Portsmouth nursery ready for a fresh start after £1m revamp

From left, Councillor Neill Young with Anthony Harper, Cathy Carley and Jane Whatlings of the pre-school, and Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones 
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170207-1)
From left, Councillor Neill Young with Anthony Harper, Cathy Carley and Jane Whatlings of the pre-school, and Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170207-1)
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

Children in Need: Junior School has a pretty perfect Pudsey plan

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AFTER almost two decades in a temporary cabin a city nursery is readying itself for a fresh start in its new home.

Northern Parade pre-school, in Kipling Road, North End, Portsmouth, is just weeks away from unveiling its new, purpose-built centre to parents and pupils.

About £1m has been pumped into the project, which has boosted the nursery’s capacity from 80 children a day to 120.

The site also has improved facilities and a new open area for the toddlers to play in.

Pre-school manager Cathy Carley has worked at the nursery for about 17 years.

Speaking of the new base, she said: ‘It’s lovely and new. It’s bigger and is on one level. You can just throw the doors open and the children can go straight into the garden.’

Anthony Harper, early years childcare manager, said the new site was a ‘significant’ improvement, adding: ‘The current pre-school is in a cabin long past its sell-by date, with poor outside facilities.’

The cash came from Portsmouth City Council and the Department for Education.

It comes ahead of a plan to increase the amount of free childcare available for parents.

Currently, parents of three and four-year-olds have 15 hours a week free childcare.

But in September, this will increase to 30 hours.

To support this, the nursery will be extending its opening hours from 8.30am to 4pm to 8am to 6pm.

Portsmouth education boss, Councillor Neill Young said this would be a key step in helping ease the pressure on school places in the city.

And he added it would help to improve the standard of learning on offer in the city.

He said: ‘By giving children an option to learn through play at a pre-school or nursery they can develop essential communication skills and have the best start in life.

‘This sets them up for the rest of their lives.’

Parents of pupils already at the nursery, or those looking to send their children to the pre-school, are being invited to an open day.

The event will be held on Thursday, April 20, from 10am to 2pm. For more details, call (023) 9265 1231.