Preston primary school could scrap nursery education

A Preston primary school looks set to stop offering nursery-age places after a drop in demand.

Monday, 7th March 2022, 9:21 pm

A consultation will be carried out into the future of the facilities for three-year-olds at The Roebuck Primary School in Ashton-on-Ribble.

Lancashire County Council will start the process next week after receiving a request from the governing body, which wants to close the nursery class at the end of the current academic year.

A meeting of the authority’s cabinet – at which the consultation was approved – heard that the birth rate in Preston was static, leading to a surplus of nursery places in the city.

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A consultation will be carried out into the future of the nursery facility at The Roebuck Primary School in Ashton (image: Google)

An Informal consultation undertaken by the Inkerman Street school found that the limited scope of its nursery offer was also likely to be playing a part in reduced pupil numbers.

Feedback from parents indicated that they were put off by the fact there was only a morning nursery session being provided – and that it was only available during term time. Families were said to want 30-hours-per-week nursery provision and “wraparound” care – neither of which can be offered because of what cabinet members were told are “financial limitations”.

There are 15 places available at the nursery – 10 of which are currently filled – and only five applications have been received for this September.

All of the pupils currently enrolled in the nursery will be moving into reception in the autumn. There are no proposals to change any element of the provision for 4-11-year-olds.

A report presented to the cabinet states that the county council “does not believe that there would be an adverse impact on participation” in nursery education as a result of the change. It adds that there are sufficient “good quality” nursery providers in the area.

Cabinet member for education and skills Jayne Rear said she wanted to encourage residents to take part in the forthcoming consultation in order to give the authority “as broad a view as possible” about what was being proposed.

The consultation will run from 14th March until 23rd May, with a final decision to be taken by the cabinet in July.