Tag Archives: West Heath

Parents’ Outrage over “Outstanding” Nursery Facing Closure

Campaigners demonstrate against the nursery closure, 30th July

On Friday 26th August, Merrishaw Community Day Nursery is set to close. This is despite it providing an essential service for this locality. It provides specialist support for children and parents with special needs as well as general nursery provision. This enables mothers to go to work and try and better themselves.

Over a year ago, local Councillors gave assurances that this valuable resource would remain open. But this
year, that promise has been reversed. Provision for specialist support is to be relocated elsewhere, and child minding is to replace the local, experienced centre. This was despite a recent assurance from local Councillor Les Lawrence that rumours about the closure were scaremongering.

Parents have actively opposed this closure since early 2010. The most recent event was a demonstration through West Heath and a big lobby of a Northfield Councillor’s surgery on Saturday 30th July.

Since then, Councillors Randal Brew and Reg Corns (who was instrumental in establishing the nursery), have asked the council to postpone the closure, pending meaningful consultation. They have been joined in this by Richard Burden MP.

There needs to be further consultation and postponement of the closure as there are still big questions to answer;

When the Department withdrew its proposed reorganisation of Community Day Nurseries in 2010 one of the most powerful arguments that had been put forward was that it took resources away from the South of the City even though South Birmingham has the highest number of referrals in the City (395 between April 2008 and March 2010) and the highest number of referrals to the new 2 year scheme (539). Indeed, the Department’s own report at the time identified that “Children’s centres in the south of the City have less childcare provided as part of their onsite provision which goes some way to explaining the above pattern. It is also the case that there are more under 5s subject to a child protection plan in the south than elsewhere”
(Para 3.1.4).

On Wednesday 24th August there is to be an open day at the nursery. We are urgently appealing for the local Councillors, the MP, and prospective Councillors for 2012 to attend at 12pm and declare a reversal of the closure decision and to change the nature of the event from a wake to a celebration.

Merrishaw Parents and Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts

If you want to get involved, contact Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts: StirchleyAntiCuts@Gmail.com


Filed under Cuts, Events, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Update on Merrishaw Nursery and new campaign for Park Road Sure Start

Walk to Save Merrishaw, 30th July

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).

Park Road Childrens Centre, Sparkhill

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.

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Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Sparkhill & Sparkbrook Against the Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Walk to save Merrishaw Day Nursery

Merrishaw Day Nursery – rated outstanding by Ofsted – is under threat of closure. Parents have been told that the nursery will close on the 26th August. Merrishaw is one of 8 nurseries around Birmingham facing closure, with parents being offered spaces at alternative nurseries (many of which are run by private companies, and may not have the same outstanding rating as Merrishaw), which are never as close as the current provision, and in some cases are a couple of miles away.

A parents campaign to save Merrishaw has been running, supported by Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts, and this morning they met at the nursery to walk to Hampstead House where the local councillors hold surgeries.
Around 30 parents, grandparents and children were joined by local anti-cuts activists and Richard Burden MP.

Vanessa, a parent of a child at the nursery said

We need to make sure people realise how important Merrishaw Day Nursery is and what a wonderful service they provide

Millie and Charli with their banner

Millie and Charli, two children who attended Merrishaw said

The best thing about Merrishaw was the finger painting because it got really messy. I liked the dressing up and the puppets and the gardens

It was more fun than school and I think it helped with my education because we learned to count to 10 and the colours and shapes. All the workers were really nice and we made lots of friends at the nursery

Bob Whitehead from Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts said:

this is a valuable resource to the community, it cannot be downgraded or lost. The council is spending millions on unneccessary consultants they can easily afford a few thousand to keep this open. If the worst comes to the worst Labour must re-open it next May

Richard Burden MP with Vannessa

Richard Burden, Labour MP for Northfield joined parents on the March. You can read what he said last year about community nurseries here. Today he said:

They are saying no service is being lost … the trouble is they are doing that whilst slashing lots out of the budget … if you are going to do integrated family services properly you can’t do it on the cheap

The group walked from Merrishaw Day Nursery to Hampstead House, where Conservative party Councillor Randal Brew was running the surgery this morning. He met with the group to hear their concerns. He has said he will be meeting other councillors about the nursery on Monday and will report back to the parents about the meeting.

If you want to get involved with this campaign and other campaigns in the area, contact Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts – email StirchleyAntiCuts@Gmail.com, call 07828013091 or go along to their next meeting on Tuesday 16th August, at the Whit Marley Social Centre, 10 Ivy Road, Stirchley (Just off Pershore road on Stirchley high street) from 7:15pm.

If you are a parent at one of the other nurseries, please get in contact with us as we would like to support you to fight these closures – the parents at this nursery made it clear to Cllr Randal Brew that they were against the closure of all nurseries, and not just Merrishaw. Given a concerted effort, we can fight the cuts and keep our services open. Get in touch, and get active with a group in your area.

Other reports: B31 Blog
Dr Miles Weaver (Labour party activist)

Update on the campaign: Parents’ outrage at closure


Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Events, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Save Merrishaw Day Nursery from closure

Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts are supporting  a parents campaign to save Merrishaw Day Nursery in West Heath from closure.

This closure is imminent and the campaign needs your urgent support. A similar threat was announced 12 months ago but a campaign by parents, staff and UNISON caused councillors to u-turn.

The campaign also believes that the rest of service will be scaled down so that only those classed as “children in need” would be able to access the day nursery.

Don’t let this  happen!
*We are not being heard
*No consultation
*We do not want our children  to move.
*Our children are happy and settled at Merrishaw.

What you can do

1. Join our stall / street leafletting on Saturday.  We will meet at West Heath Shops, Alvechurch Rd, by the Co-op at 10:30am

There will now also be a stall/street leafletting on Saturday 23rd July, from 10:30am, at Faifaax Shops, bottom of Cropredy Road, West Heath

2. Join us on Saturday 30th July, 9.30a.m at Merrishaw Nursery, 49  Merrishaw Road, B31 3SL as we walk to Hampstead House to deliver our petition to the councillors.

Next Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts Planning meeting will be on Tuesday 26th July, 7:15pm, Stirchley Community Church, Perhsore road (opposite the old Stirchley Paths)

To contact Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, Email StirchleyAntiCuts@Gmail.com or call 07828 013 091

Although Birmingham City Council has previously denied that there will be any closures, GMB union which represents many of the nursery workers were able to find out from the council that the plans do in fact involve closing the following nurseries:

Teviot Tower – Aston
The Chestnut Centre – Bordsley Green
Yatesburry Avenue – closed in May 2011- Castle Vale.
Millpool Gardens – Kings Heath
Merrishaw – West Heath
New Spring St – Ladywood
Belgravia -Highgate
Dyson Gardens – Alum Rock.

These plans have not yet been finalised, and GMB will be working against the plans with the workers and we need to include the parents who use these nurseries and make sure that the councillors know that their communities do not accept the need to close nurseries in Birmingham.

If you are a parent who uses one of these nurseries, please get in touch with us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com.  Perhaps you could work on a campaign to save the nursery that you use, along with other parents.  If you’ve never done any campaigning before, don’t worry, we can put you in touch with experienced activists living in your area who can help.  Working together we can save our services from closure.



Filed under Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts