Dear Parents/Carers,

Despite the government announcement last night that Early Years settings can remain open, the leadership team and governors at St Pauls have now made the regretful decision to close our nursery in response to the national lockdown.

This decision has been informed by the:

  • Very rapid increase of cases of Covid in Bristol over the last 24 hours
  • More transmissible new strain of the virus
  • Pressure on the NHS
  • Closure of all other schools in the area
  • Fears of the staff team for their own health and well-being (who are within their rights to refuse to come to work if they feel unsafe under section 44)

As you know, it is not a decision that we take lightly as we know it affects the children’s continuity in learning, family well-being and the long term sustainability of our nursery due to lost income. However we do believe our community and staff team need to be protected in the same way as school communities will be.

Nursery will therefore close at the end of the day today.

The intention is to reopen to ALL our EYS 1 and 2 children on Monday February 15th (start of half term) and to reopen to ALL Nursery School children again at the start of term 4, on Monday 22nd February.

We will of course be reviewing this as we go along and will communicate any changes to this plan with you.

We will however be offering provision for vulnerable children and children of critical workers, which will start on Monday 11th January, with potentially slightly altered hours. The Nursery will be open between 8.30am – 5pm.

You will be contacted directly by a key person no later than friday to discuss the place offer once we have collated the numbers and hours required for these children, and decided on  a reduced staff team.

In the meantime could you please complete the attached form to identify your day care needs to facilitate you working if you are in a critical key role, returning it to as soon as possible.

We will work hard to accommodate your needs, but please understand that we cannot guarantee a place for everyone, places will need to be allocated by priority.

Parents will still be invoiced if they access a key worker place, if they are fee paying daycare children in babies or Eys2, or requiring after school hours.

As you know, we do lose significant income when we have forced closures, we ask parents who are not accessing their day-care places to consider paying a voluntary retainer fee of 50% if they are able.

This is a dreadful letter to have to write, so many children had only just settled into nursery, or were about to start nursery.

We know this precious nursery experience is so valuable in equipping the children for school… and for life, it’s so sad for the children to miss out on any of it.

If it is any consolation we have experience of operating this limited service and maintaining contact with all families, during the last lockdown the children who stayed with us thrived in the smaller groups.

For those of you who will not be able to access your nursery place for the next few weeks we promise we will keep you and your child connected.

Listen out for our phone calls and stories and songs on our You Tube channel. We will also be uploading onto our website things to support home learning in the Early Years.

Please also remember to still check out our Central Bristol Children’s Centre Facebook page – which provides plenty of support for the whole family!

Family Support will still be available, so do contact us on 9030337 and ask to speak to the Children’s Centre Family Support team if you are in need of help.  The Wednesday Central Bristol Food Club will remain open.

I’m so sorry to be the bearer of such disrupting news, and really do apologise for the inconvenience this temporary closure will cause.

It does appear though that this is a critical time for our community, we couldn’t bear to remain open and contribute to the unnecessary loss of lives or facilitate the spread of the virus leaving many people unwell.

It feels that we have a moral and social responsibility to keep our community and staff team safe.

I know we can all get through this together.

Thanks for your support and understanding during this very troubling time, we will be back in touch with more updates as and when things change again.

Until then please stay home and stay safe.

Kind Regards

Lucy Driver
National Leader of Education

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