A SCHOOL is pioneering a new project to give full-time nursery places to pupils.
New Penshaw Academy will be providing year-long, free full-time education for three- to four-year-olds from September.
The scheme is thought to be the first of its kind on Wearside.
Headteacher Lesley Cassidy said the move follows a successful trial period which saw the pupils who took part develop far better than those who didn’t. Although every child of nursery age is entitled to 15 hours of free education a week, the primary believes providing the full-time education for the little ones benefits both the children and their families.
She said the children who took part in the pilot progressed rapidly with their emotional development as well as their basic skills.
The headteacher said added advantages were parents reported much better routines at home and attendance also improved.
Mrs Cassidy, said: “We have had fantastic support from the parents of our youngest children.
“We hope that as well as giving our children an incredible start to their school career, parents will also feel the benefit of having childcare from 9am until 3pm.”
By being in school full-time, New Penshaw Academy nursery youngsters will be fully immersed into school life, such as attending assemblies and having school lunches, which will help them become fully prepared, emotionally and socially, for reception class.
However, the headteacher stressed the children will be closely monitored and if youngsters are not coping well with full time nursery, their hours will be reduced.
Louise Armstrong, early years leader at the Langdale Road school, said they found huge benefits during the pilot scheme. She said: “As a team, we have observed the children make great strides in all areas of their learning, including their personal, social and emotional development.
“We have had more time to spend with the children on developing their basic skills, such as literacy and numeracy, and have been able to encourage the children to become more involved in the wider school community.
“As the children move into reception, they should find the transition smooth and will adjust more quickly. This will have a positive impact on their journey through school.”
•A few nursery places are still available for September 2014 and anyone interested should ring the school on 382 3076.