Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What age can my child start?
A: We take children from age 2+ (sorry - no babies), but usually only have 1 intake per year every September. If we can accommodate your child earlier, then we will contact you. Adding your child to our waiting list does not guarantee a place. We commence place offers each Spring, so you will know in advance if you have been allocated a place or not. For details on how we allocate places, please read our Admissions Policy.
Q: What room will my child be in?
A: We have a 'family' approach here, meaning all of our children are mixed regardless of their age and can access every area of our setting. They have their 'base' room to hang their belongings and have small circle times and some mindfulness with their Keyperson, but other than that they are free to explore and lead their own play.
Q: When will my child be funded?
A: The term (autumn/spring/summer) AFTER their 3rd birthday, unless you are entitled to Free for 2 funding which would be a year earlier (when your child is still 2). Free for 2 funding is for families claiming certain benefits, click here to check your eligibility. We also accept '30 hours' funding which in our setting is up to 24 hours per week as it's stretched over 48 weeks instead of 38 weeks term time. This is for working families, check your eligibility here.
Q: Where do I drop off and collect my child?
A: We have PIN protected security gates which staff will open for you at pre-school session times. Your Keyperson or their room buddy will come out to greet you at the blue gates and then take your child back into the garden with them. Please refrain from coming past the blue gates as the path can easily become congested with grown ups which is very daunting for our little ones. When collecting at 1.00pm or 5.00pm, please wait at the blue gates again and your child will be brought out to you. It can take some time to see all of the children in and out safely so please be patient with us. Your Keyperson, a team buddy, or a Leader can be available to speak to you afterwards if you need so - just let them know.
Q: Does my child need to be dry before starting?
A: No. We will work closely with you to help your child get potty trained when THEY are READY. Please let your Keyperson know if your child is still in nappies, so that they can be aware of their needs before they start. Take a read of our potty training guide here.
Q: Do they need a packed lunch?
A: Yes, if they're attending mornings or all day. We offer snacks in the morning and afternoon, so they won't go hungry! Stuck for lunch box ideas? Have a look at our guide for a healthy, well-balanced pack up here.
Q: What do you do if my child has allergies?
A: You will log any allergies, health conditions etc on your Registration Form so that we can add your child onto our Be Aware of Me system that notifies all staff. We use a 'traffic light' system depending on the severity. We do not provide food for special dietary requirements so you would need to provide this. If your child has an epi-pen, we need to hold a copy of their Allergy Action Plan signed by their GP. If we feel that we're unable to meet your child's needs, we would discuss this with you.
Q: What sort of things will my child be doing there?
A: We do not know what they will choose to do - their learning happens through their own chosen play, so your child will create and lead their own journey! Make sure you have a read of the EYFS and The Curiosity Approach pages, as well as having a scroll through the gallery. These will give you a good understanding of the things we provide, and then you can get a sneak peek on their Tapestry to see what they've been up to!
Q: What if my child is upset?
A: Starting pre-school can be a daunting experience for young children, and we understand that being upset about separating from a parent/carer is a perfectly reasonable reaction. We offer comfort, reassurance and sensitivity if a child is upset, discussing their emotions where possible and acknowledging their feelings. We do not tell children they shouldn’t be sad or unhappy or use distraction to ‘fix’ their distress, because by acknowledging and accepting their feelings and fears, we are demonstrating how valued and respected they are which is valuable for long term emotional well-being. If your child ever becomes overly distressed, we would give you a call and let you know so you can decide what to do.
Q: My child is booked in until 5.00pm, can I collect earlier?
A: Where really necessary, you may collect your child earlier (but not between 4-5pm as they're likely to be up in the Forest or on the field), but please consider you may interrupt their play and learning. Also bear in mind if you pay fees, you will still be liable for the whole cost of the session. There is no need to forewarn us, just buzz at the gate when you arrive, but please allow your child a few minutes to gather their belongings.
Q: I'm a working parent so need care all year - can you help?
A: Yes (well, for 48 out of 52 anyway!) We automatically 'stretch' funded children's hours over all 48 weeks. We close for Bank Holidays, over Christmas, a week at Easter usually (subject to KCC term dates) and usually the last week of August.
Q: Can I stay with my child?
A: We do strongly advise that where possible you allow us to help your child settle, as this will need to happen at some point and it's important for your child to start bonding with their Keyperson. We promise to care for them as we do our own, and happily give hugs and reassurance to any child that needs it (and their grown ups too!) During the pandemic, we had to implement a strict No Visitors policy and the positive impact on the children was unbelievable! It was suddenly shown that children were able to settle and calm significantly quicker with no additional adults in the building, and this is something we have decided to carry forward. If this concerns you, please speak to us.
