At our school, children are given irresistible opportunities through playful learning and adult-led activities, making full use of learning environment indoors and outdoors. We have nursery provision onsite to provide high-quality pre-school experiences for our children.

Our vision is that all children are happy, thrive and succeed during their first year at school. A carefully planned curriculum, which is informed by the children’s interests, ensures children are active participants in their learning and development. Our enabling environments allow them to have early learning experiences through play-based collaborative interactions and exciting provocations. Our highly-skilled staff are passionate about Early Education and supporting children to have the very best start to their learning journey at school.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is a compulsory legal framework for children aged 2 – 5 years old. It sets out seven ‘areas of learning’ as well as drawing attention to how young children develop and learn. These ‘characteristics of effective learning’ underpin everything we do and embrace all areas of learning and development. By fostering children’s learning attitude, we are laying the foundations for success throughout their schooling.

Prime areas

  • Communication and Language
  • Physical Development
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Specific areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Teaching and learning ensures that the opportunities to explore key skills within these seven areas are provided through enabling, exciting and supportive approaches. In Reception we use Read Write Inc. Phonics and Talk Through Stories approaches to support the teaching of Early Reading. We use the NCETM: Mastering Number programme to support our teaching of Mathematics.

Observation of children in their play, by all adults including parents, supports the curriculum and informs next steps in the children’s learning. Photographs of learning are shared with parents and carers through Seesaw each week. Cross-curricular opportunities are skilfully planned to enable children to maximise on learning together with the opportunity to learn and develop new skills.

Before children start school, there are several opportunities for them to visit their new learning environment and staff in the school. Children are visited at home by two of the Reception Team staff and parents are invited to an open evening to find out about life at our school before commencing their first day at school. We believe that strong relationships between home and school are essential to support children most effectively with their learning and work hard to build these relationships as soon as children get a place at school.

Enrichment opportunities are planned throughout the year to provide learning opportunities for first hand, real life experiences. These have included visits to local farms, visits from local policing teams and the fire brigade, and watching for seasonal changes on local walks.

At Castle Mead we pride ourselves on how included the nursery children are within the main school. The children play alongside the reception children during their independent learning times where they are provided with a range of multi-sensory resources in both the indoor and outdoor environment. The children are also taken into smaller separate groups where the adults focus on teaching particular skills. The children regularly use areas such as the school hall for lunch and the library and their confidence in sharing these learning spaces has been highly effective in the promotion of their independence and in supporting a smooth transition into school.

“In the Nursery and Reception classes, children learn by exploring, creating and playing together. Both inside and outside, the activities are well designed to meet the needs of these young learners.”
(Ofsted, June 2017)

Admission Information

We are able to take children into the nursery from two years old. If you are in receipt of two year old funding then your child will be eligible for a maximum of 15 hours of Free Entitlement (subject to availability). If not, you will be charged at the current session rate. Free Entitlement for all children starts the term after their third birthday. We offer 30 hours of Free Entitlement (subject to availability and verification of the 30 hours code). Please note that having a place at Castle Mead Nursery does not entitle a child to a place at Castle Mead School and you will need to follow guidelines set out by Wiltshire Council and apply as per their current criteria.

Information about entitlements

  • Free Entitlement is available between the hours of 08.45-12.30 and 12.30-16.15 term time only.  The Early Years Entitlement hours are funded through Wiltshire Council and are based on a termly headcount
  • Wiltshire Council funding information can be found at:
  • For those families entitled to 30 hours of Free Entitlement, applications can be made using:
  • EYPP is to improve the overall quality of provision. Payable if your circumstances meet nationally set criteria – similar to Free School Meals and the two-year-old funding
  • DAF is to support disabled children (in receipt of DLA) access their free entitlements. It’s a one-off lump sum paid to the provider nominated by the parent. We collect this information from your declaration form and apply on your behalf

Fees that are not covered by Free Entitlement:

Description Time Current charge
2 year olds Half Day 3.75 hours £21.55
2 year olds Full Day 7.5 hours £41.70
3 & 4 year olds Half Day 3.75 hours £20.85
3 & 4 year olds Full Day 7.5 hours £41.70
Breakfast nursery session 07.45-08.45 £5.55 (includes breakfast)
After nursery session 16.15-18.00 £11.10 (includes tea)
Nursery hot lunch (if required)   £2.55

Delivery model / charges

  • Nursery is open term time only and mirrors the school calendar. This information can be found here
  • Funded hours (where available) are set as 08.45-12.30 and 12.30-16.15. These are not dependant on parent/carers paying for additional non-funded hours & are delivered completely free of charge. They can be accessed in a continuous block including lunchtime
  • We offer funded hours to those eligible for 2-year funding, 3 & 4-year-old funding, including 30 hours Free Entitlement
  • For those children eligible for 30 hours Free Entitlement please note that it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to re-confirm their eligibility every 3 months, as prompted by HMRC. If this is not actioned, your additional funding may be lost
  • If you wish to move your child to a new provider mid-way through a funding period please contact to discuss as this can only be actioned under certain circumstances set out by Wiltshire Council e.g. house move
  • A healthy packed lunched can be bought in from home or a hot lunch provided by school at a cost of £2.55 per day. Free School Meals are available for the eligible and can be applied for at
  • Hours not covered by Free Entitlement: 07.45-08.45 and 16.15-18.00. Charges for these are shown above
  • Children in receipt of Free Entitlement must be in situ before the headcount week each term (dates available from the school office)
  • Where charges are incurred for hours in setting, these will be invoiced a term in advance. Half the bill will be due for payment before the 7th of each month e.g. in Term 3 2023, half the bill is due to be paid before 07/01/2023 and half before 07/02/2023, with the exception of Term 5 where the total bill is due for payment before 07/05/2023.  Payment can be made by bank transfer, Childcare Vouchers or Tax Free Childcare. Information on how to apply for Tax Free Childcare can be found using this link
  • Admittance re additional hours is dependent on payment and as a result your child may be denied access to the nursery until the bill is settled
  • A four week notice period is in place for any changes to additional hours
  • No additional charges will be passed to parents/carers in respect of enhancements where a child has SEND


  • We do not charge a deposit for placing your child on the waiting list
  • You will not be asked to pay a registration or admin fee for accessing funded/non-funded hours

Other items

  • A uniform is not required
  • If your child uses nappies you will be asked to supply nappies/wipes and any creams needed



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