A TROUBLED college crèche is set to close.
Preston’s College is “consulting” on proposals to shut its Learning Tree Nursery and Education Centre.
The move follows hard on the heels of a damning report by education watchdogs, who rated the facility inadequate in all four areas after a visit by inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education.
College bosses say falling demand led to the decision, coupled with the fact that the facility isn’t fit for purpose.
The nursery, on the St Vincent’s Road campus in Fulwood, has 122 children on the roll for its 106 places and provides care for babies up to 10, including before and after school clubs, all year round.
It was initially a crèche for staff and student but expanded to offer places to the general public, employing 20 staff.
At the last Ofsted inspection in 2011 the facility was ranked good but a team visiting in March claimed children were “exposed to risk because staff do not identify and make safe aspects of the environment that are dangerous”.
Managers didn’t have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and risk assessments weren’t good enough, said the inspectors.
The quality of teaching, training and supervision of staff was also inadequate.
Vice principal Chris Wood, said: “The main reason for having an on-site service has always been to assist learners with their childcare needs.
“However, with a significant and increasing number of parents choosing to place their children with other local providers, together with the condition of the venue being no longer fit for present day practice, we have reluctantly taken the decision to consider closing the facility.
“The consultation period will take place over the next 30 days with a planned closure date for the centre of July 22.
“This is a decision that has not been taken lightly and should parents decide to seek alternative childcare arrangements over this period we will help assist this process.
“The college remains committed to delivering the highest level of service, development and learning provision and has provided on-campus childcare for more than 20 years to staff, students and the local community.”