Dear Parents and Carers,
We are delighted to still be welcoming new children and families into our Nursery, as we fill up our new 2nd Baby Room, Twos Room and Nursery School. We hope you have all found a warm welcome here at St Pauls and a staff team who are here to listen to you and your child, and celebrate everyone’s individuality.
It’s been a happy first 2 terms, watching children settle, getting out and about in our community, exploring food and experiencing autumn in our fabulous outside area.
We have also been so excited to have Iris’s parents working in our Nursery School, who are both artists. Sophie and Rob accessed a community grant and with some of this funding, they have created the most wonderful Murals on 2 walls in the nursery garden, the design was developed to incorporate the trees and leaves in our garden. They have also led an art workshop with our older children.
The outcome is simply beautiful – a talking point and provocation for children, and it makes our outside space look so much more loved, we can’t thank them enough!
I also really hope that you have all had chance to have a look on our website, in the NEWs FROM THE ROOMs sections? Our different teams use this space every term to update you with photos and learning from our rooms, they are a real celebration of learning at St Pauls.
As usual, I just have a few reminders and updates for you, so please read on.
Working with COVID
As ever we are constantly reviewing our COVID risk assessment and maintaining a Covid safe environment, however I’m really sad to report that we now seem to have a flurry of our Nursery Staff team who have been taken ill with COVID. Some of them, despite being vaccinated are really quite poorly.
Most of our team are socially wary again, and are very conscious of trying to keep our teams COVID free, so we do think that perhaps they are getting COVID from Nursery.
To help keep us all well and safe, please can I ask you again to remember to:
- Keep your child at home if they develop a high temperature or cough, or any other Covid symptoms and take them directly for a PCR test, as stated in the government guidance
- Keep your child at home if an immediate family member has tested positive for Covid, or is waiting for the results of a PCR test (lateral flow tests are only advised for people who do not have symptoms)
- Wear a face mask at drop off and collection please
- Follow the one-way system
After years and years of St Pauls always having lots of applications from people wanting to work with us, and always managing to recruit the best, we now find ourselves struggling with no applications for our vacant posts. Even the supply agencies have no available staff on their lists.
We have now entered a genuine local and national crisis in the Early Years workforce, who the country is actually dependant on to provide day-care places and support young children learning and development.
We speculate that the reasons for this are multi layered; we are a workforce that was neither recognised or protected throughout the start of the pandemic, we have been underfunded for years, salaries remain very low yet responsibilities enormous, and of course Brexit.
St Pauls was always proud to have a team made up from staff from all over the world, including the EU, but with salaries so low it has stopped all applicants from EU professionals. Early Years has almost become the invisible sector to this government, but as many of you will know – we play a key role in family economic and emotional wellbeing.
I share this challenge for 2 reasons:
- To ask you to SHARE the news that we are advertising positions with our babies, 2s and in Nursery School
- To warn you that there could possibly be unavoidable closures if staff continue to need so much sick leave and we are unable to find cover for them (some local nurseries have even closed recently in Bristol).
Fortunately, St Pauls remains in a much stronger positions than some of our other competitors due to our wider offer as the Bristol Early Years Hub, which leads training etc. We will of course continue to do ALL we can to be creative and mitigate against closure days.
We need your help please:
- If you know anyone qualified to work in childcare, OR wanting to become qualified to work with young children through an apprentice route PLEASE ask them to get in touch with us
- IF you can spare any regular session each week to volunteer to come in and work alongside the children please get in touch
Winter is upon us, and as ever we always spend lots of time outside at nursery and still have windows open to ensure proper ventilation.
Please can we remind you to:
- Dress your child in warm clothes and outdoor wear when they come to nursery
- Please can you also NAME your child clothing please (a sharpie pen will do!)
Primary School Places
Applications for primary Schools must be completed for those of you who have children who will be 4 years old by 31st August 2022.
These applications must be completed by January 14th 2022.
Robin has put together some information from local schools, which is available for you to pick up as you collect your child.
Staff will also be available to support you to complete an online application at Nursery School, if you need a helping hand.
Please watch out for more information about choosing your primary school.
Information for Parents
Our leadership team will be hosting a virtual meeting for parents next month.
The purpose of this session is:
- To meet some of our leaders
- To share the work, we do at St Pauls Nursery, and the way in which we work
- To share our new assessment format
- To share our dates and plans for parent information sessions for the coming year
- To answer any questions you may have about our service
This meeting will be held at 6.00pm on Thursday December 2nd on ZOOM.
Please find below the joining instructions
Meeting ID: 892 2169 6429
We will also at some point soon, be asking you to consider how we improve our website, with an online questionnaire. WE are very keen to learn from you.
I’m now just left to say THANKYOU to you all for choosing St Pauls, and for all the support you have shown us over these past few challenging years, it has been quite a ride! But despite all the external challenges, I do believe that St Pauls has remained true to its values and maintained its integrity. We have continued to be a place that reflects, learns, adapts, innovates, is ambitious. But above all else, we are setting that LOVES our children.
Stay safe and connected.
Headteacher and National Leader of Education