Pre-school children are beginning the new year at a fledgling nursery in Belper following a successful bid to the Government by the Derbyshire County Council to provide extra free childcare places.
The new nursery at St John’s C of E Primary School was officially opened on Wednesday 10 January by the Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale. The councillor was welcomed by Headteacher Roger Averis, children, teaching staff and governors.
All three and four-year-old children in the county are entitled to 15 hours free early education a week but in September last year the Government doubled the amount of childcare available to some working families to 30 hours.
Belper was identified as an area where there was an undersupply of places and working with the school, which has recently maintained its Ofsted ‘good’ status, the DCC successfully bid for funding towards its new nursery.
There are currently 29 three and four-year-olds registered at the new St John C of E Primary School and Nursery which will rise to 35 at Easter − and staff are now taking applications for the 2018/2019 school year.
Councillor Dale said:
“We were very keen to fund this important nursery project and I was delighted to have the honour of opening such a fantastic new building with a great team of staff and governors behind it to offer much-needed additional free childcare places in Belper. They’ve all worked very hard to make it a success.
“Extra early education is a great opportunity for children to meet other children and play and learn in preparation for school and it also gives parents some time to themselves to perhaps work part-time, study, volunteer or keep fit.
“It’s clear to see the children have already settled in well and are enjoying their new nursery and with applications now open we look forward to welcoming more on roll to enjoy everything it has to offer.”
Work began on site last July and the council handed the new nursery over to the school on 4 September 2017 ready to take its first pupils at the start of the autumn term.
Headteacher Roger Averis said:
“We’re very excited be able to provide free pre-school education for the young children of our community in this new purpose built nursery.
“It’s fantastic to now be able to offer education and learning for children from three to eleven years old in one school. I’d like to thank all the staff at the county council in ensuring that the nursery was able to open successfully and offer special thanks to our nursery teacher Natalie Gallen and nursery teaching and learning assistant Charlotte Grigoriu who work with the children every day have done a fantastic job is setting the nursery up and ensuring that they get to learn and play in such a lovely, welcoming environment.
“Judging by the comments they received in last month’s Ofsted inspection and the smiles on the children’s faces they’re both doing a brilliant job.”
The new nursery is located behind the main school building in Laund Nook with independent access and has a classroom, quiet area, kitchen, toilets and change facilities. It also features outdoor safety play surfaces within a safe fenced area.
It has the capacity to offer places to 46 children in total who can attend up to five three-hour sessions a week starting in the term after their third birthday.
The project came in £74,000 under budget at £326,000 with the Department for Education contributing £195,700 and ourselves funding the balance.
Parents can find more information about the nursery and how to apply for a place for their child in 2018/19 or call the school tel: 01773 822995.
Parents can find out more about the Government’s extra free childcare places initiative.
Parents who don’t qualify for the extra hours are still entitled to the universal 15 hours of free early education.