Burnley primary school scraps nursery class as parents seek longer childcare hours
Brunshaw Primary School currently runs a class for three-year-olds each weekday morning during term time.
However, earlier this year, the headteacher and governors asked Lancashire County Council to consider allowing the school to discontinue nursery provision in the face of the dwindling numbers of children who were registered at the facility.
After a public consultation into the proposal failed to generate a single response, the authority’s cabinet has now given the go-ahead to the closure at the end of the current academic year.
A report presented to a recent cabinet meeting at County Hall revealed that just 10 out of the 26 available nursery places at the Morse Street school are currently filled – while only four applications have been received from families wanting their children to attend from this September.Cabinet member for education and skills Jayne Rear said that the morning-only offer was “not…suitable for working families”.
“There is a significant number of surplus [nursery] places in the Burnley area…to mitigate the loss at Brunshaw,” County Cllr Rear added.Her cabinet colleague Cosima Townley – who holds the children and families portfolio – said that increasing the range at the school to four to 11-year-olds would enable it to “concentrate more on the pupils that they have and can attract”.
Before the school approached the county council about the proposed change, an informal consultation was carried out with parents to see if the nursery provision could be made more popular. However, respondents said that they needed a facility which was open both before and after school – and also during the school holidays.
As a result, many had already opted for other nursery providers in their town, among which there was said to be a significant amount of competition.
Meanwhile, consideration has been given to how the vacated space can now be used “for the good of the pupil population”, cabinet members were told.