Closing a nursery in Sharnbrook near Bedford would be a ‘body blow’ for the local community, the union UNISON has warned.
Sharnbrook Academy Federation, which runs the nursery attached to Sharnbrook Academy as well as four other Bedfordshire schools, has announced it will close Brook Day Nursery as it has been unable to find an alternative provider.
This is despite parents offering to pay higher fees to improve the nursery’s financial situation and a change.org petition being set up to try and persuade education bosses to change their minds.
As well as providing a vital service for parents in the village, Brook Day is used by staff at Sharnbrook Academy, with many teachers and support staff sending their children to the nursery.
Campaigners say the academy trust has not explored ways to keep the nursery open and parents have even offered to pay higher fees to help improve Brook Day’s finances.
UNISON Eastern area organiser Cathrine Ward said: “Staff and parents at Brook Day have made it clear they’re willing to go the extra mile to keep this valuable community asset in the village, but unfortunately it appears Sharnbrook Academy Federation doesn’t want to listen.
“Closing Brook Day will be a body blow not only for the locals who rely on its top-quality childcare, but also the school as so many of its own staff chose to work at Sharnbrook because of the excellent nursery nearby.
“We urge Sharnbrook Academy Federation to think again and work with the staff and parents to keep Brook Day open for the benefit of the local community.”
A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We have worked very hard to find an alternative provider to run the nursery and have been open to all options.
“Regrettably we have had to take the very difficult decision to close the nursery at the end of the school year because we are not able to withstand its financial losses and because no new provider has come forward with a viable proposal to run it instead.
“We know that the nursery is an asset for parents and the community and we have been proud to run it.
“Unfortunately, we are far from the only state education provider in facing financial pressures and we can no longer continue to run the nursery.
“We have signposted parents to other nursery provisions in the area, and would like to thank them and the nursery’s excellent staff, for their patience during what we know has been a difficult and uncertain period.”