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Outraged over nursery closure

(19 Posts)
FlicketyB Sat 01-Sep-12 16:15:56

DS has just rung me. In the post this morning he and DDIL received a letter from the nursery DGS attends to say it is closing with immediate effect. DGS attends nursery Monday - Wednesday. They have two weekend days to try and organise temporary care for him next week and then to try and find a place in another nursery.

AIBU in feeling that nurseries, like, generally, care homes for the elderly should give parents reasonable notice that they are closing. A closure like this, just as the school term is starting, causes major problems for parents but is also disrupting and confusing for the children involved.

How do you explain to a 2 year old that he isnt going to the nursery he knows anymore and that for the next few weeks he will be looked after by grandparents, friends etc, which is all very nice but confusing, and then will attend another nursery, possibly not as good, with new carers and lots of other children he doesnt know. When children move from nursery to school or pre-school it is all carefully planned and the children prepared for the change, surely nurseries should have to allow time for this when closing.

Nonu Sat 01-Sep-12 16:21:23

it seems a bit strange doesn"t it , as you say it going to unsettling for him ,

Anagram Sat 01-Sep-12 16:25:15

It does sound sudden - perhaps there is a reason behind the closure that no one knows yet, such as the business having to go into liquidation, or a death or other family tragedy. In the normal course of things I agree that adequate notice should be given to all users of the nursery, and the timing in this case is particularly bad.

Notsogrand Sat 01-Sep-12 16:31:46

As it's such short notice, do you think there may be a problem at the nursery Flickety? Maybe their registration has unexpectedly not been renewed or perhaps something else that has only just come to light and resulted in closure with immediate effect?

FlicketyB Sat 01-Sep-12 16:39:33

Yes, it does. The nursery has been in business for some years, DGD attended it until she went on to school and it had been in business for a number of years before then. DS & DDIL said they had had a feeling something was up but had absolutely no idea what.

What is really upsetting me is that my DDIL has recently been ill still gets very tired very easily. The nursery DGS attended is close to her office and this has enabled her to keep working through her illness. There are no other convenient nurseries and competition for any spare nursery places still available is going to be fierce. Obviously these extra problems cannot be blamed on the nursery but I am sure she will not be the only parent with aggravated home conditions that make this problem even more difficult for them.

I really think nurseries should be obliged to give parents warning of impending closure.

janeainsworth Sat 01-Sep-12 18:09:26

Flickety I can see that this is going to cause problems in the short-term for your family, but as others have said, it sounds very odd, and when the truth comes out you may even feel you have had a lucky escape, especially since your DS and DiL had a feeling something wasn't right.

harrigran Sat 01-Sep-12 20:08:13

The nursery my GD attended was subsidised and was next door to DIL's work, they lost their funding and had to close but at least they got a couple of months notice because someone in the know was kind enough to ring DIL while she was on holiday. She was lucky enough to find a childminder with a vacancy but in a village it could have been difficult.
Hope you get the problem sorted Flickety

tanith Sat 01-Sep-12 20:30:03

It sounds like this was as unexpected to the people who run the Nursery as to you Flickety , why wouldn't they of given people notice if it were possible.. In the fullness of time you'll learn the answers to your questions.. I hope a place is found for you GS soon.

nanaej Sun 02-Sep-12 12:04:12

perhaps they will not meet the new EYFS requirements and can't or won't work to sort it. Or maybe not making enough profit! It is a poor situation and not good for children at all..

FlicketyB Sun 02-Sep-12 12:35:09

Thinking about it overnight and given the nursery has closed at the end of the month and is based in commercial premises in a busy city centre I am wondering whether a rent review or renegotiated lease meant an increased rent that the owners could not afford and could not negotiate down to an acceptable level. The fees there are high so most of the children have parents in professional jobs who would be very alert to any problems with the care and confident and assertive enough to insist that any problems be properly investigated. DS & DDIL have had children in the nursery for nearly six years with never a problem and I have visited it and was impressed by the number of carers and level of care

But no matter what the reason for closure, I still think that a nursery, like a care home should not be allowed to close without notice and help for parents and children with finding alternatives. If a care home goes bankrupt the Official Receiver does not tell residents and their carers on a Saturday that they must be out by Sunday. They will be given several months notice. Even that dreadful Care home that featured in the TV programme did not close and evict residents overnight. New staff and supervisors were brought in to work with the traumatised residents until new homes could be found for them. Children and parents should have the same protection.

