Once upon a time
The Department of Education asked me to open one of the country’s first free schools in 2011. I was delighted to accept this offer but explained that I did not believe that children start their learning journey at the age of four, when they attend their primary schools, but that learning begins the moment a child is born.
It is generally understood that brain connection made in the first three years of a child’s life largely determine their intelligence as adults. When a young child is in a language rich, stimulating environment, where they can learn new skills, more brain connections are made and they thrive. Therefore, it was important to me that we provided an early years’ experience for children that would ensure that they were school ready at the age of 4 and had the independence, resilience, determination and motivation to enjoy their more formal education.
Therefore, I sought permission to open a day nursery, to run alongside the school, that would give children a head start to their education and which would prepare them well for school. It was important too that the nursery had a similar ethos and vision to the school. This meant that we could provide an education for local children from 0-11 years of age seamlessly.
Wellington’s for Langley Hall opened in September 2011, one week before Langley Hall Primary Academy, and 75% of the children who attend the school have attended the nursery also, although a separate application for the school is required via the normal local authority process and some children join the school from a range of other local nursery establishments.
Now in our tenth year the nursery has grown in size and developed exponentially over the past decade, catering for 225 children in our 12 wonderful playroom learning environments that are all named after famous children’s books. I am very proud of the nursery and the care and education on offer there. I meet weekly with the Senior Leaders to share best practice and monitor standards and take a keen interest in the children’s learning.