and we try to help parents to find a suitable arrangement that will work for them, and support the needs of their family, but families must remember our staff are needed to support their keyworker children from the time the first keyworker child arrives right up to the last keyworker child going home. I am around, and usually available at these times, but it is my job to move the lunch box trolleys around, and ensure all bump notes are photocopied and distributed to the correct keyworker, in order to give to the correct  parent.



Willow Nursery School- Children’s Evaluation.

1.   What do you like to do at Nursery?

Have a tea party, Do Puzzles, Do football

Play with toys

Go on bikes. I like to play with Fire engines.

Play with X and X.

Play with Cars,play with bikes.

Play with X

I like playing with X and the things she plans for us to do.

Learning and playing

Play outside

I like going outside and when it’s a little day.

I like dinosaurs

Playing and Unicorns

Painting and water

Playing cars


Cars, Lego, Crystals, Drawing

I like the slide, I like the monkey bars, I like hanging off the Monkey bars. I like playing with my friends. I like drawing.


Nursery Rhymes, Nursery toys, playing with toys.

Be happy Play with babies in the home corner I like the slide, painting.

Playing on the slide Balancing

Play on the slide

Play with my friend X I like playing with X

Like playing with the special tray. I like the jewels. Like playing on the slide- Like the teachers. Like playing with friends.

Hulk role play. I like to eat snack.

Being Spiderman and other super heroes.

Playing with cars, Drawing,

I like the new fence, cos it’s nice and clean. I like playing with my friends. I play in the mud. Looking for stuff, bugs.

Out in the garden, going on the bikes. Messy Play tray, slide

Playing with X, cutting out things.

Play cars, play with penguins and Ice, playing with snails. Pancakes, bikes painting more pancakes

Dress up as Elsa. Lollies

Play draw, The Kitchen, Playing on Bikes

Drawing Making Bug hotels, painting

Play bikes, water tray made a flag

Play with the dinosaurs. Like having friends

Play with the crates, drawing things, playing on the bikes with X

Stamps, playing in the water, colouring, I like the screen, I like when I go outside’cos I made a flag.


2.   Is there anything you don’t like at Nursery? 

When ‘X’ pushes me.

I don’t like going outside but sometimes I do go outside. Sometimes I miss my Mum.

Books aeroplanes and helicopters.



I don’t like that there is no stories.

Sometimes I miss my Mummy.

To play outside


I don’t like my feet.


When my clothes get wet and I’m changing and changing. (water tray)

I don’t like going outside

Water tray, wet sleeves

I don’t like anyone pushing me or bullying me.


No, I like it



I don’t like it when X is mean to me

Silly words

I don’t like swords to beat me.

I don’t like the hulk.

I don’t like playing with water cos my sleeves get wet.

I like nursery

When the kids are too noisy.



Dinosaurs and cars

I don’t like playing in the water tray. I don’t like getting wet.

Children making really loud noises with the musical instruments, X running over my foot.


When X hurts me, I don’t like that,

I don’t like it when X is not my friend.



3.   Tell me something you are good at now since coming to Nursery?


Basketball, Playing football

Puzzles colouring



I’ve learnt to cut paper. I can paint.

I can ride the bicycle with two wheels.

Doing Painting

Reading and writing

I have learnt about Guinea Pigs.


Learning colours pink and purple

Playing on the bikes I ride the fastest bike in school.

Talking, riding Bikes

Playing football, I’m very good at riding the tricycle

Drawing now Listening, Making Music


Playing with toy dinosaurs, drawing pictures.

Not hurting anyone Good at eating my lunch now.


Good at getting clowns. Good at joining boxes together with sellotape Cutting out.

Painting, playing outside.

Star jumps, playing superheroes.

Having Superpowers

Running and faster running

Playing games, playing outside.

I am good at writing, I like writing words like dog. I’m good at writing numbers. Waterplay, colouring

Writing, good at riding a bike. I’m good at numbers

Listening with people, cutting and colouring

Good at being happy

On rope bridge- I can put my feet high up on the rope.

Stories but I can’t read.

Dancing Drawing

I don’t like making


Balancing on rope bridge. Can go upside down, jumping and colouring

Good painting, making hats.





