Category Archives: Uncategorized

Top school reaches out to parents as TUC analysis shows that childcare costs have rocketed by 52% a week since 2008

[See infographic here:]

As soaring nursery fees take their toll on working families, a top independent school has produced a ground-breaking infographic to show that a place in a top independent school for a four-year-old can cost as little as £37 a week.

A recent TUC analysis showed that working parents with children under five have seen nursery fees rise three times faster than their wages over the past decade, with childcare costs rocketing by 52% per week since 2008.

With this in mind, Burgess Hill Girls is reaching out to parents to publicise the underestimated financial benefits of private education. The school’s infographic, which details potential costs and savings, demonstrates how a premier education is actually within reach for thousands of families.

It shows that the extended school day can reduce childcare cost by £2,800 per year, while free after-school activities at independent schools represent a saving of £350 a year (based on two after-school clubs per week at £5 per club). And with a free breakfast and dinner factored in, on top of a hot lunch, many families may also find themselves £437 (per year) better off.

And now, thanks to the Government’s free childcare scheme for three- to four-year-olds, the £81-per-week actual cost to parents of a Reception place at Burgess Hill Girls can be reduced even further by a maximum of £44 to only £37 a week, or £1,924 a year, as the infographic shows.  

Burgess Hill Girls Head Liz Laybourn said: “So many families assume that the cost of an independent school education is beyond their means, but we’re showing in one handy infographic that there are a number of significant savings that should be factored in before they make a decision.”

Mrs Laybourn added: “Of course, the decision to educate your child in the independent sector is about far more than money. For example, the pupil-teacher ratio in independent schools is, typically, almost half that of state schools, meaning more one-to-one time with your four-year-old and more effective teaching from day one.”

She added: “We really hope the infographic gives parents all the information they need to make an informed decision about choosing the right school for their four-year-old. It’s one of the most important decisions they will ever make.”


Bountiful Botanics is the perfect autumnal experience – a weekend packed with entertainment – walks, talks and delicious food that is guaranteed to get everyone, or any age, rocking the autumn vibe.

Children will love rolling up their sleeves and getting hands on with apple pressing, seed sowing and planting out cuttings with our horticultural team. A wild cookery workshop will get their creative juices flowing and tractor rides and tree climbing will be a must for the adventurous.

Gold Leaf Storm is bound to be a huge hit – a game that will have children tearing around after swirling autumn leaves frantically searching for gold! Apple bobbin –  an old favourite – is the stuff of which memories are made.

Our adult visitors will be spoilt for choice with things to do – learn how to keep a beehive, join a foraging walk and discover how to use plants and herbs for well-being.

Capoeira (a mixture of martial arts and dance) taster sessions will get the blood pumping and will be sure to produce a giggle or two.

Then, relax with a spot of Forest Bathing and Forest Chi in the woodlands – you will emerge relaxed, refreshed and ready for anything!

There will be tours of the Millennium Seed Bank and the outside nursery that produces plants both for our scientists and for the gardens.

Tours, talks and workshops can be booked in our Booking Tent on the day. Tree-climbing needs to be booked online to guarantee a spot. Some activities do incur an extra charge.

In between all this activity – relax on hay bales, listen to live music and enjoy a great selection of hearty autumnal hot dishes.

For more information contact Sandra Howard, Communications and Content Manager on 01444 894336 / 07753 938682

Wakehurst is one of the most beautiful and significant botanic gardens in the country. It is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, which houses and protects seed from all over the world. To find out more






Our innovative, cutting edge mental health service is launching a multi-purpose studio this month. With events focusing on trauma & attachment, parenting, mental health, nutrition & resilience across the life-span – we are creating a learning forum where mind, body and environment can be understood as one. Our studio offers high quality, accessible education to all; from young people, children and parents & carers on the front line, through to a diverse range of professionals.

We believe it is important that our delegates are given a warm and welcoming space both physically and also emotionally, therefore the combination of our warm, bright and welcoming multi-purpose space and our calming, nurturing training team will make them feel relaxed and comfortable to learn, reflect and truly integrate their learning experience.

Our specialist trainers are a multi-disciplinary, highly experienced therapeutic team. A creative mix of Clinical Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Occupational Therapists working closely with Drama therapists, a Nutritional Therapist & Naturopath and our in-house Trauma Artist, boldly interwoven with inspirational experts by experience who are essential to the educational experience.

