Axe set to fall on city kindergarten

Nick Dow, centre, with parents and staff from the Premier Kindergarten, Plains Farm Primary School.
Nick Dow, centre, with parents and staff from the Premier Kindergarten, Plains Farm Primary School.
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DEVASTATED campaigners are facing defeat in their battle to save a Wearside kindergarten.

Premier Kindergarten, in Tudor Grove, Plains Farm, had been due to close in February after cash cuts.

But a campaign group was set up to save the kindergarten, an extension of Plains Farm Primary School, and it won a stay of execution.

An appeal was launched to attract more children to Premier – but it doesn’t look like being enough to stop the axe falling.

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April 30 has been set for its closure.

Parents of more than 30 youngsters are now frantically trying to arrange alternative nursery care after being sent letters detailing the closure.

Nick Dow’s wife Victoria, 27, works at Premier and son Jack, 11 months, attends the kindergarten.

Mr Dow said: “It’s devastating. I don’t think there’s anything more we can possibly do.

“Victoria is having to look around for a new job and a new nursery for our son at the same time.

“It’s more emotional for her because she’s seen kids and their brothers and sisters go through the nursery since it opened.

“But this isn’t just about a nursery. It’s also about the Plains Farm community and what they will lose.”

Mr Dow, of Farringdon, said that new children who could be signed up at the kindergarten may be able to keep it open, although the chances of it having a future are now slim.

“We’ll keep trying because we have nothing to lose now,” said the 44-year-old, who, along with Victoria, has another son, Kian, five, who goes to Plains Farm Primary School after attending Premier Kindergarten.

“Six more kids signing up could really help us but I don’t know if we can get that many.

“We won’t give up until the day it closes.”

Moya Thirlwell, headteacher at Plains Farm Primary School, explained the decision, saying: “Cutbacks in Government funding have had a severe impact on the kindergarten.

“We have worked tirelessly to try and find alternative funding streams in order to keep it going, but despite an extension to the deadline from school governors, this has just not been possible.

“The Early Years Team from the city council has also supported the kindergarten by signposting new children to the service, but despite these efforts the kindergarten is still financially unsustainable.

“I would like to reassure everyone that the decision to close the kindergarten has not been taken lightly.

“I use the service for my own 11-month old baby and as such I can share in the disappointment of those parents who use the service for their children.

“We will continue to work with the city council to find alternative provision for those children.”

Those wanting to find out more can call Premier Kindergarten on 553 6045.

Twitter: @davidallison88