A NURSERY used by young parents studying at a Wirral college is set to close its doors due to “serious challenges” caused by cuts in public funding.
Waterside Nursery, based at Wirral Met's Twelve Quays campus, is used mainly by students but from July, they will have to find alternative provision.
Sue Higginson, principal of Wirral Met, said the college is working closely with trade unions to support staff as they work through the consultation process, blaming changes and cuts in public funding for adult learning for the closure.
She said that while most students choose childcare provision closer to home - providing continuity of care for their child when they progress from college into work or university – some choose to pay for a place at Waterside.
Those parents have described the closure as a “travesty”.
Elizabeth Spencer, from Bromborough, told the Globe: “Wirral Met have just increased their tuition for higher education to £9,000. They’re making a lot more money but now they’re taking away the nursery which is used by younger parents doing NVQs.”
The 32-year-old former Wirral Met student, whose husband Thomas currently studies there, added: “My daughter is on the autistic spectrum and she really struggles to settle.
"I can honestly say the staff have been absolutely amazing and have gone out of their way to make sure she is happy.
“She has gone from screaming and not wanting to be left to toddling in quite happily.
“A number of children with special educational needs go to there and get a lot of support.
“It’s a travesty - they’re looking to close on July 25 which doesn’t give a huge amount of time for parents.
“We are not happy about this. We are not happy about the lack of notice.”
“The impact will be felt not just by those who currently attend the college, but also by parents who are currently working, who will struggle to find alternate provision in such a short period of time.”
An online petition set up on Thursday against the closure has already received 390 signatures.
Principal Higginson said: “Sadly, it is no longer possible for us to retain the Waterside Nursery and so we will close this facility at the end of the current academic year, in July.
“This decision in no way reflects the quality of provision provided, which is very good.
"It is regrettably a reflection of the changes to public sector funding and the reality that we must focus on our core business of further and higher education.
“The financial subsidy for parents, and students who qualify to secure childcare provision, will remain unchanged and this will be paid to support them in seeking alternative childcare provision.”
She added: “We are providing information about alternative childcare provision to parents who use the nursery and will continue to provide advice and financial support, to students who qualify for this, which they can use to secure alternative childcare provision.”
To sign the petition, click here.