Latest News

Nursery News 15th July 2024

Monday, July 15, 2024


15th July 2024 – Edition 342

Find out About:

A. End of Term arrangements July 2024- A reminder

B. Leavers Day –Friday 19th July- 8:50am-11:50am- A reminder

C. Financial Arrangements September 2024

D. The end of the 2023-2024 Academic Year is rapidly approaching.


Please note that all our previous newsletters are available on our website

Should you require information about the arrangements for the beginning of September 2024, here at Willow, see the 1st July 2024 Newsletter- Edition 340.


A. End of Term arrangements July 2024

The last day of term in July 2024 for all children will be Thursday 18th July. This day will run as a normal Thursday. Timings of the day will be the same as all Thursdays.


B. Leavers Day –Friday 19th July- 8:50am-11:50am

On Friday 19th July school will open only for the Big Nursery children that are leaving us. The session will be from 8:50 am to 11:50am. All Big 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.


C. Financial Arrangements September 2024.

A reminder to all parents staying with us into next year. We have increased our fees to be in line with the funding rates provided to us by the government. So, for those parents who are paying for spaces, these will be our rates from September 2024.

2+ children, one 3 hour session will cost £22.32

3+children, one 3 hour session will cost £15.66


Message from the Local Authority:

For families who are using the ‘childcare for working families’ funding please remember:

·         To keep your childcare for working families place check your details regularly on your childcare account


For families claiming funding for ‘childcare for working families’ for the first time:

·       Apply for a childcare for working families code in good time. Do it before the summer holidays.


If you want to claim childcare for working parents from September 2024, please remember to apply for your code ahead of the 31st August 2024 deadline. Once you obtain your code, you must keep the code valid by reconfirming by the deadline date HMRC give you. If you do not, this will affect your funding from September 2024. You will need to keep regularly reconfirming until your child moves onto reception class.



D. The end of the 2023-2024 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. We have enjoyed hundreds of ice pops! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our collection of boxes and tubes for the children to build models with. This year group love building models. The sellotape that parents donated has been constantly in use. There is always a little group gathered by the sellotape dispenser waiting for a turn. All support is very appreciated.


A very big thank you is given to the parents and grandparents who have given their time regularly throughout the year to support the teaching and learning in the classrooms. This support really alters the adult to child ratio’s we can provide. We can offer a wider range of activities, but ultimately the greatest benefit is there are more people to hold conversations with your children.


The 2024 Leavers are quite a remarkable bunch! As a group they get on very well with each other. We have seen many year groups pass through the school over the years, and I can say that this group have been quite special. As a group, they are kind and tolerant. They generally manage their own disputes with little adult support. There is definitely a love of learning amongst this group. In the past year we have been focussing on introducing core books to our curriculum. We have 12 core books that we roll out across the year, spending three weeks looking at one book. This group have really engaged with this new style of teaching. They love books!

This year group has an amazing sense of humour. There is a lot of role play going on and we hear interactions between happy busy children. Children’s characters and sense of self are well defined.

Maybe the effects of Covid are becoming more distant, maybe these children have been impacted less…..  This year Willow has certainly been a Happy Place!


What will the next year group bring? The children that have been based in Little Nursery are developing well. When I walk through there are happy, chatty children, all playing well together, I think we have another strong year group on the horizon.


So to the families that are staying with us, I look forward to seeing the progress that your children make in the next twelve months as they grow and mature, and I hope all the children will experience some fun with us during that time.


The only thing left for me to say is ‘Have a Safe Summer’.


Leigh Davies



Nursery News 9th July 2024

Thursday, July 11, 2024


9th July 2024 – Edition 341

Find out About:

A. End of Term arrangements July 2024

B. Leavers Day –Friday 19th July- 8:50am-11:50am

C. Funding for Working Families- Ensure codes are in place /Renew codes.

D. Review of the year- Results.

E. What are the children learning about this week?


A. End of Term arrangements July 2024

The last day of term in July 2024 for all children will be Thursday 18th July.

This day will run as a normal Thursday. Timings of the day will be the same as all Thursdays.


B. Leavers Day –Friday 19th July- 8:50am-11:50am

On Friday 19th July school will open only for the Big Nursery children that are leaving us. The session will be from 8:50 am to 11:50am. All Big 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. Normal Nursery clothes are absolutely fine too.

We have arranged for children to:

  • Play with dolls, cars, teddies and trains
  • Have songs and music, dancing, party lights, bubbles and balloons
  • Play pass the parcel.


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: cake, carrots, apples, cheese, crisps, ice creams and ice pops

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 Blue group first, followed by Orange group then Yellow group.


C. Funding for working families- Ensure funding codes are in place /Renew  codes.

A reminder about the eligibility checker:

Eligibility checker:

Eligibility will be checked via a childcare application developed by HMRC.

Parents are responsible for checking if they are eligible.


Parents need to visit the website This is the online eligibility checker.


Parents will be issued a code to take to the setting (nursery/ childminder etc.). 

There will be a grace period for parents where their circumstances change.  This will give parents the time to regain employment.

Parents must reconfirm their eligibility every three months via the HMRC online eligibility checker or else they will lose their entitlement, subject to the grace period.  Parents are essentially reconfirming that their employment status has not changed and they still meet the criteria. HMRC will send reminder emails to parents to notify them of the need to reconfirm.

For all parents who are entitled to funding for working families your child, please ensure that your code is in place and valid by 31st August 2024, to enable us to receive funding for your child for the Autumn term.

