Staff and parents petition to save Bedfordshire nursery

Staff and parents fighting to stop the closure of a popular Bedford nursery tried to hand in a petition today to save the centre.

But the chair of Sharnbrook Academy Federation (SAF), which runs Brook Day Nursery, refused to accept the 250-strong petition presented by UNISON.

The nursery, based at the Sharnbrook Academy site, already has 48 children on role, many the offspring of school employees, with more on a waiting list.

The presence of a nursery on site is vital to many school staff who otherwise may not be able to work because of the difficulty of finding childcare, warns UNISON.

SAF claims the nursery is losing too much money but staff and parents say the federation has not explored ways to keep the nursery open.

Parents have indicated they would be willing to pay higher fees and cover some costs currently met by the nursery to help improve the nursery’s finances.

The closure would leave nursery workers struggling to find other jobs while parents would face difficulties finding new childcare places, says UNISON.

UNISON area organiser Catherine Ward said: “Brook Day is an essential provision for the staff at Sharnbrook and the wider community.

“It would be a great shame for SAF to shut the nursery, especially when staff and parents are so enthusiastic about saving it.

“The fact parents are willing to pay higher fees and provide their own food and nappies shows just how valued a community asset Brook Day is.

“SAF must listen to staff and parents so that future generations can continue to benefit from the excellent nursery care here in Sharnbrook.”

Parent James Mellor said: “Brook Day Nursery provides a vital service for families living in Sharnbrook and is essential for staff commuting to the academy.

“Many staff use or have used the nursery over the years in order to work at the school and closing the onsite childcare would remove one of the most significant factors in retaining and recruiting high quality teachers and support staff.

“During this consultation period, we urge SAF to ensure that nursery provision continues at the site for the good of the local community, their own employees and the Academy’s continued success.”