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Parents battle to save 'outstanding' Paddock nursery from Surestart cuts

ANGRY parents have stepped up their campaign to save a nursery – after it was hailed outstanding by inspectors.

Parents and children at Surestart Centre, Paddock

ANGRY parents have stepped up their campaign to save a nursery – after it was hailed outstanding by inspectors.

They fear Surestart services at Paddock Nursery could be axed for children up to two-years-old at the centre in Heaton Road.

But parents feel in view of the recent Ofsted report – rating the nursery outstanding in all areas – the decision to slash the service for the younger age range should be reviewed.

The Save Our Surestart group launched a petition against plans back in January when it was announced it is one of 3,500 centres across the UK which faces gradual withdrawal from council-funded childcare.

They have since been inundated with people saying they want the facility to stay.

Local authority services are being handed over to private sector businesses who are encouraged to take over the centres.

Emily Lenihan, whose 16-month-old daughter Lottie goes to the Paddock nursery, said: “They have already removed the waiting list for children up to two.

“There is only one other facility which is outstanding in Lindley and the others are satisfactory.

“Why should parents accept satisfactory when their nursery is outstanding, it doesn’t make sense.”

She said parents were being forced to make tough choices about child care in view of the services being cut which would mean siblings could not go to the same nursery.

“There are currently 15 babies in the nursery but come September if they don’t reconsider, there will be none.”

She said the proposed closure could also have a knock-on affect in the area for local childminders and other nurseries are already full or near full to capacity.

She added: “The only hope is that we can get the council to reconsider.”

The changes to early years provisions were announced earlier this year with every council in England likely to have to close at least one Surestart Children’s Centre because of funding cuts.

A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “High quality provision for two, three and four-year-olds will continue at the school and, although 0-2 provision is being phased out, local families will continue to have a range of daycare options for babies.

“We are confident there are sufficient high-quality childcare places to meet the needs of parents and that this will continue to be the case.

“Less than three per cent of childcare places in Kirklees are directly delivered by the council and all settings are required to work to the same high standards.

“We know that, across the district, 78 per cent of provision has been assessed as good or outstanding and we know that many parents are more than happy with their choice of childcare and the experiences that are provided for children.

“The staff at Paddock nursery do an excellent job.

“They join a growing number of childcare providers in Kirklees in achieving an outstanding grade from Ofsted and we are delighted their work has been acknowledged.”

 

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