Q: Are the staff trained / qualified?
A: We have a dedicated team of staff here, some who have been with us 10+ years. Most staff are qualified to at least NVQ Level 3 standard or working towards it. They regularly update their knowledge in a rapidly changing environment, and we support them by allowing them time off for courses and training sessions. Many of them attend courses in their own time which we feel really reflects their commitment to their professional development.
Q: Will our Keyperson always be there?
A: Your Keyperson will have been chosen based on the shifts they work and the sessions your child will attend. Due to the free-flowing nature of our setting, children naturally spend time and build relationships with all staff. We always ensure they see their Keyperson at least once a week so that they are able to oversee their learning and development.
Q: How many children and staff are there?
A: We can have up to 50 children per session, so we're quite a big and busy setting. There is 8-9 staff on duty at one time, depending on ratios (1:8 for age 3+ and 1:4 for age 2) plus an owner manager or leader always in the building.
Q: What is your Ofsted like?
A: We are judged as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, but to be honest - we do advise families to visit us and judge for yourselves because Ofsted reports are only a snapshot of what one person has seen on one day, and we hear (and have experienced first hand) many differing views of how accurate Ofsted inspections really are. If you want to take other people's feedback into account, please take a look at our family feedback.
Q: What policies and procedures do you have in place?
A: We have over 20 policies and procedures including; Safeguarding, Confidentiality, Equal Opportunities, First Aid, Sun Protection, Online Safety, Food Hygiene and Health and Safety. Should any safeguarding or child protection issues surrounding your child arise whilst in our care, we will speak to you. Please click here to view our policies.
Q. What happens if my child sustains an injury at Clocktower or needs medicine whilst there?
A: You will be notified of any minor accident your child has in our care by text, as well as asking you to sign an Accident Form when you collect them. We will attempt to telephone you if we feel the injury is serious. We also complete forms for ‘Existing Injuries’ if your child comes into setting with an injury sustained at home. We can only administer medicine prescribed by your GP, and it must have the label attached. You must sign a form giving us permission to do so, along with the dosage required and time to be given.
Q. What do I need to send my child in with?
A: When your child first starts, please can you send in a 6x4 photo of their face (for their Keyperson wall) and a framed family photo NO GLASS (max. 10x8 please) for our Family display. Day to day, please send in nappies, wipes and spare clothes if they are not using the toilet yet, a named bottle of water if you wish (not essential as we do provide drinks at snack time), a packed lunch if morning or all day, a comforter from home if necessary and suitable clothing for the weather forecast for the day ahead. You can leave a spare set of named wellies here permanently on our outdoor rack. A spare set of clothes for all children is always welcome as we do spend a lot of time outdoors in all weather! Please also send in a named puddle suit daily.
Q. What about in hot weather?
A: Please apply a high quality / factor sunscreen to your child before they come in (an ALL DAY / 8 hour version if they're attending 9am-5pm). This ensures they are protected even if they’re staying all day. Please always ensure your child has a wide brimmed sun hat (we do have some spares but not enough for everyone!). We are part of the Sun Safe Nurseries scheme, set up by ‘Skcin’, which demonstrates our commitment to keeping children safe from UV harm.
Q: What do you do if my child gets bitten?
A: We will let you know and ask you to sign an incident form. If it is serious e.g. broken skin, we would 'phone you as well. Biting is a typical stage of child development so please be prepared it may well happen, and/or your child may be the biter. Read more about biting here.
Q: How can I be involved at Clocktower?
A: We welcome parents / carers into Clocktower in many ways, for example, stay and play sessions, contributing to your child's Tapestry account, inviting you to join us for our trips, parent consultations, theme weeks e.g. Daddy’s Den Building, fundraising events, training and courses etc. If you would like more information on any of these, please speak to us!
Q: Can other relatives be added to Tapestry?
A: Yes of course! Just send us their email address, full name, and relationship to the child and we can arrange that for you.
Q: Have things changed because of Coronavirus?
A: At the time of writing (May 2022), we are pleased to say Clocktower life is back to 'normal' (as normal as we'll ever be anyway!)
Q. What if I have a complaint or concern?
A: At Clocktower, we endeavour to offer the best service we possibly can. If you have any problems whatsoever, we ask you to speak to us at your earliest convenience so we can put things right and put your mind at ease. However, we understand that this may not always be possible, so we have included our Complaints Procedure for you in case you ever feel the need to contact the ‘next port of call’. We sincerely hope you never feel the need to use it.
- Manager/Leader on duty: 01634 240530
- The Setting Manager (Sally Wingham): 01634 240530 or confidential email
- Ofsted: 0300 1231231