Dear Parents and Carers,

I’m hoping you are all doing okay with your families at home. As this lockdown continues, I sense that everyone’s patience is running low. Certainly on the team here we are coping with all those emotions and feelings associated with separation, uncertainty, fear, isolation or things not being how we want them to be.

I’m sure in the midst of this there will be some of you who will have been feeling frustrated and cross about the decision we made here at St. Pauls to temporarily reduce our offer to families, particularly in the light of the government decision that Early Years providers remain open for this lockdown – or if you know of other nurseries that have remained fully open?

The facts that informed this decision remain the same, but it might be helpful for you to understand a few more of the contextual challenges that also contributed.

We are a Nursery SCHOOL, all other Bristol Nursery Schools made the same decision to partially close, and this has been replicated nationally across all Maintained Nursery Schools.

Like most Nursery Schools, we tend to be bigger than other private nurseries, having many more children passing through. We also tend to have a much higher number of children attending with SEND, so in response to this have many more staff, which include additional SEND support staff, bilingual support staff and lunchtime assistants. These factors, and our physical building, result in us being unable to have very small secure bubbles – which does affect the staff’s sense of safety and impact on transmission opportunities.

I have led here for 20 years, and with the help of the leadership team and governors, have always made decisions informed by our values and based on integrity. This has been tested to the max during these last 12 months, but I feel we have always put the needs and well-being of our children, families, staff teams and wider community first despite this.

I apologise for the inconvenience some of these decisions may have caused you.

Moving Forward

As promised, we have been reviewing the situation regarding fully reopening on a weekly basis with our full governors, and have begun to open more widely – with approximately 60% of children accessing places here.

Due to the consistent reduction in the number of Covid cases in this area, and the introduction of staff lateral flow testing, we now intend to proceed with introducing more children back on site.  

Unless there is a sudden change in context, our wider reopening plan is as follows:

  • Our Baby Room reopened on 1st February to all.
  • Our EYs 2 room is reopening on Monday 15th February to all.
  • Our Nursery School will reopen fully to all children and families on Monday March 1st

We will be reverting back to our usual hours for all.

It is important to stress that we will still be continuing with our strict health and safety procedures.

Please remember that more children and adults back on site may increase opportunities for transmission of the virus. Should we get a positive case of COVID-19 in any of our bubbles we will have to close the entire bubble for all children.

Please help us to stay open:

  • Keep your child at home if they feel ill and get them tested.
  • Isolate yourself if you or any family member tests positive for COVID-19
  • Wash your hands before you come to nursery, and talk to your child about the importance of handwashing
  • Wear a mask as you drop off and collect your child
  • Maintain 2m social distancing spaces

We are REALLY looking forward to having everyone back on site, it’s been so sad to have the children’s settling and learning journeys with us interrupted so abruptly, we feel like we were only just getting to know some of them.

It will be great to all be together again, with all the children and staff teams– we miss the energy and joy of working with everyone on site.

Other Support:

Please remember our Central Bristol Children’s Centre continues to be here for you during this tricky time. They are running virtual programmes, the Food Club, 1:1 support, and have lots of other things on offer. Check out their Facebook page.

Have you looked at our Home Learning information and ideas that are now on our website?

There are some really lovely ideas for things to do with your children to support their learning in the early years. If I’m honest they are great ideas to support our own learning and creativity whatever age you are!

Thankyou once again for sticking with us through this very complicated and difficult time.

Could any of us have imagined we would be still be in lockdown when it started last March?

I think every one of us is doing brilliantly, all things considered!!

Spring is in the air, green shoots are starting to poke through the soil in our garden, the days are longer and the birds are singing. I hope the next season brings with it some optimism, hope and calm.

Please take care

Kind Regards
Lucy Driver

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