Council orders Newcastle mum to find new nursery
ANGRY mum Anna Buckley-White was turned away from a nursery in a postcode row – despite having already attended the centre for six months.
The 28-year-old arrived at the Sure Start Penkhull Children's Centre on Monday only to be refused entry.
She was told she would have to relocate to a nursery within the Newcastle boundary, because of a Stoke-on-Trent City Council rule – even though she lives just a mile away from the centre.
Mrs Buckley-White, of Slaney Street, Newcastle, who has no car, said: "I couldn't believe it. I was really hurt, confused and angry. It takes me 45 minutes to walk to the nursery with my pram but if I have to move it will take much longer.
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"Michael is settled there. It's an excellent centre and I've made good friends. It's so unfair that I have to move just because of my postcode."
The full-time mum took her anti-natal classes at the centre and brought Michael, now aged eight months, to his first class in September. The pair had attended the weekly 'Stay and Play' sessions every Monday.
Nursery employees have now asked her to write to the council to explain her situation.
But Mrs Buckley-White said: "How can the council justify depriving my child of important development and socialising time?
"The centre staff were very apologetic. I was really surprised and to be honest I got a bit emotional.
"The staff were lovely and said I could continue to bring Michael on a Monday until the council said otherwise. They said it was a problem with parents bringing their children from miles away but there must be others in my position."
After inquiries from The Sentinel, council officers contacted Mrs Buckley-White to say she could continue to use the centre, but would forfeit her place if a Stoke-on-Trent child needed to take Michael's place.
She has since decided to remove Michael from the Stay and Place session and seek a class elsewhere.
Councillor Gwen Hassall cabinet member for social care, said: "Our position has always been that city council Sure Start services are available to families who live in Stoke-on-Trent. Newcastle Children's Centre offer services for residents of Newcastle Borough Council."