Leigh's Nurseries Newcastle

Why Leighs Nurseries?


So you finally get your child settled into the perfect outstanding nursery. They make friends, they love the staff, it’s close to home and work, you feel confident that they’re happy. The situation couldn’t be better. But then they get a bit older and the other parents start talking about pre-school and your mind turns to primary school. Now you have questions and a whole new dilemma.

“What is pre-school?”
“Does my child have to move now?
“How is pre-school different to nursery?”
“What do I need to do to make sure my child has the best start to school?”

There’s a lot of confusion around pre-school so below is a
complete guide to what it is, why it matters, and why it might not be the upheaval you’re dreading.

Education at Leigh’s Nurseries

At Leigh’s Nurseries your child’s educational journey starts the second they join us and we pride ourself on creating a home from home environment. All our rooms are rich with natural, open ended resources which supports your child’s curious mind and imagination, allowing them to express themselves openly.
As your child moves through the nursery, our seamless approach enables your child to transition with ease. Staff communicate effectively to ensure your child’s new key worker as well as the other staff in their new room, are fully aware of your child’s individual needs and interests.

In the moment planning is a fantastic approach that we have adapted, which means your child takes the lead in their own education and learning, allowing then to move around the nursery and choose activities that interests them. Our enabling environment means your child gains lifelong skills which is encouraged and supported by our lovely team through warm and engaging interactions. With our staff knowledge, skills and experience we understand how children develop and we know that play based learning gives a child the best start.

Everything you need to know

Most children begin school at the start of the school year in which they turn five, so when your child is three you may begin researching local primary schools and making your application. Many primary schools also offer pre-school education for children aged 3-4 years, and may suggest you move your child there before you make your school application. But is this right for your child? Let’s explore your options.

What’s the difference between a private nursery and a school?

Leigh’s Nurseries and pre-schools attached to schools both follow the same Early Years Foundation Stage guidelines which impact on the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years. However, there are differences. At Leigh’s Nurseries we run our pre-school sessions based on the individual interests and needs of each child. Our staff continuously observe each child and then offer educational activities that help them progress and succeed at their own pace. This is one of the many reason’s why OFSTED has rated all 3 of our nurseries OUTSTANDING across the board. In contrast, school pre- schools follow topic-led teaching that might not be of interest to your child – and if they’re not interested, they’re less likely to get involved and enjoy learning.

What about funding and availability of childcare?

Private nurseries and schools both receive funding for 15 or 30 hours a week for children aged 3-4. However, schools often provide morning or afternoon sessions only, and some won’t allow you to be able to pay for extra hours. So if you work all day, you’ll need someone to pick your child up at lunchtime. They also only offer pre-school childcare during term-time. Here at Leigh’s Nurseries we are open from 7.30am until 6pm every day, 51 weeks of the year, so your child continues to receive Outstanding pre-school education all year-round. To see how you can use your child’s funding with Leigh’s Nurseries please contact us to talk through your options.

What about the staff ratios?

When children are aged between 3-5 years, schools are required to have just one adult per 13 children. That could mean there are 26 children with only two adults! At Leigh’s Nurseries, the ratio is one adult to every eight children, that’s almost twice as many qualified adults as most schools which gives your child a more personalised and nurturing experience, we pride ourselves on our Montessori natural environment allowing the children to explore and engage their curiosity.

But the school said my child needs to move now to make friends before they start reception class?

Have you ever been to a parent and toddler group and by the time you leave, your little one is firm friends with another child? It doesn’t take long for children to build strong relationships. Children are naturally friendly and curious – they will approach their peers and make friends with ease. Do not be put under pressure and made to feel guilty about keeping your child at Leigh’s Nurseries where they are already happy and confident here.

Will my child lose their place at the school if I don’t move them?

The school doesn’t make the decision about who is accepted into the reception year, that decision is made at the Local Authority level. There have been cases where a parent has moved their child to a pre-school (under pressure from the school to secure a reception place) only to discover that they don’t then get a place at that school. Just because a child attends a school nursery doesn’t guarantee them a place at that school, so make the decision based on what’s best for your child.

Questions to ask before deciding between a school’s pre-school and Leigh’s Nurseries

  • What is the staff to children ratio?
  • Will my child get help going to the toilet if needed?
  • What if a child has a toileting accident? Who will help them? How many staff will be left with the other children during that time?
  • What early years qualifications and training do the staff have?
  • Are pre-school staff trained in first aid?

Does the nursery have a suitable environment, resources and equipment for three- and four-year-old children?

If your child is settled and happy at nursery, you don’t need to move them to a pre-school at a local primary school. They will receive outstanding education and care from qualified staff in our natural environment at Leigh’s Nurseries.

Leigh’s Nurseries employs outstanding qualified nursery practitioners to help get children school-ready in our pre-school, so they start reception confident and happy. Listen to your instincts and go with your gut. Pre-school needn’t be an upheaval but a natural part of their early years education at nursery.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us

Newcastle – 0191 2599299 or Newcastle@Leighsnurseries.co.uk

Heddon – 01661854001 or Heddon@leighsnurseries.co.uk

Gateshead – 01914771097 or Gateshead@leighsnurseries.co.uk

Leigh – 07980809872 or Leigh@leighsnurseries.co.uk

Contact us

Contact Information

Please feel free to contact us to arrange a visit. We'd love to show you what we do!

Newcastle Nursery

Chesters Ave, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 8QP

0191 259 9299


7.30am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday

Gateshead Nursery

The Den, Westfield Terrace, Gateshead NE8 4LD

0191 477 1097


7.30am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday

Heddon Nursery

1 Taberna Cl, Heddon-on-the-Wall, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 0BW

01661 854001


7.30am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday