Following the walk to save Merrishaw Day Nursery, and a lively meeting with Cllr Randal Brew, on Saturday 30th July, the parents campaigning to keep their nursery open have had a reply from Cllr Brew:
I repeat what I said some 15 months ago when we first met on the subject that I felt the nursery provided an excellent service (backed up by an outstanding Ofstead report), and that the children were playing in a happy environment and that it provided an excellent service for working mothers.
As promised, although I did share with you on Saturday some of the restrictions & pressures we are facing, I have passed on your substantial petition together with the pages of comments to Chrissie Garrett, Director of Integrated Services for the City
In an email to Chrissie Garrett, forwarded to the campaign along with his reply, Cllr Brew said that:
I am extremely concerned about the affect that this will have on the neighbourhood and hopes and aspirations of young mothers trying to improve themselves, and children having meaningful play.
And detailed cases where the parents alternative provision is not suitable, and specific examples of how the closure of Merrishaw will negaitvely affect their lives. Cllr Brew has said that he hopes that the closure will be suspended pending further consultation. We hope that he is able to work within the council to ensure that does happen, and that his worse are not empty platitudes.
Merrishaw is widely acknowledged as a succesful nursery, rated Outstanding by Ofsted, it makes little sense to close such a good provider of services, forcing parents to take their children to (often it seems private) nurseries, some up to 2 miles from home, which will not neccessarily provide such a good service (I do not want to disparage any other nursersies, I am sure that some children will go to nurseries also rated Outstanding, but I’d also be willing to bet that some won’t – and in any case, all the children currently do go to one rated Outstanding – that is close to home, with friends, social networks and support networks all nearby – networks that will be weakened by having children scattered across nurseries in south east Birmingham).
Meanwhile, in Sparkhill, Park Road Day Nursery (rated Good by Ofsted) is facing 5.9% cuts due to cuts to sure start centre funding. Parents of children at Park Road have started a campaign to protect their nursery, supported by Sparkhill & Sparkbrook Against the Cuts, and have started a petition opposing all cuts to nurseries across Birmingham. If you want to help this campaign, especially if you have children who used to attend the nursery, please get in contact with them at SparkhillAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com
You can download the petition here. Download and print it, and get your neighbours or colleagues to sign, then send it back to us. If you are a parent with a child at a nursery, take it to the nursery and get other parents and nursery workers to sign it – perhaps make a special sheet for the children to sign as well.
They are also calling for a lobby at the council meeting in October – of course that is likely to be too late for the nurseries facing closure, but we can work to ensure that cuts are reversed, and that if Labour win control of the council in 2012 (as is likely to happen), that they do so with a platform to re-open the nurseries and to restore funding – and know that the communities around Birmingham will keep them to their promise.
If you are a parent at a nursery facing cuts or closure, please get in contact with us. As you can see, pressure can be brought to bear, and we hope that the council will recognise that these cuts and closures should not happen. We will keep you informed of the campaign to save Merrishaw and other nurseries around the city.