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URGENT APPEAL: Nursery closure 'could put parents out of jobs'

Thursday 25th November 2021

PARENTS in Headcorn fear they will have to quit their jobs when the village nursery shuts in a few weeks.

Kent County Council (KCC) stepped in three years ago when The Old School House nursery in Station Road permanently closed.

As a result, Junior's Day Nursery opened, in a building on temporary loan from Headcorn Primary school.

Now the school needs its space back and Junior’s Day Nursery has had to relocate to Boughton Monchelsea - seven miles outside of Headcorn.

Mum of two Rebecca Wood said the need for a nursery in the village is “greater than it has ever been”.

Mrs Wood said: “New homes are heavily marketed at families, citing the village having a nursery, primary school and commuter links as selling points.

“For families without a car, it will be impossible to keep their child at Junior's in the new location. Not to mention families who have older children at the village primary school, who will struggle to drop children at different settings, miles apart, and still get to work on time.”

Dad of three Aaron Finnell said a lot of families moved to Headcorn with the intention of it being an ideal place to raise children.

He said: “Developers are expanding the village with housing all the time with the promise of it having a local school, nursery and train line to London. That is what makes it attractive for young families.”

Business manager Naomi Bari says she will have to switch to a part time job.

She said: “There are issues on every level. No parent should have to choose between childcare and having a job – and at such short notice too.”

Single parent Sally Ellen, who works at a social care charity, says it will be impossible to get her children to the new nursery and make it home in time for work.

Cllr Shellina Prendergast, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said a number of options were explored to find a permanent premises in Headcorn, but due to COVID-19 the building work would not have been finished in time.

Cllr Prendergast said: “As planned, Headcorn Primary School now needs to use the building that has been temporarily occupied by the nursery to ensure adequate teaching facilities for all the school’s pupils.”

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