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Nursery closure agreed

By Peter Harris


A nursery attached to Dukeries College and Complex is to close after its governing body decided a funding deficit was becoming too large.

The Hand In Hand Day Nursery will close in February because the principal, Mr Lewis Walker, said he could not afford to divert £80,000 from the school’s budget to meet the nursery costs shortfall.

Increasing competition from other nurseries is also being blamed for the closure.

Seven staff will be made redundant.

The nursery opened seven years ago and is used regularly by more than 40 children.

Parents were initially told it would close before Christmas but the closure was delayed after an intervention by Sherwood MPMr Paddy Tipping.

Mr Walker, who retired in December, took the decision because he did not want the responsibility to fall to his successor, Mr Danny Smith.

Mr Walker said fees had been increased in recent years but unions had blocked bids to cut staff salaries.

He said: “This decision is not based on the quality of the work, but just on financial viability.

“Parents and carers are obviously extremely opposed to this. I have had many letters and I will respond to them all, but we have not taken this decision lightly.

“Since it opened I would like to think it has been of great service to the community.

“Ofsted has been complimentary about it, and that is why we worked tirelessly to retain it, but we have got to cut our losses.”

Dawn Hamnett (35) of Larch Road, Ollerton, sent her son Fynne (4) to the nursery for three years.

She said: “It is really sad because they are a really tight-knit bunch. The parents and all the carers were in tears when they announced this. I know parents are not keen on going to other nurseries because they do not really offer the same type of service.”

Mr Tipping said there was a wider issue on how nursery education was provided and paid for in Nottinghamshire and he would discuss this with the county council and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

A spokesman for the county council said the decision was purely the responsibility of the governing body.

She said: “For many years the management of all schools has been delegated by law to governing bodies under the Local Management of Schools arrangements, and this includes financial responsibilities.”

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