We are also excited to be joined by some of the world’s most inspiring speakers who are leading the way in trauma informed treatment and education; Éadaoin Bhreathnach, Robin Shapiro, Lisa Schwarz and Janina Fisher amongst many others.

Beacon House Therapeutic Services & Trauma Team is an integrated mental health and occupational therapy service offering a range of assessments and therapies for children, families, and adults.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me on 01444 413 939 or email me on [email protected]

Halloween Half Term is the time for all apprentice witches and wizards to put their skills to the test to become a fully-fledged expert in magic. Put on your cloak, grab your broomstick, wave your wand and fly across to the ‘Borde Hill Academy of Witches of Wizards’.

From 20th – 31st October 2018, young visitors will receive a treat from the Head Witch in her lair if they complete all the magical challenges in their spell book on the daily garden trail. £2 per trail plus admission, to include a spellbinding prize (FREE to Friends).

There’s also a bewitching concoction of activities to keep young witches and wizards entertained throughout Half Term, including the chance to don a glove and get up close and personal with some majestic owls, or hold a scary, hairy, creepy crawly. Creative hands can also make their own magic wand or carve a pumpkin masterpiece to add to a line of lit pumpkins threading through the garden during the ‘Pumpkin Glow’ event.  The hocus pocus also includes spooky storytelling for families, face painting and on selected days, Halloween crafts to make and take home.

After all the excitement tired souls can revive their spirits at the Gardeners’ Retreat Café serving tasty snacks and warming drinks.

Join us on Sunday 28th for the second year of our ‘Pumpkin Glow’ event, when the best pumpkin designs will be judged, with the winning witch or wizard receiving a 2019 Family Membership.  To be part of our amazing trail of carved pumpkins and to be in with a chance of winning the prize, please bring pumpkins by 4pm on 29th October. Judging will take place at 4.30pm.

Visitors are also welcome to wander and enjoy the stunning hues of autumn with cornus, acers, liquidambar trees and deciduous azaleas, as well as wonderful views across the parkland featuring native and exotic trees.

Please see website for full details or call 01444 450326.

These tots at Burgess Hill Girls Nursery certainly understand where their food comes from – their school garden, where they grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruit.

With a recent survey reporting that fewer than half of young UK adults know butter comes from a dairy cow and a third do not know eggs come from hens, it has never been more important to ensure that young children are taught about food production from the start of their schooling.


At Burgess Hill Girls Nursery, children are involved in selecting and chopping fruit and vegetables for their snacks and prepare their own tea, usually sandwiches or wraps.

The school catering team support the children’s understanding by visiting the nursery and talking about their roles, the foods they cook and how they prepare foods.

Nursery manager Suzanne Roberts says: “We strongly advocate developing children’s natural curiosity of the outdoors and an understanding of the world about them. Learning to care for, and be responsible for, their outdoor environment and understanding where their food comes from and the process of growth, is so important. It’s a lesson that stays with them for life. And they absolutely love growing their own produce.”

Since launching the first West Sussex Bump, Baby & Toddler Show in February 2017, the show has grown and so has the network of businesses engaging with its organiser.

With a young family, babytodd & beyond’s creator, Sarah O’Connell, appreciated first hand the importance of investing time in researching suppliers before committing to purchases for herself during pregnancy and when her twin girls were born. She was increasingly aware of the speed of time flying by and how enjoying family time out was important for the family to all relax and enjoy special times together.

With so much information, choice and many opportunities for local families to embrace, “the show was a no brainer” said Sarah. “Parenting can be tiring, exciting, overwhelming and a joy. I wanted to offer families an occasion that would capture a moment in time where families could take time out, meet the makers and passion behind so many fantastic local businesses & services.” Sarah continued “it is key for the event to repeat regularly so families can depend on a fun and informative event with some treats thrown in too.”

The show is about to return to West Sussex for the third time, in September; the first was in February 2017. Since its launch, the event has gone from strength to strength in terms of the family following and the businesses keen to be involved. Sarah explained ‘from the very start, local businesses and services shared their enthusiasm for the show and also to work as a team in building a wonderful event with babytodd & beyond as the Organiser.”