4.Tell me what you have learnt in Phonics:

Reading books

I need Miss Howe to teach me phonics. If Miss Howe wasn’t here I wouldn’t learn phonics.







A, the sound




‘fffff’ action

A,p,d,r writing.

I’ve learned d,a,s,a,c,b

We make words with letters inside the pictures

T,t,t, tennis

Singing songs with Iggle Piggle

Numbers and letters

A new word. Letters

Letters, a lot of letters ‘s’ Learning


Stories about the fish says ‘fff’

I don’t know.

Hairy Bear

I don’t know.

T l a c s r o b

Use letters to read and write n p t g

To learn letters

Learning about Letters and numbers.

Letters Biff and Chip Books.


Ive learned about reading

I have learned about something but I don’t know

H p e r colouring pictures, letters help you to read and write.

Fff (does action) Letters are for reading and writing.

Im learning phonics and we play word building-BAT



5.How can we make Willow better for the new children?

Don’t know.

All be friends

Switch the toys around, change the boxes.

I don’t want dinosaurs with Playdough. I like t rex.

I don’t know.

Switch toys, presents.

Make ball pits.

To learn hymns.

Make X’s little brother good. He needs to know abcd’s


Do the same things as we do.


More cars more bikes.


More grown ups to play.

Play in the garden

More play , have lots of fun.

We can have some unicorns.

New Fishy toys for the water tray.

Coming to Nursery Makes me happy!

More toys LOL dolls and bottles.

Put a trampoline outside  Inside Room 1 a ball pit

Put some dinosaurs out because my brother likes those.

Have a party.

Playdough- I like playdough.

Hulk Toys superheroes.

Bring my home here.

A house. My home here.

New toys- Elsa toys and Anna and Olaf and Sven and Christoff.

New painting aprons.

I don’t know.

Take (Willow Nursery) to Flitwick lower school.


More painting

Get some new stuff, go to the farm, come to visit me at my home: gave address.

A party, Dancing.

Make a show.

Maybe we could be kind to them.








5th July 2021 – Edition 231

Find out About:

A. Arrangements for September 2021.

B. Reminder about consultations this week.


A. Arrangements for September 2021.

We have finalised our plans for the beginning of term in September 2021. So this information is for all the families staying with us in September.

Covid 19 has impacted quite greatly upon our ability to show families around our school. In normal circumstances, I (as Headteacher), personally show at least two families per week around our school, to see if they would like to add their child to our waiting list. We usually invite the children joining the 3+ year to come to a visit afternoon to a ‘stay and play’ session with their parents. When a child starts parents are welcome to stay to help settle their child.

I am aware, that most parents of children attending Willow in September have not seen inside the school. So, we have planned a few days of induction to enable parents to come in to school with their children, to see what the school is like.

The regulations that we have had to follow in schools during Covid have not yet changed. It is very unlikely that any new guidelines will be released this side of the school Summer Holidays. So, Miss Howe and Myself have tried to plan the first week or so back, not knowing what rules will exist for schools, or indeed what will be happening with the pandemic. It is our hope that these arrangements that we have planned will happen in the way we have planned. We are optimistic.

We have kept numbers of families small at each event, to be safe, but also to give families lots of opportunity to meet all the staff, look around the school and ask questions. This does mean that these visit arrangements will take longer than one day.

We are aware that a number of our parents are working parents, and look fo the school to be operating for all children as soon as possible. We have made our plans trying to strike a balance for everyone’s needs.

However, if these plans change (due to Covid) we will do our best to get in touch with all parents as soon as possible. If I have anything to communicate to all parents I will put a ‘Latest News’ Story on our Website. Please check there first before ringing the school.

Let us start with Catkins class…..

Catkins Class will reopen on Wednesday 8th September. Children’s attendance patterns remain the same, unless you have spoken to me about additional hours for your child. New starters in Catkins Class have received paperwork advising parents what their child’s first day will be. In Catkins Class we wish to settle only one or two new children in each session. New Catkins Children have start dates somewhere

between the 13th September 2021 and 4th October 2021.

Catkins hours remain 8:45am – 11:45am for a morning session or 8:45am to 2:45pm for a full day session.


