New nursery officially opens at Kettering primary school

Greenfields Primary School in Kettering officially opened its new nursery yesterday (Monday, September 23) with a ceremony that recognised the successful turnaround of the school.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 3:11 pm
Headteacher Sandra Appleby and David Ross, whose trust runs the school, at the opening of Greenfields nursery

Headteacher Sandra Appleby said: "It's been a super long journey, I started here in April 2015 and realised we needed provision for two [years old] and up."

She described the efforts to provide a nursery for two to five year-olds as a mission but thanked all those who had supported the plans and made it happen, especially nursery lead Kirsty Casey.

Rebecca Wood, lead teacher for early years foundation stage which includes the nursery and reception, said having a nursery was a key part of improvements at the school.

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Nursery children sang to guests at the opening ceremony

Ms Wood said: "We have seen a massive improvement in confidence, children are really happy and settled because they want to be here. They get to know the staff and we start transitioning them from Easter onward.

"They are full time from day one because they are already doing full days at nursery."

The nursery is the latest step in a series of improvements at Greenfields since it was taken over by the David Ross Education Trust and Mrs Appleby became headteacher.

The school had been in special measures for a couple of years but has now been rated good by Ofsted and has won many awards, including School of the Year from Northampton University's Changemaker scheme.

The cutting of the ribbon

It is also now in the top one per cent of schools in the country for pupil progress in reading and writing and the top three per cent for maths.

Parent governor Danny Ricketts, who has children at the school in reception and Year 2, said: "It pays real dividends. They are teaching phonics so [my son] had a head start [when he started reception].

"We moved up from London and we're so happy for the children to be here, it's an inspiring school."

Speaking at the opening ceremony, David Ross congratulated the school for the new nursery and the contribution it was making to the community through high quality education.

Kettering's MP Philip Hollobone, who also attended the opening, echoed this and said: "I am very impressed by what the trust has done.

"David Ross has transformed the school since he took over, it used to be Highfields primary school and it had a poor reputation. It's come up so much in the last few years, now it's one of the best schools in Kettering."

The nursery has been taking children for the past three years but took the first two-year-olds last year and now has a new room for the youngest pupils.

Parents can use childcare vouchers and Kirsty Casey, the nursery lead, said those who qualify for 30 hours of childcare funded by the government can pay £15 for five days of childcare from 8.15am to 3.15pm and there is also a breakfast and after-school club working parents can make use of.

Ms Casey said the nursery is flexible and children's hours can fit with parents' needs.

Both Ms Casey and Ms Wood said the transition from nursery to school had been really successful.

"When they have come this year, we have had no unsettled children, it's been lovely.

"It's a nice place to be, it's so happy and friendly," said Ms Wood.

Mrs Appleby said she wants to school to be a place where children are safe and loved.

"We do offer a really loving and caring environment," she said.