RADIO GA GA NURSERY AWARD
SALFORD CITY COUNCIL
'You had your time
You had the power
You're yet to have your finest hour...
All we hear is Radio ga ga/Radio goo goo/Radio blah blah...'
Please read this citation accompanied by the strains of Queen's Radio Ga Ga (click here)
What a year it's been in the Salford Council fun house. Are you sitting comfortably boys and girls? It all began last February when Salford Council announced a proposal to axe its five OFSTED-rated outstanding nurseries at Little Hulton, Barton Moss, Higher Broughton, Belvedere and Winton, due to Government funding changes (see here)...
...Within days, over two thousand people had signed a petition against the closures and at a subsequent angry public meeting of hundreds of parents, unions and staff, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, was totally humiliated as there was only him, the Lead Member for Children's Services, Lisa Stone, and a handful of others who voted for a continuing consultation on the closures (see here).
Instead, a motion to 'delay any consultation or alternative proposals and use that time to campaign for the money we need, and we should all stand together to demand that money' was passed overwhelmingly by almost everyone else in the hall.
Within days, the Mayor had done a U-turn and the closure consultation was stopped for a month (see here). Meanwhile the Tory Government stated that it would be 'flexible' on funding but the Council had never asked for this flexibility...although it never really intended to help out with 'flexibility' (see here).
Dennett had told the original public meeting that the Council couldn't use any more reserves because "the auditor tells us that we need around £11.5million just in case of a big accident, a flood, or a huge overspend..."
... "Do you mean like closing five nurseries?" came a response from the back of the hall, to much amusement...
A protest was called outside the Civic Centre but, bizarrely, councillors joined the protest and lobby to save the nurseries, in effect, lobbying themselves! In the event it became a launch for a Save Our Nurseries campaign with the Mayor and councillors at the forefront (see here and see here).
Then, days before a big demo against the closures, Dennett announced yet another U-turn as he found £1.5million down the back of the couch to keep the nurseries open for 18 months, although the postponed consultation went ahead with closure removed as an option (see here and see here and see here).
In April, unions, campaigners and councillors all went to lobby Parliament for changes to the nurseries funding formula (see here and see here), followed by a delegation in May, which met with some underling minister who said nowt (see here).
And so the nursery story played out for the rest of the year, with a family fun day in July and a picket of the Minister for Education's visit to Manchester (see here and see here).
Then, in August, the Council launched a consultation on devolving the nurseries to local schools or "other providers" (see here)...The results of this were announced in December, which showed expressions of interest from two providers...a local primary school and a local multi academy trust. The school only wants to run the nurseries during school term time for 3 and 4 year olds, with 2 year olds using just one of the current nursery sites. The academy wants to run all five nurseries for 0-5 year olds all the year round. Last week, all of the nurseries were put out to national tender via the Chest.
Behind the scenes, however, Salford Council officers appeared to be hatching a fiendish plot to price out parents from the nurseries, with proposals for fee increases up to £37 per week... "It is intended that a letter will be sent to all parents informing them of the proposed fee increase and giving 1 month's notice before the fee increase will be implemented" stated a Council report in November. After the Salford Star pointed this out to the union, the report was hastily withdrawn.
The Salford Council nurseries story is set to run and run...
So, ladies and gentlemen, stamp your feet, suck your thumbs, throw your toys out of the pram and don't mention Salford Clowncil or clowncillors, for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns Radio Gag Ga Nursery Award...
Salford City Council!!!
If someone from Salford City Council would like to make an acceptance speech, please use the comments box below...
Main photo by Gareth Lyons
See Other Winners of the 2018 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...
The Donald Trump Award For Media Dissing - Charlie Winstanley - click here
Disappearing Salford Award – Urban Splash/Alliance Investments – click here
Feed The Rich Award - Fred Done - click here
Universal Catastrophe Award – Conservative Government – click here
Real Digital Council of the Year - Salford City Council - click here
International Award – Manchester City Council - click here
Cuadrilla Award for Attempted Protest Stifling - Bellway Homes - click here
Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government - Salford City Council - click here
Grenfell Tower Memorial Award - Salford City Council, Pendleton Together and the Conservative Government - click here
Art Appreciation Award - Salford City Council - click here