Salford City Council is currently consulting, yet again, on the future of its threatened five OFSTED rated outstanding nurseries until 18th October, and wants to get around its funding gap by devolving them to schools or what it calls "other providers".*
In response, today the Save Our Salford Nurseries campaign has issued a set of ten demands, including that the nurseries remain within the public sector. The demands are...
• The nurseries must remain in the public sector. The schools they are managed by must therefore not be academies or free schools.
• The nurseries must be able to continue to offer provision from 0-4 years old
• Staffing ratios, structures, access to training and terms and conditions must not be altered.
• There should be no reduction in support for children with additional needs.
• The nurseries should remain at their current locations.
• The nurseries must maintain their existing opening hours and not move to term-time only.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 reason for the request for an extension until 2020 if the proposals that arise from this consultation are not acceptable is because there is to be a spending review due that year" states the Campaign "We want the nurseries to be secured until at least the time at which that review takes place. These demands will now be shared with the City Council and we will be seeking a dialogue with any schools that are interested in supported the nurseries on this basis."
Steven North, Salford City UNISON branch secretary explains: "When the Council conducted its first campaign earlier this year, the campaign decided that we would remain open minded to any proposals that would safeguard the nurseries within the public sector.
"We intend to continue to fight for Government funding to retain the nurseries within Salford City Council" he adds "but if our ten demands can be met, we are prepared to consider alternative delivery models and would now like to enter into dialogue with the City Council and local schools on this basis..."
There are public meetings to discuss the consultation at the following venues, dates and times...
11 September 2018 at Barton Moss Day Nursery - 6pm until 7pm
13 September 2018 at Winton Day Nursery - 6pm until 7pm
18 September 2018 at Belvedere Day Nursery - 6pm until 7pm
20 September 2018 at Little Hulton Day Nursery - 6pm until 7pm
26 September 2018 at Broughton Day Nursery - 6pm until 7pm
For further details and to respond to the Council consultation – click here
* For a full background see previous Salford Star article - click here