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Cherry Tree Nursery at Hob Moor is set to close


4:18pm 24th May 2011

Cherry Tree Nursery at Hob Moor is set to close.

From August 31st 2011 it'll cease to exist.

Officials have told Minster FM "it's no longer financially viable run."

A spokesperson for Cherry Tree Nursery Management Committee, said:

"This has been a very difficult decision, which we have taken only after a thorough examination of all the possible alternatives. We very much regret the impact it will have on the staff, and it is no reflection on their loyal service over many years.

"We also regret the inconvenience and anxiety that this decision may cause for parents who use the nursery.

"We will do everything we can to minimise the impact of this decision on both staff and parents and to work with families to ensure they have appropriate childcare arrangements in place for the new academic year."

Background information

The Management Committee of Cherry Tree Nursery at Hob Moor is proposing to close the Nursery from 31st August 2011, because it is no longer financially viable.

The Nursery was established eight years ago as one of the extended services offered by Hob Moor Primary School. It is unusual in offering full day care for 0-4 year olds on a commercial basis, but staffed by council employees. Councils do not normally run this kind of Nursery, and there are no others like it in York.

The Nursery has been running at a loss for some time. At the start of this academic year, officers of the Council agreed with the Management Committee that the position was unsustainable. However, the Council agreed to support the Nursery for the remainder of the academic year while options were explored to see if there was a viable alternative way forward.

Options that were considered included restructuring the Nursery, or increasing still further the fee levels.

After due consideration, the Management Committee's view is that there are no viable options to enable the Nursery to break even in the medium term. Nor has any alternative provider been willing to take over the Nursery. Officers of the council agree with this analysis.

The Committee has therefore commenced a formal 30-day consultation with staff and unions, as required by employment law, on a proposal to close the Nursery from 31st August. The Committee will meet again at the end of June to review the position.

If the decision to close the Nursery is upheld, the staff at the Nursery will be put on notice of redundancy. They will be offered counselling, access to the council's redeployment procedures, and retraining if appropriate. The Committee will guarantee to keep the Nursery open until 31st August, using Agency staff to replace anyone who leaves before that date.

Parents of children at the Nursery have been notified of the proposals and offered support to help find alternative childcare. In fact all children who will be four by 31st August will be able to move into primary school reception classes in September. This is the first time this option has been available to all four year olds in York in September, and is the reason the Management Committee picked 31 August over any other date.

For children who will be three by that date, places will be available at Hob Moor Primary School's own (term time) Nursery. The council has agreed a special increase in the number of Nursery places that the school can offer for this reason.

For parents of other children, the council will offer the services of its Family Information Service which has up-to-date information on all childcare places in York. The team will be running drop-in sessions at the local Children's Centre to help parents to access alternative childcare. They can also be contacted by telephone on 01904 554444, or by emailing fis@york.gov.uk, or via a webpage which has been specially set up for this purpose: www.yor-ok.org.uk/cherrytree.

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