Mum to sit on nursery care review panel
A CUTS campaigner who fought plans to shut seven children's centres has agreed to join an independent panel reviewing nursery education in the city.
Millissa Beydilli will be part of the group advising Stoke-on-Trent City Council on how it can radically improve pupil performance at key stage one – despite major budget cuts.
The mother-of-one, a Blurton Primary School governor, led successful campaigns to shelve closure plans and scale back cuts at children's centres.
Plans under consideration as part of £21.1 million budget cuts include reducing free nursery education for three and four-year-olds from 30 hours a week to the legal minimum of 15 hours.
The council insists it wants to improve performance in early years schooling.
Mrs Beydilli said: "I have children's best interests at heart, and will be reflecting this on the panel.
"Parents might not understand that there may be changes in the near future, so it is important for the community to have a mum on the panel."
The panel is being chaired by Eleni Ioannides, children's services adviser to the Director of Children's Services Leadership Programme.
She said: "The council is very ambitious and wants Stoke-on-Trent to be a first class working city.
"It is really important that the panel can bring to the debate ways that efficiencies can be made, evidence of best practice work elsewhere in the country and to reflect the views of local people.
"Our work will then provide recommendations to the council designed to be as helpful as possible."