Save Lewisham Nurseries campaigns to keep Ladywell, Honor Oak and Rushey Green centres open

A new group is campaigning to save three nurseries in the borough from closure. Save Lewisham Nurseries says:

We want to keep open the Honor Oak Park, Ladywell and Rushey Green Early Childhood Centres. The centres, which are well equipped and resourced, promote early learning and development for:

  • Children under 5, an increasing age group in Lewisham.
  • Children with complex needs, who have a right to be an integrated part of the community.
  • Children from all social backgrounds
Sustaining the centres allows parents to return to work and maintains equal opportunities for all families in Lewisham’s diverse community. The early intervention provided gives children a solid foundation in life and enables them to face the challenges in becoming valuable members of society.  

We plan to work as closely as we can with the Lewisham Council to find a solution to the funding crisis. We are also conducting our own research into funding models for the nurseries. So, 4 projects, all focussed our primary aim of keeping the Lewisham nurseries open. 

The Council describes its plans in a recent summary of its capital projects:

The strategy set out in the Budget proposals for 2011-14 was that the LA should stop being a childcare provider. It was agreed that the Council would close Amersham Early Childhood Centre (EYCC) and seek to transfer the three remaining centres, at Rushey Green, Honor Oak and Ladywell, through a competitive process.

In 2011/12 the lower levels of occupancy and the failure to transfer Rushey Green as planned originally means that there is a budget over spend of £832k. The closure of the three centres in August 2012 will enable the original saving of £2.18m to be achieved.

The anticipated redundancy costs are estimated to be £1.033m subject to final calculations of individual entitlements.

The Mayor is recommended to agree:
  • Consultation on the closure of the early childhood centres at Rushey Green, Honor Oak and Ladywell
  • That the formal closure date is proposed as 31 August 2012
You can follow the group on Facebook here and sign their petition here

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no children that need Nursery care so I am not interested in this article, but I do use libraries so I am interested in that issue

mb said...

I dont have any need for nurseries but i do benefit from happy kids that enter the education system smoothly. Also bennefit from families not stuggling to balance work/child care. It's society man...

mb said...

I dont have any need for nurseries but i do benefit from happy kids that enter the education system smoothly. Also bennefit from families not stuggling to balance work/child care. It's society man...

max said...

MB, don't feed the troll, and an especially moronic one in this occasion.

Lou Baker said...

Nurseries can - and do - operate perfectly successfully as private enterprises.

Parents are entitled to a 'free' nursery place for 3's and over under a government scheme anyway.

So this is an example of council taxpayers' money that has never needed spending.

Sally said...

Free places? To some extent but only for 38 weeks a year and 15 hours a week.

It's a help but it really doesn't go very far towards keeping a child in a nursery 52 weeks a year, up to 10 hours a day.

Anonymous said...

Don't have children then??

Anonymous said...

"Nurseries can - and do - operate perfectly successfully as private enterprises."

Point....missed

Schools, hospitals etc can all thrive as private enterprises. If you're born into a family who are skint you do not have access to it. The single biggest thing that defines a persons life chances is the position of their parents. You don't think the state had a role to play in helping smooth out the inequalities, others do. Why should my taxes your for your child's education? Because its a civilised and effective way of making us all better off

I actually wish the ideologues running the country were as honest as you. Individualism, screw the rest.

Lou Baker said...

@anon

But all parents get access to 15 hours 'free' nursery care for over 3's.

So all families to have access to nursery - regardless of wealth - making your point completely spurious.

There's an argument that more hours should be 'free' and that the age should be lower. I'd agree with that.

But there is no point in a council replicating something a private company can do well - but doing it worse.

Anonymous said...

"There's an argument that more hours should be 'free' and that the age should be lower. I'd agree with that." yes, precisly. That is now being reduced.

and yes, private companies can do it but will those on actually fairly reasonable incomes be able to afford it? It's not only affecting low income families, it will impact "hardworking taxpayers". It's a lazy assumption that simply because it's a council funded facility it will be poor or more expensive. A spurious argument old boy.

I dont even have kids but anecdotal evidence from people #I know suggests that we are far from spoilt in this country for affordable childcare. Any one disagree? Will there be more of it and more affordable if the state wahshes it's hands of it? How is this so different from state provision of primary schools?

There is massive need and finite resources. They've got this one wrong, as the population get older the burden on the young to be productive in the future has increased. One or other parent staying at home for longer is less tax to spend on your magic railways. A parent trying to re-enter the workplace after a 10 year gap of not working will also be harder.

The cuts are starting to affect those over a median salary, hold onto your hats everyone.

Lou Baker said...

The debate about childcare is one most families have.

It is expensive for those on modest salaries - and most parents have to make the decision whether it's worth them both working or not - while the child, or children, are young.

But childcare is not an expense that you're forced to incur. If you don't like the cost, don't have kids. I can't afford a Ferrari, so I don't have one. If you can't afford children? Well gents keep your trousers on, ladies keep your legs closed. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

So only the rich should procreate?

Anonymous said...

Only the responsible should. There are some that say even that shouldn't be mandated, but now is not the time to be soft.

