In the last few days, every political party has been rushing to reaffirm their commitment to nurseries, following Friends of Hackney Nurseries’ exposure of the cuts of up to £50,000 being imposed on many community nurseries with no notice.
At a hustings meeting at North London Muslim Centre on Sunday, Jules Pipe again claimed there were no cuts in the Learning Trust early years’ budget, but simply a reallocation of resources. He did concede that the way the nurseries were informed of the cuts was “disgusting”, but his assertion that the budget was being redistributed “on the basis of actual need within each nursery” denies the fact that all the nurseries suffering the huge cuts already care for a significant number of vulnerable children and many with special needs.
Several of the nurseries being targeted with cuts face closure if these issues are not resolved quickly, which would have a devastating effect on the workers, parents, and children concerned, who would thus be driven into poverty themselves, if they are not suffering already.
Whatever the outcome of the election, Friends of Hackney Nurseries insists that this outrageous situation must be dealt with. We know of at least eight nurseries which are under threat, but we have yet to discover any that are expecting an increase.
Even Rita Krishna, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children and Young People and Board Member of the Learning Trust, has continued to claim that she has no knowledge of how the Learning Trust allocates its funding.
So today, Friends of Hackney Nurseries announces that we are seeking legal advice, as the information regarding nurseries’ cuts in no way matches our experiences. We find the Learning Trust’s processes opaque and unaccountable, and this situation will continue whoever wins tomorrow’s election. They have never revealed any criteria on which they have based their decisions, and it is impossible to run our nurseries in this climate of anxiety and manipulation.
We call on the Learning Trust to halt its devastating and unaccountable behaviour forthwith, and to answer our simple questions about the future of all Hackney’s nurseries.
For more more information about our campaign, please contact Friends of Hackney Nurseries at FHN@live.co.uk.