New facility doubles the number of nursery places

left to right: Sue Skinner, Chris Harvey (former member of staff as honored guest), Gary Read (Executive Headteacher), Kirstin Williams (Early Years Foundation Stage Leader)

Posted on: 22 November 2017

Whipton Barton Infants and Nursery School has doubled the number of early years places available for children aged 2 to 4 years, from 39 to 78 places.

The Oasis Day Nursery has celebrated the official opening of its new building, in front of children, parents and invited guests.

Devon County Council helped fund the new facility, providing £121,000 towards the project, and the Education Funding Agency has given £362,000.

The modular building was assembled offsite and lifted into place alongside the main school building in September. Level 3 carpentry students from Exeter College visited the nursery that day to get first-hand experience of a building site.

It includes large purpose-built spaces for up to 39 children, changing area and toilets. As well, the school has worked in partnership with Exeter College to re-fit the current 39 capacity nursery room in the main building, and the two will be connected by a covered walkway.

Exeter College students will be honing their skills by using the main building as a teaching space before handing it back to the school.

The Council has funded the project because of the additional demand for early year places, which is a consequence of the Government’s extension to free childcare entitlement. Working parents of children aged 3 to 4 are entitled to the extended entitlement of 1,140 hours a year, or an extra 22 hours a week free childcare over 52 weeks per year.

Executive Headteacher, Gary Read, said:

“The new nursery building completes our teacher-led Oasis Day Nursery provision and will provide a space where children can discover and learn alongside each other with input and direction from qualified early years staff. We are aiming to open for fifty-one weeks a year in the New Year making Oasis Day Nursery the perfect childcare solution for Exeter’s working parents.”

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for early years education, said:

“The additional capacity is needed because of the increase in demand for child care places, as a consequence of the new extended free childcare entitlement. Whipton Barton is one of a few locations in East and North Devon where we’re funding additional nursery facilities to accommodate the extra demand for early years childcare places.”

Dave Cox, Building Surveyor for NPS, which is also involved in the delivery of the Early Years provision, said:

“NPS were delighted to be able to assist Devon County council in delivering the Early Years Provision at Whipton Barton and throughout the County to create facilities which benefit both parent and children alike.”

The new nursery will be open from 7.45am to 6.00pm all year round to support working families.

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Posted in: Education