Granny23 Sun 02-Sep-12 13:54:27

If they had time to prepare and post out letters then the closure did not happen overnight. Strange that apparantly the staff did not know. When DGD1 and DGS had their last day at private nursery - both starting primary school - there were many tears and hugs all round from the nursery nurses who have cared for them for 4 years.

tattynan Sun 02-Sep-12 19:44:21

FlicketyB the same thing happened at my grandson's nursery in July. We turned up to pick him up and all the staff were in tears as the owner had decided to close because the expense of running the nursery was more than was coming in revenue. It was a lovely nursery and my Grandson was due to go on to his 15 hours funded sessions there this September. Luckily I had time to find him a new place at another local nursery my daughter liked.But we can only get him 10 hours funded there until some extra hours become available.We were given the number of the local lea manager who dealt with nursery places but in end we sorted it ourselves.Your daughter could try the local Lea people for info.

nanaej Sun 02-Sep-12 21:18:52

Flickety was the nursery a single nursery or part of a chain of nurseries? If it is a part of a bigger chain it might be worth making a formal complaint to the owners and cc to OFSTED. Not much point if it is a one off nursery except you might want to complain to OFSTED. This may be taken into account on any future setting the owner wants to open. i think parents deserve the courtesy of a proper explanation.

nanaej Sun 02-Sep-12 21:26:02

Also meant to ask..has it had an inspection recently?

FlicketyB Sun 02-Sep-12 22:24:26

Just been speaking to DDiL. She thinks the nursery has gone bankrupt and is in administration. Unemployment and falling incomes has meant that numbers have been falling recently, despite a good inspection report only months ago.

The up side is that the problems affecting DGS's nursery is affecting other nurseries so finding a new place for him should not be too difficult. The difficulty is finding one that is convenient for DDiL, particularly in her current state of health. Until this week she had a relatively smooth morning routine of walking DGD to school a few hundred yards from home, catching a bus that stopped close to the school and dropping DGS at nursery on a short walk from bus to office. It would be easier if she could drive to work but her office has no parking facilities and the cost of using a city centre public car park for eight hours a day is astronomical, particularly on top of nursery fees.

But I still come back to the fact that I think that the same welfare requirements should govern the closing of a nursery that govern the closure of a care home. DGS is a very equable little lad with a secure home background and will probably deal with the confusion without too much problem but there will be other chidren who by temperament or more difficullt home circumstances will find the sudden change distressing.Certainly DGD who has a far more mercurial personality would have found the situation very unsettling had it happened when she was at this nursery.

Anagram Sun 02-Sep-12 22:53:29

I agree with you, FlicketyB, but private nurseries are as much at the mercy of the economic climate as any other business, and I'm sure they hoped until the last minute that they could carry on. My daughter is the manageress of a day nursery and it's hard to balance the budget, what with rises in rent and council tax, the minimum wage increase and falling numbers of children as their parents have to make cuts where they can.

janeainsworth Mon 03-Sep-12 07:01:59

I sympathise with your daughter Anagram.
We all tend to think that we want things like increases in the minimum wage, inspection of premises, compliance with standards, improvements to council services etc, but ultimately these have to be paid for one way or another.
If this, coupled with falling numbers means good nurseries are no longer viable and are having to close, many children will be in the same position as Flickety's DGCs.
What a shame - is it really progress?

FlicketyB Thu 06-Sep-12 20:10:04

The final episode. DDiL has found a new nursery that is not too inconvenients and she and DGS spent yesterday afternoon there. He seemed to like it and played happily. DDil & DS are juggling with work and working at home for the next few weeks plus calling in the emergency services (the Grandmas) so that he can be eased into the new nursery gently and only return to the usual pattern of three days a week, 9.00 - 5.00 when he seems really settled.

The final insult from the previous nursery is that they paid in all the cheques for the terms fees they had received from parents on the day they went bankrupt, presumably to pay staff their wages and their months notice. The chances of any parents getting their money back, upwards of £1,000 per family is minimal. DDil & DS do have savings and will have to draw down on those for another term of nursery fees but a work colleague of DDiL who also had a child there and is on a much lower grade is completely stuck, she and her husband cannot find another £1,000 just like that and either she or her husband may have to give up work to stay home with their child..

Anagram Thu 06-Sep-12 20:41:06

I'm really glad your DDIL and DS have got a new nursery sorted, FlicketyB.
Unfortunately, when businesses go bust the scenario you describe with the banking of fees is common, and although parents may be able to make a claim in the Administration or Liquidation, their chances of any more than a nominal dividend are, as you say, minimal.
In the current economic climate I fear it may be happening more often with privately-run nurseries.