Headteacher - Otley Street Nursery School 


Dear Headteacher Applicant,

Welcome to our dedicated Headteacher recruitment webpage, which aims to provide you with all the information about our nursery and current vacancy. Thank you for taking the time to visit, we hope that the information we have provided encourages you to make an application to our warm and welcoming nursery school.

Otley Street Nursery is nestled on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, in the charming market town of Skipton. As one of only two maintained nursery schools in Skipton and one of only three such schools within the Local Education Authority, we are looking to appoint a leader who has extensive knowledge of EYFS. You will build on the nursery school’s many strengths, possessing financial clarity and strategic vision, to ensure our long term viability, regular engagement and consultation with parents and carers, instilling continuity and further developing our links with the community, partner collaborations and our strong pastoral provision.

Our governors are seeking to appoint a leader who is passionate about Early Years education and are keen to have a Headteacher who will maintain the breadth of the life of the school. You will be supported by a highly committed, experienced, and loyal team of staff and a strong governing body that welcomes innovation and change, providing you with the scope to lead, shape and influence our future.

This is a unique opportunity for you to lead our school, developing its potential and building on our strengths, successes and achievements.

We strongly recommend that you visit us so we can share with you why we are so proud of our nursery, and you will have the opportunity to see what we have to offer. Such a visit is not part of the selection process, and whether or not applicants have visited will not influence the final outcome.

If you would like the opportunity to visit, please email Rachel Wales, Resourcing Business Partner, who has been engaged to support us with recruitment to this key role (rachel.wales@northyorks.gov.uk). For an informal, confidential conversation about the role please call Rachel on 01609 532597 / 07973 692529.

I hope you find the information provided useful and informative and that it will encourage you to apply. On behalf of the governing body, thank you again for your interest in Otley Street Community Nursery School.

Yours faithfully,

Janet Booth
Chair of Governors

Welcome Message from Patricia Lord, Headteacher - Otley Street Nursery School

Dear Headteacher Applicant,

Welcome to Otley Street! Otley Street is a stand-alone, maintained nursery school which was established in 1942. We serve the local community of Skipton but are also the nursery of choice for many families from surrounding villages - on leaving us the children may transfer to up to 17 primary schools.

Otley Street has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and excellent relationships with the families who use it. Our relationships with parents and their involvement in learning are a particular strength of the school. The staff team is well established, enthusiastic and experienced and always willing to review practice and adapt to changing scenarios. As in all schools the constant pressures of the budget and statutory change have proved challenging for both staff and governors, but we have worked together as a team to develop and adapt provision so that we have maximised income whilst still maintaining the quality and standards. Holding fast to our vision and values and what is right for the children is at the centre of all that we do. We aim to take the best of the new whilst maintaining the things that work or have already proven their importance. This philosophy has served us well in recent years and we were delighted to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED for the second consecutive time in March 2019.

Otley Street is part of the local CASTLE Alliance of Craven schools. This is a collaborative association, not based around a Teaching School. The Board meets half-termly and also offers a variety of networks to support particular subject areas or roles e.g. SENCo network; Authentic Leadership for Headteachers. This has created a support system for staff at all levels, but also for Headteachers, and I am sure that they will offer a friendly welcome for the next Headteacher of Otley Street! I am currently part of the Strategic Board and also take a lead in the Early Years network.

I have loved my time here at Otley Street! Many challenges remain for my successor, but also many exciting opportunities to take this very special small school on into the future and the next stage of its journey. As a Headteacher I believe that we are custodians of all the history of a school, but also pioneers of all the future possibilities. I am sure that the successful candidate will find Otley Street a very happy and rewarding place to be!

Otley Street is a maintained community nursery school situated in the charming market town of Skipton, nestled on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. A Green Flag Eco school (awarded 2014), we offer 40 full-time equivalent places for 15 hours of nursery education, or for additional hours under the 30 hours extended entitlement. Of the 70 children currently on roll, 46 live within the immediate area, 22 live in the surrounding villages and 2 children travel in from towns further afield. Generally, the intake reflects a broadly average level of deprivation and prosperity for North Yorkshire.

The school was opened as a war-time nursery in 1942 and housed in a "temporary building" in which it remains. The land on which the school stands is held under a charitable trust and is one of only two Maintained Nursery schools in Skipton and one of only three such schools within the Local Education Authority.

