Children who only attend for one or two days a week do tend to take longer to settle but a year seems a bit excessive. You mention that staff were settling other children who were upset, are most of the children upset in the mornings? If so that would concern me too.
I work in a 12-24 month room and i have to say that in general none of the children are upset in the mornings, most happily wave bye bye.
If we do have a child who finds the initial seperation difficult then we look at stratergies and distractions for when that child arrives eg bubbles or paint.
I would maybe talk to his keyworker about techniques you could both use to make it easier for him.
Are there any other options? What about a childminder instead? It doesn't seem quite right to me that he was so upset for such a long time although possibly just going 1 day a week makes it harder for him to get used to the routine/other children etc. If it were me I think I'd want to firstly check that he actually IS ok in the day by dropping in unexpectedly a few times ( do you have leave you can take in half days?) maybe really work on the positive attitude about it with your son - always call the other children his friends, talk about nursery day as a special play day etc. also you could put the ball in the nursery manager's court - ask for a meeting and try to come up with a plan, eg. That you always give him to one person and that person will hold him while you wave goodbye through the window and will settle him into an activity.
Ds 2.9 has been going to nursery 1 day/ week since he was 13 months. For the first year he cried every single time I dropped him off & again when dh picked him up at night. The staff always said he was fine during the day so I presumed it was a bit of separation angst. At age 2 he moved rooms & all the tears stopped, he was happy to be left & I was relieved to say the least!
Anyhow, in the last couple of months he's started getting upset at drop off again, & its getting worse each week. Last week he ran after me & clung to my leg sobbing as I tried to leave & had to be peeled off me. Today he sat clutching his teddies & sobbing. Staff were busy with other crying children so I had to leave him with no-one to comfort him, it was awful & all I've wanted to do all day is go back & get him. Staff have told me the last 3 weeks in a row he's been very teary during the day too, keeps getting upset & mostly seems to be in the mornings & he seems fine in the afternoons. I'm concerned as to why he's suddenly finding it so upsetting, but he can't articulate his feelings yet, aside from telling me he feels sad.
I've asked nursery if they've any idea what might be wrong, if there's any issue with another child, or if its staff changes (key worker went on maternity leave in feb & was replaced with 2 new staff) but they assure me he's comfortable with his new keyworker & they can't pinpoint what's wring either. I've no concerns over the general standards of care there so I don't know what else can be wrong or what I/they can do to help.
He seems so unhappy I'm even wondering if I should move him, but he'd be leaving at Christmas anyway (going to preschool instead) so it somehow seems worse to uproot him now only to have to do it all again in 6 months time. I cant ask family to help as they already have him 2 days/wk as it is.