York’s childcare crisis worsens as nursery confirms it is to close

Photograph: Markus Spiske / Unsplash
13 Feb 2020 @ 12.10 pm
| Education

What one councillor described as York’s childcare crisis has just got worse.

It has been confirmed today that Priory Street Nursery is to close.

The nursery, which cares for children up to five years old in a self-contained unit at the Priory Street Centre, hasn’t got the money to carry on.

A statement from David Harbourne, chair of the York CVS which runs the nursery, says that nursery has been losing money for four years.

After a consultation period the board of trustees have taken “the extremely difficult decision” to close Priory Street Nursery.

Listened to parents

Priory Street Nursery. Photograph: David Dunning
During the consultation, Mr Harbourne said another nursery operator expressed interest in taking it over, but then decided not to proceed.

Nursery parents drew up proposals to change the nursery’s opening hours and other aspects of the way it is run, including setting up a new charitable organisation to take over its operation.

“The Board considered the parents’ ideas very carefully but concluded that the outline proposals would not guarantee the long term sustainability of the nursery,” he wrote.

Mr Harbourne said:

  • Priory Street Nursery is currently losing money. While consultations have been taking place, some parents have decided to move their children to other nurseries and some members of the nursery staff have found jobs elsewhere.

    Taken together, these factors make the nursery less viable even in the short term. Looking further ahead, there is no guarantee that enough parents would choose this nursery to make it viable.

    This has been an extremely difficult decision. Priory Street Nursery has an enviable reputation and is run by wonderful staff.

    The decision the board faced was driven first and foremost by the need to balance York CVS’s budget, not by doubts about the quality of the nursery.

    York CVS will take immediate steps to help parents find places for their children at other nurseries in the city. Staff are also being supported at this time.

Priory Street Nursery is expected to close on 3 April 2020.

Last month, Cllr Jonny Crawshaw told a council meeting that “there is a crisis in early years provision in the city”