Worthing nursery '˜not financially sustainable' and could be closed

More than 30 families may need to find new childcare arragements if a nursery is closed down.

Monday, 10th September 2018, 1:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 2:48 pm
The Little Laurels could close in October. File picture.

A consulation on the future of The Little Laurels Nursery, at The Laurels Primary School in Winterbourne Way, Durrington, was announced today.

A statement from the Durrington Multi Academy Trust said: “It is with regret that the Board of Durrington Multi Academy Trust has made the decision to consult on the closure of The Little Laurels Nursery located at Laurels Primary School.

“The Primary School (R-Y6) is not part of this consultation. It has become apparent this nursery provision is not financially sustainable. Further information has been circulated to staff and the 33 families potentially affected and the school and Trust are providing support to them.”

In January this year, The Laurels Primary School formally joined the Durrington Multi Academy Trust (DMAT), established to undertake a strategic collaboration to improve and maintain high educational standards across a number of schools.

The trust’s consultation document, which can be viewed on its website, says: “Currently there is very little demand for fee-paying places for children due to the availability of full-day, all-year-round provision locally. Fee income accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the current income.

“In order to expand this type of income the nursery would need to operate 51 weeks of the year from 8am to 6pm which would require significant further investment in the premises, resources and staffing with no guarantee of take up. The area is currently well served for full-day care provision with 31 settings offering pre-school places within a three-mile radius.”

The document also says that the nursery is operating at a loss, ‘with staff wages exceeding nursery income and no running costs historically being attributed to the nursery for the services it uses’.

It goes on: “The losses that are currently incurred, and are predicted to be incurred, by the nursery are being covered using funding provided by the Education Services Funding Agency (ESFA) for our primary-aged children (year R – Year 6). This has a detrimental effect on the resources we can offer across the school.”

The consultation document shows the nursery made a loss of £13,884 in the 2017/2018 financial year, with deficits of £43,393 and £46,352 predicted for 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 respectively.

The consultation is due to end on Monday, October 8. If the proposal were to go ahead, the nursery would close Friday, October 19.