Choosing an independenteducation for your child
WE ASK ALISON HERBERT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR AT THE SCOTTISH COUNCIL OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS, ABOUT NURSERIES AT INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS.
As a parent, it’s natural to want to give your child every opportunity to discover what they’re good at and what they love doing in a safe and supportive environment. Which is why, in Scotland we are very fortunate. We have a wide range of first rate independent schools and nurseries to choose from.
DO ALL INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS HAVE A NURSERY?
Over half the independent schools in Scotland have a nursery. A nursery attached to an independent school
can offer a superb array of benefits including, music, dance and drama often led by specialist staff .
WHEN SHOULD YOU APPLY FOR AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL NURSERY PLACE?
It is never too early to apply for a place; many parents do so as soon as their baby is born. However, don’t rush into a decision, take your time and find the nursery that is right for you and your family. Nursery staff are always delighted to meet parents, to show the facilities on off er and answer any questions that you may have. A few nurseries take boys and girls from 18 months or younger, but the majority of independent school nurseries take children from 3 years of age.
DO THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL NURSERIES OPERATE DURING SCHOOL TIMES ONLY?
Although most independent school nurseries operate during term time only, schools recognise the hours worked by parents and offer wide ranging after school and holiday club care to cover these times.
DO THE NURSERIES HAVE QUALIFIED TEACHERS?
Yes, in pre-school years there are fully qualified teachers and experienced early years staff . Nursery is a great way to smooth the transition to ‘big school’ and enables younger siblings to feel part of the same fun environment if older siblings also attend the school.
DO YOU NEED TO COMMIT TO GOING TO THE SCHOOL IF YOUR CHILD ATTENDS THE NURSERY?
No, you are not committed to the school, but you should check your contract to see how much notice is required should you choose to leave. In most schools it is a full terms notice.
WILL YOUR CHILD GET AUTOMATIC ENTRANCE TO THE SCHOOL IF HE/SHE ATTENDS THE NURSERY?
This varies from school to school, so check with the school before you enrol. One of the attractions for accepting a pre-school place is that in some schools your child can automatically move on to Primary 1 without further assessment. However, most schools will consult with the family should they believe that your child will not be able to manage the more formal environment
of Primary 1.
IS NURSERY FUNDING AVAILABLE?
Just like private nurseries most nurseries accept childcare vouchers to help with the costs, but check with the individual schools’
finance departments. It is never too early to think about your child’s education and an independent school nursery will give your child a great start in life.
For information and advice on applying and meeting the cost, speak to The Scottish Council of Independent Schools.