In this article we're going to run through our admissions criteria, when it's best to apply and how you can secure your place in our schools
How many places are there in the school?
Hatching Dragons schools have set numbers of children that it can take in to each room by age, which are recorded with Ofsted during the school's registration with Ofsted. These numbers are determined by the physical space available to the children in the format of each school, in line with the legal spatial requirements set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage, and can be subject to change should the school be reconfigured and only with Ofsted's approval and notification.
You should enquire with the nursery management team and our website to see how many full time places are available for your age group during your initial enquiry and, if full, what the waiting list is, in terms of numbers of families and indicative length of time.
How will spaces be allocated?
All places are offered on a first come, first served basis, meaning any available places will be allocated to any family who registers and submits their deposit for that place first.
A child requiring a full-time place may have preference over one requiring a part-time place. This is dependent upon work commitments, occupancy and room availability.
Those requiring part time places may be advised as to which sessions are available to them on the pattern of care that they require. For instance if you are needing morning or afternoon sessions, we may advise you that the only available days for that pattern of care might be a Monday or Friday, if those days have most availability.
What rhythm of care can I structure?
Our schools offer full (10 or 11 hr) day and (5 or 5.5 hr) half day (sessional) places, Monday-Friday, all year round. Parents can construct their own pattern of care in this way - for example, a full day on Monday, a Tuesday morning session, a Wednesday afternoon session, Thursday full day and Friday half day, to calculate a weekly equivalent of hours.
When you register, you will be invited to submit what routine of care you are ideally after in this way, which, subject to confirmation of availability, will be confirmed during the contractual exchange.
Unfortunately we do not offer places "by the hour" - you have to book either a morning or afternoon or full day session, irrespective of the time that you want to collect. This is because. our staff are contracted full time, which means we need to allocate them against a set pattern that efficiently utilises their skills. For more information, please see our brochure and / or terms and conditions.
What do I need to do to join the school?
We always recommend coming to our open days or booking in a show around directly through our website so that you can meet the team, see the facilities and ask more specific and direct questions of the provision from the teachers who will manage the teaching, learning and care of your child during your time with us. You can find the booking forms for each school on the individual web pages for our nurseries online
You'll typically receive a follow up email within a couple of days of attending your show around with us, which will contain fee information, a brochure and some links to register should you like what you see / hear. Do check your inbox and spam to see if these communications are being filtered out by your email provider.
Should the rooms be full, the schools will offer a waiting list for families who are interested in starting with us. It is critical that you register, should you want to get on the waiting list. These waiting lists are managed also on a first come first served basis and require the family to register with us via our online registration form. Please find the registration form for each school on the individual school web pages online.
Contracts & Deposits
It's important to note that doing so does not guarantee you a space but a priority communication on all forthcoming places and availability when new spaces are released. If you would like full security on a definitive start date and confirmation of your place with us, that requires you to sign our contractual terms and submit a deposit, equivalent to one month's fees held in surety for your place with us. Please see our nursery terms and conditions for more information.
Should the waiting lists contain any of the below, they will be offered places by the following order of priority:
- Looked after children
- A child known by the local authority to have special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) and whose needs can be best met at the preferred nursery
- A vulnerable child with either a Child Protection or a Child in Need Plan or Local Authority/Common Assessment Framework
- the children of refugees
- Children who have siblings who are already with us
- Children whose parents live within the area.
Holidays & Closures
The schools are closed for one inset day / training / term, and are closed for both Chinese New Year and the Christmas period, offering a half day on the 24th December, with the closure running until the first Monday after the new year bank holiday period.
Unfortunately we do not offer fee rebates on holidays that families might book from time to time as our staff team is paid for irrespective of planned breaks. Should the room be under utilised the management, at its sole discretion, can offer reductions in fees payable but should there be a new family register within this period, the school will be obligated to provide that space for the new family, should you not wish to commit to pay the full fees. In such instances, the management will liaise with the holidaying family to advise them that a new entrant has registered to secure the available space to invite them to secure the balance.
Inclusivity & Ethos
We operate an inclusion and equality policy and ensure that all children have access to nursery places and services irrespective of their gender, race, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation of parents. And we deliver an educational ethos that is inline with that focus on inclusivity and intercultural understanding - we strongly advise parents review our teaching and learning practice procedures to understand what it is we intend to teach and the values we intend to foster to be comfortable with the alignment of values prior to starting with us.
"All about Me" forms
If you sign a contract and pay your deposit, we still need to secure full profile information on your child. The nursery management will issue you with a link to your child's profile form on our nursery management system, which it is your responsibility to fill out in full to include all statutory information required for us to legally care for your child. This includes, for example: full name, date of birth, address, emergency contact details, parental responsibilities, dietary requirements, collection arrangements, contact details for parents, doctor’s contact details, health visitor contact details, allergies, parental consent and vaccinations etc. If we do not have this information prior to your start date, we may defer your start date until this information is secured.