Nursery class 'unsustainable'
A PRIMARY school is set to close its nursery class – but hopes to find an alternative provider to run an on-site preschool instead.
Barley Close in Mangotsfield is one of only two schools in the area to run a teacher-led nursery class but almost half of the 60 places are unfilled and the school's governing body says the situation is "unsustainable".
South Gloucestershire Council has announced a consultation on the proposed move, with anyone who wants to have a say given until February 14 to do so.
If confirmed, the change would take effect from April 1.
Changes in preschool provision have seen a decline in the demand for nursery school places, with most providers now from the private, voluntary or independent sectors (PVI), including 140 in South Gloucestershire alone.
The council said: "At Barley Close, the current number on roll in the nursery is 34, while 26 places remain unfilled.
"The cost of running the nursery is met from the school budget, which leads to the danger of having to subsidise the nursery class from the main school budget, reducing available resources for 4 to 11 year olds.
"The governing body of Barley Close School has concluded that this position is unsustainable and that, therefore, the current nursery close should close and alternative arrangements made.
"The intention is that, following local discussions and the identification of an appropriate provider, a PVI group should be involved to set up a pre-school group with the premises of Barley Close School.
"In this way, more effective and flexible provision could be made for local preschool age children in close cooperation with the school but without the current adverse impact on the school budget for school-aged children.
"There are no plans to make other changes in the organisation of the school and the governing body. Leadership and staffing arrangements will remain as they are. Discussions will take place with the staff currently working in the nursery class and their future deployment."
People who want to comment on the proposed change should email CAHBusinessSupportBMR@southglos.gov.uk or write to South Gloucestershire Council Department for Children, Adults and Health, PO Box 1955, Bristol BS37 5AF, by February 14, marking correspondence for the attention of Tanya Smith.
At the same time Kings Forest Primary School, in Station Road, Kingswood, is applying to open a nursery class for three and four year olds. Comments on its plan can also be made to the same address.