Nursery School and Classes are open term time only, please see below to find out more. For infor mation on day nurseries visit our advice & guidance page Nurseries .
Page reviewed January 2021
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Nursery schools and classes provide early education and childcare for children between 3 and 5 years old (some might start at 2½). They usually operate during school hours in term time only. Most children will be offered a part time place. This usually means a morning or afternoon session of around 2½ to 3 hours. Some may offer additional out of school care to help working parents.
Whilst at nursery school children will begin the first stage of the National Curriculum. This is called the Foundation Stage, where children learn through planned play. The Foundation Stage has six areas of learning where the following skills can be developed: communication, language, literacy and numeracy skills; personal, social and emotional development; creative skills; understanding and knowledge of the world; and physical development.
Some nursery classes and nursery schools are part of the state educational system and are free except for meals and trips. Others are run by private or voluntary organisations and charge fees. Most offer free part-time early education places.
All nursery schools and classes are regularly inspected by Ofsted to check that the early learning and care is satisfactory. The size of the class may vary but there should be one carer to every 13 children and the team will include qualified teachers and nursery assistants.
DfE publishes Early Years Foundation Stage Framework
The DfE has an Early Year Foundation Stage Framework for families. You can see a copy of this by visiting Click here