Town’s battle to save pre-school

Harry Walsh-Jones chaired a meeting of concerned parents and resididents on the recent closure of Needham Market Pre School
Harry Walsh-Jones chaired a meeting of concerned parents and resididents on the recent closure of Needham Market Pre School

A long running pre-school has had to close its doors after dwindling pupil numbers made it ‘unsustainable’.

Chairman of Needham Market Pre-School Adrian Wilsher closed the school on October 11 after three years at the helm.

An emergency meeting was set up on Wednesday to see what could be done to help reopen the school which has been operating since 1968.

Before the meeting, Adrian said the numbers taking up the service had fallen significantly.

He said: “We have had to finish the pre-school through no fault of our own but through numbers attending.

“We did everything we could to stay open and sustain the business.

“We have been struggling along.

“We didn’t want it to shut but had no other choice, it was just unsustainable.”

In its last Ofsted report in 2011 the pre-school received an ‘outstanding’ mark.

At the heated meeting, attended by county councillor Julia Truelove, district councillor Wendy Marchant and a representative from MP David Ruffley’s office, residents voiced their concerns on how the charity had been run.

Many felt more should have been done to keep the commitee informed of its decline, most of whom only found out it was shutting the day it closed.

Harry Walsh-Jones, who facilitated the meeting, said: “ Needham is a growing town and theses facilities are needed. I am personally shocked there was no notice for the closure.”

An email from David Ruffley was read out in the meeting saying he was ‘extremely concerned’ and had written to Sue Cook, the County Council’s Dirctor of Children and Young People’s Services, about the matter.

Another public meeting has been organised at 12.15pm on October 23 to look through the finances and see what needs to be done to reopen the pre-school.

The pre-school is run as a non-profit organisation by a committee. It takes in both private and publicly funded pupils.