Latest News

Nursery News 18.10.2021

Monday, October 18, 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.


Nursery News 11.10.2021

Monday, October 11, 2021


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.

Nursery News 4th October 2021

Monday, October 4, 2021


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.

Nursery News 27.9.2021

Monday, September 27, 2021


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.

Nursery News 20.9.2021

Monday, September 20, 2021


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.