Parents’ fury as pre-school shuts its doors

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PARENTS say they are devastated after their children’s pre-school closed.

The announcement of the closure came after government funding was completely cut for St Albans Pre-school, Copnor after a poor Ofsted inspection.

From left, parents and children Mohammed Whaid with his son Abu Ahmed (4), Nicole Hall with her daughter Charlotte Harrison (3), Sarah Berry with her son Billy Smith (2) and Sharon Jervis with her daughter Poppy Jervis (3), Sharon also works at the nursery.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150878-957)

From left, parents and children Mohammed Whaid with his son Abu Ahmed (4), Nicole Hall with her daughter Charlotte Harrison (3), Sarah Berry with her son Billy Smith (2) and Sharon Jervis with her daughter Poppy Jervis (3), Sharon also works at the nursery.''Picture: Sarah Standing (150878-957)

Its last day was yesterday.

Nicole Hall whose daughter Charlotte attended the pre-school said: ‘I’m absolutely devastated.

‘My daughter loves it here, the staff have helped her become a confident person.’

With over 70 families relying on the service many will now have to find alternative care for their children.

Parent Kirsty Carroll, 39, from Copnor said: ‘Most of the children are leaving to go to school in September so it will be difficult to find them another place.

‘If I can’t find somewhere else to go then I will have to give up work to look after my son.’

The closure of the pre-school has also affected nine members of staff and a volunteer who will have to find work elsewhere.

Mum and pre-school assistant Sharon Jervis, 39, from Baffins said: ‘I have only been working here since January but my daughter has been coming here since September.

‘I will have to find another job and have to settle Poppy where she won’t know anyone.’

Pre-school manager Alison Burnett has voiced her sadness of the closure.

She said: ‘I am very upset the nursery is closing. We have a great team and the children love coming here – it is a shame. We have become like a big family.’

The Ofsted inspection, which was carried out in March, stated that the pre-school was inadequate.

Inspectors wrote: ‘The quality of teaching is not consistently of a good standard to ensure all staff make the most of learning opportunities to support children’s progress.’

Mother Julia Lemon has hit out at the report, saying: ‘They should have given support a long time ago.’

The money removed from St Albans will be allocated to Springwood Pre-school that will open in June at Copnor Methodist Church.

This follows Department of Education guidelines.

A DfE spokesman said: ‘Councils are expected to withdraw funding from providers judged by Ofsted to be inadequate, and secure alternative provision as soon as possible. St Alban’s Pre-School was rated inadequate by Ofsted and this is clearly not good enough.’

Catherine Kickham, early support commissioning manager at Portsmouth City Council said: ‘A new provider has been identified nearby and we’re working with parents to find alternative, quality, local childcare.’