In November 2008 an extension was added to the school building, funded partly through Skipton's Children Centre funds and partly by the Governors through the school's Devolved Formula Capital budget. The resulting additional space was shared 50/50 across the week by the school and the Children's Centre, which opened in 2009; enhancing the curriculum provision within the school and also providing additional services for children and families, both within school and in the local area. It was one of three local satellite spaces used by the Children's Centre, however, unfortunately in December 2014, the Children’s Centre withdrew from our site and all other satellite spaces due to budgetary issues.

Our nursery school is an extended school, offering the free 15 hours’ entitlement to Nursery Education and the extended 30 hours’ entitlement in a flexible way. For the universal 15 hours offer, children attend either five morning sessions, five afternoon sessions or for two and a half days (split week pattern - Monday, Tuesday and a half day Wednesday or Thursday, Friday and a half day Wednesday). The majority of our places are occupied with the two and a half days’ pattern, however, where parent's work commitments require a variation to this, the nursery school will endeavour to accommodate them. Our aim is to provide flexibility for parents, while maximising continuity for children. Currently a small cohort of 9 children attend for the full 30 hours, 19 attend between 15 and 30 hours and 2 children attend for 12 hours, taking their additional 3 hours elsewhere.

We provide a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum for our children, which is enriched by regular visits from music specialists, artists and members of the local community with specific knowledge, skills or experience. The nursery extension has provided additional teaching spaces to support keyworker groups, language intervention groups, and increased opportunities for movement and music sessions and access to an interactive whiteboard. In addition, lunches have been removed from the main classroom areas, which allowed reorganisation of the teaching space to provide a more effective continuous provision. This space is also used for Breakfast Club and After-school Club, as well as additional class group space for larger pupil intakes.

Supervised packed lunch-time sessions are provided, (at a minimal cost to cover staffing) as an essential part of the full days or as an optional "add-on" to the morning or afternoon sessions. This provision is highly valued by parents and is currently accessed by 66 children (185 sessions) each week. Since January 2012 we have provided a Breakfast club, which runs from 07:45am to 08:30am and is currently utilised by 12 children (24 sessions plus ad-hoc usage). Due to its success, we launched an after-school club facility in September 2016, which operates from 3.30pm to 6pm and is currently utilised by 8 families (21 sessions plus ad-hoc usage).

We have strong links with CASTLE; an informal Teaching Alliance for over 30 Craven area schools. Our current Headteacher is a member of the steering group and has taken an active lead in the setting up and providing ongoing development of the CASTLE Early Years Network, which meets termly to offer a culture of sharing good and outstanding practice and aims to raise standards across all the schools in the Craven area.

We have a strong and positive relationship with the Local Authority and a very supportive Governing Body, who are involved in all aspects of school life and are fully engaged with the strategic leadership of our school.

The aims of the school were reviewed in summer term 2019 with valuable input from parents and carers, staff, governors and children.

Our new school moto is: “Nurture, Blossom and Grow” .

The way in which the nursery is organised and run, as well as the relationship between the children themselves and their teachers is based on the ethos and values that pervades every aspect of nursery life. The emphasis is wholeheartedly on educating the whole child in readiness for life beyond nursery school.

At Otley Street Community Nursery School, we help every child to be:

  • Happy
  • An effective communicator
  • Respectful and mindful
  • Resilient
  • A successful learner
  • Confident and independent

By ensuring they are:

  • Safe and healthy
  • Curious and interested
  • Supported and encouraged
  • Open-minded and inclusive

Our staff are our greatest resource and are incredibly committed, loyal and dedicated and always have the best interest of the pupils at heart.

The Headteacher provides PPA cover and SLT cover to the three teachers, which comprises 19 hours (equivalent to 3 days across every two weeks or approximately 0.3 FTE teaching commitment).

Our class teachers lead their support team through shared goals, working in close partnership with parents and carers, governors and the local community, to provide an excellent early years’ educational experience for all, as well as managing the social and emotional needs of our children.

The Teaching Assistants play a vital role across the nursery in supporting our children. One of our Advanced Teaching Assistants boasts a BA Degree in Early Years Education and another has continued their studies beyond Level 4.

The nursery school generally has an excellent retention rate for both staff and Governors, which has helped to provide continuity and consistency, with recent changes adding new strengths to the staff team.

The Chair of Governors has completed the NCSL chair of governors training and has recently spent two years supporting the interim executive board at a local primary school. Two governors are qualified teachers and one parent governor is a teaching assistant. From September 2018 the school changed its governance model by removing separate Curriculum and Finance committees and moving to half-termly full governing body meetings. The intention was to ensure that all governors were fully aware of all areas of the school’s performance and that less repetition and feedback from committees would mean more effective use of governor time.

