We have community pre-schools in Bitterne Park and St. Denys and are managed by a voluntary parent management committee.
We are funded by Southampton City Council and operate on a not-for-profit basis, with all funding used to provide the best possible pre-school education and care for the children registered with us. We have close links to local primary schools, especially relating to transition in the summer, sharing knowledge about children’s learning needs, and provision of inclusive care. However, we are independent from them and a place at Riverside does not guarantee a place at school. The admissions process is independently operated by Southampton City Council.
We are Ofsted Compulsory and Voluntary Registered. This means we comply with Ofsted’s regulations and standards as set out in the “Requirements for Childcare Register”. St. Denys was last inspected in March 2018 and Bitterne Park in April 2018 and were awarded Outstanding for both settings. We await further inspection due to our charity status changing to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) last July. Copies of our inspection reports are available on request and via the Ofsted website.
We are a member of the Early Years Alliance (EYA), which provides support and training to all registered pre-school groups in Southampton with the aim of enhancing the care and education available to young children.
It is our intention to make Riverside Pre-school CIO genuinely accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community. We manage our admissions across both our settings, St Denys and Bitterne Park, which are 10 minutes apart. Both settings are managed by the same leadership team who ensure Riverside’s ethos, standards and routines are maintained.
As the only community pre-school serving the Bitterne Park and St Denys area we aim to offer as many of our places as possible to local children. Due to popular demand for pre-school places, we have strict criteria for Bitterne Park admissions, giving families within the Bitterne Park Primary School catchment area priority access to places. At St. Denys, children can attend (subject to age and availability) from across Southampton and we do not specify a catchment area.
If you are interested in sending your child to Riverside Pre-school CIO at either setting then fill out this enquiries form and we will get back to you.
You can put your child’s name down for a place from birth. To begin the admissions process please download and fill out the Waiting List Request Form and email this back to email@example.com
In the academic year that your child turns 3-years-old we will contact you by letter with the full registration pack. You will need to complete this identifying your child’s preferred sessions. Please note that for a child attending from the age of 2 years, rising to 3 in that academic year, we usually offer two half-day sessions with breakfast or lunch club available. For a child attending from the age of 3 years, rising to 4, we strongly recommend attending a minimum of two full day sessions per week with breakfast or lunch club available. This is to prepare your child for starting school.
Once your child’s place has been confirmed by letter you will be invited to a parents’ evening in June where you will receive more detailed information and find out which group your child will be in – Ladybirds, Caterpillars, Frogs or Butterflies depending on age.
Your child will have the opportunity to visit us for settling in sessions during the summer term or early in September. One of our experienced senior staff will also make a home visit to help us get to know your child.
Please note we always try to meet your childcare needs and, while we will try to facilitate your preferred setting, please be aware that your child may be offered sessions at St Denys, Bitterne Park or both.
All our staff hold current Disclosure and Barring Service checks. The legal ratio is 1:8 for over 3 years and 1:4 for under 3. Whenever possible we try to work at a higher ratio of adults to children.
Parental involvement is extremely important to us at Riverside and is highly valued. As a parent you can get involved with the pre-school in many different ways depending on how much time you have to give.
As a community pre-school we are required to have a Management Committee, which is voluntary and made up of parents who give a considerable amount of their time to ensure the effective overall management and control of the pre-school. The committee meets one evening a month and each member is assigned an individual responsibility covering areas such as finance, safeguarding, risk assessment and digital engagement. All committee members are DBS checked.
Riverside Events Group (REG)
REG is responsible for organising our fundraising and social events. The money raised is extremely important as it provides additional resources for the children such as building outside play equipment and purchasing new toys and activities.
Other ways to get involved
If the Management Committee or REG Group are not quite right for you, there are other ways to you can support us, for example cutting out craft activity resources or mending dressing-up clothes from home or coming into the pre-school to read with the children. We especially welcome those of you who can read in another language, helping our children to learn about other cultures and the world around them. We always need support with events, including setting-up, manning stalls and clearing away.
If you are interested in helping us in any of the ways mentioned above please contact the office. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated.
We have a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual “significant harm”. We will work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. We have a detailed Safeguarding Children policy. Please see 'Our Policies' for further details.
We aim to build close relationships with our children and their families so that we are aware of any problems should they emerge. When this happens, we can offer support, including referral to appropriate agencies to help families in difficulty.
We believe that children flourish best in an environment that is rich in encouragement and positive attitudes. We achieve this through high expectations of the children, by discussing behaviour and being consistent and fair when working with the children. We have clear simple rules known as Spot’s Rules, which are displayed in our settings.
At Bitterne Park we regularly access Riverside Park on our Park Adventures.
At St. Denys we access a green space, known as Explorers.
To ensure these outings are safe, informative and positive experiences, the children follow three clear rules known as Spot’s Sticks and these are displayed on the Parents’ noticeboards.