The Elms Montessori School and Day Nursery faces closure after being told they are no longer fit for an early years education grant.

The Elms Montessori School and Day Nursery was rated ‘inadequate’ by the school’s watchdog.

Tina Luthra, the pre-school’s manager, wants Wokingham Borough Council to give her more time to reassure parents about the whole situation, as a number of parents that use the pre-school depend on the 30-hours free childcare they provide.

Ms Luthra said to The Reading Chronicle that she gets nowhere whenever she tries to ask the council for a turnaround in their decision.

“We have hugely supportive parents, and some don’t even care about the funding, but it is important for other families.

“I have done everything I possibly can. I can only hope the council will reinstate the funding,” she added.

“If children leave and there is no sustainability, then there is a risk of closure. I don’t want to, but if it comes to the point where I can’t pay staff, then what other choice do I have?

“They [the council] have been very cold-hearted about it. It is their duty to support us.”

Around forty children, who use the pre-school, might be affected by the decision.

The decision comes into place after an Ofsted inspection in July raised concerns regarding safeguarding, recruitment and inconsistent teaching.

Tina Luthra stated that they have worked on all the issues raised in the report, but the future of the pre-school is still uncertain.

Executive Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Pauline Helliar-Symons told The Reading Chronicle: “We are committed to providing the best possible start in life for our youngest residents. With this in mind, 98 percent of our early years providers are currently rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

“We administer early education funding in line with government guidelines to ensure children access good quality provision.

“Following an inspection back in July, Elm’s Montessori was deemed ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, and re-inspection this month remained ‘inadequate’.

“In accordance with Department for Education guidance, this leaves the nursery no longer eligible for an early years education grant.

“They will be able to claim funding again if they achieve an improved Ofsted rating.”

Original story by: The Reading Chronicle

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