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New Nursery Launched in Shipdham

Mrs Shannon O’Sullivan, Headteacher of Thomas Bullock said: “The Ark is heavily committed and invested in providing outstanding Early Years provisions for all. We are offering places for children aged rising 2’s, 3-4, a provision that is desperately needed in the locality.  Our pupils benefit hugely from being an important part of our wider school and they enjoy regular forest school, music and physical education lessons.”

Mrs Debbie Marjoram, Early Years Lead, Reception teacher said: “The Ark is an exciting new provision being brought into the local community.  We focus on the individual growth of the child as well as giving them the firm foundations as they embark on their early education on their journey to lifelong learning. We work in close partnership with our families, so they are actively engaged and involved in their child’s academic journey.   This is done via videos and photos as well as attending regular parent phonics and early reading and social workshops.”

Oliver Burwood, CEO of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust said: “The benefits of a school nursery for children and families are many and this is why we have added this type of provision to so many of our schools across DNEAT.  One of the most important factors is how well transition to school works in such a setting by supporting children to become ‘school ready’. Thomas Bullock Church of England Primary Academy is rated as a Good school with a quality EYFS provision that we are pleased to be able to extend out to younger children. We know that children make good progress because adults provide lots of opportunities for them to explore, learn and develop across all areas of learning.”

Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT), had overwhelming support from the local community, Breckland Council, Shipdham Parish Council and Thomas Bullock Trust to open a school-based nursery in January of this year.

Currently, there are 26 full time spaces or 52 part-time spaces available and the nursery offers 15 and 30-hours funding. The school does not charge for the lunchtime period and have before and after school care from 7:30am-5:30pm.

Mrs O’Sullivan said: “We focus on developing confident and independent children who can make informed choices and decisions for themselves, whilst developing a caring, considerate and responsible attitude towards other people and their environment. Our children have a stable, consistent early years team of staff with expertise, training, and experience.  The nursery children have their own classroom and learning outdoor environment but also join afternoon continuous provision sessions in an EYFS base to support socialisation, transitioning, and school readiness.  They have daily phonics and number alongside of their EYFS curriculum which is child-led.”

She added: “We are delighted that our numbers have continued to increase over the last few years and our pupils are making excellent progress from entry.  Our phonics scores in 2020 were 97% and 2021 was 90% even through the pandemic.  We know that we offer children an excellent and exciting curriculum and our nursery children will thoroughly benefit from joining our school earlier.”