Call for clarification on future of nurseries

Back in March, the SNP/Lib Dem led Council approved the decision to close two Edinburgh nursery schools.

Under the plans High School Yards Nursery School and Princess Elizabeth Nursery School are set to close when the current term ends in July.

However, the decisions were ‘called in’ by Scottish Ministers when it emerged that the Council had failed to notify objectors of their right to make representations to the Scottish Government.

I have written to Education Secretary Mike Russell MSP, to urge the Scottish Government to state when the future of the nurseries will be decided.   Parents and teachers are worried about arrangements for next year and the Scottish Government owes it to people to make a decision quickly so that they can plan ahead.

The closure of these services would be a devastating blow for the parents and teaching professionals who have campaigned against them.  Before the election I joined with campaigners at High School Yards and I share their concern that the Council’s case for closure is deeply flawed. Campaigners against the closure of Princess Elizabeth have similar concerns.

Closure of these nurseries would force many parents to choose between expensive private nurseries and keeping their kids at home and will put many low paid families under pressure.  I am particularly concerned that it could force mothers out of work to care for their children.   Educationalists are also critical of the lack of academic credibilty of these proposals.

These decisions come as a direct result of the removal of powers from head teachers to manage nursery school admissions by the Council.  At High School Yards this has resulted in a reduction in teacher numbers which has allowed the school to become underutilised despite continuing high demand for places.   I hope that the Minister will take these issues on board as he considers this decision.