Budget cuts force closure of Sunderland childcare unit

A Wearside childcare unit is being closed due to budget cuts.

Friday, 8th July 2016, 10:00 am
Concord Childcare Centre

Concord Childcare Centre in Washington, which provides 40 childcare places, will close its doors for the last time this summer.

Sunderland City Council, which runs the Victoria Road nursery unit, said funding cuts were to blame for the closure of the facility, which was praised by education bosses Ofsted, following a visit last year.

Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Louise Farthing, said: “Given increasing financial pressure on council budgets unfortunately meant the childcare centre could only have remained open if there had been a significant increase in charges.

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“We have been working closely with families and staff at Concord Childcare Centre to prepare for the closure of the centre at the end of this school year, since it was announced in February.

“This followed a period of consultation with staff and parents.

“Nearby nurseries have been expanded to meet childcare needs in the area and provide alternative places for the remaining children, and employment opportunities for the staff affected.

“The lengthy closure process was to give people plenty of time and opportunity to plan for the new school term, after the summer holidays when many of the current children will naturally transfer to the next stage of education and therefore minimise disruption to families.”

One parent angry about the closure, who didn’t want to be named, said the centre had been operating for 40 years.

She said: “Sunderland Council is closing another fantastic nursery. The children and families have such good bonds formed with key workers and management.”

Concord Childcare Centre was inspected by Ofsted in April 2015 and rated as good in all areas.

Inspectors said: “The quality of teaching is good, because staff plan a balance of adult-led and child initiated learning experiences. As a result, all children make good progress as their individual interests are followed and extended.

“Staff work closely with external agencies and other professionals to ensure children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are well supported.

“Children are provided with a selection of balanced meals and snacks, follow good hygiene practices and have daily opportunities to participate in physical play. This effectively promotes healthy lifestyles.

“Staff are well qualified and are encouraged to undertake regular training to update their skills and knowledge. This means the manager and staff team have a good understanding of the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.”