The government will send out reminders to families to renew your code. Please be aware that sometimes the government email may go into your Spam/ Junk email folder. If you code is not valid you will not receive funding


D. Review of the year- Results

I have had one family who replied to my request for feedback from parents.  I always share what parents say, as there may be some points raised which other parents may relate to….

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

Really happy with our daughter’s development during her time at Willow. She looks forward to spending time at the nursery and we are pleased with any changes during X’s time (potty training and leaving the dummy at home) have been supported and encouraged. The newsletter is a great asset to be able to talk to her about what she has been doing during the day.

It is good to hear feedback that your daughter enjoys her time here. We ultimately want children to be happy during their time here. I am pleased you read the newsletter and find it useful. I usually spend a couple of hours a week planning and writing the newsletter, and I’m never sure how many people read it!                                                                  Mrs Cashmore (one of our teachers) always writes the section ‘What are the children learning about this week?’ We know that two, three and four year olds are not very good at explaining what they have been doing at school!  We share this information so you can talk at home and extend your child’s learning. It is good to show interest from early on, so you can continue to support your child as they get older, and begin to get homework in primary and secondary school.   Leigh Davies


  1. Please tell us one thing you would like to see at Willow that you would consider to be an improvement and/or development.

Would like to have more regular catch up’s with key worker on our daughter’s day to day to know what she has been doing and anything she has enjoyed doing at nursery.

This is a very valid point. I do take this on board. This comment often appears here in our yearly review. We are quite a big setting. We dismiss up to 87 children at the end of the session. Our priority is to release children safely to their parents. If every parent had just 1 minute with their keyworker on handover it would take 87 minutes to speak briefly to everyone….. So this is not really possible. 

We have tried to help matters by sending keyworkers out early in the morning to speak to parents before school. I know some keyworkers are better than others at this, but I will try to encourage them all to be available outside 5 minutes before school begins in the morning, in September.

I am aware that Keyworkers are not always available at the end of the morning session, or at the beginning of the afternoon session. This is because we still have a school full of children to care for, and we have to squeeze in a 30 minute lunch break for all the staff. Arrivals and departure time at lunchtime requires every member of staff on duty to be involved with children somewhere in the school.

The new funding for Working Families initiative will bring change to the school. Individual children will  be staying for more sessions. Going forward we are likely to have less coming and going and children’s patterns of attendance will be more regular for the youngest children. Two year old children from working families are currently entitled to 15 hours of funded education. In September 2025 this will rise to an entitlement of 30 hours for two year olds from working families. Less children will do more hours and fill our school.

We induct children termly. Each termly cohort has their own Keyworker. We are tidying this up from September and making this information more explicit to parents. In September, ten children will be starting in little Nursery who became two years old between April and August. They will be known as Little Nursery Yellow Group, and if they attend Nursery at the beginning of the week, their Keyworker will be Mrs Cashmore, and if they attend at the end of the week, their Keyworker will be Mrs McGrath. My plan is, going forward, that parents in 2+Little Nursery will be able to speak with their keyworkers in the mornings. There will be 5 children in this colour group at each end of the week for the year 2024-2025. So we hope a brief daily catch up will be possible.                                                                                                       Currently the 2023-24 Little Nursery Yellow Group comprises of 16 children, choosing to attend random patterns of attendance, with three different keyworkers assigned.

I hope that in the Autumn term space will allow us to have some dates in our diary as  stay and play sessions, so, if parents wish, they can come into school with their child and join them in play, and of course, get to know staff.

I feel the school will feel more consistent and settled if younger children do begin to stay for more sessions. It is new to us…. We shall see. Leigh Davies

Willow Nursery School- Children’s Evaluation. July 2024

We ask all Big Nursery children 5 questions. Here are all their answers. I think they will make you smile!

1.   What do you like to do at Nursery?

Wear Princess Dresses

Playing with my friends.

Playing with ‘o’- Ninja  kids games, making things (junk modelling)

Playing football, Play with A.

Animals, train, going on a bear hunt.

Playing outside, Playing Avengers

Playing games-Ladybug with my friends

I like finding bugs, making things.

Playing outside with mu friend B, with the cars.


I play with my friend


Having fun with G, Playing on the slide

Playing with water and playdough

Playing with my friends,finding snails, I like playing with Miss H

Playing with my friends, Painting my mummy

Pencils- drawing

Play with Miss E

Learn numbers (counted 1-20)

I like to run and reading and drawing

The keys and locks, Making things in room 2

Play outside

I like to do running, I like walking, I like sliding down the slide.

I like to run and play on the screen with ‘wobble’

I like to have lots of fun and play.

I like to go outside. I Like making alphabets.

Be a cat

I like playing inside and outside, I like playing in the sandpit. I like the inside and outside cooker. I like playing playdough.

Dress up

I like to play ninja turtles. I love having my lunch when Mrs D reads a book

Sticking things, Playing with the water.

Playing outside, play on the slide, reading books..

I like to play outside, ride along on the bike, when we sing songs.

Playing with dinosaurs.

Happy at Nursery, Cars, Playing Outside –games

Playing Ariel

Play all around

Playing in room 5

Climbing Frames, Slide,

Playing Inside, riding the horse,

Basketball, football. I like going down the slide.

Play with toys, I play with the sellotape and the boxes.

Play with my friend A. I like to have lunch.

Playing snowball fights with Aston.

Drawing pictures of a rainbow in the garden

She shows me her happy face

Doing the register with Miss S

Play in all the rooms

Reading, I like going outside

Painting, eating lunch, reading books and learning.