Starting a business and working solo is exciting, but sometimes can be overwhelming and lonely.” Sarah continued “since hosting the first show and engaging with local suppliers it was clear that group support and collaboration was not only needed, but bursting with potential. So, babytodd and beyond organically grew to offer a ‘Business Network Hub-Bub’.”

This Facebook based group now has over 250 members who are all passionate and excited to serve the local family audience with their extensive range of products & services, all perfect for parents, bumps, babies & beyond.

Sarah explained “babytodd & beyond offer an informal platform for businesses, many sole traders, to reach out and ask questions, support one another, get feedback, bounce ideas and talk general business with others who are in a similar place with their business and working with the same audiences. We meet ‘bi-monthly’ in local independent establishments across West Sussex where we network, share and the most amazing collaborations are born. We next meet on the 5th September at The Dragon in Colegate.” Sarah shared “I just love watching the opportunities unfold within the Hub-Bub and working with local venues too.”

Sarah finished, “we are dedicated to supporting local businesses and in turn providing a service to the families across West Sussex & beyond.  It makes our day to watch the new businesses and members fly.”

babytodd & beyond continue to offer a growing range of ways for members to share their work. You can learn more about the local showcase by visiting for information on suppliers, shows, newsletters and much more. If you are a local business interested to join the HUB BUB then visit the business page of the site.

The babytodd & beyond – West Sussex Bump, Baby & Toddler Show returns to West Sussex on 29th September at the new venue; The South of England Showground, Ardingly. Entry is FREE for those who pre-register or £5 on the door. With over 60 exhibitors and a great range of FREE facilities including, workshops, taster sessions, goody bags & children’s activities. Register now

Photo: Nature Tots green gym © Sue Curnock, Sussex Wildife Trust

To celebrate the start of a new term for Nature Tots, Sussex Wildlife Trust are offering a FREE TASTER SESSION at Standgrove Woods, Ardingly on Tuesday 4 September.

Nature Tots is forest fun for 3-5 year olds. Bring your children along for bug hunting, den building, autumn leaf collages, campfire cooking, muddy play and games themed around wildlife and the changing seasons. The next blocks of sessions will run on 11& 18 September, and 9 & 16 October, cost works out at £8 per session for members of Sussex Wildlife Trust, and £9 per session for non-members.

Booking essential:


Research findings using data from the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s study should reassure parents that their fussy toddlers can grow up with a healthy height and weight.

In fact, being more relaxed around eating will help your child be less choosy.

Picky eating in toddlers is a well-documented phase when children don’t want to try new foods and/or show very strong preferences. It can create much worry for parents, and has created a whole market for advice, guidance and tools to encourage young children to try lots of new tastes and textures.

University of Bristol researchers Dr Caroline Taylor and Dr Pauline Emmett used the Children of the 90s longitudinal study to look at the height, weight and body composition of nearly 300 children between the ages of 7 and 17 years who had been found to be picky eaters when they were three years old. The results were compared with 900 children in the same study who were not picky eaters. In a separate study the same researchers looked at some of the reasons behind fussiness, particularly whether the parents’ concern around the issue contributed towards the development of picky eating behaviour.

Instead of being harmed by their diets, the mean height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of picky eaters were consistently above the 50th centiles of reference growth charts, showing that they grew normally. In addition, more than two-thirds of picky eaters were not underweight at any age point. Overall, the growth of the children who were picky eaters was reassuring.

When looking at the reasons behind fussiness with 6000 questionnaires from the Children of the 90s study, researchers found that the late introduction of lumpy foods (after nine months old) and early parental worry about choosiness were contributing factors for children who were very picky eaters at three years old.

Fifty percent of three-year-olds with mothers who were greatly worried about their child’s choosiness at an earlier age were very picky eaters, compared with only 17 per cent if the mothers were more relaxed at the earlier age. Parents eating the same meal together with their children was shown to be protective against picky eating.

Dr Caroline Taylor from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Child Health commented: “Parents should be reassured by our research that the fussy toddler they may be faced with today can grow up with a good healthy weight and height, although a few may have periods of skinniness. Increased worry around feeding can contribute towards young children being pickier about the foods they will accept.”

“Advice and support for families should include encouraging the introduction of lumpy foods by 9 months, offering new foods regularly but without pressure, and eating with their children as much as possible.”

