Parents want answers over nursery closures
9:40am Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
PARENTS are demanding answers over the shock closure of four nurseries in the town.
Headstarts Day Nursery, owned by Sara Vare, ran six nurseries in Swindon, Newbury and Basingstoke and on Monday at 6pm, all these nurseries closed without warning or explanation to parents, while staff told parents the closure was because the owner’s licence had been revoked.
Parents have been left in the lurch after hearing the news and the Adver has been unable to reach the management for comment.
In a letter to parents posted on the window of the Eldene nursery, Sara said: “There have been a number of factors that have forced the closure of the nursery with immediate effect.
“This has been a particularly unfortunate and distressing situation for all the staff and I thank you for your patience and understanding.”
A message on the answerphone from the company to parents of children who attend the Delta Business Park nursery said: “Unfortunately with immediate effect as of Monday, September 16 at 6pm the nursery is no longer open. Unfortunately Ofsted has taken the registration away from the owner with immediate effect.”
But Ofsted denied being responsible for closing down the nurseries, and instead said Headstarts Nursery had contacted them to inform them that they would close down.
An Ofsted spokesman said: “We were investigating this nursery provider about a child going missing from one of its nurseries when it told us, on Monday 16 September, that it would close all its premises.”
Meanwhile on Saturday, Swindon Council notified parents that funding to the Eldene nursery would cease on October 18 following an Ofsted inspection judging the provision as inadequate. Yesterday, the council confirmed to the Adver that the management had resigned their registration.
A Swindon Council spokesman said: “We have received official confirmation from Ofsted that the owners of Headstarts have taken the decision to resign their registration.”
Amanda Brooks’ three-year-old son Richard was due to start at the nursery at Robert le Kyng School in September.
She said: “I received a text from my friend to say she had read on Facebook that all of Headstarts had closed. Not wanting to believe Facebook gossip I decided to check the nurseries’ website and sent them a polite email asking if there was any truth in it.
“All I got back was a short email stating ‘I am sorry to say Headstarts will no longer open any of its day nurseries with immediate effect’, which has left me searching for a pre-school place for my son.”
Ofsted confirmed they were investigating the disappearance of toddler Lucas Bedwell, three, while in the care of the nursery at Robert le Kyng School in June.
His mum Melisa, 32, said: “They said they were going to tell me when they had finished their report but I haven’t heard anything. What happened to Lucas, I wouldn’t want to happen to anybody else.
“I had no problem with the nursery but since they had the change of staff on a monthly basis I started to get concerned.”
A council spokesman said they were helping parents find alternative childcare.
For information about childcare places visit swindon.gov.uk/fis, email email@example.com or call 01793 445500. To join a campaign to help save Eldene Headstarts Nursery visit www.facebook.com/ saveeldeneheadstarts.nursery.
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