A sizeable slice of education funding has made new nursery provision at a South Tyneside school a piece of cake.
Up to 78 youngsters can now enjoy early years learning at Cleadon Church of England Academy after it opened its new £500,000 nursery building.
Bosses at the school, in Boldon Lane, Cleadon, secured the grant after identifying a demand for places from parents of three and four-year-olds living locally.
The development also fits with government plans nationally to double weekly nursery provision, so that parents can better access employment opportunities.
Teachers marked its opening with a visit from the Right Reverend Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, who cut a home-made cake in celebration. School principal Jayn Gray said: “Our nursery is a fantastic facility, and I’m delighted that it has opened.
“We applied for £500,000 of funding and we got what we asked for – we were very fortunate.
“We had carried out a consultation and so we knew that there was a significant demand from parents for a nursery at our school.
“Our application for funding also coincided with the government’s plans to extend free nursery care from 15 to 30 hours-a-week.”
Mrs Gray added: “We have 78 places available and are almost full, which is a great start.
“One of our members of staff made a cake and the Bishop of Durham cut it in celebration.
“I think that was the bit about the official opening that the children liked best.”
Money came from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), one of the government’s main education funding bodies.
The 420-pupil school was one of only 286 from almost 4,000 across the country awarded a grant for new building work. The nursery was built by Newcastle construction firm Northern Bear, which began work in May.
An open day is being held from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, November 4, for parents wishing to view the nursery.
Applications are also being taken for the September 2018 term.
More information is available by calling 0191 536 7813 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.