“Early choosiness is a normal part of growing up and parents can relax in the knowledge that this phase shouldn’t limit their children’s growth.”

Julie Lanigan, the chair of the British Dietetic Association’s Paediatric Specialist Group said:

“Feeding and nutrition are the most frequently reported concerns of parents with young children. Naturally, parents want to feel confident that their child is growing, eating well and meeting their nutritional needs. Picky eating is a particular worry to parents who think their child may be missing out on energy and nutrients.”

“A wide variety of foods is the ideal way to meet vitamin and mineral requirements but it is possible to have a complete diet based on fewer foods, provided these come from all four of the main food groups.”

“These latest studies from Bristol should reassure parents that even though their child may seem picky they are taking in enough energy to support healthy growth. Picky eating is not a new phenomenon and is common in infants and toddlers, so parents should not blame themselves. What we do know now is that lessening parental worry is important to make feeding more enjoyable and less stressful.”

“It is recommended to check weight and height at intervals detailed in the Personal Child Health Record (“Red Book”) as we know that good growth is the best indicator that a child is doing well and getting the nutrition they need.”

“Provided children are well and have enough energy, not only to grow but to go about their daily activities, including walking, running and active play, there should be no cause for concern. If there are concerns around growth, low energy levels or a child is frequently unwell then parents and carers should consult their GP or Health Visitor.”

Photo: Haywards Heath Music Society Jazz Concert, The National Youth Jazz Orchestra Ambassadors

Haywards Heath Music Society is a Registered Charity which promotes professional live music in Mid Sussex. Season tickets are currently available at £60 for all 6 concerts. Family friendly tickets also available for each concert – up to two adults HALF PRICE when accompanied by an under 18.

Burgess Hill Girls Nursery teacher and manager Suzanne Roberts has put together some tips to ensure the move is a smooth one.

• Most schools have an induction day or Meet the Teacher day. This is a really important time for your child to see what their new classroom is like. They will probably enjoy an afternoon or morning in the classroom which will be set up to be very similar to our nursery with lots of familiar activities. The teacher will probably read them a story and will chat to each child. If your child misses this, they will miss out on knowing what you mean about going to school. Hopefully, this will be an extremely positive experience and they will take that home with them.

• Let them practise wearing their uniform and PE kit. Lots of parents forget this and then expect their child to be comfortable on their first day. Uniforms can be very different to what your child is used to wearing. Children of this age can be sensitive to change. To make it fun we will have a uniform week at Nursery. We have a set of uniforms from each local school for our dressing up areas. Remember: children will have to change into their PE kit on their OWN at school with very little help so practice makes perfect!

• Avoid buying new school shoes with laces. Your child has to become more independent, so help them as much as possible by either buying shoes with Velcro straps or slip on trainers/plimsolls.

• Leave ‘special toys’- comforters, blankets, teddies – at home. Start by encouraging your child to drop these in the Nursery class bag on arrival, then leave in their school bag or the car, working towards leaving this at home tucked safely in a place of their choice ready for them when they return from school.

• Your child’s teacher will not be wiping your child’s bottom so please teach them to do this for themselves. At Nursery this is encouraged. Some will still ask for help to wipe – we start by asking the child to do the first few wipes and we then do the final wipe. If they still insist on you doing it, you will need to wean them off this.

• Help them become more independent by encouraging your child to hang up their own coat and bag on arrival at Nursery or at home. Ask them to do some little chores at home, too. Prepare them by teaching them to put their shoes together at home or putting some of their own belongings away. Remember by helping them to be more independent you are helping them to feel confident and self- assured.

• If your child has basic self-care skills, they will be able to access the curriculum with confidence. If they are very reliant on adults for their own care, they will find learning more daunting.

• Do not linger: explain that they are going to have the best time ever (implanting this idea is very powerful) and that you will see them later. If you or your child still struggle with separation, start this process now at Nursery. Drop them at the classroom door, give them a big hug, and off they go. If you forget to tell the staff something, do not go back into the room: pop to the reception desk and they will pass on a message.

• Starting ‘Big School’ can be a very emotional time for parents, too! Don’t show your child that you are upset on their first day. If they see you upset, they will think they should be upset too – and this is very unsettling!

Good Luck and enjoy your first year at school!