Closure of Shotton nursery sparks upset and recriminations


David Humphreys

A NURSERY that has served the community for almost 40 years will close next month.

The Croft Nursery in Higher Shotton will shut its doors for the final time in July as part of a county-wide schools reorganisation programme which will amalgamate the nursery with John Summers High School in Queensferry.

The new “through-school” facility will provide education for children aged three to 16.

It is expected youngsters at the nursery, which currently accommodates 60 pupils, will relocate to either Queensferry Primary School or St Ethelwold’s Primary School in the shorter term after the doors at Croft Nursery close.

Letters were sent out to parents informing them of the news yesterday.

Last year, angry parents protested against the move to shut the Larch Avenue nursery and about 1,600 people signed a petition calling for it to be retained.

The Croft’s long-serving head Joanne Morris said the closure of the facility would be a loss to the community.

She said: “The staff are upset but it is progress for Flintshire. We have to be accept that. We were informed of the decision on Thursday.

“Everyone is ok, there’s no total devastation.

“Flintshire Council have been very supportive throughout so this is just a change, that’s all.

“It will be sad for the community. It will be a loss but we’ll be working right up to the end.”

Mrs Morris said she expects the nursery’s 10 members to be redeployed to new posts.

The fight to save the Croft Nursery started in February 2013 when dozens of angry parents protested outside the nursery.

A 1,600 signature petition was lodged with Flintshire Council in September last year and there was anger when it was logged as a single official objection by the authority.

Objectors voiced concerns about three-year-olds being in the same school environment as 16-year-olds in the proposed John Summers 3-16 school.

Nursery chair of governors, Linda Joughlin, said: “Obviously we’re very disappointed. The nursery has served the community for almost 40 years. We’re very disappointed for the staff.

“It’s obviously been decided the nursery will close and the parents who have supported us throughout were excellent.”

Higher Shotton councillor John Beard said: “This should have been discussed by the town council at least.

“We should have been given forewarning of this to put a case forward. My own children went there and it was an excellent service.

“There should have been more discussion in the community. It’s definitely going to be a loss to the community  as there’s nothing there to replace it yet.”

Ian Budd, Flintshire Council’s chief officer for education and youth, said the changes to education in the county were aimed at “ensuring continuity for families throughout a child’s primary education.”

He said Queensferry and St Etheldwolds Primary Schools will have all-through provision for early education for the first time and the council was now “working closely with staff and parents and carers to support implementation.”

See full story in the Leader

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