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Extended Hours In A School Nursery Class


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We are a school Nursery running 2 x 2.5 hour sessions a day and I am currently planning for next year's extended hours.

I would really like to offer flexible provision to give parents different options, but am still very anxious about many issues including planning, staffing, timetabling, etc.

I want to send out a questionnaire to our current parents giving different options to see if flexible provision is what parents want.

 

I'm looking at offering either 5 half days of 3 hours or 2 full days and a half day.

 

However, the option of offering 2.5 days, ie Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (AM) or Wednesday (PM), Thursday, Friday ends up as too many hours.

 

eg Monday - 3 hours AM + 3 hours PM + lunch time (say 40 minutes)

Tuesday - 3 hours AM + 3 hours PM + lunch time (say 40 minutes)

Wednesday - 3 hours (morning only)

 

Parents choosing this option get more hours than those choosing 5 x 3-hour days. An extra hour and 20 mins a week.

It would be a timetabling nightmare to finish or start earlier than the children who are doing 5 days of 3 hours. So how have people got round this?

 

Also, i would be interested to see anyone's questionnaire that they have sent to parents to find out what provision they would show an interest in.

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We already do it; that is how ot works:

3 hours session morning 9h until 12h

3 hours afternoon 12h15-3h15

As you will see, there is only 15 minutes between the groups so:

children who only do mornings or afternoons have their 3 hours session

children who stay all day go for lunch earlier (11h30) and come back at 12h30. Lunchtime is counted as part of their session and time to learn. Parents who used to pay for lunch time still have to pay but only for 15 minutes!

 

My thought about it is that it is not ideal as children staying all day might "miss" some activities but the timetable I did (if you want I could send it to you)makes sure that they don't.

The downside is that the staff never sees each other as we can't have a proper lunch pause and relax at the same time!

I have a team working mornings and a team afternoons but they used to spend at least 30 minutes at lunchtime to plan, talk about children, or just relax and we can't anymore. And for those who work all day like me, it is really hard to take time for yourself as there are children all day on the room!

 

We did not send a paper to parents. It has been decided with our city council as we are "pilot"

We are a nursery working within a school.

Hope that helped!

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We already offer morning and afternoon 3 hour sessions, and to stay in line with school finishing times (we are LA in the morning and private in the afternoon though run by schol also) We use the last half hour of the morning session, and the first half hour of the afternoon session as lunch club.

 

The social side of lunch together with lunch club staff who eat with the children is excellent.

 

The setting times offers lots of flexibility.

 

Parents don't have to take up 3 hours but realise it is run the way it is to finish and start the day inline with school.

 

We are on our third year now.

 

So some children do 9 - 12 with their lunch (most do)

Some do 9- 11.30 (on an odd occasion)

 

Then we have slow eaters or folks who need a little more time and they can do for £1, 9 - 12.30

 

Afternoon come in at 12 -3

or for £1 they can do 11.30 -3.

 

Obviously theres those in between who do 9 - 1.30 and other odd hours but mainly folks take up a whole extra session when they pay rather than just an odd hour or so.

 

I am lucky that I work all day with one hour for lunch, but at lunch time 2 staff come in and they do lunch club.

One staff then stays on with me to do the afternoon session and the other staff member is our cover when I am out doing my degree or there are courses, and meetings.

 

This means lots of continuity for the children, not just with faces but with expectations for behaviour too.

 

Let me know if I can help further!!

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Thank you both for your quick replies. The more I think about offering flexible provision, the more of a nightmare it becomes.

 

Planning - at the moment my afternoon planning mirrors my morning planning because I have 2 separate classes. If some children are staying all day (but not others), the planning will be very difficult to do and will involve completely overhauling the way that we plan. Also, currently I spend 2 lunchtimes a week with my Nursery Nurses planning. We would not be able to do this if lunch clubs were running and if we have a shorter lunch time.

 

Timetable - being part of a very large primary school, we have timetables for the hall for P.E. etc. I only have one session for AM nursery and one for PM nursery. Children who never come on that day, will never get to do PE in the hall. Children who stay all day on the PE day, will do it twice! I also plan by having focus days for each area of the curriculum. Eg one day a week my group times will be focused on PSRN/CLL/KUW etc.

 

Lunchtimes - our school is an old Victorian building, already bulging at the seams. The lunch hall already has to get nearly 500 pupils through in an hour in the main school. We will have nowhere separate for the children to "go" for lunch. They will have to remain in the Nursery classroom. We do not have much "table" space. We would not be able to have an "overlap" lunch session like Miss Grump suggests.

