George Dent Nursery


Head Teacher's Update


Dear Parents and Carers,

It has been a busy week in school for our children. Despite the chill in the air, they have enjoyed the sunshine and the blue skies, although, they are finding it tiring getting back into the nursery routine. I know we have all struggled!

For those of you new to nursery please try not to worry if your child has been unsettled; either returning to school; changing rooms; or coming to nursery for the very first time, separation anxiety is quite normal. The winter break is generally a very family orientated time when children get to spend quality time with family and extended family so it is natural that children may find it difficult. Please do talk to your child’s educator. They will be able to reassure you.

Covid continues to cause issues with both staffing and pupil attendance. So far, we have been fortunate, and we have not had to implement any contingency planning. We have received notification of one confirmed positive case this week. Attendance is low as parents are adopting a cautionary approach and if they have tested positive, they are isolating and keeping their children at home.

Whilst I am not required to close the rooms, I thought it might be helpful if I shared the advice from Public Health, as the rate of infection in Darlington is very high, and let you know the actions we have taken:

  • Nursery staff are carrying out lateral flow tests, twice a week.
  • Observing good hand hygiene
  • Wearing a face covering at the door
  • If an adult or a child receives a positive lateral flow test result, they are no longer required to confirm it with a PCR test. They should assume that they are positive and isolate for the full 7-day period (On Monday this will be reduced to 5 days with testing beginning on day 5)
  • If you test positive you test on day 6 and day 7 (day 5 and day 6 Monday 17/01/2022) Provided that you do not have a temperature and have 2 negative tests, then you may return. If this continues you should continue to test until day 10 when you may return (provided you are symptom free)
  • Children under 5 years are not advised to take part in the daily testing of close contacts. If a contact of a confirmed case, they are not required to self-isolate and should not start daily testing.
  • Should your child show any symptoms we advise that you book a PCR test and keep them at home.
  • Observing good hand hygiene
  • Wearing a face covering at the door

Contingency Planning to Keep Nursery Open

In line with government guidance, we will continue to do our very best to keep the schools open and operational. In light of high rates of COVID-19 across the country we are aware that this may affect staffing availability and we may have to be more flexible in our approach. We will take the following steps in the event of staff absence:

Step 1 - We will continue to use existing staff to manage staff absence as best as we can, maintaining appropriate support for SEND pupils.

Step 2 – We will continue to manage staff absence using supply staff if available

Step 3 – We will combine rooms to ensure appropriate ratios are observed

Step 4 – Priority will be given to vulnerable and key worker children

Step 5 – Room closed until staffing ratios can be maintained once again

Step 6 – School closed (last resort)

Steps 4 to 6 will not be taken lightly and will be taken following conversations with the full agreement of the governing body, public health and the local authority.


I hope that this helps to clarify our responsibility and yours at this very challenging time. Hoping that you all stay safe and well.


Kind regards


Helen Dummett