George Butler said...

Lou you're just being silly now. If everyone made decisions the way you appear to life would not be worth living.

Oh and the three centres achieved either outstanding or good in their latest Ofsted reports, which as the grades suggest is pretty good.

Anonymous said...

buying a ferrari is not equvalent having children. If we're talking spurious arguments then there's one right there.

What if you lose your job but have kids? You can sell the ferrari, adoption for the kids?

Leave policy to the grownups.

Lou Partridge said...

If it was just the potatoes that were affected... at the end of the day, you will pay the price if you're a fussy eater.

Molewife said...

The point is not 'Can you afford to have children' - the point is, given Lewisham's stated commitment to children and young people in all other age groups, with lots of money spent on integrating young people and helping them be responsible community-focused citizens, what sense does it make to ignore the 0-5 age group? Why not help them learn these skills young and take pressure off up the line when they are older and it's harder to make change? I think it's very shortsighted.

Tamsin said...

If it's about keeping the Children's Centres open - not just the daycare/nursery aspect of it - there are a whole lot of other reasons why this is good thing for society (i.e. the taxpayer) to invest in. Early intervention is the key to preventing a lot of later and expensive problems - children in care, youths in custody and criminalised adults and health care etc. etc. Unfortunately it is very hard to measure such outcomes. You can prove the outputs - so many parents potentially at the end of their tether or in downward spiral assisted and supported to find their own networks and a more positive attitude to parenthood - but how to translate that into government spending savings a decade or so down the line is nigh impossible.

But it is true - and decision-makers have to believe it. Steve Bullock talked the talk when opening the new premises in Wallbutton Road in 2007 - it's a matter of persuading him to deliver.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps cynically - working with Young People gives more photo opportunities and more immediate results than supporting either the 0-5s or the elderly.

The whole Young Mayor scheme is a playing at democracy that is to my mind rather a luxury in the time of cuts to essential services. Intergenerational working is a fine buzz-word but in my experience it amounts to a lot of LBL officer time and often has not delivered.

Anonymous said...

' Unfortunately it is very hard to measure such outcomes.'

But when researchers do they find that they are non-existent, if not negative. Still this won't stop people making exaggerated claims based on wishful thinking, i.e. nothing at all. New Labour 'old think', time it was swept away I say.

AspinallAmanda said...

Anyone in/around Brockley that works and has small children will know what a struggle it is to even find a childcare place, let alone an affordable one, we had our daughters name down at 5 nurseries from before she was born, 16mths later we didn't get into any. Now HPECC is faced with closure we've rung around, one has an 18mth waiting list, the rest say it's unlikely they have anything. So closing all 3 will also put some 150 children out of childcare places leaving working parents with a nightmare to sort out.

max said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
max said...

Lou has chosen, it's dogma over mind.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a Council byelaw preventing people with five or more dogmas from taking them into parks? Lou must be well over the top by now

Tamsin said...

@Anon 15.30 - would be interested if you could point me to those findings. It's a longish time since I was involved but I thought there was American research (if that's not a tainted concept) that demonstrated the opposite - that early intervention was a worthwhile preventative measure.

Braxfield Ben said...

"But there is no point in a council replicating something a private company can do well - but doing it worse."

Having visited several private nurseries in the area and found them to be in some respects all right but in others grasping, extortionate, grubby and full of dead-eyed, young, inexperienced staff, we were delighted when we found the Honor Oak nursery, which was packed with focused, experienced staff who were proud to provide a great service. And it was significantly less expensive than all the private ones (still expensive, but...)

Basically, a prime example of the public sector knocking the private into a cocked hat, which isn't always the case. We're devastated at the planned closure, and so will our two year-old be when she can't go any more.

Anonymous said...

Braxfield Ben,
Yes, agreed. There is significant opportunity for someone to open up a decent nursery - maybe up on HF? Current provision is indeed dead eyed and expensive.

Separately, how do I complain about the gate to the HF playground? It cannot close and swings open allowing dogs in and potentially swinging back on children. It has been like this since last year and I am sick of both it and dealing with the irresponsible dog owners who allow their poochie poo Sukie pops to run around the children's area without attempting to remove him/her.

Andrea Geipel said...

My child attended Amersham nursery - which the council closed last year. And yes - we did find another nursery place - but it was very stressful and disruptive.

With three centres closing at the same time - over 150 good quality nursery places will be lost in one fell swoop - surely this will have a negative provision on affordable childcare provision in the area.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Has anyone got nursery recommendations near Crofton Park -given fewer options in the future if the council goes ahead with its unwise plans. We have a 9 week old and will need childcare from next January. We've made some calls and already faced waiting lists - including a 3 month wait just to view one of them! Any recommendations gratefully received.

kolp said...

What happened to the concept of "workplace creches"?

Tamsin said...

Ofsted and regulations - just too much that those responsible for child-care have to comply with. The directors of any company concerned would need to be CRB-checked for starters. An a workplace creche is not really that (a creche can't operate for more than two hours). It's daycare with the full regulatory requirements.

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