 

Session times - We would still need to keep session times to start/finish to tie in with the rest of the school because of siblings, etc. This would mean that parents who opt for 5 x afternoon sessions would have to attend a session 12.15 until 3.15. When are these children supposed to have their lunch at home? I can see parents just not bothering with lunch. Also, currently, our afternoon Nursery starts at 12.45. Many parents struggle to get their children there on time - they will never manage 12.15. The entrance to Nursery is through the main playground, which is a nightmare as the rest of the school are on the playground at lunchtime and the gate opens directly onto a road. I cannot leave the gate open for long periods and one member of staff has to man the gate. If parents are arriving even later because of the earlier start, this will be a real problem.

 

It all sounds really negative, but I am keen to make this a positive experience and I can see the benefits for children and their parents by giving them more opportunities. Our school is in a socially deprived area and many of our parents would really benefit from the opportunity of sending their children for whole days.

 

I would really just like to hear about other options. There may well be something I haven't yet thought of.

 

Miss Grump, I would really like to see a copy of your timetable, if possible.

 

Also, ScarletAngel, you mention charging money for lunch. If the children are bringing packed lunch, what is this money for? I realise that it accounts for the extra time on top of their 15 hours, but where does the money go? Are you allowed to charge in a school?

Edited by Jackie A.
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We too have just started to offer extended hours and as part of a pilot programme .We are a fairly large primary school and to fit in with school hours we have

8.45-11.45am session

12.00-3.00

 

One member of staff goes for lunch at 11.45 -12.30

the other goes 12.30 -1.15

 

We have someone else who comes into Nursery 11.45 -1.15 to cover for our breaks .

 

I am hoping to finish the am session with children having packed lunch at

11-15- 11.45

and

pm children having packed lunch

12.15 -12.45.

But at the moment this is not possible .It will probably be after half term

It took me ages to get my head around staff organisation and it only takes 1 member of staff to be absent and it goes pear shape because we have no spare staff at all .Never mind onward and upward .

I am finding the little ones are more tired now and that extra 1/2 hour has made a huge difference to them.

Parents love it though

Downside is of course staff don't have dinner together.We also used to do lots of planning and talking about the children during our break and we miss this.

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So am I right in thinking Crestacat, that you offer families 5 x 3 hour sessions, but not any whole day sessions?

 

Maybe I am being too ambitious by trying to offer a choice to parents, but at our LA meetings last academic year, this is what they seemed to want us to do.

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Hi

 

We are also trialing (sp?)15 hours in our school.

We offer am 8.45-11.45, pm 12.30-3.30 or 2.5 full days m,tu, wed am/ wed pm, thur, fri.

 

We have about 10 children doin the 2.5 full days. This is worked by having a dinner lady come for them at 11.45 to eat their packed lunch (never offered these children a dinner, transported meal, fuss? I am working on this!!!) in the main hall. They are in the infant playground with high vis vests on at the moment but once an additional supervisor has been employed they will go into designated Foundation playarea. The dinner lady then returns them at 12.30.

 

Staff lunches work by 2 going 11.30-12.30 then other going 11.45 -12.45. I only work the morning session in F1 as my pms are spent in F2 so I have usual lunch break.

 

The planning is done for 2.5 days then repeated for others so everyone is given same opportunities and what is done early week in pms is repeated but other way round (does that make sense? what was done am is done pm and vice versa). It's very strange this extra 30 mins, but will be fab once we have gotten used to it and have all new children in. As with everything new the changes take time to get used to!

 

Hope this gives a little more insight

 

V

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So am I right in thinking Crestacat, that you offer families 5 x 3 hour sessions, but not any whole day sessions?

 

Maybe I am being too ambitious by trying to offer a choice to parents, but at our LA meetings last academic year, this is what they seemed to want us to do.

I am in a school based Nursery. We have had to offer 3 hours from this September and we have found it a right pain in the neck to organise. This is what we have decided to do.

 

All parents are only offered 3 hour sessions. No one does all day. Our mornig session times have changed to 8.30 am to 11.30 am. rest of school starts at 8.50 am.

Our afternoon session starts at 12.20 pm to 3.20 pm. Rest of school finishes at 3.15pm.

 

By time all the children have gone from morning session, it's about 11.40 am or can be later. So this year we are going to very strict on pick up time. Any late children will be taken to school office to wait with secretary for their parents. Nursery staff will only have half an hour for our lunch break. This is terrible, I know. But we decided we would rather have half an hour together than have a staggered lunch with someone else covering.

