Threat to nurseries
A CLEVEDON nursery owner fears she may have to shut up shop when the Government s proposal to provide three hours of free care to all youngsters comes into force.
A CLEVEDON nursery owner fears she may have to shut up shop when the Government's proposal to provide three hours of free care to all youngsters comes into force.
Maureen Burgoyne, owner of the Clevedon Montessori Nursery School, in Albert Road, is appealing to other nursery workers to take part in a demonstration against the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) code of practice, which she believes could force many groups to fold.
MP Maria Miller, Shadow Minister for Family Welfare, has arranged a photo call outside the House of Lords, in London, later this month, to allow nursery staff to voice their disapproval of the plans and many workers from North Somerset are planning to join the demonstration.
Currently, all three-four year olds can access two-and-a-half hours of free nursery care a day, funded by the Government at £8 a session.
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The normal rate for around three hours of nursery care is £16, which leaves nurseries with a massive shortfall.
Maureen says the money does not meet the cost of staff wages and many nurseries are being forced to open longer to cover costs.
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However, the Government is planning to up the free provision to three hours a day and along with plans to ban top-up-fees, which currently require parents to pay for part of their child's education, it could force many groups to close.
Maureen said: "With the new code, we will be missing out on about 50 per cent of our income. We may have to close.
"Many nurseries will be forced to shut, which means parents will not be able to choose the type of care their children get.
"We will lose a lot of the smaller nurseries, but the Government subsidised children's centres will survive as well as the big chains.
"We really want to make parents aware that the code of practice could affect the choice of nursery they have."
The DfES code of practice is expected to come into force in 2010, but hundreds of nursery schools, including the Montessori School, have joined the Save our Nurseries campaign to ask for a review of the code before it is implemented.
To find out more about the protest contact Maureen Burgoyne at firstname.lastname@example.org or to find out more about the campaign log on to www.saveournurseries.org