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Apology over nursery shock
A CAMPAIGN to save nursery and childcare services from closure in Blandford and Shaftesbury has secured an apology from Dorset County Council. More than 50 anxious parents gathered at a meeting in Blandford on Monday with councillors to discuss whether any action could be taken to prevent the closures.
Dorset County Council says it can no longer afford to run Blandford Nursery, Shaftesbury Nursery and Oscars Out of School Club in Blandford, which provides care for more than 250 children.
Cabinet member for education and communications Cllr Toni Coombs admitted that a letter announcing the closure of the two SureStart nurseries and after-school club had been poorly drafted.
She said: “It was badly written and blunt. I am sorry it has come as such a shock.”
Mum-of-two Sam Elliott whose son was due to start at the nursery in April said: “I didn’t even receive a letter because those on the waiting list were not even notified. “All the parents really needed the apology, but if we don’t receive an adequate response I think it is highly likely we will demonstrate at Dorset County Council.”
The petition to save Blandford Nursery and Oscars Out of School Club from closure in March 2014 has attracted around 477 signatures. Cllr Esme Butler, district councillor for Blandford Damory Down, said: “It’s very upsetting for the parents and children who are starting school in September because they could have several months of no preparation before starting school.
“There should have been a consultation period to see if there were alternative ways the services could be run. I would say parents could catch a bus to other areas, but these have been cut too.”
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