Down the slide




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


She pretends to cry.

When Mummy and daddy are at home.

I don’t like everyone to push me.

When my friend cried outside because he was hurt.

When my friend trod on my hand and it made me cry.

I don’t like it when people push me, when people don’t share

Nothing makes me sad. I am sad today because there are no bikes.


When X jumps on me

Throwing mud because it goes in my beautiful hair.



When someone pushes me.

When X tries to hurt me.

I don’t like fighting, I don’t like being angry.

When it rains my hair gets wet.

I don’t like playing outside

X hitting me. They pulled my elbow

I like everything

When the bikes are not out

When people shout at me.

I like Nursery, No.

I don’t know.

I don’t know




I like lots of things here, there isn’t anything I don’t like

Spiky shells in room 5


When I don’t play with my friends.

When people get too loud.


Hitting me, pushing me.

No spitting

I don’t like finding worms and snails. They are disgusting!

Hitting x2

I don’t like anybody pushing me

I don’t like goggles.

I don’t like staying when mummy goes home.

I don’t like people shouting, shouting is for outside.

When I’m feeling sad.



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


A,B,C,D’s Really good at football now

I have learned about books.

I am good at reading books.

Making things, making shapes.

Good at running fast. Ilike to play doctors.

Reading books

I know how to do balancing

Number 8 (child just watched numbertime programme, number 8)

Good at running fast. At first I didn’t know how to then my friend X showed me

Playing football.

Keys and numbers.

Playing hide and seek outside.

When I was little I was in Catkins. Now I am in big nursery and I am looking at the flowers

On the screen.

Being a baby

I’m good at riding the bikes. I can do the easy bike with one foot.

New Games, Being a good girl and friend

Good listening, writing my name, washing my hands.

Drawing with my friend.


Playing with my friends

Running fast, like Sonic!

Building animal cages.

New letters, building things,

Wolf game…. Dinner time!

Drawing pictures

Playing football, my name (spells name out)


Good at catching things.

My name

I do loads of letter ‘s’ snake.

I’m good at drawing and writing my name.

Doing Cartwheels, climbing and drawing, I love to write numbers.

I’m good at doing number 5 and number 2

I love catching balls outside and I can kick high into the school

I am good at drawing

I’m good at sticking stuff and making stuff.

Running, because I’m like dash!


I’m good at writing my name.

Balancing, climbing on the green things (ropes) outside

I’m good at playing with A. When I’m feeling sad, I’m good at finding something to play.

Writing my name

Being a cat


4.Tell me what you have learnt in Phonics:

‘a’ ‘g’ ‘p’

‘p’ I think ‘c’

It was a long time ago, I can’t remember.

Letters, numbers, ‘s’ ‘a’ ‘I’ ‘e’ ‘t’


I’ve learnt new letters like ‘o’ ‘on’ ‘off’ ‘on’

‘o’ is our new sound.

‘s’ ‘a’ ‘t’ ‘p’

‘a’ ‘s’ ‘e’

The car mat.

I don’t know, Wait! Actually I do! We did two words!

‘c’ ‘k’ ‘a’ ‘s’ ‘I’ ‘m’ ‘n’

‘s’ ‘a’ ‘t’ ‘I’ ‘p’ ‘n’ ‘m’


I learnt ‘c’ ‘c’ cat

‘p’ ‘p’ ‘p’ ‘f’ for fish, ‘f’ ‘r’ ‘o’ ‘g’ frog. We did lots of phonics.

‘t’ ‘n’ ‘a’ ‘m’ ‘c’

‘m’ ‘n’ ‘s’ they help us to read and write


I,p,m, snake

‘t’ ‘s’ ‘c’ ‘k’ ‘o’ ‘a’ ‘i’


Snake, ‘m’ ‘p pig’ ants on my arm.

‘n’ ‘m’ ‘a’ ‘s’ ‘I’

‘a’ rain rain go away. Taking a picture.

‘k’ ‘k’ sounds like ‘a’ (does action)

‘a’ ‘p’ ‘g’

I know sound like ‘p’ ‘I’ ‘a’ ‘m’

‘a’ ‘n’ ‘s’ ‘p’ ‘m’ (showed the actions too)

Jumping around


‘o’ my name.

Learning new letters like ‘g’

‘c,c, cow’ ‘c,c, cat’ ‘d,d,d, dog’ ‘h,h,h,hippo’ ‘pig’

‘a’ ‘I’ ‘d’ ‘s’ ‘o’ ‘p’  it’s good to keep doing it. We learn new things.

‘s’ ‘a’ ‘c’ ‘o’ ‘g’ ‘d’ (showed me actions)

Numbers, ‘s’ I know my name

‘a’ Ants on my arm.

Ants on my arm


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

Not sure

I don’t know.

Dinosaur and train track

Build another one.

Teddy bears with a carrot

We could do more dressing up.

Add flags and glitter everywhere

I don’t know.

The school is old, maybe buy a new school.

If my daddy came to school with his tools.

We could paint colourful pink, blue and white.

New bags, shoes, dress,

More races and a pool party. I think we should get a big trampoline

I think we should buy a soft play and lots of dancing.

Make the biggest tower, grow more flowers.

Dinosaur track

More books

A TV, quad bike.

McQueen toys

More children

More princesses at nursery.


Fire Truck

Make it tidy-all the children make it messy.

Play outside

Have all the toys and bikes out.

Everyone plays everywhere.

I don’t know.

