Poulter backs bid by Ipswich nursery school to expand into surgery

Dr Dan Poulter and headteacher Lil Newton at Highfield Nursery and Children's Centre. Picture: Offic

Dr Dan Poulter and headteacher Lil Newton at Highfield Nursery and Children's Centre. Picture: Office of DR DAN POULTER - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s only stand-alone state nursery school is hoping to move into the medical centre next door – and has received the backing of its MP for the move.

Chesterfield Drive GP Surgery Picture: ARCHANT

Chesterfield Drive GP Surgery Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Highfield Nursery in Chesterfield Drive, Ipswich has operated from buildings put up in the 1970s and has run out of space as it is seriously oversubscribed.

The Chesterfield Drive Medical Centre is due to merge with the nearby Deben Road Surgery and move into a new “super surgery” which is going to be built on the junction of Norwich Road and Bury Road.

That is expected to open in 2021.

Now Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has called on authorities to work together to help the nursery school and children’s centre – which has been rated excellent by Ofsted – expand.

It has also been designated a Research School, one of only 22 in the country

The nursery is already in talks with both Ipswich Council and Suffolk County Council to buy the Chesterfield Road site when it is vacated. Dr Poulter has now written to Suffolk County Council asking for their commitment to support the nursery.

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Dr Poulter said: “Following a recent visit to Highfield Children’s Centre and Nursery, I was impressed by the commitment, creativity and enthusiasm of the staff in ensuring the very best for the young children.

“It’s clear to see that the building simply isn’t big enough and this outstanding nursery school, despite its best efforts to exploit every possible creative use of space, requires bigger premises.

“Acquiring the site would enable Highfield to cope with increased demand, and also to create a brand-new integrated family therapeutic centre, and provision for children with emotional and social difficulties.

“I hope that working together, we can find a workable solution to help Highfield get the new facilities that they need and deserve.”

Lil Newton, headteacher at Highfield Nursery School and Children’s Centre, said: “We have squeezed every ounce of value out of the space we currently have, but we really are now in need of new space.

“I welcome the support of Dr Poulter, and hope we can now work together with the councils to help ensure Suffolk leads the way in early years provision.”