Pupils at High Hazels Academy in Darnall celebrated the opening of their brand new nursery, the Oaks, on Wednesday 17th October.
Forming part of a million pound package of improvements, the Sheffield school’s nursery provision, which was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in December 2017, now has its own dedicated eco-building, catering for three specific age groups, each with its own woodland related title: Squirrels, Acorns and Saplings.
The environmentally friendly eco-building can accommodate up to 52 of the academy’s youngest children and incorporates solar panels, helping to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. It also has a fantastic outdoor learning space, fully equipped with play apparatus, sand pit and mud kitchen to make learning fun and enjoyable for all children.
High Hazels Academy Head Teacher, Mrs Asma Maqsood-Shah said:
“Early learning enables our very young children to make an exceptional start at school through the development of skills, behaviours and attitudes to learning that will help them make a smooth and effective transition to the main primary school. We do this through the provision of the highest standards of teaching in well-equipped and welcoming facilities, giving our children the very best start in a caring and nurturing environment.”
The overall programme of improvements at High Hazels Academy started this summer, with the site’s main Victorian building benefitting from three redesigned reception/infant classrooms, a new dining room, additional toilets for the children and refurbished entrance hall and meeting rooms.
The refurbishment has also seen the creation at the school of the ‘Woodlands’ community hub, used for family learning, parent forums, coffee mornings and a twice weekly regular parent/toddler group.
Additional improvements are scheduled to take place during the next half term, with further improvements planned for Years 1 and 2 next year.
The new nursery was officially opened on Wednesday 17th October by Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, of which High Hazels is a part. He was joined by Deputy Lord Lieutenant for South Yorkshire, Sheikh Mohammad Ismail, as well as staff, pupils and parents.
Opening the new nursery, Jon Coles said:
“It has been a pleasure to open the nursery building today and see how the children and teachers are already benefitting from their new learning environment. The building has been very carefully designed to accommodate the needs of the very youngest children and provides them with the perfect place to begin their school years.
“Under the leadership of Asma Maqsood-Shah and Lesley Dolben, High Hazels Nursery has made significant progress in recent years and this fantastic new building will enable the school to continue to provide children with an inspiring and enjoyable education.”
Lesley Dolben, Executive Head Teacher at High Hazels Academy, said:
“These are exciting times for everyone involved with High Hazels Academy. As a school at the heart of its community, we were delighted to welcome parents, carers and other stakeholders for the official opening of ‘The Oaks’ and to give them an opportunity to see the other improvements taking place at the school, which will help our children to benefit from the very best teaching and learning opportunities from the outset.”
Nursery sessions at ‘The Oaks’ run from 8.30am to 11.30am and 12.15pm to 3.15pm, with full-time places available daily. Those parents whose children are entitled to 30 hours of free early learning can apply for their child to start once they reach the age of two, with the option of additional paid hours, booked and paid for on a termly basis.