Closures of Mary Sambrook, John Smith and Overland nurseries confirmed

Closures confirmed? In Tower Hamlets council’s very own dialect of George Orwell’s Newspeak the childcare service is being ‘reshaped’ and it is to ‘consult’ on the closure of the three nurseries at an ‘Early Years Summit’ of parents and childcare providers.

So Mary Sambrook Nursery will close in a matter of weeks at the end of July 2018, followed by John Smith Nursery in December and Overland Nursery in the first half of 2019.

Cllr. Denise Jones (centre) with children and parents at a meeting in 2014 to discuss the proposed cuts to Children’s Services organised by Christine Trumper (right).

Closure of nurseries fairer for all families

The press release formally announcing the ‘reshaping’ of the three day care nurseries bore the headline ‘Council to make childcare provision fairer for all families.’

If this logic is pursued it seems only a matter of time before all residents in the borough are forced out of their homes to sleep in the streets to make the housing allocation system fairer for those already homeless.

The council states that the three day care nurseries are to be closed because they ‘cost about three times more than the average spent on a child by the service’ as the Early Years budget equates to £1,700 per child, or £5,300 per under-5s place, while the day nurseries cost £15,000 per child or £1.5m a year.

The closure decision seems to be directly at odds with the stated aim of the ‘Securing the future of Early Years services – local authority day nurseries’ consultation to ‘seek new operators’ [outsource] for the three nurseries.

Nurseries reprieved by Mayor Rahman

In December 2014 the previous directly-elected Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, reversed a decision to close the nurseries and promised to keep them open after a campaign backed by local Labour MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali.

The Labour Spokesperson for Schools at the time, Cllr. Danny Hassell, said that “…The parents who have been campaigning against this vicious cut have run a very strong campaign and they should be very proud of their work. The Labour Group will continue to support them and their families as we move forward.”

The Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour Group, Cllr. Rachael Saunders, also warned residents that the battle to save key services was not over.

How right she was!

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