Community campaigns join forces to fight for nursery schools

Parents’ groups call on £84,000 per year Croydon Mayor to provide assurance that none of the borough’s maintained nurseries will be closed

Two volunteer community groups have joined forces to organise public opinion against the latest proposed cuts to services by Croydon’s Conservative Mayor, Jason Perry.

Mutual aid project South Norwood Community Kitchen and a newly established parents campaign group, Our Nursery Schools Matter, this morning issued a joint statement in response to the consultation, as they battle to save Crosfield Nursery in South Norwood and Selhurst Nursery and Children’s Centre.

“We call on Mayor Perry and the director of education, Shelley Davies, to give Croydon residents an assurance that no nursery schools will be closed,” the statement said.

“We remain concerned that reducing the existing provision of grant-maintained nursery schools will hit the most vulnerable hardest, including families on low incomes and children with [Special Educational Needs and Disabilities].

“We also have grave concerns about how the council will seek the views of parents who may struggle to access a digital or paper consultation. Our Nursery Schools Matter stand ready to work with the council and the community to support participation in the consultation, and to identify sustainable solutions to some of the funding issues the nursery schools face.”

Crosfield (83 places) and Selhurst (88), each with fewer than 90 children on their registers, are the smallest of the nurseries that are subject to this review process. The other nurseries under closure or merger threat under the £84,000 per year Mayor’s plans are Thornton Heath (144 places), Tunstall (Addiscombe; 142 places) and Purley (140 places).

A petition to save the Croydon nurseries, started by Elizabeth Daniels, a mum and co-founder of Our Nursery Schools Matter, has already attracted the support of 700 signees.

“We want to invite anyone who loves their nursery and shares our concerns to sign the petition, get in touch with us, write to their local MP or councillor, and of course fill in the consultation,” Daniels said.

The South Norwood Community Kitchen is staging a public day of action to support the campaign on Saturday September 30 from their space at Socco Cheta Community Hub on Portland Road.

SNCK organiser Emma Gardiner said, “Crosfield has been an essential part of local life for decades and remains at the forefront of early years support through its caring and specialist staff, beautiful people outdoor learning space and innovative approach.

“The strong Early Years support at Crosfield and Selhurst is transformative for all children and life-changing for children with Special Needs. Many families would be priced out of alternative provision.

“This is yet another example of local authorities exercising their power to destabilise local communities for a perceived, quick financial win. Our communities are under attack by the very systems designed to keep them safe and support them to prosper. We must take action.”

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1 Response to Community campaigns join forces to fight for nursery schools

  1. derek thrower says:

    Undoubtedly there is a demographic change in demand for early years schooling that providers will have to face for the next few years, but as with such trends they need to be firmly established in the long run to inform decision making. We have an ad hoc policy of property development in the UK and many nursery schools are mainly dependent on what stock of housing for families is available in the vicinity, but there are also others who have to travel long distances for nursery provision. In the short term Perry is considering cutting these services due to his budgetary problems than rather an actual decline in underlying demand. If he can’t give a commitment to these valuable providers ,he needs to provide them with an opportunity and support to transfer them out of the Council maintained status into other sectors of education that receive finance from the Department of Education. This does require the providers to lose the certainty of the support of the Local Authority, but to be frank this support is diminishing every minute we move on in the form of how governance is constituted now and the future political choice available just seems set on continuing this state of affairs.

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