A few weeks ago we were approached by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to discuss an opportunity that would allow Jack and Jill
Preschool to increase the number of places we could offer to the children of West Bicester.
There is an estimated shortfall of 100 childcare places for children in our area and since OCC would like to ensure all 2, 3 and 4 year olds have access to preschool childcare we have been asked to consider relocating to a larger purpose-built building where we can accommodate more children.
The building OCC would like us to take over (and have sole-use of) is the Brookside Children’s centre based on Queens Avenue.
Very recently Laura (Committee Chairperson) and Bekki Barker (Preschool Manager) visited the site to investigate whether this move would be at all possible and whether we could see a long-term benefit to the preschool and children.
In our opinion, the building is absolutely perfect. It would create an excellent environment for your children to grow and develop to their full potential, on a site that offers more space inside and out, in a building that is built for purpose with amenities designed for pre-schoolers.
The building consists of two main play rooms which will allow the preschool to grow in numbers. There are three main gardens with play equipment and shelter, which
will be sectioned off to provide sensory and growing areas. There are two bathrooms including nappy changing facilities, two kitchens, a large covered outside buggy-park, and there is also a secure
intercom system throughout the building. There are extra rooms available, which staff are currently producing a wish list for…ideas have included creating a
soft play sensory room!
As it did for all of us, I realise that this news may come as a shock to you all. But I hope in time like myself, the rest of the staff and Committee that you will realise the enormous opportunity that this could provide for Jack and Jill, and that of your children.
We have taken into account that this move may cause some of you added stress with the logistics of having to drop off or collect siblings who will be at school, or even just to manage the extra walk to a new setting.
We have mapped routes from various locations to show that it is manageable. To ease the pressure of the school run we have also agreed to look at extending our opening times from 8.30am till 3.30pm to allow you the extra time that may be needed to do the school run.
We are including with this letter a couple of photos that were taken on a recent site visit to show you the potential within the building. Note that these were taken before we can get access to the building to rearrange and clean it.
Initial talks had us scheduled to move in January 2018, however after careful consideration and many meetings with OCC it has been agreed that the most beneficial time for us to move would actually be over the summer, which would see us opening ready for the new September 2017 term. This is the date that we are working really hard to meet, and will continue to do so over the summer holidays, however we do not have a current date for moving and until all of the legal side of things is sorted we do not know if we will be in for September.
We will be keeping everyone updated as much as possible via letters/emails and the Facebook page – Please ensure the office has a current email address for you.