ANGRY parents have issued a hands-off warning over their nursery.
Dozens of mums and dads gathered outside The Croft Nursery in Larch Avenue, Higher Shotton, yesterday to protest against the planned closure of the nursery.
It is proposed the nursery would close in 2014 and be merged into a new three-16 school for Deeside or into the nearby St Ethelwold’s Primary School as part of a shake-up of the county’s education system.
This has angered parents, who do not believe closing the nursery would be justified.
Parent governor Wendy Wright is one of the leading campaigners on the issue. She said: “We are all very concerned about this.
“The area won’t be the same without the nursery and we will fight this all the way. We want things to stay as they are.
“The nursery is successful and it should stay open here. We do not want it merged with the schools.
“We do not want a situation where young children are mixing with teenagers every day and may be listening to bad language, for example.”
More than 60 children attend the nursery and there is also an afternoon playgroup at the venue, which has been open for almost 40 years.
Another parent, Shipa Begam, joined in the protest and expressed her opposition to the potential closure. She said: “It would be a big blow, it would be devastating.
“This nursery is fully utilised and is going very well with a lot of children coming here.
“It doesn’t make sense to us why the council would want to close it down.”
Tracy Fox, who is also a parent, said: “We want our children to be able to come here.
It’s a lovely place. I am very concerned about this.”
More than 100 people have joined a Save the Croft Nursery group on the social networking website Facebook and a petition has been launched against the proposals.
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami has met with some of the parents and is supporting their campaign, having written to Flintshire Council on the issue.
He said: “I visited the school last year and was very impressed with the work they are doing.
“I know these are not easy times and difficult decisions have to be made.
“However, I have hope the local education authority will reconsider their decision and I have written to them about the issue.”
In the Area Schools Review consultation document published last year, the proposed changes involving the nursery are given as the preferred option.
The document stated: “The Croft Nursery School would be closed and nursery pupils would relocate to either Queensferry Primary School or St Ethelwold’s Primary School, according to parental preference.
“The Flying Start and Families First initiatives, which support young families in the area, would be expanded into the existing Croft Nursery accommodation.”
Queensferry Primary School and John Summers High School would amalgamate to create a new school catering for pupils and students aged three to 16.
Tom Davies, head of development and resources at Flintshire Council, said: “As part of the area review of education provision, consultations were held in July and November regarding changes to school provision.
“The preferred option consulted on in November and December 2012 included the transfer of nursery provision from the Croft to both Queensferry and St Ethelwolds primary schools, allowing an expansion of Flying Start child care provision in the Croft building. These changes would bring continuity to early years education at the schools.
“Councillors are due to consider the responses to the consultation process next month before deciding on the next steps.”