New early years unit at Nottinghamshire school

16 May 2018

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Around 45 new childcare places are set to be created at a primary school in Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire County Council was successful in securing £700,000 capital funding from the Government to build a new early years unit at Robert Mellors Primary Academy, in Arnold.

The county council has funded an additional £230,000 for the project to come to fruition.

On Friday, May 18, at 10am, the new unit called Little Herons will be officially opened by Nottinghamshire County Council Chairman Councillor Mrs Sue Saddington, as one of her first engagements in her term in office. The project was designed and delivered by Arc Partnership, which is a joint venture between Nottinghamshire County Council and Scape Group.

The building will supply new childcare places for three and four year olds whose parents work, as part of their 30 free hours of childcare each week, and will also provide childcare places for some two-year-olds who are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare a week.

Robert Mellors Primary Academy was selected as an ideal location for the new early years unit because of the need for additional childcare places in the area.  Many parents also preferred to have childcare located on or near the school to enable them to drop off their children at school and at nursery.

Councillor Mrs Sue Saddington, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are delighted to see new high quality early years and childcare places will be on offer at this school. I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the official opening and seeing the new unit.”

Councillor Philip Owen, Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It will extend the provision of much needed and popular childcare places in the area, which will help families to prosper and achieve their potential. Reducing the cost of childcare removes a barrier to employment for many parents.”

Headteacher Susan Laplanche said: “We are very excited to be opening our brand new pre school unit ‘Little Herons’ on our school site on April 18.  This new provision will enable us to provide up to 45 additional places for children who are entitled to the 30 hours funding as well as two year funded places. 

“The unit has been funded by a grant from the Department for Education and with support from Nottinghamshire County Council and is available for all families in the local area to access, not just from our school. It will be run alongside, and with the same ethos, as our highly respected Foundation Stage Unit which has a reputation for delivering high quality early years education.”

The new 30-hour offer provides the equivalent of 30 hours per week of free childcare, making every 3- and 4-year-old with working parents eligible for 1,140 hours of free childcare per year. This is worth £5,000 per child, per year. The two-year-old offer gives 15 hours of free childcare per week to the 40% of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. It is worth £2,500 per child, per year.

As part of the same programme, the early years unit at Holgate Primary in Mansfield is being extended to provide an additional 55 childcare places for 3 and 4 year olds.

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