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Fears for Beckton nursery’s future after school axes provider

PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 August 2012

Chestnut Nursery, Ellen Wilkinson Children's Centre, Tollgate Road, Beckton. Mel Pye (on the right, holding a copy of the letter which just says the nursery is closing without explanation) pictured with parents and children angry that the nursery is closing. Picture by Melissa Page

Chestnut Nursery, Ellen Wilkinson Children's Centre, Tollgate Road, Beckton. Mel Pye (on the right, holding a copy of the letter which just says the nursery is closing without explanation) pictured with parents and children angry that the nursery is closing. Picture by Melissa Page

Archant

The futures of staff and children at a Beckton nursery are in doubt after the providers were axed.

Chestnut Nursery Schools currently runs care for the under fives at Ellen Wilkinson Primary School’s childrens centre in Tollgate Road.

But managers were told abruptly that the school has exercised a break clause in its ten year contract giving them six notice to leave. The school now intends to run the service itself.

Parents and the nursery are mystified by the decision and immediately organised a petition protesting against the move.

Nathalie Edgar, whose two-year-old son Ziaon attends the nursery, said: “if they had said the nursery was underperforming I could understand, but it isn’t.

“There are no other nurseries in this area, if they had closed it down, where are all the children going to go?”

Fellow parent Melanie Pye said the nursery was among the highest rated in the area.

She said: “I had to wait a year to get my daughter (three-year-old Katie) in and other parents were the same.

“As a parent, there are two things you look at, are the staff happy and are the children happy and it was yes to both.

“We are not going to take this lying down.”

IT business manager Ben Fitzgerald O-Connor has his three-year-old son George at Chestnut.

He said: “The thing I was scratching my head at was why on earth they have decided to do it.

“The letter (Chestnut Nursery) was the most wishy washy statement that anybody could think of.

“We learned about this during the Olympics and the worst thing is it due to happen in the middle of the school year.”

Newham Council said services at the nursery would not be affected by the change and children are guaranteed a place.

But Karen Broughton, managing director of Chestnut Nursery Schools, said staff were devastated by the decision.

She said: “In the five years we have been there we have run at 97 per cent capacity. We were led to believe the five year break clause would only be activated if they were unhappy.

“The parents have had absolutely no consultation.”

A council spokesman said all parents are guaranteed a space for their child.

He added: “The school has exercised a break clause with the current independent provider and will instead offer its own full-day childcare nursery for children under five from next March.

“Under the new arrangements, provision for children aged under two will be delivered by OFSTED registered childminders linked to the school.”


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