Falling numbers cause award-winning nursery to close

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Tulip Pre-School based in Vista Hall in Spalding has been forced to close due to falling numbers of children attending the setting.

The winners of the Pre-School Staff category at the 2015 Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards were forced to hold their final session just before Christmas.

The setting opened in 2002, catering for 36 children up until 2 years ago. However, the provision of term time and sessional childcare proved difficult for working families – with settings that offered full day learning being a preferable option.

Manager of the setting, Helen Mason, said of the closure:

“We closed the doors at the end of term on December 20 after struggling along for the past year.

“In the summer, we pulled out all the stops to go on a little bit further through the autumn.

“But we’re a charity and at a meeting of our trustees and parents last November, the decision was made to close the pre-school.

“One of the factors was the low number of children here because of the Government’s push for parents to go out and work.

“As a result of this, parents need full time nursery care where they can drop off their children at 7.30am and pick them up at 6pm.

“But we are only open during school term time to offer sessional care from 9am until 12 noon and from 12 noon till 3pm.”

Rev Rosamund Seal was involved with the setting from the very beginning; speaking of Tulip Pre-School she said:

“We set it up in an extraordinarily short period of time as a charitable pre-school, run by a management committee of parents.

“It became an extremely successful pre-school, offering bursaries and accepting referrals from health centres.

“But the world is a different place now and it’s very sad that Tulip couldn’t offer full-time nursery education for children.”

Vicar of Spalding, Rev John Bennett said of the closure:

“The number of parents wanting to use the pre-school wasn’t enough for it to continue and it’s terribly sad.

“However, it’s a reflection of the way things have changed, with both parent’s very often working-full time and therefore finding pre-school provision not as helpful as full-time day care.

“In the meantime, we’re exploring all the options to see how The Vista Hall can serve the community better in the future.”

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