Hasn't affected my planning as , like you, I deliver my plans in am then pm. But the real problem is cover in the Nursery. If I need to be covered in the afternoon, how can a TA, who finishes in the main school at 12.15 pm or 12. 30 pm come straight over to Nursery without a break??? Madness.

 

Still haven't cracked that one yet. I have to have my PPA in the morning instead of usual afternoon and a dinner lady is covering with my nursery nurse who will lead.

Parents with siblings in main school don't like it as they have to hang around till school opens.

With such a short mid session break, we can't tidy and reset up between sessions like we used to. So now we have to make sure tidying and setting up for pm is all done within session at end of morning. hasn't been a problem yet, but we are still admitting nursery children. so when we are full and putting out our whole range of actvities inside and out, more time consuming to tidy and reset.

sorry to sound a bit negative but this new policy does not really suit school based nurseries in my opinion and has caused us more problems than advantages to the children

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dare I ask who is funding the lunchtime supervisors? and how are the TA's salaries being sorted to account for the extra half hour? Currently our T.A's need to be in school by 8.30 if we were to start and finish slightly earlier and later than we do now- how can they be expected to do more hours with no extra pay?

Also by offering so much choice as to types of hours for parents I think it begins to take away the quality of experience as children come and go at different times and like others have said the problems seem to outweigh the benefits!!

I am reading with great interest this debate as we ourselves will have to think hard about how we are to manage it with 52 partime children and 4 staff.

Keep it simple would be my motto- one way only for me e.g. Mon/Tues all day and Wed am with others in Wed pm and all day Thurs Frid

or 3 hours in am and 3 hours pm

Blimey what a headache :o

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Why should one group of teachers have longer weekly contact time and less break times/lunch times than the rest of the staff on the same pay and conditions????? It's not been considered for school based staff at all in my opinion and I have many Heads saying just this. And to be perfectly frank I totally agree. I know you are only entitled to a reasonable break as close to the middle of the day as possible and not as is often assumed an hour as a standard but this total isolation of staff and reduction in their working practices is becoming seen as totally acceptable. Our local NUT is very up in arms about this and I wouldn't mind betting as this becomes more expected there will be more union activity over it.

 

Cx

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Yes, that is the main question for me - how can you increase TA hours - is it more pay....? Also I am of the understanding that you cannot include lunch session in the 3 hours. xD

 

I'm interested in this question too!! I thought that lunch could be included but only if the session continued to be 'learning' with activities on offier, whether the children choose to undertake them is irrelevant, as long as they are offered.

 

I had got the impression that most places just don't WANT to include lunch in a funded session because their income would be reduced.

 

If anyone can clarify - that would be great! :o

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Why should one group of teachers have longer weekly contact time and less break times/lunch times than the rest of the staff on the same pay and conditions????? It's not been considered for school based staff at all in my opinion and I have many Heads saying just this. And to be perfectly frank I totally agree. I know you are only entitled to a reasonable break as close to the middle of the day as possible and not as is often assumed an hour as a standard but this total isolation of staff and reduction in their working practices is becoming seen as totally acceptable. Our local NUT is very up in arms about this and I wouldn't mind betting as this becomes more expected there will be more union activity over it.

 

Cx

 

I think the isolation is often forgotten and can be a big issue.

I'm the reception teacher in a FSU and when we moved to the 15hour nursery extended provision the reception day was extended too

8.45 start

3.30 finish

the rest of the school works 9.00 -3.15

on top of this we don't get breaks as do the staff in other KSs so some days we don't see colleagues outside the unit all day.

Personally I find this very difficult as I have whole school responsibilities as well as my responsibilities as a reception teacher.

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I completely agree with you Marion. i am SLT with responsibilities for Foundation Stage. As the Nursery teacher, I am now going days sometimes without seeing colleagues. a whole life is going on in the staff room, chit chat, networking, gossip, etc that us Nursery staff are not part of. I can't get out to see other members of staff that i need to, to organise cover, meetings etc like i used to mid-session.

We are becoming the forgotton staff. But we are working our socks off from set up time early morning till clear up time after school with a scant half hour break.

 

Whose stupid idea was this??????

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I don't have a TLR for my coordinator work....even though i think i do more as a coordinator than ks2 and ks 1.

My head said because i am UPS 2 that is my financial enhancement for my role. but i thought i got my ups 2 because of my experience and meeting the criteria. also my head says i can't have any wider management role within school as i am in the nursery. if i wanted promotion i would have to come out of the nursery and be available to whole school. does this sound right to you marion?

