2 Year Old Provision
Proposal to Extend Provision at Ulverley School
Having successfully provided two year old provision in school as part of Rising Stars since 2016 and in line with guidance for Academies, the Governing Body wish to formally extend the age range of the school to include 2 year olds on the school register.
There are many recognised benefits in schools offering early years provision:
• to improve the quality of provision for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
• so that children experience continuity of education and care without the disruption of transition from age 2 or 3 to the end of the Nursery year, with 2 year olds receiving priority admission to Nursery in the term following their 3rd birthday
• to enable children to work with staff who have time to get to know them really well
• so that parents are more likely to choose to educate their children within their local community from the outset
• where possible to provide extended care to support parents’ training or return to work.
In consultation with the Local Authority and following the successful joint Early Years Capital Grant bid, we are aware that there is sufficient demand within the locality for such provision and that the school has the continuing capacity to house such provision. We are also confident that, given the quality of the existing provision in place and the developments being made between Rising Stars and Phase 1 Leads, this can be maintained and strengthened over the coming years.
In order to make this change, we would very much value your thoughts on the proposal to formalise the existing provision. Please email your responses to this consultation to email@example.com or complete the online form below. Consultation closes on 14th January, 2019.
Questions and comments about the proposal will appear here for your information along with answers.
19 December, 2018
Thank you to everyone who has helped us so far for your comments [C]. These are all the queries that we have received to date. We have provided our responses [R] to them to further develop the conversation.
C - Loss of classroom space for the children the school should be catering for.
R - The 2 year olds already operate within the school building. This proposal is not an addition to our existing provision, but rather a formalising of the provision in school so that we show as having an age range of 2-11. There would be no loss of classroom spaces under this proposal.
C - These children are 2 not 5 their needs are completely different. There are too many school rules and involvement from school as it is, too many policy changes, not enough communication and Interaction with parents, school need to focus on the school age children and leave the little ones in the nursery, to the nursery leads who are in there doing the job.
R - A valid point. We are strictly adhering to the standards, regulations and guidance laid down for the provision of children below school age. It is true that over the past few months we have certainly tightened up on processes that allow the staff caring for the children to focus more on the children in their care than for administration. We have also improved safeguarding systems so that their safety is improved.
As this consultation hopefully shows, we are open to challenge and value feedback. This helps us to constantly review and improve our services. Should you have any matters that need discussion we are always open to discussion, as our parent feedback has demonstrated over the years.
C - Would prefer to have it run separately like a private nursery as a smaller community and improvements be specific to the nursery and profit put back I to the nursery. A distinction between the 2 is my preference. I don't see how ever closer union between school and nursery provides any benefit to parent or child, and all I can see at the moment is a complete disconnect and conflicting priorities between the parents needs and too much alignment to school requirements. I Don't like the constant Interference from school and this is yet another example of change not communicated properly or benefits articulated and I am highly sceptical of 'consultation' and highly suspicious that the nursery will be treated as a cash cow for the school
R - Our purpose for providing 2 year old places in school is to support parents who may have children in school and below nursery age. We hope that this provision will support them and allow them to have single drop offs and collections.
We also want to provide a smoother transition for those children starting nursery through familiarity with location, people and systems. Our aim is to provide a quality education for the children and families of the area.
As stated previously, our consultation is genuine as we look to serve the community. Inevitably, as with any provider, there may be differences of opinion over what is required by the individual and what we can offer. However, we will always sit down and discuss any such matters openly and honestly, providing adaptations and making compromises where possible.
Our existing management structure allows us to ensure that provision and practices are in the best interests of the child’s development and using the best practices from that stage of development. We want to provide the best quality provision that we can.
Although the provision cannot run at a loss and must be competitive with other providers in the locality, the aim is not to make money from it. Our main ambition is to develop the language skills of local children so that they are better able to achieve throughout life.
C - It makes the school remit too Broad and trying to make rules that fit all and don't and shouldn't apply to the 2 year olds
R - The regulations that guide the provision for different age ranges are very clear and we work within them. We believe the quality of provision in our Early Years Department as being very high and this is confirmed by the feedback we continually receive from our parents. The provision will not change as a result of this proposal as it merely formalises the paperwork and allows us to advertise as a 2-11 provision.
