Sheffield couple's anger over loss of daughter's nursery place

A Sheffield couple have spoken of their sadness at having their daughter’s nursery place revoked - after they declined to pay a bill for hundreds of pounds to cover the weeks the country was in lockdown.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 9:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 9:13 pm
Kieron and Emma with the four-year-old daughter, Charlotte

Kieron Crookes and Emma Underwood say they received a bill from Thorncliffe Park Day Nursery in Chapeltown the same week schools and nurseries across the country closed their doors at the government’s instruction.

The couple, whose four-year-old daughter Charlotte had been attending the nursery since she was just six months old, were surprised to receive the bill for the full April amount.

“The last thing I was expecting was that we’d have to make a payment as normal, given that we weren’t receiving any service from them,” said Kieron, aged 31.

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“Emma and I were both furloughed from our jobs, so money was tight, but it was mainly the principal.”

They claim the bill stated that normal payments were required for April but the nursery then reduced the bill by 50 per cent.

Emma, aged 28, said: “I emailed the nursery and asked if they were able to see what funding the government would offer before working out a solution.

“They replied saying they had found the government advice to be quite vague, and that was why they were asking families to continue to help with costs.”Kieron said: “When they chased the payment up, we explained that we just couldn’t justify paying hundreds of pounds a month for a service we weren’t receiving.

“Hours later we got an email back saying that the contract between us was now cancelled and that they expected a four week notice period payment.”

“They said that we’d lost our place due to the way we’d spoken to them on the phone, we were shocked,” added Emma.

“Everything had seemed fine; there were no raised voices, no anger.

“It just feels like because we stood up and said something wasn’t right, we’re out.”

Cornerstone Nurseries, which runs Thorncliffe Park Day Nursery, declined to comment other than to say: ‘We stand by our decision that if any member of our Cornerstone team is verbally abused or demeaned, a child’s place will be immediately revoked.’