September 2020 admissions
online applications now closed
but you can still apply and your application will be considered in September.
MAJOR CHANGES TO ALLOCATING PLACES - PLEASE READ IN FULL
Wheatfields Nursery are now taking applications for children starting at nursery in September 2020. We have had to make quite a large number of changes to our application structure, so please read this information carefully before you apply for a place.
Firstly, as we all know Covid-19 restrictions mean schools and nurseries, whilst open, are not open as normal. We very much hope that September 2020 will be "business as usual" and all applications and admissions will be handled as such. This may not be the case, and if it isn't, we will be in touch with whatever alternative arrangements are going to be in place - but please still apply for your place. We rely on universal government funding for 15 hours of care to cover our costs - and we will hopefully still receive this even if the government dictates that we can't open. Of course, if we are allowed to open, we will.
Secondly, you may not be aware that the nursery is currently managed by a voluntary management committee, made up of parent volunteers. Due to the difficulties of getting parents to be involved, the pressure on everyone's time, and the complexities of running a small business, the current committee are pursuing the management of nursery transferring over to Wheatfields Primary School. The school are extremely supportive of this idea and are working hard with the local authority to work towards this outcome. It is expected that nursery will become managed by the school during the Autumn Term of 2020 if all goes well. This will make no difference to the application you are making for a September 2020 start. If the school take over mid-year, as expected, all places will continue to be honoured for the 2020/21 academic year and the nursery will continue to run in a very similar same way. You will not need to "reapply" or transfer your child to a different provider. The provider will stay the same, but the owner will change.
Finally, you might know that Burleigh Hill PreSchool, our neighbouring nursery located on the Wheatfields School site closed in July 2019. For the 2018/19 academic year we also posted a £17,000 loss with the charity commission and this ate into the majority of our reserves. To avoid going the same way as Burleigh Hill, we have had to implement some SIGNIFICANT CHANGES to the way we allocate nursery places in comparison to previous years. We are aware this may cause some significant difficulties for some families, but otherwise we could risk the nursery not being here at all in the near future. We are following a model many community and school-run nurseries have been following for some years:
CHANGE 1 - Age group priority
We will prioritise applications from PRE-SCHOOLERS - those children who were 3 before 1st September 2020 and will be starting Primary School in September 2021.
Any existing 2 year olds already with us will be guaranteed some sessions, but we cannot guarantee what will be available. Any new 2 year olds looking to apply will only be offered any space if we have any after prioritising preschoolers - please still apply and we will be in touch. If you can commit to using your universal 15 hours of funding with us once your child turns 3, this may help your application.
CHANGE 2 - Session availability
For all preschooler applications we will offer MORNING SESSIONS 8.25am-11.25am for every day (a total of 15 hours) or AFTERNOON SESSIONS 12.25pm-3,25pm for every day (a total of 15 hours) or ALL SESSIONS 8.25am-3,25pm (a total of 35 hours including 5 lunch club hours). We will no longer offer a pick-and-choose approach to sessions as has operated in the past. This has led to some sessions being full and others being less than a third full. This isn't sustainable. There will also be a "30 hours continuous provision" option, for anyone looking for 30 hours of care but doesn't want to pay extra for our 1 hour of lunch club each day (we run a 35 hour week from 8.25am to 3.25pm). With this option, you have every session from 8.25am Monday through to ending at 11.25am on Friday. This way you do not need to pay extra for the lunch club as it is included in your 30 hours and your week ends after the Friday morning session. (This option actually works out as 31 hours but we will waive the charge for the additional hour).
We understand that the mornings/afternoons/full-time options will not work for all families - if you need to request an alternative such as 2 or 3 full days please still apply and request this. If we cannot accommodate your first preference we will be in touch to see what is possible.
CHANGE 3 - Lunch Club
For any children attending mornings only or afternoons only, the lunchtime hour can be added on to none, some or all of their days. It runs from 11.25am to12.25pm, the hour between the morning and afternoon sessions. Any all day children will usually attend lunch club (but we can accommodate going home for lunch if wanted). The charge for lunch club is being raised to be consistent on an hourly basis with the cost of sessions. Lunch club is only available for children who are 3 or older, but preschoolers will be prioritised if space is limited.
CHANGE 4 - Fees
Fees are reviewed annually. We know any increase is difficult for families, particularly at the moment, but we have to safeguard the viability of the nursery. The vast majority of families use funded entitlement hours, in which case no invoice is raised as we receive funding directly from the local authority. 15 hours of provision for 3 and 4 year olds is universal. If you qualify for 30 hours of funding you should already have a code that you will need to submit to us. Where fees are being paid in cash, the committee have agreed to raise fees to match the funding received from government for 15 hours and 30 hours funded provision. This will be £4.14 per hour in September. This means each 3 hour session will cost £12.42 and each lunch club session will cost £4.14. Invoices will now be raised at the very start of each half term and prompt payment will be required. If you are in receipt of tax credits, this charge can make part of your claim, or you can use a tax-free childcare account to pay your invoice. For anyone else paying directly, in addition to bank transfer we will be allowing payment by credit card from September if this assists with your financial planning. We will be a cashless nursery from September 2020 and only accept electronic payments.
Thank you for reading all of the above.
To apply for a place at Wheatfields Nursery for September 2020, please click below to go to the online application form.