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New Norwich nursery plans spark row

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:29 02 July 2010

Tracey Gray

Plans to create a nursery class at a primary school in Norwich have sparked a row, 18 months after a previous pre-school group was forced to quit the site.

Plans to create a nursery class at a primary school in Norwich have sparked a row, 18 months after a previous pre-school group was forced to quit the site.

Norfolk County Council has put forward proposals to expand and create nursery classes at three schools in Norwich, including creating a new nursery class at Tuckswood Primary School

The plans are to create a new 52-place nursery class, split between mornings and afternoons, but they have brought an angry response from a woman who headed the previous pre-school group.

Vickie Loveday, former Tuckswood Pre-School co-manager, worked at Tuckswood Pre-School, which accommodated 26 children per session and rented a classroom.

She said on the last day of summer term 2008, a letter of notice to quit was pinned to the office door from the governors giving four weeks to vacate the building. It stated extra space was needed and the classroom could no longer be used for the pre-school.

She said today: “Many children and parents were disrupted and upset over the decision, and staff were left distraught and angry.

“Most of all we must not forget all the children of Tuckswood including my son who have not, over the course of over two years, received their free education that they are entitled to.”

One concerned parent who had a child at the pre-school at the time added: “It is just a real shame that the old nursery was not given the backing from the school and governors and closed, leaving my son without a pre-school for a whole year.”

Kate Gooding from the county council's children's services team, said: “Tuckswood Primary School made the very difficult decision to give the voluntary-run pre-school notice to leave in 2008 because they needed to use the space as a classroom for pupils with special educational needs.

“When the existing pre-school left the school, we worked with them to try to find a suitable base so that they could continue to run. Unfortunately, these efforts were unsuccessful. Since then, we have been working to find alternative provision in the area.”

She said funding from a Sure Start Early Years Quality Access Grant and additional space, which had become available at the school, meant there was now room for a nursery. The nursery will cost £40,000 a year to run.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of the Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel in the Edwards Room at County Hall on Thursday and will come before the council's cabinet on January 25. If accepted, the changes will be put in place from September.

There are also proposals to expand nursery classes at West Earlham Infant School and Catton Grove Primary School as part of the scheme.

Do you have an education story? Call reporter Tracey Gray on 01603 772418 or email tracey.gray@archant.co.uk

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