Hopeful school founders seek funds from investors

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Hambury Elementary School – the brainchild of Tinker Tots co-owner Philippa Alexandre and her business partner – would be open between 7.30 am and 6 pm almost all year round, providing parents with what the founders have described as a one-stop-shop ‘breakfast club, school, after-school club and holiday club’.

Parents would also be able to take their children out of school for holidays at any time.

The fee-paying school would be open to children aged between three and 11. Under the plans the founders would launch a pre-school next Easter, with the reception class following in September 2019.

Mrs Alexandre, who has worked with children and families for more than 17 years, has a yet-to-be-revealed site in mind for the new school, and is looking for investors to help get the scheme off the ground before revealing any more details.

As well as playgroup Tinker Tots, Mrs Alexandre is also the co-owner of playgroup Sticky Kids Messy Play and school holiday club Nature’s Child for children aged three to seven.

She said children coming through the doors of Hambury would learn practical skills such as first aid alongside the more traditional curriculum and that children would be encouraged to ‘learn by doing’.

‘The children’s mental and emotional wellbeing is as important to us as their academic achievements,’ she said. ‘The children must take a minimum of six weeks holiday a year – they may take more – but they can take them whenever they want throughout the year.

‘We are receiving no States funding. We will be a fee-paying school, but we are trying to keep our fees as affordable as possible. It’s very competitive when wrap-around care and holiday cover is factored in.

‘Because of our timetable structure, afternoons will be free for other activities and life skills. We’re also looking to offer a school bus collection of children from town in the mornings – one more thing working parents won’t have to worry about.’

However, Mrs Alexandre said the project needed funds to secure their preferred site and would be holding a presentation for potential investors next month.

She said: ‘Initially we are looking for long-term investments of £425,000 with a good return, plus a percentage stake in the business.

‘Our business plan is to have a staggered opening of the pre-school next Easter followed by Reception next September, then grow organically as the children move up the school.

‘Since we’ve had such an incredible response, we will be doing a bit more market research into this over the next month or so and we might bring forward the Year 1 opening to next September.’

Mrs Alexandre added that she had been working with the Education Department for a long time and that the department had been ‘really helpful and supportive’.

The JEP has asked the Education Department for a comment, but had not received one at the time of going to print.

Potential investors interested in attending the information event at 10 am on Saturday 14 July are asked to email hamburyelementary@hotmail.com.

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