Colchester Institute has informed parents that the nursery will be closing during the current academic year as it is no longer financially viable. The setting, which has been rated as Outstanding in its most recent inspection, currently cares for 35 children. Following the decision, the facility will no longer provide care to children of students who attend the Institute.
In an anonymous letter written to the East Anglian Daily Times, one concerned member of the public notes:
“I believe this is detrimental to the welfare of both the young children who attend and their parents.”
“Many students’ decisions to study at the college will have been made because there is available childcare. It will be impossible for them to drop their children elsewhere in Colchester and then travel to college.”
“The nursery is closing during the academic year which makes it very difficult to find alternative places. This could mean that students will be unable to complete their courses.”
“This action discriminates against the parents of young children. It takes away the opportunity for them to study and provide a better lifestyle for themselves and their families.”
With children happy and settled at the nursery, many are at a loss about what to do next.
Maeve Borges, assistant principal for the student experience, has said:
“Regretfully, after a review of its financial viability, the decision has been made to close the Colchester Institute Nursery at the end of March 2015.”
“We are certainly not alone in this, with a number of further education colleges having taken this decision over recent years.”
“Our priority now is to support the nursery staff who are currently at risk of redundancy, and the parents of the 35 children who currently use the nursery on a part-time basis.”
“We will give full support to all current nursery users to find alternative childcare over the next few months.”
“A number of the students whose children attend the nursery also receive financial support from the college to cover their fees. This financial support will continue with other registered childcare providers – indeed we already have a number of other students on low incomes who choose to use alternative local nurseries and registered childminders whilst they attend college.”