C - It will certainly put off parents joining the 2 year olds as there is already excellent private provision in the local area at outstanding ofsted that has a lower price point and are more flex and agile to feedback, because they have to be competitive and mindful of reputation.
R - The provision was established by the school originally and has always been school run. As such, we are currently able to attract children based upon the quality of provision and the satisfaction of the parents with that provision.
C - Are we trying to have a change every Friday? Because this is getting extremely time consuming.
R - These changes need to be made so that we meet the different requirements placed upon Academies to maintained schools. This process is best undertaken prior to conversion. The only thing that will change based upon this process is the school’s published age range.
C - If you want to make changes or consult then provide us with a one pager with proper analytical summary including findings, reason for the recommendations and the measurements
R - Fundamentally this process is required for us to make the changes to published age ranges. There will be no impact upon the provision that we currently offer other than those changes based upon monitoring data and external advice and guidance. This is not a new step for the school.
C - Over subscription
R - The recent works have helped us to extend the capacity of the nursery and existing 2 year old provision. We are confident that as this is not a new step, we can comfortably continue to accomodate the needs of the community without detriment to anyone.
C - Better provision for the 4-11 year olds
R - We are always striving to be the best that we can be. This existing provision allows us to continue to do so whilst offering a valuable service to other parents.
C - What does taking them on the school roll even mean? I don't even think a Google form is appropriate for this type of consultation, who is the decision maker on this?
R - Good question! When you look the school up on the Department for Education [DfE] website we are listed as having an age range of 3-11. Following this, it will change to 2-11. That’s the fundamental difference given we already have provision for 2 year olds.
In order to do this there are several stages we have to follow. This is the initial consultation to gauge the response to the administrative changes, but we will be holding meetings after Christmas to discuss these matters further.
C - All this politics and change is completely unnecessary and you should stop burdening parents with it. I put my child in what I thought was a private setting operating independently from the school.
R - We certainly take your point! As explained already this is due to the slightly different funding regulations for mainstream schools and academies. Our due diligence process identified the need to change prior to conversion and we are now following due process.
We are sorry for your confusion, but the two year old provision has always been part of the school as we established it after successfully integrating Fun Factory into the organisation as Rising Stars. As already explained, the 2 year old room already runs as part of the school and this process will only change the registration details with DfE.
C - Teacher to child ratio. We would also be highly interested in a baby nursery.
R - All through the school, the children’s safety and wellbeing is our prime concern. We closely follow the guidelines for the ratios and this would always be adhered to in the best interests of the children.
We have discussed the idea and even floated a baby nursery with some of the parents. As suggested by a respondent earlier, we feel that at present this would be a step too far and certainly put strain upon the breadth of the school. However, it is still in our thoughts and when the time is right and the capacity available to offer it, then we will once more raise the possibility.
We sincerely hope that these responses to your thoughts, concerns and queries have helped you to understand the process and rationale for it a little better. In short, we have provided 2 year old places for some time and this does not change this nor seeks to change it. As an academy, we will need to be registered with the DfE as a 2-11 provider in order for the funding stream to be legitimate.
Given the positive consultation over academisation and the outcome of that, we now need to follow this process to make the necessary changes to registration prior to Local Authority Cabinet approval.
There are 3 opportunities to discuss the proposed change of age range with Mark Pratt on 15th January, 2019. These are at 9:00am; 2:00pm and 6:30pm in the school hall. To confirm a place, please go to Ulverley Parents Evening Systems.
Having heard what you had to say on the consultation and responding to your queries [see above] we have now asked Solihull Cabinet to consider our application to change the school age range to reflect the provision already on offer and include 2 year olds on our roll. Hopefully, this will mean that we will be registered by the Department for Education, Ofsted and other official education sites as a 2-11 provider rather than a 3-11 provider, including the 2 year olds we already have and manage as a school on site. Being registered as such will make us compliant with funding conditions agreed as part of Academy status following conversion and allow us to continue to offer 2 year old provision.