Some other bricks. New Bricks, Yellow Brown or orange bricks.

A pool party.

There are lots of things here already.

Fix the door. Yesterday it broke.

Race cars.

A big teddy and a pillow.

Learning and playing

10 sizes- balance bar.

Spider Man and his team bikes.

Share and be kind

Play outside

I don’t know

Be quiet, you can’t be loud.

Everyone playing will make everyone happy

Decorations- superheroes and lovehearts for girls and boys.

Paint the windows, paint the cupboards yellow


E. What are the children learning about this week?


The theme this week is ‘Children’s Choice’.

The children have been asked what they would like to do around nursery this week. They have been encouraged to think of their favourite toys and activities and we have planned around them.

In Catkins, the children have chosen to have lots of dressing up clothes. They will be using their imagination as they play and staff will expand the children’s ideas by creating props to support their role play. Staff will model lots of language to extend the children’s ideas, they will ask questions, sing songs and comment on games being played. There will also be some sensory items to experience through the week, that the staff will introduce in different play scenarios.

In Catkins garden, the children have asked for bikes and cars. They will enjoy moving around the garden, using their feet and legs to push the vehicles around. Staff will encourage the children to wait for their turn and share the toys.  They will be praised for being patient and kind.

In the Link, the children have asked for painting and messy play. To provide these opportunities, the staff will set up an easel for free painting and a tray of cooked and dyed pasta for the children to investigate. The pasta will be dyed different colours and staff will talk to the children about this and the colours they have used in their painting. The children will have access to water play and exploration at the beginning of the week.

In Room 3, the children have asked for the train track to be set up and for dinosaurs. They have also stated that they would like lots of pink items! Staff will set up a small world scenario where the children can play with a variety of dinosaurs in an exciting setting. They will set up a simple train set for the children to see initially, then encourage the children to expand the track. They can make it bigger and more exciting, adding bridges, tunnels and lots of scenery. The children can help look for as many pink items as they can find.

In Room 2, the children are excited for summer and have asked for ice creams. Staff have been talking about the weather and different ways to cool down, including having ice pops at school for a treat. The children will be shown how to create pictures of ice creams, using paint and stamps.

They can also try their hand at bubble painting. This is an activity that the children have previously been introduced to, where they blow into paint using a straw and press their paper onto the bubbles to create a unique bubble effect picture.

Outside, the children have been helping staff to retrieve lost balls, hoops and beanbags. They have been discussing taking care of their toys and have asked if they can use these toys next week. Staff will encourage the children to use these toys in a sensible way so that they don’t get lost or stuck in the trees again. They have also chosen to have the bikes next week. Children will be able to practise riding the two wheeled bikes and will be supported with turn taking and being kind.






Nursery News 1st July 2024

Monday, July 1, 2024


1st July 2024 – Edition 340

Find out About:

A. School Closed Monday 8th July, Training Day

B. The Importance of Arriving on Time

C. Admissions -Adding children’s names to our contact list

D. Arrangements for September 2024.

E. Reminder: parent consultations this week.

F. What are the children learning about next week?


A. School Closed Monday 8th July, Training Day

Willow Nursery School will be closed to all children on Monday 8th July. All staff will be receiving training. School will be open as usual on Tuesday 9th July. Next week’s newsletter will be emailed to parents on Tuesday 9th July.


B. The Importance of Arriving on Time

We have very well organised arrangements for arrival and departure times. Our aim is to take children in to school swiftly, so that they can get on with their learning.

We are finding a considerable number of families are arriving late. Once Keyworkers go inside with their children, they assist their children to settle, take registers and begin the day with ‘drips’. Each week the staff teach a particular focus in the first few minutes of the day. For example ‘Big Nursery’ have been working on the names of 3D shapes and describing how many edges, corners and faces these shapes have. We ‘drip’ feed this knowledge to the children over one week with the hope the children will learn it. Children arriving late miss this learning opportunity. Late children are disrupting settled groups.

By 9:00am the office staff should be getting on with their work. Each time a child arrives late, they must be escorted individually to their Keyworker group, and a mark be added to the already completed and totalled registers.

We are losing too much work time due to late children.

We are looking to tighten up our families punctuality. Procedures are clear. Please help by complying with the following requests:

  • If you know in advance that your child will absent, we ask that you inform us by completing an absence form (available from office staff) and handing this to the office staff so that the correct absence codes can be added to the registers.
  • If your child is to be absent on a particular day we ask that you call the school office before 9:00am, so that the correct absence codes can be added to registers and keyworkers can be informed.
  • Arrive on time. Some families are arriving up to 20 minutes late. Children are missing learning.
  • Arrive a little early to be able to speak to keyworkers before school begins. Keyworkers are available before school as parents begin to gather outside. Parents who arrive late will be unable to talk with their child’s keyworker, as they will be busy teaching.

Be aware that the office staff will telephone and/or email families if a child is absent and a parent has failed to let us know. We expect all families to ring before 9:00am. We should not have to ring any families.

As part of our School Improvement Plan we will be looking at improving attendance and punctuality. As our pupils are ‘Non-Statutory’ (they are not of compulsory school school age) it is not our duty to report attendance figures to the Department for Education in the same way as Primary and Secondary Schools are obliged to do. We are, however, obliged to encourage all families to be punctual and have good attendance. It is our role to encourage this in readiness for attending School.

In September we will be re-introducing our ‘Late Book’. Families who arrive late will be asked to fill in the ‘Late Book’ and record why they are late. The Senior Leaders will monitor the ‘Late Book’.  We will offer advice and support to families, who need it, to enable them to get to school on time.

