Show me the nurseries!
It’s easy to become immune to stories of nurseries closing, there seems to be so many of them. But it’s now happening in my ‘back yard’, which I admit has made me sit up and take notice.
I’m shocked to hear that the nursery at South Bermondsey Children’s Centre has been earmarked for closure by the council (along with Bishop’s House Children’s Centre, also in the London borough Southwark – Nursery World, 2 April). I understand that money is tight and cuts need to be made but closing a ‘jewel in the community’ – and this is a socially deprived area that needs all the assets it can get – has surely got to be the wrong choice.
An Ofsted-rated Outstanding nursery, built just seven years ago, is set to be lost along with the nursery staff jobs. Apparently council analysis shows that there are at least as many vacant childcare places at other providers within a half mile radius.
I’d love to see evidence of these spare places! My daughter was on local nursery waiting lists for well over a year before recently getting offered a place. Where are these Outstanding, or even Good nurseries, that are looking for children to fill them? I know many local parents who’ll come knocking down the doors!
In my opinion it’s a spurious argument. I believe it’s a very viable, needed and wanted community resource. The children currently attending will see their friends and valued carers slowly drop away and working parents are set to suffer – they can’t afford to wait over a year for a place.
Such a decision may help the council’s balance sheets in the short-term but it’s set to impact heavily on local families. I just hope that campaigners can make their opposition heard and rescue this valuable setting. Perhaps they can take inspiration from Caversham Nursery in the London borough of Camden that was saved by outraged parents and a local community association (Nursery World, 2 April).
The fight is on and there is still hope…