Parents left in tears over news that much-loved SEND nursery in Rugby will shut
Parents have been left in tears after learning that Noah's Early Years Childrens Centre for SEND children will close.
Last week parents were sent brief letters explaining that the nursery, which is part of the Brooke School, would be shutting in three weeks.
Mother-of-two Jade, whose three-year-old son Jamie goes to the nursery, quickly set up a petition calling on the school to keep the facility open.
The petition has so far gathered more than 1,100 signatures, with scores of parents leaving comments to explain their devastation at the news.
Jade, who lives in Hillmorton, said: “Last week the school sent us all a letter giving us all three weeks’ warning that the nursery would be shutting.
"The letter is very brief, and doesn’t explain why this is happening at all – parents and staff have been in tears.”
Jade explained that her youngest son Jamie has autism, and requires constant supervision that only the staff at the Noah centre can provide.
"He’s a danger to himself if he’s left on his own. He will climb over fences or escape out of windows,” she said.
"I’d been really hesitant to send him to a special needs nursery because I think on some level I didn’t want to accept it.
"But he’d been really struggling at another place, and since he’s been here it’s completely changed.
"I want to stress that the staff are absolutely brilliant. Jamie gets one-on-one care every moment that he’s there and, although he’s non-verbal, he makes it clear that he loves being there and he loves the staff.
"They do so much for all the kids there, putting on different activities and holding a ‘forest school’ – they’ve even installed a climbing wall specially for Jamie – which he absolutely loves."
Jade said she and other parents have been desperately searching for alternative nurseries for their children, but all so far have said they either do not have the space or the resources to cope.
"At this point I’m even having to start looking at a nursery in Coventry,” she said.
The Advertiser spoke with Brooke School headteacher Stephen Garside, who said closing the nursery was an extremely difficult decision.
He said: “This has not been an easy decision – looking at the number of children attending the nursery in recent years – and the expected numbers for next year – made it clear that it was not sustainable.
"The government and local authority direction now it towards getting more SEND children into mainstream nurseries – and to that end the local authority will be providing more support to allow that to happen.
"I also wanted to say that it means a lot to the staff to see all the positive comments about the work they have been doing.
"They have been working extremely hard and it’s great to see support for them."
When the concerns of Jade and other parents – regarding finding an alternative nursery – were put to him, Mr Garside said he would welcome parents contacting the school for advice.
He added: “Parents should be aware of their designated education officer at the local authority and I would encourage them to get in touch with them.
"I understand there are also conversations happening in the local authority at the moment, and officers should be in touch.”
You can access the petition by visiting: www.change.org/p/don-t-shut-noah-s-nursery