We will be looking to educate families about the importance of education. We are not here to ‘tell parents off’, we are here to encourage everyone to give their children the very best start. Children cannot learn what we would like them to if they are not here!

So remember, at Willow, we expect families to work with us to provide a good education for all our pupils.


C. Admissions -Adding children’s names to our contact list

The new free funding for working two year olds is having an impact on our admissions procedures. We need to ensure we are able to offer some spaces to pupils the term they turn 2 years old. Then we have to ensure we have enough space, and staff for those children to continue with us until they leave to join the 4+ in the Primary School of their choice.

This is a bit of a puzzle which we have been planning for a while now.

We will continue to take children’s names onto our contact list from birth. We will use this contact list to offer spaces to children the term after they turn 2, or the term after they turn 3, subject to availability. I predict the school will fill at age 2, with only a few spaces available at age 3, if any.

We will no longer be able to offer siblings priority to spaces in our setting. Our admissions policy will be based purely on length of time on our contact list. Those who have their name down first on our contact list will be contacted first to be offered a space at age 2. (Only one category of children will jump to the top of the list for enrolment, and that will be children who are in Care, ie Foster Care.)

Make sure you have your younger children on our contact list. Put the word out to friends and family that they should put their child’s name on Willow’s contact list sooner rather than later should they want their child to attend here.


D. Arrangements for September 2024.

We have finalised our plans for the beginning of term in September 2024. So this information is for all the families staying with us in September.

We are aware that a number of our parents are working parents, and look for 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.

Let us start with Little Nursery…..

Little Nursery will reopen on Thursday 5th September.

Little Nursery hours remain 8:45am – 11:45am for a morning session, 11:45am-2:45pm for an afternoon session or 8:45am to 2:45pm for a full day session.

Children’s attendance patterns remain the same, unless you have spoken to me, Mrs Davies, about additional hours for your child.

New starters in Little Nursery will receive paperwork advising parents what their child’s first day will be. New Catkins Class children have start dates somewhere between the 9th September 2024 and 13th September 2024


Big Nursery:

Wednesday 4th September 2024 has been scheduled as a visit day. All children who are transitioning from Little Nursery to Big Nursery in September 2024 are invited to attend a Stay and Play session lasting for 90 mins, with a parent. The purpose of this visit is to give you and your child the opportunity to meet the Big Nursery staff, explore the Big Nursery classrooms together and say ‘Hello’ to your child’s Keyworker. Little Nursery Keyworkers will distribute paper invitations to Little Nursery parents at this week’s Parent Consultations, for you to keep as a reminder for September. There will be three sessions:

9:00am to 10:30am For Green and Red group children.

11:00am to 12:30pm For Yellow group children already attending Willow

1:00pm to 2:30pm For new Yellow group children, joining us from September.

These stay and play visits are optional. You do not have to attend, but it will be a way to see Big Nursery with your child. We cannot offer these visits 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.

Thursday 5th September  – Big Nursery Re-opens for regular Nursery sessions.

Green Group, Red Group and Yellow Group (who have attended in Little Nursery) return to join Big Nursery, attending for their agreed attendance pattern.

Children attending for 30 hours will begin on Thursday 5th September.

Children attending for two and a half days at the end of the week will begin on Thursday 5th at 8:50am.

Children attending for two and a half days at the beginning of the week will begin on Monday 9th September.

Big 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


E. Reminder: parent consultations this week.

This week we will be having face to face parent consultations for all the children across the week on 1st, 2nd and 4th July 2024.  Please bear in mind that all consultations will be 5 minutes long.

Little Nursery:

Monday 1st July

Miss Cashmore, Catkins Yellow Group Children-between 3:15pm and 4:05pm

Mrs McGrath, Catkins Yellow Group Children-between 3:00pm and 3:35pm

Miss Gaffney’s Green Group Children- between 3:15pm and 3:55pm

Mrs Brinkley’s Red Group Children- between 3:15pm and 4:15pm

Tuesday 2nd July

Miss Tyler’s Catkins Orange group children between 3:15pm and 4:15pm

Thursday 4th July

Mrs Watson’s Blue Group Children- between 3:00pm and 3:55pm

Big Nursery:

Monday 1st July-  No appointments scheduled.

Tuesday 2nd July

Miss Skai’s Orange Group Children- between 3:15pm and 3:55pm

Miss Howe’s Yellow Group Children – between 3:15pm and 4:10pm

Thursday 4th July

Mrs Patterson’s Green Group Children -between 3:15pm and 4:25pm

Miss Cashmore’s Yellow Group Children -between 3:15pm and 4:00pm


F. What are the children learning about this week?

The theme throughout nursery is the story ‘Peace at Last’.

In Catkins, the children will have a picnic area set up and lots of teddy bears. They will combine the two, to have a teddy bear’s picnic. Staff will sit with the children and pretend their teddies are eating and drinking the food. They will model lots of play and language to support the children with their small world role play. Adults will also encourage the children to use their listening ears as they play different sounds from the book. The children will be asked to name as many sounds as they can.

In the Catkins garden, the children will focus on improving their ball skills. Everyone will focus on different skills each day. These skills will include; kicking, throwing, catching and playing lots of different ball games. Staff will promote turn taking and offer lots of words of encouragement to the children.

