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Thomas Deacon Education Trust

Gladstone primary academy change of age range consultation

Thomas Deacon Education Trust would welcome your views on a proposed change to the age range for Gladstone Primary Academy from September 2022 to 2 years old to 11 years old.

Background 

Gladstone Primary Academy is a large primary academy near the centre of Peterborough. The Academy is situated across two sites a few minutes' walk apart, one on Gladstone Street and the other on Bourges Boulevard. The previous school became an Academy in February and joined Thomas Deacon Education. 

The academy acquired Gladstone Park Preschool in January 2019, which was leasing space in a separate building on site. The preschool is now managed by the academy and has capacity for 60 children, with 30 places for the morning session and 30 places for the afternoon session for children aged 2½ to 4 years old and continues to operate in a separate building on the Gladstone Street site.  

Gladstone Academy Preschool does not have a separate Ofsted registration but operates under the academy’s DfE (Department for Education) number and is inspected as part of the academy. The preschool’s Ofsted grading is reflected in the judgement for the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) for the academy. The preschool was inspected jointly with Reception classes during the academy’s Ofsted inspection in October 2019 and was judged to be good – a grading that reflects provision across Reception classes and the preschool. 

The preschool has continued to improve and recently was used to exemplify practice in for the new EYFS Framework in several of the guidance videos produced by the DfE: https://help-for-early-years-providers.education.gov.uk/understanding-the-world/personal-experiences 

Proposal 

We believe that the next step to improve provision is to integrate the preschool into the academy making an EYFS unit comprising preschool and Reception. The preschool will operate as part of the academy and will continue to offer appropriate provision for younger children. The most efficient way to do this will be by extending the age range covered by the academy from 4 to 11 years to 2 to 11 years. 

An EYFS unit will allow children easier transition into Reception, as children will already be familiar with the setting, provision, staffing, and academy. Being part of the academy will remove many aspects of transition for these young children. An EYFS unit will ensure that more children are school ready, and the academy can work closely with families before children start in Reception. 

The preschool will continue to be overseen by the academy’s Assistant Head for EYFS. 

The academy has capacity for four form entry (120 children) but in recent years has not had more than 90 children enter Reception. The academy has consulted on a reduction in its published admissions number to 90 from September 2023. If the academy has more than 90 Reception children, it has capacity to operate an additional Reception aged class if required. 

Children in preschool will not automatically have a place at Gladstone Primary Academy for Reception. Families will still have to apply via the Local Authority Coordinated Admissions for entry into Reception. Last year 20 children from the preschool started in Reception at Gladstone Primary Academy. 

The funding for the preschool will remain separate and will not be part of the academy’s budget. The academy’s funding cannot be used to support the preschool. Children in preschool will continue to be funded through NEF (Nursery Education Funding) and parental contributions. Parents will be able to claim their 15 hours of free universal entitlement and 30 hours extended entitlement. Parents who are eligible can also access two-year-old funding. As an Ofsted registered provision parents will continue to be able to access support with childcare costs through childcare vouchers, tax free childcare and universal credit. 

Currently, children in the preschool do not qualify for free school meals. However, if the preschool becomes part of the academy, eligible preschool children will receive a free school meal. 

Responses 

The purpose of this consultation is to gather your views and inform the decision-making process. It will run from 1st May 2022 to 27th May 2022. After that date, all responses received will be collated and shared with the TDET (Thomas Deacon Education Trust) Trustees. This consultation process is part of a ‘Making a Significant Change to an Open Academy’ with the DfE/ESFA. 

Any comments should be made in writing to the Thomas Deacon Education Trust:

  • By email to shirley.thackray@tdet.education including the words ‘CHANGE OF AGE RANGE CONSULTATION’ in the subject; or
  • By post to: Shirley Thackray, GPA Change of Age Range Consultation, Thomas Deacon Education Trust, Queen’s Gardens, Peterborough PE1 2UW.

The closing date for responses is Friday 27th May.