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Whose stupid idea was this??????

 

It's all to help parents get back to work. I don't believe it will have any real impact on children - and it's certainly not for those who are having their working practices diminished and worsened by this policy.

 

Cx

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I don't have a TLR for my coordinator work....even though i think i do more as a coordinator than ks2 and ks 1.

My head said because i am UPS 2 that is my financial enhancement for my role. but i thought i got my ups 2 because of my experience and meeting the criteria. also my head says i can't have any wider management role within school as i am in the nursery. if i wanted promotion i would have to come out of the nursery and be available to whole school. does this sound right to you marion?

 

I'm the reception teacher and both I and the nursery teacher are on the SLT with large management roles.

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Hello again

Dreamgirl we sent out letters before the holidays to ask parents what kinds of provision they wanted .In our area the parents mainly answered with preference for 2 sessions so this is what we did .When people phone to ask if we offer extended provision we tell them what we offer and they can decide if they want it.Most do.I don't know if this is right for everyone but seems to be for us.

I am Assistant head and have managerial workload for the whole school plus Fs Coordinator plus KS1 coordinator.I too am finding the 2x 3hr sessions are isolating nursery staff from main school and it is hard to do turn around ready for 12.00 session to start.

I don't know if this will get better as we get used to the system.

 

If anyone finds a system or can think of a better way to do it Im all ears. :o

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We have been doing 15hours for the last year and hate it.Children either am or pm with only 30 mins between sessions (8-45 till 11-45 and 12-15 till 3-15). Staff having lunches in shifts often in staff room on their own. No time to plan together anymore. No consistancy of key workers ( who have 26 children each) for new children as they are often on lunch break. As has been said children tired and not having lunch before they arrive. We are going to change the times after Xmas to 8-30 till 11-30 and 12-30 till 3-30. Staff will all get lunch break together but as a teacher I will be teaching 6 hours a day with only about 50 mins in middle of day with out children unlike the rest of the staff who teach max 5hrs 10 mins and within that time they have a coffee break and assembly time and have a school lunch break of 1hr 10mins so how can that be fair on me? If I hadn't got one at uni and another going next sept I would finish tomorrow.

Edited by Guest
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Just playing devil's advocate and hopping the ball, is it a long term question that 5's and under are not in the right place ie a school????? Just provoking discussion.

 

My personal feeling is that young children should be at home with their mum but it isn't really an option for most parents.

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  • 1 month later...

This seems to as much as a nightmare for you who are running extended provision as we expect it to be next September for us! I teach in a nursery which is part of FS in an infant school. The nursery team are leaning towards a morning and afternoon 3 hour session every day so children will be offered a morning or afternoon place. However we have been offering some full time places for the last few years so we expect our numbers to drop dramatically. I think senior management team might still be leaning to offering more flexibility but I can't imagine trying to offer a good curriculum, sound assessment for learning etc with children coming and going on completely different timetables. For example we pay someone to come into nursery as part of a circus theme to do circus skills- we couldn't afford to offer this over several days so many children would miss the experience. We wouldn't have the staff to open it up to everyone. This is not a one off situation, these occurences happen frequently and we would have to water down what we offer dramatically. I feel very sad about it all. I don't understand why private nurseries can't be valued for being able to offer longer hours while school nurseries be allowed to work within the educational framework of the school day.

 

Sorry to rant! I don't mind change when it benefits the children but extended provision doesn't seem to take the needs of young children into account at all!

 

Ruth

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hi all

 

we started the new 15 hours in September as a 'pilot' school and we absolutely hate it, i am so close to quitting my job which i really really dont want to do as i really enjoyed it up until now but the new hours are really depressing me. We have offered either 3 hours in the morning or 3 hours in the afternoon no children stay all day as we find this easier to run and the parents have always known this except normally 2.5 morning and 2.5 in the afternoon. Our hours are 8.45-11.45 and 12.30-3.30 most times are children are not collected in the morning until 12 and even though we have stressed to the parents how this affects our lunch times they are not bothered at all. The other day a child wasnt collected until 12.20 which meant we only had 10 mins for our lunch break. In our school we have briefing meetings in the morning 8.45-9 which i now miss due to the new hours. This is because i wanted to have more interaction with the parents at the beginning of the session rather than just at the end, however this now means that i miss out on what is being talked about in the meetings and messages to me e.g. things to be handed in on certain days are not getting to me until the day before or the same day giving me no time to prepare.

 

These hours are rediculous it has caused nothing but isolation in our school and we need to get rid as soon as possible!!!!

 

kate

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