St Peter's School Governors "Minded " to Close Nursery

Chair asks for comments before decision made in July

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Emma Bruce, the Chair of Governors of St Peter's CE Primary School, has written to parents and local people informing them of the proposed closure of the school's nursery and asking for comments.

The letter is as follows:

" Following considerable and careful research I am writing to inform you that, with regret, Governors are minded to close St. Peter’s Nursery from September 2014.

" A final decision will be made in July this year. I know that this proposal will come as a great sadness, as so many of the children at St. Peter’s have gained enormously
from their time in the nursery.

" The 'top up' funding for full time Nursery places is under review nationally as part of the move to a single funding formula. Although the Council have no immediate
plans to make changes, it is clear that in the longer term the full time 'top up' is not sustainable.

" 'Top up' funding is the money which pays for anything over and above 15 hours per child a week. Many boroughs do not fund any 'top up' and operate a purely part time nursery funding arrangement. If Hammersmith and Fulham were to adopt that approach our funding would reduce by over £20k a year.

" Considering the fact that we already currently slightly subsidise Nursery provision as a school, any further reductions would be un-manageable. Nursery education is non-statutory so that although it operates very closely with the Reception class, it is funded in a different way.

" We believe from our research that if we were to close our Nursery from 2014 the rest of the school would in fact benefit financially. Some funds would be able to be redistributed and the closure would also release some management capacity to support the children further in the Main school.

" In the longer term, if the Nursery were to remain open it would have to be filled with 50 part time only pupils (25 morning and 25 afternoon) to be sustainable.

" We have been obliged over the last few years, due to a reduction in the number of part-time applications, to increase the number of full time places being provided to ensure that the Nursery is full; these have risen from 12 to 20, leaving many fewer part time pupils.

" Funding for our full-time places has been at the expense of funding for other schools in the Borough and clearly that will not continue indefinitely. With current birth rates in this particular ward and a wide range of more flexible Nursery provision available the continued downward trend in the number of applicants is not predicted to change; it has become clear to us that
there is more demand in the immediate area for flexible nursery places, e.g. 2/3 full
days or 2/3 half days etc.

" We cannot make our provision flexible to meet the needs of the local market without further subsidy from the main school budget. As a state funded school we have strict guidelines and restrictions placed on us for provision so we cannot easily “flex and adapt”.

" Thus we currently have lower numbers of Nursery pupils; moreover, they come from further away than in the past so that every year more of St. Peter's Reception places are being filled by those who have not attended our Nursery because they have chosen other Nursery options and are ranked higher in accordance with our Admissions Policy. As a result, the percentage of St. Peter’s Nursery children in the Main school is decreasing year on year.

" If you have any comments or questions about this proposal please do send them by
post to the Governors at St. Peter’s School or email them to governors@stpetersce.lbhf.sch.uk.

" The consultation period will end on Monday 1st July. Governors will then consider responses and a final decision will be made later in July ; this will be made public in the same way as this letter is being distributed and notices will be put up at school and on the website.

" Governors would like to stress that the education in the Nursery until the end of
the summer term 2014 will continue to the highest levels.

" Applications for September 2013 are being dealt with in the usual way."

Yours faithfully,
Emma Bruce
Chair of Governors

June 26, 2013  

 

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