Staffing Structure:

  • Headteacher (PPA Cover & SEND Leader)
  • 3 x Class Teacher (1 x 1 FTE, 1 x 0.6 FTE, 1 x Temp 0.9 FT)
  • 3 x Advanced TAs (1 x Established TTO, 2 x Established (currently 1 x Est PT post covered for maternity leave by a Fixed Term TTO and an additional Fixed Term TTO to end in August 2020)
  • 4 x General TAs SEN (all PT/TTO and linked to SEND pupils)
  • 7 x MDSV (Est TTO - 5 work 5 days, 1 works 4 days and 1 works 1 day)
  • 1 x Admin Assistant / Office Manager (Established PT TTO – 4 days)
  • The majority of the children (88.6%) are White British with English as their first language. Four children (5.7%) are of Pakistani heritage and three children (4.3%) are of mixed white and Asian background, one (1.4%) is of any other mixed white background.
  • Overall three children have English as an additional language, all Urdu speakers.
  • Four children attend another setting in addition to accessing their full 15-hours entitlement at Otley Street Nursery.
  • Eight children have a child-minder in addition to taking their 15-hours entitlement at Otley Street Nursery.
  • The majority of the children attended a playgroup, private nursery setting, with one attending a childminder prior to attending Otley Street Nursery.
  • Five children are eligible to receive EYPP and three are in receipt of DLA.
  • On leaving Otley Street Nursery in 2019 the children transferred to 20 different primary schools.
  • The intake in September 2019 comprised 47 children - 21 boys and 26 girls.
  • 23 children were already in Nursery, having been admitted in January 2019 (11 boys and 12 girls).
  • Attainment on entry is assessed by ongoing observation and a formative assessment is completed after an initial settling period using Essex Target Tracker.


Otley Street Nursery School was judged “Outstanding ” at its last Ofsted Inspection – Short inspection - March 2019.

Inspection findings

  • The recommendation from the previous inspection was fully discussed by leaders, managers and staff. A parent survey was undertaken effectively to identify how children were exposed to technology at home. As a result, the school took a clear decision to enhance this through using information technology for research and learning. For example, a display of children’s work described what they had found out about what the heart looks like. This learning had come from experiencing technology in a wider sense, for example through listening to their heartbeat using a stethoscope. Children are now given opportunities to design programs to control programmable toys. They are encouraged to record their work using cameras. Children themselves have identified that they would like to see more real tools in the outdoor area, and staff are currently responding by developing a woodworking area and bringing in real building materials.
  • Staff keep detailed records of any actions taken when any concerns are identified about any children. These records show that staff take swift action and seek advice and guidance from relevant professionals, while always keeping parents well informed. This means they protect children they are concerned about. Parents I spoke with said how safe they and their children felt in the nursery.
  • Most of the children who enter the nursery with skills and knowledge that are below those typical for their age have SEND. The support for these children and their parents is of the highest quality. Each child’s daily diary ensures that their parents can sustain this learning at home. Parents of children with SEND said how well the school has supported them in getting their children diagnosed, as well as guiding them through the process to secure this. All these children receive appropriate levels of support and are progressing well towards their individual targets. Parents are secure in knowing that support will continue as they move to their next school.
  • Parents who expressed a view were exceptionally positive about how they can become involved in their child’s learning. The workshops you run are very informative and help parents to understand child development and progress better. The focus meetings are highly valued, as are the weekly and termly newsletters. Parents spoke of how, by receiving good notice of events, they can manage their worktime and attend. They also spoke of their appreciation of how flexible you and the staff are in being available to meet with them. You make yourselves available before sessions start or in the early evening, working around their availability. Staff identified how they share any learning from their training, for example about how the different rates of bone growth can impact on when boys and girls take up writing. Parents said that this had given them a great insight into the development of writing skills.
  • The highly accessible website holds excellent information for parents. It is regularly reviewed by the governing body, both in terms of content and to ensure that it meets requirements. It is currently being updated with policies as new versions become accepted by the full governing body.

Next steps for the school
Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that:

  • They continue to develop staff skills in observing each other in order to enhance the quality of teaching and learning outcomes.

School Improvement Development Plan 2019/2020
The current School Improvement Development Plan focuses on the following key targets:

  • To review the curriculum in the context of changes to OFSTED inspection framework 2019
  • To achieve NYCC healthy schools award and review school environment in relation to health and well-being of pupils and staff.
  • To determine succession plans for the planned retirement of the head teacher, school admin and chair of governors.
  • To further develop peer-observation across the staff team in order to further enhance teaching and learning outcomes.
  • To review EAL provision and support

The full School Improvement Development Plan can be accessed here .