In the Link, the children will recreate characters from the story using playdough. This activity is great for building fine motor skills and strengthening the muscles in young people’ s hands. As the children play, adults will use language from the story to encourage children to retell the tale. They will use lots of descriptive language to explain how they are playing with the playdough, ie squeeze, roll, flatten etc.

In Room 3, the children will be able to play in a house similar to the house of Mr Bear in the book. They will have lots of props to be able to recreate the story and act it out as all three characters. Staff will also set up an area for the children to retell the story on a smaller scale. There will be figures and a dolls house for the children to play with.

In Room 2, the children will explore the literacy side of the book. There will be opportunities for children to make familiar words from the story. They will use paint, stampers and their phonics knowledge to create words that have appeared in the story ‘Peace at Last’.

In Room 1, the children will play Bingo Bears, which is a colour matching game. The game prompts children to look at the colours that they need to name and match to complete the game. Staff will encourage children to be as independent as possible when naming colours but will offer support when needed.

Outside, the children will investigate water and its properties as the water tray is set up outside. Children will be asked to wear aprons each time they are at the tray, and replace them after they have finished. There will be also be an easel set up so that the children can enjoy the weather outside and explore painting in the garden.



Nursery News 24th June 2024

Tuesday, June 25, 2024


Monday 24th June 2024 – Edition 339

Find out About:

A. Review of the Year

B. Ice Pops, Please, not Lollies.

C. Availability in September 2024 of additional sessions for children already attending Little Nursery.

D. Willow Nursery School’s Ofsted Report

E .What are the children learning about this week?


A. Review of the year

At this time of year, we carry out a big review of our school. In the last few days Miss Howe, Mrs Cashmore and Miss Allen have been talking to the Big Nursery 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


If you wish your comments to inform my review, please send your email by the end of this week, Friday 28th June. I will then compile all the comments and respond to them in a future newsletter, on Tuesday 9th July.


B. Ice Pops Please, not Lollies.

Thank you to all the parents who have donated some ice pops. We will definitely be having them every day this week as the weather has been forecast to be very hot.

Parents have been very generous. Some parents have sent in ice lollies. Again very generous, but some brands are not suitable for children with allergies. On Thursday I went to get ice pops from the school freezer and found some ‘Rowntrees Watermelon’ Lollies. They had an allergy warning on them:


May contain: peanuts, nuts and egg. Not suitable for consumers with a milk allergy.


So, I would ask parents to just provide Ice Pops as I have never found ice pops to be unsuitable for those with allergies. We do currently have two children at Willow who have severe allergies to some of the foods advised in the allergy warning so please help us to keep all our pupils safe.


C. Availability in September 2024 of additional sessions for children already attending Little Nursery.

Back in May, I wrote a short piece about our enrolment processes during the summer term, so here is an excerpt from Nursery News 333 and some updates….

Our next task is to enrol children from our waitlist aged 3+ who are due to start with us in Big Nursery in September 2024. This may take a few weeks. We completed this task last week. Big Nursery is now full for September 2024. We are no longer adding names to our contact list for a space in Big Nursery 2024-25

Then we will be looking to enrol children eligible to start in our 2+ Little Nursery in September 2024. We are just awaiting the return of paperwork from these families. We consider our 2 year old places to be full now for the Autumn term.

As this work is now almost complete, we can turn our attention to the children who are already attending Willow.

We have two groups of children currently in Little Nursery who will remain in Little Nursery in September 2024. Some time ago, in March 2024, we asked Little Nursery Blue Group (Children date of birth 1.9.21 to 31.12.21) parents to select which attendance pattern they would like for their child when they will become 3+age, in January 2025.

Last week I asked Little Nursery Orange Group  ( Children date of birth 1.1.22 to 31.3.22) parents to select which attendance pattern they would like for their child when they become 3+age range in April 2025. These parents will return their paperwork by Wednesday this week.

We now need to go to these parents in Little Nursery Blue and Orange Groups to see if any parent would like additional spaces for their child from September 2024 until they become 3+age.

AS PART OF THE PARENT CONSULTATIONS NEXT WEEK, I WILL BE JOINING MISS TYLER ON TUESDAY EVENING, AND MRS WATSON ON THURSDAY EVENING.  We can talk about additional sessions for your child, should you require some, at that appointment.

The final part of Summer Term arrangements is to provide transition information to families of children in Little Nursery Yellow group (Date of birth 1.4.21 to 31.8.21). We aim to have this paperwork ready to hand to you at next weeks’ parent consultations..

Thank you for being so patient. We have 8 termly cohorts of children here in the Nursery during the Summer Term, so it takes some time to meet the needs of each group.

Sometimes things happen, beyond our control, that slows down our processes. Which seems to bring me along quite nicely to:


D. Willow Nursery School’s Ofsted Report

I hope you all received an email on Thursday 20th June regarding our recent Ofsted inspection. We are very proud of our result being judged Good overall with recognition that our ‘Behaviour and Attitudes’ judgement was deemed to be Outstanding.

Approximately once every four years Ofsted re-write their standards for Ofsted inspections. Ofsted and the government are always looking to drive an improvement in educational standards in schools. Ofsted then set out to assess all schools within a four-year cycle.


We have been told that the ‘bar has been raised’ and the standards Ofsted currently are looking for are higher than ever.

We, as a Maintained Nursery School receive a full School’s Ofsted Inspection. The standards that Willow is measured against are the same standards used to inspect all Primary and Secondary schools.

So I have added some information from the Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, so, if you are interested you can see for yourselves how rigorous these Inspections are. All writing below in purple is from the Ofsted handbook.


