Pre-school forced to close after funding cuts

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A pre-school in Sherborne, which has been open for 40 years, has been forced to close after Dorset County Council cut funding for the setting.

The pre-school first opened in 1973 and operated free early education services for children aged 2, 3 and 4.

Run by a parent committee, the setting had 16 children on their books along with 4 staff members but was forced to close at the end of September.

A previous Ofsted inspection rated the setting as “inadequate” and recommended numerous improvements. Following on from this, Dorset County Council withdrew funding from the setting.

The former manager of the setting said:

“The county council and the Pre-school Learning Alliance advised that it would be considered negligent to stay open when there was no money coming in.”

“The sad fact is that by closing, this has stopped the pre-school having another Ofsted inspection.”

“This was expected to put the pre-school in a better position as the result of a monitoring visit on September 16, to ensure points highlighted had been put into action, was extremely positive.”

Council feedback

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said: “We withdrew Government Early Education Funding from the committee run pre-school following the recent Ofsted judgement. This was in line with Government policy. The decision to close the pre-school was made by their committee.”

“Our family information service has helped parents find alternative childcare and we have supported the chairman of committee during the closure. We are working with the community and investigating the development of child care in the area.”

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