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Totally confused by nursery / pre-school and how to choose - please help!

(12 Posts)
yumcha888 Sun 26-Jun-11 21:50:50

Hi everyone,

My husband and I are not from the UK and are totally confused by how nursery / pre-school / reception works. We live in London (Marylebone) and DS is 4 months old. I went to an NCT coffee morning and got totally freaked out by a couple of mums who had their babies subscribed while only a few weeks pregnant - is this normal??? shock

As I am obviously behind everyone else can someone help me figure out:

1) how to get a list of nurseries
2) how I should choose!
3) how this relates to pre-schools or primary schools (I heard that if you are in some nurseries you will be more likely to get into some primary schools - is that true?)

Thanks from a seriously stressed out first time mum!

LIZS Mon 27-Jun-11 06:33:38

You can get a list from the local council or Ofsted, probably also your library or health visitor. If they plan to go back to work then yes the other mums may well already have daycare booked. However state funded preschools won't take admissions yet , funded places for 15 hours per week start at aged 3 and you apply a year or so before. Very few guarantee admission to any school even if on the same site. Again you'd apply for a school place (Reception year) about 9 months to a year ahead of admission through your locla authority - in your case your ds would start in September 2015. Private preschools and nurseries(including those at private schools) operate their own admission systems but may also have funded places for 3/4 yr olds. These tend to get waiting lists early so you need to start thinking about it soon and get his name down by 12-18 months ish, maybe sooner. Visit a few and get a feel for what may suit you.

yumcha888 Mon 27-Jun-11 18:42:38

LIZS thanks! That's so succinct. Do you know if there are lists of private nurseries? Or is it just a case of googling?

LIZS Mon 27-Jun-11 19:03:10

Ofsted and LA should have a list of all - they have to be inspected and approved by them to be eligible for the Early Years funding for 3/4 year olds. the majority will be "private" , be they a preschool based in a church hall or full daycare nursery envronment.

Fifis25StottieCakes Mon 27-Jun-11 19:13:06

Hi

In my area we have

Pre-School which is normally mother and baby groups for children up to 2.9yrs who then move on to the pre-school where they are left

School Nursery - normally attached to a local primary school

Private Nursery

You get funding for 3 year olds but can put them in the chosen pre-school or private nursery sooner and pay.

We apply for nursery places about a year in advance and school places in September the year before they start reception. We then find out in the April which school they have a place at.

Its worth riinging around a few to see what suits you. My 2 eldesdt dd's went to preschool doing 5 morning sessions. My youngest dd starts private nursery in September and has 2.5 days with lunch.

It make no difference in my area what nursery they go to as to whether they get a place at the school. This depends on the catchment area of the school.

At the pre-school priority places are given to the children who have attended the mother and baby group.

benetint Wed 29-Jun-11 12:52:12

Hello! In our area they have just brought in new admissions criteria which says attending the school's nursery DOES have a bearing on a school place! I don't if this is changing for any other authorities.

Tgger Wed 29-Jun-11 23:33:41

Hi there,
The main difference here in U.K is between the state run and the private sector. Here in green leafy Hertfordshire the state sector is fantastic and a very small percentage of parents go private. With the state sector there is no putting their names down at birth. Pre-school that starts at 2.5 it's a good idea to get their name on a list at 18 months and school nursery (starts at 3/3.5) you apply a year before they go or not quite a year (depends on area).

The private sector can be very different, and some private and very expensive primary schools (starting at Reception age) you do need to register them as soon as possible. Then with these establishments there are often pre-schools/nurseries that might take them from 2/3 that feed into the primary (might be called pre-prep) school.

So....it depends on what route you may be following- are you an affluent Mummy who intends to pay for the best for your child, or will your child go to the state primary down the road? It's best to ask around and consider your options as some parts of london the state schools are not the best advert for education in the uk- in which case you might want to consider the private route and need to get your child's name down NOW! Or of course you may plan a house move to get near to that fantastic state primary in time for the admissions....

yumcha888 Thu 30-Jun-11 08:32:25

Thanks guys.....I'm kind of jealous of anyone who lives near good state schools. I've looked at the Ofsted reports for my area and there isn't much around. The best schools are faith schools amd I'm not sure if I want to compromise my values like that and then there is the consideration that it might be great to send one baby to a private nursery / school but how can we afford it for any other babies??

I'm sure my mum just threw me in the nearest school when I was a kid....how did it get so complicated??

Fifis25StottieCakes Thu 30-Jun-11 12:16:52

I went to a school which still has the same headteacher. The pupils come mainly from a very deprived council estate. It was the worst school in the LEA. Sometimes its rated poor sometimes average. I absolutely loved school and have fond memories. Its is stated in all the Ofstead reports that the children feel save and secure and the school has a lovely atmosphere. The attendance is poor. The kids from a bit of the catchment area which is a private estate seem to do better.

My dds live in the same town but go to a good almost outstanding school. My youngest sees an educational phychologist and i have had major problems with the school. My dd's dont do anything like what the other school does in relation to activities. Everything has to be paid for including water and school plays.

Sometimes i wish my daughters were at the other school as i dont think it would have done them any harm at all. Unfortunately it was almost two mile from where i live.

I wouldnt just look at the rating of the school. Read the report as there may be things in them which makes you think that sounds like a good school. I believe if a child is going to to well they will do well regardless of what school they attend.

09mummyC Fri 08-Jul-11 11:44:40

@Fifis25StottieCakes - so true!! am looking for a nursery for my 14 month old and some Ofsted reports read pretty good but u really have to pay a visit to the place and find out the truth! my neighbour home educated her daughter till 9 or 10 and now she goes to a good state school and doing well....so u never know!

MrsNursery Fri 22-Jul-11 00:43:35

I have created a free website to support families looking for Childcare and for those who may want to re-affirm they have made the right choice, I aim to empower parents to query when they are unhappy with the Childcare they receive and help you realise you are right to have high expectations. Mrs Nursery will support parents who are looking for that special place to give your child the very best, I hope it helps

http://www.mrs-nursery.com

MrsNursery Fri 22-Jul-11 00:47:29

I have created a free website to support families looking for Childcare and for those who may want to re-affirm they have made the right choice, I aim to empower parents to query when they are unhappy with the Childcare they receive and help you realise you are right to have high expectations. Mrs Nursery will support parents who are looking for that special place to give your child the very best, I hope it helps

http://www.mrs-nursery.com

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