As with all schools, budgets are constrained, and with the significant changes in the funding to all maintained nursery schools in recent years, it has created a period of unsettlement and unpredictability in terms of the financial future.

As a school we have worked very hard to maximise the income we can generate and are currently maintaining our financial position, however, this is a delicate balance and has required significant creativity.

The withdrawal of the children’s centre from our shared site agreement has had some impact on our budget, however, the major impact was in terms of regular interaction between staff and opportunities for joint working at the universal level of provision. The current Headteacher has collaborated with other maintained nursery Headteachers through the APPG established, to raise the plight of maintained nursery schools in Westminster.

Funding cuts have increased competition locally between all early years’ providers which does not support our desire to work co-operatively with others, to provide a flexible range of options for parents and carers in terms of childcare and education.

The financial issues that the school and other local schools have faced have unfortunately meant that the Early Intervention Language Project, which we had shared successfully with 3 other schools ceased, therefore, as a result, we lost regular support of a linked SLT. However, we have been determined to continue to provide excellent support to children with SLC needs via our Ginger Bear Groups and other interventions and by ensuring parents are directed to the local SLT drop-in service promptly, when needs are identified. Our nursery school is committed to ongoing CPD to support this. A member of staff was previously ECAT trained but more recently all staff have undergone training in early language development and common speech and language difficulties. This work was developed further across the school as a target on the 2018/19 School Development plan.

Otley Street Nursery School is an average sized maintained nursery, serving the town of Skipton and surrounding Yorkshire Dales. The majority of pupils are white British and the proportion of disabled children and those who have special educational needs is below average.

The communities we serve have a significant percentage of working parents, who can in many ways prove "hard to reach". The school strives to overcome this by providing weekly updates including; monthly newsletters; consulting regularly with all parents and carers, while inviting feedback termly; providing termly reports of progress, offering termly Parent's meetings and providing good advance notice of opportunities for parents to visit or take part in activities to support their child's learning and development.

Relationships with parents and carers are excellent and the school is very well supported by them.

“Parents who expressed a view were exceptionally positive about how they can become involved in their child’s learning. The workshops you run are very informative and help parents to understand child development and progress better. The focus meetings are highly valued, as are the weekly and termly newsletters. Parents spoke of how, by receiving good notice of events, they can manage their worktime and attend. They also spoke of their appreciation of how flexible you and the staff are in being available to meet with them. You make yourselves available before sessions start or in the early evening, working around their availability. Staff identified how they share any learning from their training, for example about how the different rates of bone growth can impact on when boys and girls take up writing. Parents said that this had given them a great insight into the development of writing skills.” – Ofsted March 2019

As well as a successful partnership between the nursery, the parents/carers and the children; our partnership also extends to working closely with other schools. We have well established transition arrangements both for joining and leaving school, supporting the children in settling into Nursery and Primary school as smoothly as possible. This is evidenced via annual induction evaluation forms; in-house transition project, PACEY project; informal feedback received from Reception staff and receiving Headteachers.

The school has also established strong links with local secondary schools and colleges, Northern Lights Teaching School Alliance, Bradford College and regularly provides placements for work-experience students, trainee teaching assistants and initial teacher training students.

Otley Street Nursery School is linked with the CASTLE Teaching Alliance. Our current Headteacher is a member of the steering group and has taken an active lead in the setting up and providing ongoing development of the CASTLE Early Years Network, which meets termly to offer a culture of sharing good and outstanding practice and aims to raise standards across all the schools in the Craven area. All members benefit from collaborative support to improve learning outcomes for children and continued professional development (CPD) of teachers and potential teachers.

Our school has a positive relationship with the Local Authority through service level agreements for HR support and a close working relationship with our School Improvement colleagues.

Skipton is a charming market town in the Craven district of North Yorkshire and is ideally positioned with excellent transport links to many other major UK cities, and close to the junction of the A65 from Leeds to the Lake District and the A59 from York to Liverpool.

Nestled on the edge of the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, people travel the length and breadth of the country to visit and it was listed in the 2018 Sunday Times report on “Best Places to Live in Northern England”. With its famous 900-year-old castle, romantic ruined priory and historic cobbled High Street, Skipton is endlessly rich both in history and outstanding natural beauty.

North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire is England's largest county and one of the most rural. The area comprises the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, three areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Pennines and a stunning coastline around Scarborough and Whitby. There are ruined castles and abbeys, serene gardens, unique breweries, thrilling rides and industrial heritage. The area hosted the phenomenal Tour de France in 2014 and has since created the Tour de Yorkshire, an annual event with global recognition. Our success in supporting these events led to Harrogate hosting the UCI Cycling World Championships in 2019.

