A family-friendly rally to Save Our Nurseries will be held on the lawn of Salford Civic Centre next Saturday, 27th October with speakers and fun fair rides, as campaigners continue their push to keep the five OFSTED rated 'outstanding' nurseries under local authority control.
Salford City Council originally wanted to shut all five of its nurseries, citing a £1.5million funding shortfall, after the Tory Government changed early years funding formula. However, following an angry meeting of parents and staff, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, did a U-turn and agreed to join the campaign to try and save them.
The Department of Education then stated that it would be 'flexible' on the new funding formula but has been silent ever since, despite intense lobbying by campaigners in Parliament and a large march and rallies in Salford. This culminated in Dennett finding £1.5million to keep the nurseries open until August next year, while a solution was found.*
The latest proposal by Salford Council is to link the nurseries to schools which would categorise them as 'state-maintained nurseries' for which there is funding and this was then put out to consultation. While the campaign states that it is 'open-minded' on the option, it has set out ten 'clear expectations' that must be met. These are...
1. The nurseries must remain in the public sector. The schools they are managed by must therefore not be academies or free schools.
2. The nurseries must be able to continue to offer provision from 0-4 years old.
3. Staffing ratios, structures, access to training and terms and conditions must not be altered.
4. There should be no reduction in support for children with additional needs.
5. The nurseries should remain at their current locations.
6. The nurseries must maintain their existing opening hours and not move to term-time only.
7. The City Council must underwrite any transfer of the nurseries into school management and agree up front to move any nursery back into Council management, should the viability of the nursery or its services be threatened.
8. If the outcome of this consultation is not acceptable to staff and parents, organised through our campaign, the City Council should commit to at least a further twelve month funding to August 2020.
9. That as long as the nurseries do not have an acceptable long-term solution, we expect Salford politicians to support the campaign in demanding additional Government funding.
10. That certainty on the future of the nurseries until at least August 2020 must be given by the final Full Council meeting of 2018.
The rally outside the Civic Centre next Saturday, with attendance by all three Salford MPs, Graham Stringer, Barbara Keeley and Rebecca Long-Bailey, and supported by MP Angela Rayner, will hopefully reinforce this message to Salford Council and the Government...
"The rally on the 27th is to continue the momentum of the Salford campaign and to raise awareness of the national campaign that we are building" says Save Our Nurseries parent spokesperson Lee Shannon "It is clear now that this is not just an issue facing Salford, and therefore we have decided to launch a campaign entitled 'SOON', which stands for Save Our Outstanding Nurseries.
"The issue of early years funding is being raised regularly in Parliament by MPs of all parties – including the Conservatives - but despite promises made to us back in the spring, we have yet to see any action from Minister for Early Years, Nadhim Zahawi" he adds.
Save Our Nurseries Autumn Rally
Saturday 27th October from noon
Salford Civic Centre
*For a full back ground see previous Salford Star articles...
Nurseries Meeting Votes To Take On Salford Mayor If Closures Proposed – click here
Hundreds Demonstrate To Save Our Nurseries – click here
Nurseries To Remain Open For At Least 18 Months – click here
Salford Council To Consult On Outsourcing Nurseries – click here