Monmouth nursery closes it doors for last time
6:01pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
STAFF at a Monmouth nursery said an emotional goodbye to children and parents as they closed the doors to the nursery after more than 20 years.
Monmouth Community Under 5s nursery, named Britain’s best-loved nursery in 2011, and its 35 children had been in temporary accommodation at the Bridges, Drybridge Park since Monmouthshire council asked the group to leave its home at Overmonnow Learning Centre, Wonastow in 2010.
Supervisor, Sue Weston blamed increases in rent and what she said was an inadequate income from the educational authority for the decision, while the council said it had supported the nursery for a number of years with funding comparable to the country’s local education authority nurseries.
In 2011 it was named Britain’s best-loved nursery by Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Magazine but the success was bittersweet for the nursery when the council said its early years status, for which funding is received for 95 percent of the children, would be withdrawn at the end of the summer term because they could not meet certain criteria, such as providing immediate outdoor access.
Mrs Weston and assistant supervisor, Angela Morgan vowed to carry on for the parents’ sake, despite being unable to offer free places to children the term after their third birthday.
Staff and parents launched a fundraising campaign to secure new premises but were forced to abandon the idea to put a demountable at Singleton Court Industrial Estate after a number of complications.
Speaking moments after the last summer holiday club on Friday, Mrs Weston said it would not be viable to re-open in September with just 15 children.
She said: “We really tried hard to stay open and took the difficult decision to close at the end of the summer play scheme.
“The parents have been very supportive and loyal and paid the fee instead of sending their children to a local education authority nursery for free but without the early years status we just couldn’t continue.”
Monmouth Community Under 5s Nursery was given the title by Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Magazine.
“Monmouth shone out for us because, despite recent setbacks, the staff are still delivering first-class care and were given a glowing report by Nicki Hawkins, the mum who nominated them,”said the magazine’s editor Daniella Delaney.
Monmouthshire council said the temporary accommodation did not meet the standards required to provide early education and that it had given the playgroup six months to move to suitable premises.
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