Castleside Primary School

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Nursery Consultation

The consultation period starts on the 17th April 2024 and will end on the 15th May 2024. To respond to the consultation please contact or via


Castleside Primary School is seeking to open a 21-place nursery provision for 3–4-year-olds initially. The age range may be extended to 2-year-olds at a later stage. In order to establish a nursery provision, it is necessary for the school to change the age range for which the school can cater for from 4–11-year-olds to 3–11-year-olds. This is an exciting opportunity what would enable the school to provide Early Years Education to children aged 3 and 4 years old prior to their entry to the school. The purpose of this consultation is to provide information about our proposal and seek the views of families and the wider community.


The proposed nursery provision will be based in a classroom, which is located to the rear of reception. The classroom has sufficient space for approximately 21 children and benefits from a large and secure outdoor area. The current location of this classroom lends itself to the requirements of a Nursery, although some internal refurbishment will be required. The nursery children will have access to the school’s resources and facilities including secure outdoor play areas, indoor playing spaces and the school hall. The curriculum, planning and provision and pupil’s progress will be overseen, and line managed by the school’s Head Teacher, with support from New College Durham Academies Trust’s Director of Primary Education.

Why should Castleside Primary School open a nursery provision?

In the 2023 Spring Budget the Government announced a series of major changes to Early Years entitlements that will begin to take effect from April 2024. The Government describes the changes as being focused on giving children the best start in life and supporting parents to access affordable high-quality childcare to encourage more parents to return to work while balancing childcare commitments. By September 2025, working parents of all children over nine months until they start school will be entitled to 30 hours childcare support. Therefore, creating additional early years capacity is congruent with this Governmental priority. In recent years Castleside Primary School has seen its numbers gradually reducing. Adding a nursery provision at Castleside Primary School would start to reverse this trend.

The benefits to the school, and the local community include:

• Improved transition from Nursery to Reception to support a smoother start to school life for our Reception children who currently join us from several different nurseries. However, it should be acknowledged that the school will continue to accept children from other local Nurseries.

• Early identification of vulnerable families so that early help and support can be implemented more quickly.

• Early identification of SEND needs which can be subsequently addressed earlier and appropriate support arranged.

• A continuity of provision which supports the school’s vision. The proposal is aligned with New College Durham Academies Trust’s mission which is to provide the best education in order to empower learners, improve lives and strengthen communities.

• To improve student numbers in Reception year, supporting the school financially, which in turn benefits the whole school community.

• To respond to expressions of interest in a Nursery from current and prospective families.

• Optimise surplus space within the school.

• Capitalise on expert knowledge of early years’ foundation stage provision within New College Durham Academies Trust.

• Provide employment opportunities and continuing professional development for current staff.

Next steps / timeline

The timeline for the possible opening of the Nursery provision is detailed in the table below: 

Actions When Who
 4 week consultation to take place 17th April 2024 - 15th May 2024  Parents, Staff, Local Educational providers, Durham County Council. 
 Results of consultation and business case scrutinised.  June/July 2024 Castleside Primary School's Academy Committee & NCDAT's Resource Committee & Academy Trust Board.
 Application made for a change order. Summer 2024  Department for Education 
Opening of Castleside Nursery   January 2025  

Responding to the Consultation

Castleside Primary School welcomes the support of the local community that it serves. This is an excellent opportunity for parents, family members, staff and the local community who have an interest in the school.

The consultation period starts on the 17th April 2024 and will end on the 15th May 2024. To respond to the consultation please contact or via

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