North Yorkshire has plenty to offer the outdoor enthusiast. From the hard gritstone of Almscliff and Brimham rocks to the limestone of Malham, Gordale and Kilnsey climbing venues are in abundance. The Yorkshire Dales is the premier area for caving and for mountain biking; there are the bridleways of the Dales and North York Moors as well as the renowned trail centre at Dalby Forest. There are a small number of sailing clubs on reservoirs around the county and fantastic surf sport venues and sea kayaking on the east coast.

While the county is rightly known for its wide open spaces, it also incorporates attractive market towns including Pickering and Helmsley, traditional seaside towns, the Spa town of Harrogate and the ancient city of York - the most visited city outside of London. There are a wide range of shopping, leisure and cultural facilities as well as excellent schools, universities, road and rail links, there really is everything to offer you and your family as a place to work, live and enjoy!

Travelling further afield we have convenient connectivity, with close proximity to metropolitan cities of Leeds and Newcastle, with little over two hours commute on the main train line to London. We border the Lake District, Lancashire, County Durham, and Yorkshire & Humber regions with all they have to offer.

The Role

Otley Street Nursery School, Skipton, North Yorkshire 

Post: Headteacher

Number on Roll:  70

Teaching Commitment:  0.4 FTE 

Commencing: September 2020

Salary:  L6 - L12 

Are you a creative and collaborative leader who is passionate about Early Years Education and securing excellent outcomes for children? If so, this role offers a wonderful opportunity to lead an interesting and fantastically resourced nursery school through the next phase of its growth and development.

Nestled on the edge of the stunning Yorkshire Dales, in the charming market town of Skipton, Otley Street is a successful and thriving Community Nursery School and is one of only two maintained nursery schools in Skipton, and one of only three such schools within the Local Education Authority.

We are an open, happy and friendly nursery, where we value our community and have an ethos of kindness and support for each other. We are well-respected and known for our high standards and a fully inclusive model of education; enabling all children the best possible start to their learning. Our core values and school moto of “Nurture, Blossom and Grow” support this model and are lived out in the daily work of the nursery.

Consistently rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, this is a unique opportunity to further develop Otley Street Nursery as a centre of excellence for Early Years, in an environment that exudes infectious enthusiasm and enjoyment of learning. Our children, who are taken from the immediate catchment area and surrounding villages, deserve an education that will change their lives and give them the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and in turn you and your staff will enjoy a fulfilling career, releasing your potential and maximising your impact.

Our opportunity
We are seeking to appoint a Senior Leader with extensive knowledge of EYFS and early childhood development and the ability to effectively lead SEND throughout the nursery. To succeed you must have drive and ambition to further develop collaborative working, financial clarity and strategic vision to ensure our long term viability.

You must be a proven leader and manager with the ability to build on our success, maximise pupil numbers and deliver outstanding progress across the school community. An excellent communicator, you must have a good understanding of the needs and demands of a nursery school such as Otley Street, together with the skills needed to effectively influence stakeholders.

You will inherit a nursery school which has a strong community ethos and colleagues who are proud to work for a school which puts the whole child and parental engagement at its very heart and a supportive and caring Governing body.

We can offer you:
• A happy and friendly nursery, fostering an inclusive and nurturing environment in which to inspire and motivate our children.
• Significant levels of support from the Local Authority, Governing Board, and a loyal staff team who are experienced, committed and passionate about our nursery.
• Delightful children who respect each other, have a thirst for learning new things and a staff culture which allows new members to thrive and develop.
• An opportunity to work with highly committed, experienced professionals across the nursery and in collaboration with other maintained Nursery Schools within North Yorkshire and the local CASTLE Alliance of Craven schools.

For an informal, confidential conversation about the role, please call Rachel Wales who is supporting this recruitment process on behalf of Otley Street Nursery School, and can be contacted at North Yorkshire County Council on 01609 532597 / 07973 692529.

We strongly recommend that you visit us so we can share with you why we are so proud of our nursery, allowing you the opportunity to see what we have to offer. If you would like the opportunity to visit, please email rachel.wales@northyorks.gov.uk 

Key dates:
Application closing date: Midnight, Sunday 19 April
Shortlisting: TBC
Interviews: TBC

Supporting Documents
Person Specification
Job Description

When applying please take into account the following:

Supporting Information
The supporting information section of your application should clearly evidence your ability to meet the requirements we have outlined in the person specification. This will be used to shortlist applicants for this role and therefore it is imperative that you provide evidence as requested.

When completing your application, please provide two employment references.