Friday, 12 August 2022

Pre-school to keep going... for now

THE future of Benson Pre-School hangs in the balance.

THE future of Benson Pre-School hangs in the balance.

A motion to close the pre-school was defeated at an extraordinary general meeting of its committee, staff and parents on Thursday last week.

The meeting heard that the nursery had lost £5,700 last year and was forecast to lose more than £15,000 this year.

The 11 people who voted included members of the committee and each family with a child currently at the pre-school, which is based in the youth hall in Oxford Road.

They voted by seven votes to four in favour of closure but this was just less than the two-thirds majority needed.

Another meeting was due to be held last night (Thursday). If a new committee of five people isn’t found, the pre-school will be forced to close anyway.

The meeting heard that only three or four children were due to continue at the pre-school in September.

Carol Stratford, who chairs the committee, said: “It has been an extremely difficult year. We faced difficulties recruiting new families and numbers have been significantly low.

“We have been faced with these financial developments and the crisis situation we have now.

“Our staff were placed at risk of redundancy two-and-a-half weeks ago. I just want to say thank you to all of them for their really hard work over the last year. As always, they have done a sterling job looking after our children.”

The meeting heard the pre-school’s lack of popularity could have been caused by the condition of the hall, the time needed to set up, the lack of space to store equipment and the limited outdoor area.

An open day attracted only one parent.

The pre-school has reserves of £25,500, which represents three months of running costs and provision for staff redundancies.

Benson Primary School is considering lowering its age of admission and establishing a nursery class.

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