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Our History

An open-air nursery provision near Chester Park schools opened just after World War Two had ended and was formed to support the many children needing play facilities.

It then moved to Symington Road in 1957 occupying land which was an open green space enclosed by a hedge taking the appropriate name ‘Little Hayes’.


The ’open air’ philosophy is an important term used in the early years movement and dates back about 100 years. Margaret McMillan was a pioneer of the movement and she helped set up and establish nursery provision in Bradford and Deptford, London. She recognised that children need access to healthy fresh air, sunlight and plenty of physical exercise for good development.


Today, in the 21st Century we ensure that this practice is still evident and we maintain a commitment to upholding the value of ‘open air’ learning.

Little Hayes has been led by relatively few headteachers in its 59 year history. In 1957, Molly Nurse was the headteacher. She worked tirelessly for over 30 years supporting many families and children. Soo Rolfe led the school for 13 years and she worked enthusiastically developing the outdoor provision and created the school kitchen. These additions enabled children to enjoy many rich learning opportunities.


Shirley Doveton joined Little Hayes in 2009 and led and managed the expansion programme over the next nine years until her retirement in April 2018. During this time Little Hayes operated as a nursery and Children's Centre, providing integrated family support and nursery education. Shirley collaborated very closely with Lindsey Fuller, the Head of Speedwell Nursery School and on Shirley's retirement the governing body of both schools decided to federate the schools under one governing body and Headteacher, Lindsey Fuller. In October 2018, the Little Hayes and Speedwell Nursery Schools Federation was formed. Each school retains their own individual identity, but works closely together to share practice and expertise across both learning communities to improve outcomes for children. 

During the reorganisation of Children's Centres in April 2018, Little Hayes Children's Centre became a part of East Bristol Children's Centre Hub. Little Hayes Nursery School continues to work very closely with the Children's Centre team to continue to provide a holistic service for families and children. ​

Following the retirement of Lindsey Fuller in July 2021, Little Hayes and Speedwell Nursery schools each appointed Acting Headteachers, Tanya Tooby at Little Hayes and Jet Davis at Speedwell. Jet Davis has now been appointed as executive headteacher across both sites.

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