Parents devastated by the closure of an “outstanding” island nursery have been stepping up their campaign to save the beloved nursery.
First Steps nursery, currently situated on the Barton Primary school and Early Years Centre, is due to close its doors to 14 staff and 80 children in total on the 26th August. The board of goveners responsible for the decision say that this is due to “financial sustainability”, but it has emerged this week that the school already has plans to gut the building and use it as Barton pre-school (currently located next door to First Steps).
However parents, local councillors and members of the community say that the nursery, which was the only day care centre for children aged 0-4 to achieved an “outstanding” result from OFSTED last year, is a jewel in the island’s crown and are determined to find another location for the facility.
The save First Steps Facebook group, currently has 355 members strong and a petition to save the nursery currently has over 200 signatures. Campaigners have also and have met with Andrew Turner, MP to discuss the impact of the closure on the children, their families and the wider community.
Parents say they feel let down by the council, who chose not to relocate the nursery, and who report that there are sufficient spaces for the infants requiring childcare in the Newport area, and feel that they are now being forced to compromise on the child care that their babies and young children receive.
To join the campaign, or show your support, please join the “Save First Steps Nursery” group on Facebook, or look out for one of the petitions around Newport.
“I think that the point I really want to make is that, for many of us, we have no choice but to return to work when our babies are very young. My own daughter was 8 moths old. This is a decision that no parent takes lightly, and I think that unless you have been in that situation it is very difficult to comprehend how tough that is, and how much trust you need to be able to put into the staff. When I had to return to work, my partner and I spent a great deal of time reading OFSTED reports and visiting all of the Nurseries in the Newport area, and I know many other parents who did the same. That is why our children go to First Steps. I can honestly say that I would not feel comfortable leaving my daughter anywhere else. No parent should feel that they have to compromise when it comes to the care of their baby, but this is what this decision is forcing upon us.” – Amie Hotchin
“It’s such a shame. I think I can speak for all of us parents when I say that we don’t just want a SPACE for a child. What we want is what First Steps offers; a nurturing, loving environment for our children to learn and develop in line with the five outcomes of the “Every child matters” document. There is no other baby end in Newport with an outstanding OFSTED result. First Steps should be held as a guiding light for the other nurseries, not closed down. Amie Hotchin
An outstanding Nursery where all our children have a wonderful start to their education with staff that are more like friends than and mentors to the children should be encouraged by both the school and Council, not just thrown aside. – Amy Glynn
My daughter, Lara, went to First Steps in 2000, from 7 months to 4 years old. Everyone was so caring there and I genuinely feel that they helped Lara have the very best start in life, both educationally and socially. I recommended it to friends and I understand that they and their children continue to enjoy the same level of care now that we did all those years ago. I will be writing to the Council to protest against this decision. From our experience, First Steps is better than the average nursery and should not be closed – it’s madness!
I just can’t believe this this news. My daughter Ella-May went to First steps from the age of 8 weeks until 4, and Gabe went from 10 weeks until 4. I believe that the wonderful staff at First Steps helped make my children into the well balanced kids they are today (aged 9 and 7). If there is anything we can do to help, just let us know!!!