Providers or the local authority were required to raise 25 per cent of the funding to be eligible and be open by 1 September when the extended entitlement starts.
Of the 189 successful projects, around a quarter will be on school sites. There are 72 new builds. The others are 33 conversions, 52 extensions, 26 refurbishments, and six other types of build.
The Mead Community Primary School in Wiltshire, which is also a teaching school, has been awarded £140,000 to build a nursery to offer 30 30-hour places.
Head of school Emma Holton said, ‘We are absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to extend our already outstanding early years provision to include a nursery.
‘Ever since The Mead opened in 2001, we have held the ambition of having a nursery as part of our provision, and we are over the moon to finally be able to add the final missing piece to our school family jigsaw puzzle.
‘We are excited about the opportunities that having a nursery on site will provide our children in developing the characteristics of effective learning and skills that are essential for school readiness. We also feel strongly that this will be of great benefit to local families as they will be able to access the 30 hours for working parents from September at The Mead.’
The school is part of The Mead Academy Trust, which has three schools in Trowbridge and Melksham, including a nursery that opened at Castle Mead School in 2014, which is now oversubscribed.
The Mead School opened in 2001 and amalgamated with Wingfield Primary School in 2009. There are 510 children across three sites.
The Mead, graded Outstanding three times, is a National Teaching School and a national lead school for early years.
Both Lissy Bolton, the executive head, and Miss Holton are early years teachers.
‘We’re hoping to build the early years provision in the orchard, to link with Reception, which is the other side of the building,’ Miss Holton said. If this is the chosen location, it will be known as the Orchard nursery.
The town population is expanding and further early years places are needed. The school has worked with the local authority to establish demand.
The school is situated near East Trowbridge, where a large housing development is being built, so the local authority has established there will be demand for extra childcare.
The current Reception children at its Hilperton site came from 20 different providers, and almost a quarter of them did not have access to any early years provision.
The school is hoping to be able to offer children ‘some contact with the nursery before [they] start Reception’.
The school is already supporting the high proportion of working parents with before- and after-school clubs.
Miss Holton stressed that the project was in the planning stages with no final design, but the nursery would open in September in a standalone, wooden-clad, eco-friendly building.
‘It’s an amazing opportunity. We’re very excited,’ she said.
The nursery will be integrated into the current early years outdoor area, creating an EYFS unit and enabling the early years team to develop a shared space. This means the children will be able to work together, and the nursery will have access to school spaces and resources – including music room, hall, music garden and kitchens.
Miss Holton said the nursery site would enable children to be outside more than inside. ‘We are also a lead school nationally for outdoor learning with a Forest School area onsite, vegetable gardens, chickens, an orchard and playground climbing equipment.’
- See the full list of projects at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/early-years-capital-fund-2017
CASE STUDY – NORFOLK
The council applied for funding for six settings – two were successful – and they are likely to be built by May.
One is at RAF Marham, the Rainbow Centre, which has been Outstanding since 2003. Funding of £230,000 has been granted for an extension that will allow 61 children to have 30 hours. The RAF has donated £100,000 to the build.
Jill Warwick, Norfolk childcare commissioning manager, said, ‘An awful lot of single parents are working for the RAF with no extended family nearby, so it’s a crucial service for families.’
The other successful bid is Scarning Pre-school in Dereham, Norfolk, awarded £99,500 for a new build. The pre-school had been operating in a modular building (pictured) that has been ‘condemned’.
Ms Warwick said that the pre-school had been ‘very creative’ and managed to raise £180,000. It had to be a brick build in keeping with the traditional school building.
She added that the council was disappointed that the other projects, including two school sites, were unsuccessful bids.
‘Some schools won’t be able to adapt because they won’t have the physical space. We have schools that are keen. We have nine primaries that are able to do it and they are already advertising it.’
The council is currently consulting providers on the 30-hour offer. Currently, 46 per cent of providers have confirmed that they will offer the extra hours, Ms Warwick said, including a high number of childminders.
Ninety-five per cent of providers are Good or Outstanding, ‘the highest it’s ever been’.