Plans for nursery class closures

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PARENTS have raised concerns over plans to close nursery classes at two schools.

The classes at Hardwick primary, in Bury St Edmunds, and Rattlesden primary have been earmarked for the chop as a result of an overhaul to the school admissions code.

The new rules require Suffolk County Council to offer a full time reception place to children from the September after their fourth birthday.

The move from this September would see a drop in numbers at school nurseries as well as in the private, voluntary and independent sectors.

A list of nursery closures in nine schools across the region has been drawn up to balance supply and demand.

Meanwhile, the number of places at Westgate School in Bury would be cut from 52 to 26, so council bosses can monitor the impact on the pattern of admissions.

Parents who are offered a reception place can decide whether their child attends full time, part time initially or delay starting until later.

Some have hit out at the move, including Laura Whyte, whose four-year-old daughter Tiggi attends the nursery at Hardwick.

Miss Whyte, whose other daughter Lluvy, aged two, will be affected by the plans, said: “It’s awful because the nursery is really good and the children aren’t ready to go from pre-school straight into main school.”

Lucy Bingley, 33, of Onehouse, praised the nursery at Rattlesden primary as ‘a gentle introduction to the school environment’.

Her daughter Josephine, aged four, goes to the nursery and her two-year-old, Elizabeth, attends the playgroup in Rattlesden Village Hall.

Cllr Graham Newman, portfolio holder for schools, said: “We need to safeguard those private, voluntary and independent providers because they’re in the system to give that wrap around care.”

A final decision will be discussed by cabinet in April.