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'We are not closing!': Nursery hits back after council said children's centre on site was shutting

PUBLISHED: 14:56 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:31 08 February 2019

Chair of governors at Drake, Carly Brien, Little Pirates leaders Karen Armes and Susan Sayer, and Drake Primary headteacher Louise Rosen. Picture: Conor Matchett

Chair of governors at Drake, Carly Brien, Little Pirates leaders Karen Armes and Susan Sayer, and Drake Primary headteacher Louise Rosen. Picture: Conor Matchett

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A primary school has said its nursery is open for business despite the children’s centre on site being listed as due to shut.

Drake Primary headteacher says they are open for business despite being listed as due to close as part of Norfolk County Council's cuts to children's centres. Picture: Conor MatchettDrake Primary headteacher says they are open for business despite being listed as due to close as part of Norfolk County Council's cuts to children's centres. Picture: Conor Matchett

Drake Primary School in Thetford said its Little Pirates nursery had been wrongly listed for closure as part of the culling of 38 Norfolk children’s centres.

But, having not offered county council services for a decade, headteacher Louise Rosen was forced to reassure parents there will be no changes to the service it offers.

She said: “People will begin to think it is true we are going to close and we are not.”

The school was listed as due to shut despite informing County Hall they have not offered children’s centre services for a decade.

Little Pirates nursery in Drake Primary School is not shutting despite being listed on council lists as closing. Picture: Conor MatchettLittle Pirates nursery in Drake Primary School is not shutting despite being listed on council lists as closing. Picture: Conor Matchett

Mrs Rosen said she was frustrated by the council’s continued inclusion of Little Pirates despite her pleas.

She said: “It keeps coming out. Every time it comes out we are having to change that information.

“To have a balanced budget in childcare is really rare and so what could be learnt that could they look at this as a model.

“We should be shouting the success of it rather than putting everywhere that it is closing.”

The last funding the day care centre received through Sure Start was for an extension of the Little Pirates building, based within the school site for 12 years, a decade ago.

Staff at the school said they had not been contacted by the council at all during the consultation on the cuts to children’s centres despite being listed for closure and said it could impact intake for the nursery over the coming months.

Mrs Rosen said: “The biggest impact is people who are planning for where their children are going to go next year.

“They don’t want to make those changes once they have decided and potentially not choosing to place their children at our provision as it might not be there.

“The changes in government funding affect everyone, ours is compounded by the fact they keep saying we are closing.

“We are open for business and children are thriving in Little Pirates and we are continuing and Norfolk County Council, please stop saying we are not.”

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said they never said Little Pirates was closing and added they are de-designating the Thetford Drake children’s centre and the nursery should not be impacted.

They added they are working to ensure the continuation of services for children under five in de-designated children’s centres, working closely with existing childcare providers.

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