Maintained schools in Hertfordshire are now responsible for the admissions of children to nursery in 2018-19 and onwards.
The school determines the Nursery Admissions Policy. This policy only applies to Nursery admissions. Attendance at our Nursery does not guarantee a place in Reception; the two admissions procedures are independent of each other. Parents of children who are allocated a place at our Nursery will need to reapply for a school place in line with the Reception Admissions Policy which is coordinated by Hertfordshire County Council.
Please read the guidance below about applying for a Nursery place and then complete the online Nursery application form, which will open on 4 February 2019.
If you also wish to apply for a 30 hours free childcare place at Bridgewater, please also fill in the online 30 hours application form, which will also open on 4 February 2019.
Timeline for applications
The following timeline for Nursery applications for children born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016 is being followed by the following Berkhamsted schools: Bridgewater, Greenway, St Mary’s CofE Northchurch, St Thomas More, Swing Gate, Victoria and Westfield;
4 February 2019 – Nursery applications open. Application is via an online form (paper copies are available from the school on request)
15 March 2019 – Nursery applications close for on time applications (applications can be accepted at any point after this date, but will be dealt with after on time applications)
29 April 2019 - Nursery places are offered to families by email
10 May 2019 – Deadline for families to accept Nursery places in writing (by email is sufficient)
(From 10 May onwards we can continue to accept applications and allocate Nursery places to children, based on availability).
Please refer to the individual school websites for information about their oversubscription criteria.
If you wish to make an "in-year" application to start Nursery with us before September 2019, we can accept applications for Nursery places at any point during the school year, for children who were born between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015. To apply, please complete the online application form and then call the school office on 01442 871231.
Number of places available
Each academic year the school will admit up to 30 places for morning Nursery sessions, starting September 2019, for children born between 1 September 2015 and 28 February 2016 and up to 30 places for afternoon Nursery sessions, starting January 2020, for children born between 1 March 2016 and 31 August 2016.
Depending on the number of applicants, children born between 1 March and 31 August in September may be able to take up their afternoon Nursery places from September 2019. We will be able to confirm this by May 2019 at the latest. If you have any queries, please contact the school office on 01442 871231.
We would prefer that children attend Nursery sessions 5 days per week, but we recognise that this is not practical for all families and so will consider part-time attendance (i.e. less than 15 hours per week/less than 5 days per week). As a minimum we ask that the children attend Nursery for at least 3 morning or 3 afternoon sessions per week (timing of the session being dependent upon when their birthday falls). We will consider applications for less than 3 sessions, depending on an individual family’s circumstances.
30 Hours’ Free Childcare Provision
We are pleased to be able to offer a limited number of 30 hours’ free childcare places on site, to support working families. Sessions are run in partnership with our wraparound care providers Rialize. Parents will need to provide evidence of their 30 hours’ eligibility code before being offered a 30 hours’ place. https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds
For each session, we can offer up to 12 places for 30 hours’ free childcare. The 30 hours’ provision on site includes:
8:30-11:30 - Morning Nursery session
11:30-12:00 – Lunch Club
12:00 – 2:30 – Afternoon Nursery session
If families taking up 30 hours’ free care with us want to extend their child’s day, they can pay for additional wraparound care (see below).
To secure a 30 hours’ place, we ask families to take up at least 18 hours of care with us a week, over at least 3 days (i.e. the equivalent of 3 full days). Subject to availability, we may be offer 30 hours’ places to families wishing to take up less than 18 hours’ care.
Paid Wraparound Care for Nursery Children
In partnership with our wraparound providers Rialize, we are able to offer the following paid for care:
Nursery age children cannot attend the Rialize After School Club (which runs from 3:00pm-6:00pm), but can attend Rialize Holiday Club.
If there are more applications than available places, the school will allocate places using the oversubscription criteria listed below:
Children with EHC (Education, Health and Care) Plan or a statement of Special Educational Needs which names the school will be allocated a place, the latter in accordance with section 324 of the Education Act 1996.
If there are not enough places available in the Nursery class, places will be allocated in the following order of priority:
If more children qualify under a particular rule than there are places available, a tiebreak will be used by applying the next rule to those children. If more children qualify under criterion 3 than there are places available, priority will be given to those who live nearest the school as measured in a straight line, using a distance calculator.
Where there is a need for a tie-breaker where two different addresses measure the same distance from the school, in the case of a block of flats for example, the lower door number will be deemed nearest as logically this will be on the ground floor and therefore closer. If there are two identical addresses of separate applicants, the tie break will be by random allocation.
Nursery provision is non-statutory and there is no right of appeal against refusal of a place. Attendance at our Nursery does not guarantee a place in Reception; the two admissions procedures are independent of each other. Parents of children who are allocated a place at our Nursery will need to reapply for a school place in line with the Reception Admissions Policy.
Children Looked After – definition
Children looked after by the local authority, including children who were previously looked after but were then adopted (or became subject to a child arrangements order or a special guardianship order). Adopted children must have been previously looked after by an English or Welsh local authority. Children who were not looked after immediately before being adopted, or made the subject of a child arrangement order or special guardianship order, will not be prioritised under this rule. Evidence needed – please include a letter or document from your child's social worker, advisory teacher or other professional as evidence.
In every case, the sibling must be living permanently in the same family home (at least Monday to Friday).
A sibling must be on the roll of Bridgewater School, or have been offered and accepted a place, at the school at the time of application (and when the applicant starts Nursery).
Particular medical and social needs to support an application
The school will consider prioritising applicants where it can be demonstrated that the child has a particular social or medical need to go to the school. A panel of staff and governors will determine whether the evidence provided is sufficiently compelling to meet the requirements for this rule. The evidence must relate specifically to Bridgewater School and must clearly demonstrate why it is the only school that can meet the child’s needs.
Parents and carers who are making a social and medical need application should state their reasons on their application and send the school evidence in support of their application. Successful applications for social and medical need will include the following at the time the parent applies for a place:
1. Evidence that the child or their parent or carer can demonstrate a wholly exceptional social or medical need to attend the school and that only Bridgewater School can meet the child’s social or medical needs
2. Where there are other schools nearer to the child’s home address, why each of these schools is unable to meet the child’s needs
3. Recent objective evidence establishing the parent’s, carer’s or child’s social or medical need to attend the school (this may be from a GP, educational psychologist, social worker, police officer or other professional) or relevant family circumstances.
Applicants should note:
1. Social and medical need applications will only be considered at the time of initial application, unless there has been a significant and exceptional change of circumstances within the family since the initial application was submitted. Information received after the closing date will only be considered if there is a significant change of circumstances.
2. All Hertfordshire Local Authority schools are able to work with children with special educational needs and severe medical needs. It is therefore unlikely that applications on these grounds alone will succeed in demonstrating that only Bridgewater Primary School can meet the child’s needs.
3. In medical cases applicants must provide a clear explanation of why the child’s or parent’s or carer’s severity of illness or disability makes attendance at only Bridgewater Primary School essential
4. Applications on the basis of domestic arrangements, for example child care arrangements, will NOT succeed without evidence supporting compelling social and medical reasons.5. Applications under medical and social needs criteria that fail to satisfy the panel that there is a compelling social or medical need to admit the child will be processed at the next highest admission criteria