Call for Sheffield nursery closure rethink

A youngster on a Sheffield protest
A youngster on a Sheffield protest
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A trade union is calling for the decision to shut a Sheffield nursery to be reconsidered – claiming the closure will lead to a shortage in preschool places locally.

The Sharrow Surestart Nursery closed on Friday as part of Sheffield Council’s shake-up of children’s services, but the GMB union wants the move reversed.

The union says that by next year there will not be enough private nursery places in Sharrow, and that the nursery ‘generated a financial surplus’ in the last school term, despite Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation trust telling parents it was running at a loss.

But, in a joint statement issued by the council and the NHS trust, a spokeswoman said talks to secure an ‘alternative agreement’ to run the nursery failed.

“Since April 2013, Sheffield Council has been working to reorganise children’s services and this has affected how the trust provides Surestart services.

“This led to the decision to close the nursery at the end of last term,” the spokeswoman said.

“The council has since been working with parents to help secure places with local providers for their children as a matter of urgency.

“The trust and the council worked hard in partnership to try to secure an alternative agreement for the service. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful.”

She added: “Council officers, supported by the trust, have since been working with parents to find alternative local places for their children.

“There are a surplus of available places for pre-school and nursery children in the local area.”

Joan Keane, the union’s regional officer, said: “GMB is asking for this decision to be reconsidered. We believe that this service is self-sustainable and generated a financial surplus in the last school term.

“The closure of this nursery has resulted in the six highly skilled and dedicated members of staff receiving compulsory redundancy notices.

“By 2014, there will not be sufficient private nursery places in the Sharrow area of Sheffield.”