A nursery at Scotland’s national deaf school is set to close within weeks following a review of costs.
The principal of Donaldson’s School has written to families to inform them that the nursery will be shut in June. The letter states:
“The board of governors has concluded that the nursery operated at Donaldson’s School for local children is financially unsustainable and, as such, has reluctantly taken the decision to close the facility at the end of this session in June.”
“The review has uncovered that the nursery has run at a loss for a number of years and is not something the school can continue to offer.”
The local council will subsidise 24 places under a partnership arrangement where they will be placed in another council backed setting from August.
The letter continued:
“I appreciate that this news will be coming to you unexpectedly and that you may be disappointed to learn the nursery will close.”
The letter also continued on to highlight that, under further restructuring plans, some jobs could be at risk:
“A number of posts have been identified as potentially impacted by the proposed restructure.”
“The school will be taking steps to minimise the impact of the restructure on staff as much as possible and it is anticipated that an alternative role will be identified for the majority of staff.”
All six members of staff who work at the nursery will be involved in the consultation process.
One parent with a child at the nursery has spoken out about the disruption this will cause for many of the children cared for at the setting, stating:
“There are obviously children who are half-way through their pre-school education and the last thing parents want is to have to move them somewhere else.”
In the past, the setting has been praised for the quality of care it provides to children, but concerns were raised in 2014 about the access to funded places for parents under the Scottish Government’s childcare policy.
West Lothian Council decided to drop the setting from its list of partnership nurseries; only partnership nurseries can offer parents part-time free nursery placements under a scheme implemented by the Scottish Government.
Campaigners argued the decision penalises working families as council nurseries are unable to provide the same flexible services.