Don't leave Valley Pre-School kids in the lurch!

Labour councillors are calling for the Valley Pre-School Nursery on Dollis Valley to stay open until the summer to prevent children being left in the lurch after plans to open a new nursery in April this year failed.

The new nursery which is to be run by private chain KidzChoice was meant to replace the Valley Pre-School as part of the regeneration of the Dollis Valley estate, but it will now not open until September. The Valley Pre-School, currently occupying temporary premises on Rossiter Fields, is due to close at Easter leaving up to 15 children without a nursery to go to for 3 months between Easter and the summer.

Labour Underhill councillors,  Amy Trevethan and Paul Edwards, have written to the council asking for a very brief stay of execution for the community nursery so children aren’t left with nowhere to go.

In the letter they point out that the delayed opening of the new nursery is “disrupting the previous plan for a seamless transition of care. It's not the fault of these families that they are now facing being left in the lurch, and we feel that, in view of this delay, the regeneration partners could look to organise some contingency arrangements to enable the Valley Pre-School to continue to serve these families. 

“Therefore, we would like to ask you whether it would be possible to allow the Valley Pre-school to remain operating in the Underhill area until the end of the school term in July.  This would enable the disadvantaged families it currently serves to obtain continued support for their children up to the school summer holidays.”

Underhill councillor and Chipping Barnet parliamentary candidate Cllr Trevethan said: “'A new community centre, including a purpose-built pre-school nursery run by a private provider, was planned to open in April 2015. Now it has been delayed by 5 months to open in September 2015.

“However, the existing community-run Valley Pre-School has been given notice to quit at the end of this month. This could leave up to 15 children from disadvantaged families without any provision between Easter and the summer holidays.

“I am therefore calling upon the Regeneration Partners and the Council Leader to make arrangements for Valley Pre-School to remain open until the schools break up for the summer."

Ends.

Notes:

1.    Cllr Trevethan can be contacted at: cllr.a.trevethan@barnet.gov.uk

2.    A copy of the letter to the council can be found here:

At our surgery on Friday night we received a delegation of parents of children who currently attend the Valley Pre-School on Dollis Valley.  They have been told that the Valley Pre-School will close at the end of this month. We were informed that children's services have referred some of these families to other schemes in Arkley and New Barnet, but as they have other children, some of whom attend other schools in Barnet, logistically this presents them with enormous challenges. It is also possible that these families will not be able to take up their full entitlement of 15 hours' free childcare at the private providers. It is therefore probable that the families affected will have to keep their pre-school children at home.

We were also informed that of the 10 children affected by this closure 8 will be starting school in September: so for the majority, we are talking about a small extension of the Valley Pre-School's operations to tide them over to the summer. 

We appreciate that the closure of the Valley Pre-School in March is to make way for the building of new homes, although we do not know whether these are earmarked for families on Dollis Valley, or for private sale.  However, the original plan was that the new nursery in the community centre would open in April, and would have provided placements for these children. As you know, it is now delayed until September, disrupting the previous plan for a seamless transition of care. It's not the fault of these families that they are now facing being left in the lurch, and we feel that, in view of this delay, the regeneration partners could look to organise some contingency arrangements to enable the Valley Pre-School to continue to serve these families. 

Therefore, we would like to ask you whether it would be possible to allow the Valley Pre-school to remain operating in the Underhill area until the end of the school term in July.  This would enable the disadvantaged families it currently serves to obtain continued support for their children up to the school summer holidays.

We look forward to your response
Kind regards

Cllrs Amy Trevethan and Paul Edwards 

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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