Nursery in school debate

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PARENTS are to be consulted on proposals to introduce a nursery class at Crookfur primary school.

The new facility — which would accommodate 40 children per morning session and a further 40 each afternoon — is a move to tackle an increasing population in the Newton Mearns catchment area.

East Renfrewshire council’s education committee will consider the plan in June following initial approval from councillors, and — if given the green light — will dedicate £138,000 to implementing it.

The council has made assurances that a new nursery will not impact Crookfur primary pupils, stating that the 
building has adequate space to accommodate more children.

Councillor Elaine Green, convener of education and equalities, called the proposal “excellent news for families living in the Crookfur area”, which will “increase and improve our nursery 
provision for three and four year olds and meet growing demand for nursery places in that area”.

Parents, school staff and residents of Newton Mearns are invited to a public meeting at Isobel Mair school on February 14, from 7pm, where further details of the proposal will be available.

At present, Newton Mearns families are served by Hazeldene nursery, Isobel Mair family centre and Newton Mearns primary school nursery — although many parents seek nursery places in the wider East Renfrewshire area.

If approved, the new Crookfur nursery could open as early as August this year, promising an ease on the demand for places at other facilities.

Commenting on The Extra Facebook page, reader Vicky Baxter agreed with the move. She said: “More nursery provision is definitely needed in Newton Mearns — especially with all the new houses being built”.

However, Twitter follower @frankmccafferty posed the question: “What about those that have recently closed due to withdrawal of funding — e.g. Mearns Castle?”

Castle nursery, based in Maxwell Mearns parish church, closed its doors in June last year alongside St Joseph’s and Park nurseries.

In an annual report by ERC’s director of education John Wilson, published in March last year, the reason given for all three closures was that “the qualification of the incumbent manager is insufficient to be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council”.

The report adds: “Despite a continued offer of support from the department, all parties have finalised their decision to close”.

Does Newton Mearns need more nursery provision, and is Crookfur the place for it? Share your thoughts by emailing gillian.loney@jpress.co.uk.