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By Elsa Ferri

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Extra resources for Combined Nursery Centres: A New Approach to Education and Day Care

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5). No doubt these figures reflectthe large proportion of children in the two centres who had part-time 'nursery school' places. The Hawthorn centre also contained by far the smallest proportion of children Attendance at Combined Centres 51 who left for some reason suggesting dissatisfaction (8 per cent, compared with 19 per cent at Willow, 28 per cent at Chestnut and no fewer tban 39 per cent at Maple). These findings suggest that the Chestnut and Maple centres in particular were not meeting the needs and/or wishes of a sizeable proportion ofthe families who obtained places.

Offieially, the minimum age for admission was one year (although babies of nine months could be accepted 'in an emergency ') and the head herself stated that she was not prepared to accept more than five children under two years of age. Within the nursery children were allocated to one of five family groups, each containing about nine children and including one baby or toddler under two years. Each family group was based in a group room and was the responsibility of two nursery nurses. For most of the day children were free to move around throughout the nursery but were brought together in their family group for meals and for short group sessions before lunch and in the aftemoon.

Like the other three centres , Willow was in the overall charge of a head teacher. It differed from the others, however, in having a larger number of senior staff posts, with another teacher as deputy head of the centre plus both a matron and a deputy matron. Two other assistant teachers, one full-time and one part-time were appointed to the staff, which also incl uded eight nursery nurses , kitchen, laundry and cleaning staff and apart-time clerical assistant. The head and her deputy worked school hours, and these were staggered throughout the nursery day, so that at least one of them was always present.

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