Main Nursery:

Monday 6th September 2021 and Tuesday 7th September 2021 have been scheduled as visit days. The school will not be open as usual on these two days. Attendance on these days is by invitation only. See details below:

Monday 6th September:

All children who will be in Yellow Group in September are invited to attend a Stay and Play session, lasting for one hour, with a Parent. Invitations were sent out on Thursday 1st July to all these parents. There will be 3 sessions during the day, so only 8 families will be invited to each session. Yellow Group have all been allocated a start date between Wednesday 8th September and Wednesday 15th September, to ensure we only take in 6 brand new children on any one day. These start dates have also been communicated to Yellow Group.

Tuesday 7th September.

This day will offer a transition session for all children (and their parents) in Miss Gaffneys Blue Group and Mrs Brinkley’s Orange Group.

We will offer a morning session or an afternoon session.

The idea of these sessions are that you and your child will arrive at school to have a scheduled meeting lasting ten minutes with your child’s current Keyworker and with your child’s new Keyworker

So, Blue Group children will meet with Miss Gaffney and Mrs Patterson

Orange Group children will meet with Mrs Brinkley and Miss Skai.

You will arrive at your specified appointment time, meet with your child’s Keyworker’s and discuss anything you wish to share to enable the transition into Main Nursery to go as smoothly as possible. You will then be free to move around the school together, both inside and outside. Classrooms will be set up with activities, and we invite you and your child to explore their new spaces and chat to staff who will be available to talk with you.

Morning session: 10 minute appointments will be available to choose from between 8:50am and 10:10am. Parents may choose to stay and play after their appointment, but all parents and children should leave by 11:00am.

Afternoon session: 10 minute appointments will be available to choose from between 12:30pm and 1:50pm. Parents may choose to stay and play after their appointment but all parents and children should leave by 2:40pm.

All these meetings/ stay and play are optional. You do not have to attend, but it will be a way to see the school with your child. You may choose to just have the meeting

and then you and your child can choose to leave to go home. You may choose to have the meeting and then stay for a short time and then go. We cannot offer meetings at alternative times or dates as we are looking to get the school up and running as quickly as possible for those parents who are working.

Parents must stay with their children at this event.

Parents can arrange these appointments for Tuesday 7th September with Miss Gaffney/ Mrs Brinkley, during the telephone consultations that are scheduled for this week. If you do not have a telephone consultation this week with Miss Gaffney or Mrs Brinkley, please do not worry they will get in touch with you regarding a transition session in September.

Wednesday 8th September – Main Nursery Re-opens for regular Nursery sessions.

Blue Group and Orange return to Nursery, attending for their agreed attendance pattern. So for example, if your child currently attends for two and a half days at the end of the week, they would return on this Wednesday at 11:50pm with their lunch box.

Main Nursery hours are:

Morning session: 8:50am to 11:50am

Wednesday afternoon session: 11:50am to 2:50pm.

Full day session: 8:50am to 2:50pm


B. Reminder about consultations this week

We will have parent consultations for all the children on 6th, 7th and 8th July 2021 as follows:

Tuesday 6th July- Catkins children. Telephone consultation, a 10 minute consultation scheduled from 3:15 onwards with your child’s keyworker.

Wednesday 7th July- Blue Group Children, 10 minute Telephone Consultation with Miss Gaffney scheduled from 3:15 onwards

Thursday 8th July- Orange Group children, 10 minute Telephone Consultation with Mrs Brinkley scheduled from 3:15 onwards

Main Nursery children will have a Leavers Consultation, where staff will hand over your child’s year book. Therefore Miss Howe has decided these consultations will be face to face, but outside and seating will be 2 metres apart.

Tuesday 6th July -Green Group Children, 5 minute Face to Face meeting with Mrs Patterson scheduled from 3:15 onwards

Wednesday 7th July,- Red Group Children 5 minute Face to Face meeting with Miss Skai scheduled between 3:15 onwards

Thursday 8th July –Yellow Group children 5 minute Face to Face meeting with Miss Howe scheduled from 3:15 onwards.

If any/all of these parent meetings are cancelled due to covid, we will not be able to reschedule.


28th June 2021 – Edition 230

Find out About:

A. Bookstart Packs.

B. Review of the Year

C. Queues outside school.

D. A case of Head lice in the Younger Bubble.


A. Bookstart Packs.

If your child attends the Main Nursery and is in Green, Red or Yellow Group they will bring home a big envelope containing a book from the Book Trust on WEDNESDAY 30th June . This book is for your child to keep. Book Trust is the UK’s leading reading charity. Every year they give over 5 million books and resources to children across the country. Children receive this pack in their final year in Nursery, so our younger children will receive them in future years.


