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GOVERNMENT FINALLY TO MEET SALFORD NURSERY CAMPAIGNERS
 

Star date: 15th May 2018

IT'S A 'YES' OR A 'NO' FROM THE GOVERNMENT

After months of cat and mouse non-negotiations with the Government over the future of Salford City Council's five threatened nurseries, a delegation is finally heading to London tomorrow to meet with the Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, NadhimZahawi.

The Department of Education told the Salford Star months ago that it would be 'flexible' on the new Early Years funding formula if the Council actually asked them. Now is the time for the Under-Sec of State to deliver. It's a 'yes' or a 'no'.

Full details here...


Salford Nursery Campaign Salford Nursery Campaign
click image to enlarge

The long-term future of Salford Council's five OFSTED rated 'outstanding' nurseries could finally be settled tomorrow, after months of non-negotiations.

Originally, Salford Council and City Mayor, Paul Dennett, were intent on shutting the nurseries, citing Government changes to Early Years funding formula which meant that the Council had to pass on 93-95% of its funding to private providers, leaving a hole in its budget.

Then a huge meeting of nursery workers, parents and families made their views clear that these nurseries should remain open; a defiance that saw just a handful of councillors and the Salford Mayor vote to continue with proposals to press on with the closure consultation.

Meanwhile, a statement given to the Salford Star by the Department of Education insisted that the Government would be 'flexible' on funding but that Salford Council hadn't actually asked for flexibility.

Following this, the Mayor did a huge u-turn, postponing the consultation for a month and opting to join unions and nursery campaigners in lobbying the Government for more funding.

A few days before a huge march was planned in support of the nurseries, the Mayor found 1.5million to keep them open for a further year, although the consultation (with closure not an option) is still continuing.

Last month, a delegation went to Westminster to drum up support amongst MPs, and tomorrow, finally, there is a meeting with Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, NadhimZahawi, to try and sort it all out.

The delegation going down this time includes Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, UNISON Officer Ameen Hadi, Val Worrall who works at Broughton Nursery, and Lee Shannon and Danielle Walker, whose children attend Broughton and Little Hulton nurseries.

The delegation will be asking the Government to take two steps to keep the nurseries open...
*Support a reversal of changes to the Dedicated Schools Grant, which currently prevent Councils from spending all but a small percentage on directly delivered early years services.
*As an immediate step, allow Councils to access the 55m transitional funding that has been put in place to allow schools-based nurseries to manage those changes.

"This is a campaign that the people of Salford have rallied behind because they know how much it means to keep these nurseries open" says Salford UNISON's Steven North "Not just for the children and families who use them now, but for future generations.

"The changes to DSG funding are impacting other parts of the country and we have launched a national petition to highlight this" he explains "We are hoping Mr Zahawi will listen to our representatives and will take steps to support councils who want to ensure outstanding early years provision."

Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey
adds: "I believe it is imperative to save these outstanding nurseries. The passion and dynamism of this campaign is a credit to those dedicated staff and parents who are fighting to keep them open.

"I welcome discussion with the Education Minister regarding the Dedicated Schools Grant and along with staff, parents and the City Mayor will be demanding that Local Authority Day Nurseries in Salford be made eligible for additional funding via the Maintained Nursery Schools resource...".

To sign the nursery petition to Parliament click here

For a full background see previous Salford Star article - Salford Nursery Campaign Goes National - click here and follow the links at the end of the article
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