Parents fight plans to cut free nursery classes by 50%
FAMILIES have launched a campaign to keep their toddlers in full-time education after a council unveiled plans to reduce free nursery classes.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is considering a proposal to reduce free nursery class provision from 30 hours a week to the legal minimum of 15 hours.
Council managers say the plan could help save £1.7 million during the next financial year.
But the idea has been criticised by a group of parents whose children attend Burnwood Nursery School in Chell Heath Road.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
And now they are starting a petition to oppose the proposal and stop their children losing out on free education.
Campaign leader, Katy Bostock, of Alcester Close in Chell Heath, is a parent governor at the school, and her daughters Poppy, aged five, and Daisy, aged three, both attended the nursery.
She said: "The parents here would be devastated to lose our nursery time.
"There is currently a consultation so we're making our views known."
The 34-year-old full-time mum added: "Some of the mums here are having to support their children on their own. They have full time jobs."
Childminder Dawn Stewart-Pyatt, aged 38, from Cosley Street in Smallthorne, said: "I feel passionately about this. The early years are the most important.
"The teachers can pick up on learning or development problems. Children who are at nursery go on to be better at school because they are less shy. They settle in more quickly, and it's not such a giant leap for them."
Janine Stubbs, aged 26, of Hazelhurst Road in Chell, said she will have to delay her ambition to train as a midwife if the council give cuts the go ahead.
The mum-of-two said: "My youngest son, Lee, is only 16 months so if these cuts come in, he won't get the full time nursery education children get at the moment.
"Now I'll have to wait until he is at primary school in 2015 before I can do my course."
Burnwood Nursery's headteacher Juliet Levingstone said: "I passionately believe that full time nursery education is crucial for the children of Stoke-on-Trent.
"I urge all people who believe children are our future to take part in the consultation."
Councillor Alan Dutton, cabinet member for education, said: "I can assure parents that children who are currently at nursery will continue to receive the present level of provision and will not be affected if and when any changes are introduced.
"We are taking an innovative approach by using an independent panel to look into all aspects of the debate."