B. Review of the year

At this time of year, we carry out a big review of our school. In the past few days I have been talking to children individually to gain their views about their school, with regard to what they like, what they think they have learned and what they would like to see change. All school staff and Governors are busy filling in questionnaires too.

This information helps us to plan our areas for development next year.

I always ask parents for their views too at this time of year.

We usually ask just two questions:

1. Please comment about what we do well at Willow.

2. Please tell us one thing you would like to see at Willow that you would consider to be an improvement and/or development. Please write a short email and send to

It has been an unusual year for everyone. We have been following government advice, in a GOV.UK document : Action for Early Years and Childcare providers during the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak. We have been unable to invite parents in to school. The experience families have had this year at Willow has been completely different to all previous years. We hope that at some point in the new school year we will be able to increase parent involvement. So, with this in mind I would like you as parents to share with us:

3. Any ideas regarding how parents could feel more involved with the school.

If you wish your comments to inform my review, please send your email by the end of this week, Friday 2nd July. I will then compile all the comments and respond to them in a future newsletter, on Monday 12th July.


C. Queues outside school.

I have been approached by one of our childminders to ask all parents to be considerate of the needs of other parents /carers when waiting in the queues outside school. Her concern is that she can have up to 6 children with her, dropping them off to Willow and Hadrian Academy Schools, and she does not want the children to be asked to walk in the road. I do understand this, as these children are not her own children, but other people’s children in her care. I would kindly ask that when you are queuing outside school you try to leave enough space on the pavement so that others can pass you when walking single file. It is a narrow path, and I have always asked parents and carers to look out for the safety of each other’s children to enable us to keep all our children safe.

From my point of view, I do think that all parents are working really well together to fill and empty the school in an organised manner.


D. A case of Head lice in the Younger Bubble

A parent kindly telephoned me on Friday to inform me her child had head lice. I would ask that all parents of children in the younger bubble check their child’s hair.

I have copied the following information from an NHS information website, which you may find useful.

Head lice and nits

Head lice and nits are very common in young children and their families. They do not have anything to do with dirty hair and are picked up by head-to-head contact.

Check if it’s head lice

Head lice are small insects, up to 3mm long


They can be difficult to spot in your hair



Head lice eggs (nits) are brown or white (empty shells) and attached to the hair










Head lice can make your head feel:

· itchy

· like something is moving in your hair

The only way to be sure someone has head lice is by finding live lice.

You can do this by combing their hair with a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb). You can buy these online or at pharmacies.

How to get rid of head lice


You can treat head lice without seeing a GP.

Treat head lice as soon as you spot them.

You should check everyone in the house and start treating anyone who has head lice on the same day.

There’s no need to keep your child off school if they have head lice.

Wet combing

Lice and nits can be removed by wet combing. You should try this method first.

You can buy a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb) online or from pharmacies to remove head lice and nits.

There may be instructions on the pack, but usually you:

· wash hair with ordinary shampoo

· apply lots of conditioner (any conditioner will do)

· comb the whole head of hair, from the roots to the ends

It usually takes about 10 minutes to comb short hair, and 20 to 30 minutes for long, frizzy or curly hair.

Do wet combing on days 1, 5, 9 and 13 to catch any newly hatched head lice. Check again that everyone’s hair is free of lice on day 17.

Medicated lotions and sprays

Ask a pharmacist for advice if you have tried wet combing for 17 days, but your child still has live head lice.

They may recommend using medicated lotions and sprays. These kill head lice in all types of hair, and you can buy them from pharmacies, supermarkets or online.

Head lice should die within a day. Some lotions and sprays come with a comb to remove dead lice and eggs.

Some treatments need to be repeated after a week to kill any newly hatched lice.

Check the pack to see if they’re OK for you or your child and how to use them.

If lotions or sprays do not work, speak to a pharmacist about other treatments.

Some treatments are not recommended because they’re unlikely to work.

For example:

· products containing permethrin

· head lice “repellents”

· electric combs for head lice