School’s nursery plan divides Saddleworth village

A SADDLEWORTH primary school has announced plans to create its own nursery – resulting in the apparent ‘forced closure’ of one facility already in its village.

Bosses at the establishment in Diggle say they want to add a younger class at Sam Road.

But those who run Diggle Dandelions from the same site say the decision means it will have to close in July.

Diggle School says it proposes to run a ‘governor-led school nursery’ from a cabin outside the main building from September and it will be ‘staffed by existing early years qualified Diggle School staff.’

In a letter, head Sarah Newton says: “Having our own nursery will provide an excellent transition for children into reception.

Diggle School on Sam Road

“The school can plan the curriculum that is delivered in the nursery setting ensuring that children are school ready when they enter reception.

“We can start early phonics and number work in nursery. It will also give us the opportunity to ensure early identification of special needs.

“The nursery and reception class can operate as an EYFS unit sharing planning, visits and experiences and we can offer parents wraparound care through our Before and After School Club.”

But that decision has left Diggle Dandelions facing closure from July 18 after 13 years.

They said: “July 18 will be our last trading day as Diggle Dandelions.

“We were given the sudden shocking news that Diggle School wish to have their own school nursery and unfortunately, will not be keeping the staff on.

“July 18 will be a day of celebration as we are proud to have provided the community of Diggle with a not for profit, community interest, affordable, outstanding early years’ service for over 13 years.”

They also stated why their provision would be better than the one Diggle School proposes.

They added while urging parents to ‘raise your upset and concerns with Diggle school governors and local council for Dandelions sudden forced closure’: “Dandelions provide a higher staff to children ratio than current school proposals.

“We provide affordable outstanding care for two to five-year-olds.

“We already transition the pre-school children from January through to July with regular weekly visits into class R.

“We cover numeracy and phonics throughout a wide range of active and focussed learning from when they start at age two.

“We also offer a nurturing, family, orientated setting, for all children, parents, carers and grandparents.

“We also have an outstanding record of supporting children with Special Educational needs and working in partnership with the parents and local authorities at the highest level of care.”

Jenna Evans, co-manager of Diggle Dandelions, has insisted there was no consultation over the school’s plans.

The nursery bosses also want questions answered, such as where their current children will go?

While Mrs Newton insists all feedback, whether positive or negative, on the proposal will be welcomes, Oldham Council will work with Dandelions’ staff.

A spokesperson said: “The council will support Diggle Dandelions as an established pre-school to look at the options that are available to them and continue to provide advice and guidance to any families affected.”

One Reply to “School’s nursery plan divides Saddleworth village”

  1. Oh please, Diggle Primary couldn’t care less about pre-school children, it’s all about getting more money for the school. Sarah Newton happily threw Diggle Dandelions under the bus and labelled it “progess”

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