A new nursery has been officially opened in Belper, following a financical injection from the county council to create more free childcare places.
Children have been enjoying the extension of St John’s Primary School, on Laund Nook, since September, but staff held an official ceremony on Wednesday, January 10, to celebrate its success.
Derbyshire County Councillor Alex Dale performed the honours, after being welcomed by headteacher Roger Averis, children, teaching staff and governors.
Councillor Dale said: “We were very keen to fund this important nursery project and I was delighted to have the honour of opening such a fantastic new building.
“There is a great team of staff and governors behind it too, offering much-needed additional free childcare places in Belper. They’ve all worked very hard to make it a success.”
He added: “The children have already settled in well, and we look forward to welcoming more on roll to enjoy everything it has to offer.”
The nursery, which can be accessed separately from the main school, has a classroom, quiet area, kitchen, toilets and change facilities, plus outdoor safety play surfaces within a safe fenced area.
It has capacity to offer places to 46 children, and there are currently 29 registered, rising to 35 at Easter.
Headteacher Roger said: “It’s fantastic to now be able to offer education and learning for children from three to eleven years old in one school.
“I’d like to thank all the staff at the county council and our nursery teacher Natalie Gallen and teaching assistant Charlotte Grigoriu who have made it into a lovely, welcoming environment.”
He added: “Judging by comments in last month’s Ofsted inspection and the smiles on the children’s faces they’re both doing a brilliant job.”
All three and four-year-old children in the county are entitled to 15 hours free early education a week but the Government recently doubled that to 30 hours for some working families.
Belper was identified as having an undersupply of places, so the school and council bid for £195,700 from the Department for Education towards the £326,000 build.
Applications are now open for the 2018/2019 school year, with children able to attend up to five three-hour sessions a week starting in the term after their third birthday.
For more information, visit www.stjohnsbelper.co.uk/nursery or call the school on 01773 822995.