For example, these are the grade descriptors for a ‘Good’ outcome under the heading ‘Quality of Education’:


Good (2)

The curriculum is broad and ambitious for all pupils.

  • Leaders adopt or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils (including pupils with SEND), the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. This is either the national curriculum or a curriculum of comparable breadth and ambition.
  • Pupils study the full curriculum; it is not narrowed:
    • in primary schools, a broad range of subjects (exemplified by the national curriculum) is taught in key stage 2 throughout Years 3 to 6
    • in secondary schools, the school teaches a broad range of subjects (exemplified by the national curriculum) throughout Years 7 to 9. The school’s aim is to have the EBacc at the heart of its curriculum, in line with the DfE’s ambition where this applies, and good progress has been made towards this ambition.
  • The curriculum may undergo necessary changes (for example, following a review by leaders or to take account of COVID-19) and certain aspects may be more developed than others. Where this is the case, these changes do not prevent all pupils having access to an appropriately broad and ambitious curriculum. Where adaptations to curriculum breadth are made for particular pupils, there is a clear rationale for why this is in those pupils’ interests, and, where appropriate, there is a clear plan for returning all pupils to studying the full curriculum.
  • Reading is prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum offer.
  • A rigorous and sequential approach to the reading curriculum develops pupils’ fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading. At all stages, reading attainment is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils. Reading books connect closely to the phonics knowledge that pupils are taught when they are learning to read.
  • The sharp focus on ensuring that younger children and those at the early stages of reading gain the phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read, and the skills to communicate, gives them the foundations for future learning

The planning and implementation of the curriculum supports a strong impact on pupils’ learning.

  • The school’s curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
  • The curriculum is successfully adapted, designed or developed to be ambitious and meet the needs of pupils with SEND, developing their knowledge, skills and abilities to apply what they know and can do with increasing fluency and independence.
  • Teachers have good knowledge of the subject(s) and courses they teach. Leaders provide effective support, including for those teaching outside their main areas of expertise.
  • Teachers present subject matter clearly, promoting appropriate discussion about the subject matter being taught. They check pupils’ understanding systematically, identify misconceptions accurately and provide clear, direct feedback. In so doing, they respond and adapt their teaching as necessary without unnecessarily elaborate or individualised approaches.
  • Teachers ensure that their own speaking, listening, writing and reading of English support pupils in developing their language and vocabulary well.
  • Teachers create an environment that focuses on pupils. The textbooks and other teaching materials that teachers select – in a way that does not create unnecessary workload for staff – reflect the school’s ambitious intentions for the course of study. These materials clearly support the intent of a coherently planned curriculum, sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment.
  • The work given enables pupils to achieve the aims and ambition of the curriculum, which is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge.
  • Over the course of study, teaching is designed to help pupils to remember long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger ideas.
  • Teachers and leaders use assessment well. For example, they use it to help pupils embed and use knowledge fluently, or to check understanding and inform teaching, or to understand different starting points and gaps as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders understand the limitations of assessment and do not use it in a way that creates unnecessary burdens on staff or pupils.
  • Any remote education is well integrated within course(s) of study, and is well designed to support the wider implementation of the school’s curriculum.

The impact of the education which pupils receive is strong, including for disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND.

  • Pupils develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve well. This is reflected in the work that pupils produce.
  • Pupils read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age. They are able to apply mathematical knowledge, concepts and procedures appropriately for their age.
  • Where available, impact is reflected in results from national tests and examinations that meet government expectations, or in the qualifications obtained. Teacher assessed grades from 2020 and 2021 will not be used to assess impact.
  • Pupils are ready for the next stage of education, employment or training. They have the knowledge and skills they need and, where relevant, they gain qualifications that allow them to go on to destinations that meet their interests and aspirations and the intention of their course of study. Pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes.


In order for the Behaviour and Attitudes judgement to be outstanding, the school must meet all of the good criteria securely and consistently and it must also meet the additional outstanding criteria.

Outstanding (1)

  • The school meets all the criteria for good in behaviour and attitudes securely and consistently.
  • Behaviour and attitudes are exceptional.

In addition, the following apply:

  • Pupils behave with consistently high levels of respect for others. They play a highly positive role in creating a school environment in which commonalities are identified and celebrated, difference is valued and nurtured, and bullying, harassment and violence are never tolerated.
  • Pupils consistently have highly positive attitudes and commitment to their education. They are highly motivated and persistent in the face of difficulties. Pupils make a highly positive, tangible contribution to the life of the school and/or the wider community. Pupils actively support the well-being of other pupils.
  • Pupils behave consistently well, demonstrating high levels of self-control and consistently positive attitudes to their education. If pupils struggle with this, the school takes intelligent, fair and highly effective action to support them to succeed in their education.


Good (2)

  • The school has high expectations for pupils’ behaviour and conduct. These expectations are commonly understood and applied consistently and fairly. This is reflected in pupils’ positive behaviour and conduct. Low-level disruption is not tolerated and pupils’ behaviour does not disrupt lessons or the day-to-day life of the school. Leaders support all staff well in managing pupils’ behaviour. Staff make sure that pupils follow appropriate routines.
  • Leaders, staff and pupils create a positive environment in which bullying is not tolerated. If bullying, aggression, discrimination and derogatory language occur, they are dealt with quickly and effectively and are not allowed to spread.
  • There is demonstrable improvement in the behaviour and attendance of pupils who have particular needs.
  • Pupils’ attitudes to their education are positive. They are committed to their learning, know how to study effectively and do so, are resilient to setbacks and take pride in their achievements.
  • Pupils have high attendance. They come to school on time and are punctual to lessons. When this is not the case, the school takes appropriate, swift and effective action.
  • Suspensions are used appropriately. The school reintegrates suspended pupils on their return and manages their behaviour effectively. Permanent exclusions are used appropriately as a last resort (see statutory guidance on school exclusion).
  • Relationships among pupils and staff reflect a positive and respectful culture; pupils are safe and they feel safe.


