Ickleford Village Pre-school staff 'so sad' about decision to close
PUBLISHED: 14:45 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 23 October 2019
A village pre-school has taken the decision to close its doors at the end of this term following a vote by its committee members and parents.
Ickleford Pre-School invited parents to an extraordinary general meeting last Wednesday evening to discuss the details of why committee members had decided it was no longer viable to continue - and gave attendees the final say by putting it to a vote.
Parent members of the registered charity voted, by majority, to close the organisation which is run from Ickleford Village Hall.
In a statement, a spokeswoman told the Comet: "Our thoughts are very much with our children, parents and staff who are most affected by this decision.
"This decision was taken for a number of reasons including the challenges of being run by a committee of volunteers and falling children numbers.
"Our pre-school has also been affected by the nationwide problems facing the early years sector, which are well known."
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The team have cited insufficient government funding and an increase in staffing costs due to the introduction of pension contributions and increases in the living wage as reasons for the closure.
The spokeswoman continued: "Staffing in the sector is in trouble. The government introduced minimum requirements for maths and English which has seen a huge decline in the numbers of staff attaining level qualifications.
"While Ickleford Pre-School has been very lucky to benefit from an amazing and dedicated staff team - with 28 years' cumulative service - pay and conditions in the sector are poor and do not reflect the crucial role that staff play in the early years development of our children.
"It is so sad that what all of this means is that our volunteer-run pre-school which has been a part of our village community for so many years, is having to close its doors.
"We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in Ickleford Pre-School over the years and in particular all of the volunteers and staff who have helped keep it running for so long.
"We wish our children, families and staff all the best for the future."
The pre-school will open for the final time on Thursday, December 19.