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Latest newsletter  

 Bright Sparks Newsletter April 2017


2016- 17 term dates

Autumn term 06.09.16 – 16.12.16      Half term week beginning 24.10.16


Spring term 03.01.17 – 31.03.17        Half term week beginning 20.02.17


Summer term 24.04.17 – 20.07.17      Half term week beginning 29.05.17


Please note the Easter holiday is 3 weeks long this year.


Nursery Photographs

A photographer will be visiting nursery on Tuesday 2nd May to take photographs of all the children. The photographer will be with us all day and the planned timetable is as follows;


8.20 – 9am   Nursery children having photograph taken with school aged siblings

9am    Group photograph of all children starting reception class in September. Please ensure all children arrive            on time, including any pre-school children who do not usually attend on a Tuesday.

9.30Onwards -   Individual photographs as follows;

1.      Pre-school children who do not usually attend on a Tuesday

2.      Usual Tuesday morning session children from both rooms

3.      Any Tuesday morning children having photographs taken with younger siblings (from around 10.30am)

12.30pm  Individual photographs of children who attend on a Tuesday afternoon or any other younger children (birthday after 1.9.13) who do not attend on a Tuesday morning


Children can wear whatever you wish for individual or family photographs but we would like all pre-school children to wear uniform for the group photograph please. We will change children afterwards if required – just let us know!

Please let us know if you are coming with older or younger children or if you wish to bring your child in the afternoon so we know who to expect.

Sample pictures will be available the same day or the next day and will include instructions for ordering. There is no obligation to buy, but a number of different options are available if you wish to purchase pictures.

We realise that this is complicated so feel free to ask Mrs Below if you are unsure about anything!

PLEASE NOTE – This is the first day back after the bank holiday.


15 hours universal entitlement and 30 hours extended entitlement

We will be offering the extended entitlement to eligible children from September 2017 but want you to be aware of the issues involved when we offer any government funded hours.


The amount we receive per child per hour is set by the government and the local authority and is significantly less than the actual cost of providing those nursery hours and less than our hourly charge for non-funded hours. So every funded hour means a shortfall for nursery and the more funded hours we provide the more money we lose as a business.


The government has stated that all early years providers within a local authority must now receive the same basic rate, regardless of staff qualifications or Ofsted rating; (our proposed rate is £3.85 per child per hour). This makes it increasingly difficult for settings such as ours to pay a fair rate to our well qualified and highly experienced staff. We are also faced with increasing costs: rising utility bills, increase in living wage, workplace pensions, holiday pay and sick pay etc. However we have had no increase in the funding rate for several years and the current rate will be fixed until at least 2020. To make things worse the government states that we cannot charge parents the difference between the funded rate and the actual cost of providing the place, forcing us to provide our service for less than it costs us!


Many providers are refusing to provide the extended hours as this will make their business unsustainable and others are having to close down. As a business we manage our finances very carefully but it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the high staff ratios with which we operate. Because our staff includes a teacher and two further graduates we are only legally required to have 2 members of staff for 26 children but we have always worked with much higher ratios and feel this has huge benefits for your children.


We need adequate funding to allow us to continue to provide the high quality service we have always given. Why can ‘doggy day care’ charge more per hour to look after a dog than we are being given to look after and educate your children? All we ask is a fair rate from the government, or to be allowed to use their rate as a contribution towards childcare costs and charge parents the difference between the funding rate and our actual costs per hour.


We are fighting this proposal and will continue to do so as we want the best for the children and the nursery. We will keep you updated on any progress.


Please find the time (less than 3 ½ minutes) to watch the following link below which summarises our issues.


Further information on the national campaign can be found on the facebook page Champagne nurseries, lemonade funding or on their website



Please remember to contact us if your child is missing nursery for any reason. We need to record the reason for absence on our registers so would appreciate an email or telephone call so our records are accurate. If your child is missing without explanation we may have to ring you to find out why.

Help please!

We are collecting Sainsbury’s Active kids vouchers at nursery. We can use these to get sports or cookery equipment so please ask your families and friends to collect vouchers for us as well.

We always need birthday cards for cutting practice and would like any with clear numbers on them to use in maths activities. Any birthday badges with numbers on them would also be very useful.

If anyone has any empty, small-sized, Pringles pots we would be grateful for them as they are very good for storage and making colour pots / maths pots etc.

We offer the children a selection of fruit or salad vegetables each day at snack time and would be very grateful if any parents could help by bringing one or two pieces of fruit or salad vegetables for the children to share. There is a basket on the lunchbox trolley for any contributions. Thankyou to those parents who already help us in this way.


·         Please ensure that you do not leave the nursery building (or grounds if we are outdoors) until there is a member of staff present to lock the door or gate after you. This is vital to ensure the safety of all children.

·         Please inform us of  any changes to the information on your child’s sheet e.g. new mobile phone numbers, emergency contact details or authorised collectors.

·         In order to safeguard all children please remember that no mobile phones or cameras should be used in nursery at any time.

·         Please remember that all nursery fees should be paid in advance.

·         We play outside every day so please make sure that your child has suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. In cold weather please send hats and gloves (mittens are much easier to manage) so your child stays warm outdoors.

·         Please name your child’s sweatshirts, sandshoes and the outsides of lunchboxes.

·         In order to comply with Government guidelines, we must ask you not to send your child to nursery for 48 hours after they have had sickness or diarrhoea. This will help prevent the spread of infection.


·         If you have not yet brought a copy of your child’s birth certificate to nursery for us to see, please do so as soon as possible. We are now required to see proof of age for every child admitted to nursery and ask for your co-operation in this matter.

Bright Sparks Nursery, Back Main Street, Crawcrook, Tyne & Wear NE40 4HT |