Thursday, 11 August 2022

School asks if community needs nursery

A SCHOOL is urging parents to say what they think of its plans to lower the

A SCHOOL is urging parents to say what they think of its plans to lower the age of admission and establish a nursery class.

The move by Benson Primary School comes after it was revealed the village’s pre-school could close in the summer because of a lack of children due to start in September.

The primary school was recently rated “good” following an inspection by education watchdog Ofsted.

Fears over the future of the pre-school, which is based at the youth hall in Oxford Road, were raised by a letter to parents and carers from chairwoman Carol Stratford.

She said: “As many of you will have noticed, the number of children attending our pre-school has been exceptionally low since September and as a result the pre-school has made significant financial losses during the last two years.

“Based on the children currently registered with the pre-school, there are only three that are anticipated to remain in September when the next intake transfers to school.

“Despite the best efforts of both the staff and committee over the last six months, we have been unable to attract significant numbers of additional children and it is likely that the pre-school will become unsustainable from September.

“Please be reassured that the pre-school will remain open for the remainder of this academic year.”

Helen Crolla, headteacher of the primary school, said the primary school’s governors had responded by considering lowering the age for admission.

“This would enable three- and four-year-olds to attend a nursery class, with a secure outdoor play area,” she said. “This is an exciting time for the school and would mean that younger children within the local community would benefit from a smooth transition into the reception class, if parents chose to apply.

“The nursery would be staffed by a nursery teacher and supported by early years professionals, delivering a high quality curriculum.

“The school requires interested parents to commit in this way so that the proposed class is financially viable.

“Without this commitment, the school would struggle to make this a reality so please support us and sign up. The resources and setting are all there, we just need more three- and four-year-olds.”

Mrs Crolla was delighted by the school’s Ofsted rating.

She said: “Two years ago the school was required to improve so inspectors returned to observe teaching, talk to pupils and carry out various monitoring tasks before making their judgement. Their comments and praise for the school are worth celebrating and promoting.

“The whole staff have worked extremely hard to raise standards across the school. The report has recognised the team ethos that exists, where everyone is committed to ensuring that the children receive the best education within a high quality environment.

“The Ofsted criteria have become increasingly challenging so as a school we are thrilled with the grading. Governors and members of the local authority have supported and challenged the school on its journey to progress.

“I firmly believe that it takes a community to improve a school so would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement along the way.” The Ofsted report praised the school, saying pupils benefited from a “rich and creative” variety of subjects.

The children had “excellent” relationships with their teachers and other adults at the school.

Teachers were skilful in planning activities in lessons which engaged and challenged all groups of pupils and good provision in the early years meant children progressed well.

Mrs Crolla added: “Many aspects of the school have been praised throughout the report but I am extremely proud that improvements have taken place while retaining our caring, child-centred ethos.

“Every decision that is made, whether at a strategic or class level, is taken with the children in mind. The children, our greatest ambassadors, impressed the inspectors by their behaviour and enthusiasm.

“Throughout the inspection they were polite, keen to share their learning and hard-working.

“The inspectors were impressed with the amount of work they did.”

Parents needing a pre-school place are urged to book a visit for a tour of the school or to submit an interest form, which can be downloaded from the school’s website, www.benson

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