Nursery and school to apply for extra spaces

Director of children's services at Portsmouth City Council, Alison Jeffery
Director of children's services at Portsmouth City Council, Alison Jeffery
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ADDITIONAL nursery and school spaces could relieve pressures on parents in the city.

Penhale Infant School and the Willows Centre for Children in Portsmouth are seeking to extend the age range of their pupils.

Both want to lower entry age from three to two years of age and the Willows Centre also intends to extend its maximum age to seven years.

It is thought that the lowered entry age will help working families who won’t have to rely on childminders

If approved, Penhale Infant School will open its gates to younger pupils from April 1.

Alison Jeffery, director of children’s services and education at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Extending the age range at Penhale Infant School and Nursery will enable it to meet the needs of local families who are eligible for two-year-old nursery funding and create more nursery places in the city.’

A designated schools grant has already been allocated to fund children aged between two and four at Penhale, which would pay the £2,867 needed annually for a two-year-old to attend. The school has been told that the grant will rise accordingly with its attendance rate.

The Willows Centre for Children offers schooling for students with special education needs aged between three to five years of age. The council put forward the proposal to provide extra spaces at the school for two-year-olds and six to seven-year-olds in order to meet the increasing demand for its services.

Mrs Jeffrey added: ‘Extending the age range at the Willows Centre will enable them to provide additional specialist Year 1 places in the city from September to meet an increasing demand.’

Earlier this year the council already approved funding for additional spaces at the centre at a total cost of £400,000.

The decision on whether to extend these age ranges will be made at a cabinet meeting for education on today.