Southfield School nursery to close

Image above: Children at Southfield School

Nursery closing ‘for the next two years’

The Nursery at Southfield School is to close in September for a period of two academic years. The school announced the closure on Monday (20 June), saying:

“With Nursery provision aims changing in the area and parents seeking more choice of hours and childcare options the Governing Body has consulted parents on temporarily withdrawing the Nursery provision from September 2022 for a period of two academic years.

“This does not mean closing the provision merely withdrawing it to look at various factors of need in the local area with now many competing private nurseries.”

Competition among primary schools has meant Southfield has around 50 children fewer than they have been used to and with £4,000 allocated to the budget for each child this means the school has £200,000 less than expected in its budget.

Ark Priory and Ark Byron primary academies have opened up in Acton in recent years: Ark Priory, a two-form entry primary academy opened in 2013, followed by its sister school Ark Byron, offering education from Reception to year six, which opened two years later in 2015.

There were only 16 children are in the Southfield nursery for the 2021-2022 academic year, which is significantly lower than previous years.

Image above: Southfield School

“Can’t speak highly enough of the nursery and the teaching staff”

The school carried out a consultation in March and April and a group of parents fought to keep it open. Many children who currently attend the nursery will move into reception in September, but around half had hoped to stay and repeat a year in a setting with which they are familiar.

One parent said:

“Southfield Primary School has gone from strength to strength in recent years with the appointment of a new headmaster and a passionate PTA. From the regular cake sales to the beautifully maintained wildlife garden, which was a real community effort, together with several new teachers and many exciting extra curriculum activities and events.

“The parents of those children currently attending can’t speak highly enough of the nursery and the teaching staff.“

Another parent, Amy Marshall, said:

“My daughter attended another nursery locally prior to Southfield so perhaps my expectations were low (despite that other nursery being a far more expensive private option) and both my husband and I were totally blown away by how wonderful Southfield nursery is, how much she learns and how happy she is to go there every day.

“I can’t remember the last time I saw any of the children upset at drop off – they all happily go in each morning and bounce out in the afternoon with smiles on their faces! The nursery teacher, Ms Gibbons is an incredible asset to the school. It will be an incredible shame for the local community to lose the nursery.”

Today’s statement from the school said:

‘The governing body listened very carefully to parents who feel naturally passionate about the school’s excellent early years’ provision however due to tight funding and places they made a sensible and sound decision to review the provision.’

Image above: Children at Southfield School

Southfield School has “changed exponentially” and is “one of the leading schools in the area”

The school statement underlined the success of the school as a whole:

‘Since the arrival of Dr Jones Headmaster at Southfield Primary School the school has changed exponentially moving from strength to strength with its reputation fast become one of the leading schools in the area.’

Chair of Southfield Governors Rob Huxford said:

“It’s fantastic seeing the progress at Southfield through the impact on the children’s education, learning experience as well as the significant enrichment opportunities they get. It’s a real credit to all the staff at the school that are willing to go the extra mile for the children.”

In the past two weeks the children have celebrated the Jubilee and Healthy Schools Week and held their Sports Day at Southfield Park. The school says it is on course to deliver its highest phonics and Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs scores in its history.

There has been a surge in applications for places in Reception and oversubscription with a long waiting list this year.

Parent governor Emma Sharpe said:

“We are incredibly proud of the recent results which reflects both the commitment to getting the curriculum just right for our school, and the dedication, passion and dynamism of Dr Jones and his entire teaching team in bringing the curriculum to life. The results speak for itself but to hear about it and see it in action through happy and engaged children, is priceless.”

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