Two preschools forced to close as Government funding makes it impossible for them to operate
PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 May 2017
Lack of funding has led to two North Somerset preschools being forced to close their doors in the summer, leaving more than 60 families to search for new childcare.
Castle Batch Preschool, in Worle, and Little Monkeys’ Preschool, in St Georges, have announced they will be closing for good at the end of the academic year.
The closures come after the Government announced its plans to increase the hours of free childcare from 15 hours to 30 hours – which will come into effect in September.
Parents who earn more than £107 a week are able to claim 30 hours of free childcare a week from the Government.
The preschools receive £3.85 for each child they care for under the free scheme from North Somerset council and, if parents require more than 30 hours, they must pay a private amount to the school, which is £5 an hour at Castle Batch.
While the new offer of more free childcare is positive for working parents, it means the services have less money coming in privately and are now almost entirely dependant on funding from the Government, which is not nearly enough to sustain them.
Michelle Badger, leader of Castle Batch, says she is ‘devastated’ to have to close the preschool which has served the community for more than 20 years.
She added: “I love my job but sadly loving and enjoying your job does not pay the bills.
“I have been doing the accounts and it has been a growing concern for quite a long time but it has now got to the point where it is no longer viable to operate.”
Michelle sent out letters to the parents affected and says the support she has received has been ‘overwhelming’.
She added: “The parents have been fantastically supportive and very gracious following the news.
“It will have a huge impact on all the families in the area and I really do feel for them.”
Castle Batch, which operates out of Worle Baptist Church, in Rawlins Avenue, has 48 children on its roll and already has a full waiting list for the next academic year.
Little Monkeys, which is based at St Georges Community Centre, in Willow Close, has 27 children on its roll with waiting lists extending to 2019.