E. What are the children learning about this week?

The theme this week is air and sea transport

In Catkins, the children will learn about flying through space in rockets. Staff will show the children images of rockets and model to the children, how to create their own rockets out of recycled materials. They will use tubes, paper and pens to decorate their rockets and will be encouraged to fly them outside.

In Catkins garden, the children will be investigating water. They will explore transporting water using pipes, jugs, buckets and other containers. Although the children will have access to aprons, they will likely get quite wet. Please provide spare clothes, including shoes and socks for the days your child attends.

In the Link, the children will build on their fine motor skills as they fold paper aeroplanes. They will be shown how to fold paper along specific lines to create a plane that they can take into the garden and fly. As they work, staff will talk to children about travelling on planes and encourage them to recall their own experiences such as holidays or times when they have seen planes in the sky.

In Room 4, the staff will work with the children to create box models of planes and boats. They will talk to the children about air and sea travel and share personal experiences to encourage conversations. Children will be shown how to attach materials together using glue and tape. The children will have the opportunity to paint pictures of the many types of sea and air transport that they have learnt about during the week.

In Room 2, the children will use magnets and tweezers to create words linked with travel and transport. The children will be encouraged to use tweezers to pick up and arrange letters to create new words. There will be word templates to support the children with their spelling and they will have the chance to spell any other words that they link with transport.

In Room 1, the children will focus on improving their fine motor skills by cutting and sticking pictures to create a suitcase that is suitable for them to go on holiday. The children will discuss with staff about locations that they would like to visit and they will cut out images that are suitable for the place that they have chosen. Staff will encourage the children to be as independent with their work as possible but will support where necessary.

Outside, the children will have a lot of fun with water play. They will have access to the water tray, boats and other water toys. Children will be encouraged to wear aprons, but may get wet. They will learn about staying safe in the sun and the importance of wearing a hat and sun cream. Staff will reinforce the importance of staying hydrated to the children and they will be reminded to cool down in the shade/ inside school and drink lots of water.


Nursery News 17th June 2024

Tuesday, June 18, 2024


17th June 2024 – Edition 338

Find out About:

A. Reminder: An Open School Event: For Big Nursery Yellow Group Parents: Basic Skills.

B. Phone issues continue.

C. What are the children learning about this week?


A. Reminder: An Open School Event: For Big Nursery Yellow Group Parents: Basic Skills.

Miss Howe’s Yellow group parents have been invited in to observe a 30 minute reading/writing activity on Wednesday 19th June.

Mrs Cashmore’s Big Nursery Yellow group parents have been invited in to observe a 30 minute reading/writing activity on Thursday 20th June.

The children’s skills are really coming along as we head towards the end of the year. We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to see your child working within a more structured, adult led session.


B.Phone issues continue.

Despite a lot of time in discussion with BT and our ICT support technical service, we are no further on.

We can receive calls, but we cannot make calls.

Callers can leave answerphone messages, but we cannot pick them up.

We are largely relying on emails to pass messages on to parents.

I will keep you updated through these newsletters, if we make progress.


C. What are the children learning about this week?

Our Half Termly Topic is ‘On the Move’.

The theme in nursery this week is ‘Transport On Land’.

In Catkins, the children will be learning about transport through play. They will have access to cars and garages and staff will model language as the children play. Adults will provide boxes for the children to sit in and pretend that they are in vehicles. They will use props such as steering wheels to boost their imagination.

In the garden, the children will practice riding bikes and moving around the garden in cars. They will consider different ways to move their vehicles, including, pushing

them along as they walk behind and scooting along using their feet. Staff will create a track for the children to move around safely and will encourage turn taking.

In the Link, the staff will talk to the children about moving from place to place on foot. They will talk about how healthy it is to walk to work and school. The staff will support children in taking off their shoes and socks so that they can create their own foot painting pictures. They will encourage the children to talk about the way the paint and paintbrush feels on their feet and about the school rule of using their ‘walking feet’.



In Room 3, the children will have access to a range of media where they can create their own box models. Staff will support children in creating cars, lorries, vans etc. to represent land transport models. They will be encouraged to be as independent as possible when using the glue and sellotape dispenser to attach different materials together.

In Room 2, the children will be looking at the different marks that can be made by painting using toy cars. They will be shown how to push cars through paint and then look at the marks made by different wheels. Children will also learn about the importance of traffic lights and the three colours that are used. They will choose appropriate colours to create their own traffic light pictures.

In Room 1, the staff will set up a bus role play area. The children will get to sit on the bus while a driver takes them to their destination. The driver will ask the passengers for tickets and destination information, this will promote communication and language skills for all of the children. They will be encouraged to take turns being the driver and passengers to ensure everyone gets a turn.

Outside, the children will have ramps and cars set up in an area where they can explore speed and movement as they roll cars down different inclines. There will be bikes, scooters and road signs provided for the children to practice moving safely around the playground. They will be encouraged to stop at the stop signs and pay attention to the colours on the traffic lights.