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Parents given just hours warning as nursery shuts
PARENTS are in uproar after a nursery in Eldene closed with only two hours’ warning.
Headstarts Nursery at the Children’s Centre at Eldene Primary School closed following an Ofsted inspection over the summer, which judged the service as inadequate.
Parents were informed of the closure on Monday afternoon when they were asked to collect their children and their belongings before it closed at 6pm.
Kate Brett, 30, whose daughters Amelia, three, and Natasha, one, attend Headstarts in Eldene, was distraught to hear that the nursery had closed.
She said: “It’s always been top notch, they’ve gone out of their way to look after my children. It’s absolutely devastating and at the end of the day everybody’s children are going to suffer. It’s not fair.
“I keep having to explain to Amelia that nursery isn’t on anymore and I have to keep her stimulated. She’s a very bright girl for her age and the nursery were thinking about how we could keep her stimulated.”
On Saturday, Swindon Council then gave notice that funding would be withdrawn from the nursery as of October 18.
This meant that mum Geraldine Spearing, 32, felt she had some time before the nursery closed to make alternative arrangements for her girls, Skye, four, and Tillie, two.
But she was devastated to receive the call that the nursery was to be closed.
She said: “I’m absolutely gutted it’s closed. I’m really shocked that Ofsted rated them as inadequate.
“I thought I had four weeks before the nursery closed to find somewhere else for Skye.
“To be rung up in the afternoon and told that the nursery is closing, to be told that you have to come and collect them and that you have two hours before it closes is just devastating.
“The girls are devastated.
“It’s a fantastic nursery and it’s just so sad for the staff. They weren’t ready to say goodbye. They were going to have a goodbye party which I think is very important for the children.
“It’s just so sad, I’m so angry that this has been done.”
In a letter to parents posted on the window of the nursery, Sara Vere, owner of Headstarts Nursery said: “I would like to take this opportunity as the owner of Headstarts Nursery to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the sudden closure of the nursery.
“There have been a number of factors that have forced the closure of the nursery with immediate effect.
“This has been a particularly unfortunate and distressing situation for all the staff and I thank you for your patience and understanding.”
A council spokesman said: “The new Early Years Statutory Guidance requires authorities to withdraw early education funding for those children entitled to up to 15 hours free childcare, if a nursery receives an inadequate rating from Ofsted. We notified the Eldene Headstarts that we would be withdrawing funding after October half-term and we wrote to all parents last week to confirm this when the Ofsted report was published.
“We had hoped that a four-week notice period would enable parents to find alternative provision but, unfortunately, Headstarts have since taken the decision to close the nursery with immediate effect.
“Parents who have been affected by the nursery closure can access support through our Family Information Service (FIS). The FIS holds an up-to-date list of early education provision, including childminders, within Swindon.”
Parents can access this information online at www.swindon.gov.uk/fis, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01793 445500.
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