Nursery parents fear being left out in the cold

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Government legislation increasing nursery hours from 475 to 600 hours a year has been criticised by East Renfrewshire parents concerned about the school run.

A mum has complained to The Extra after receiving details of her youngest child’s place at Netherlee Nursery, which will finish at 4pm — 45 minutes after primary children finish .

The mum-of-two — who asked not to be named — commented: “Parents are trying to engage with East Renfrewshire Council without any success.

“The new core hours mean that children who have been allocated an afternoon place don’t finish until 4pm while their siblings, potentially on the same campus, finish at 3.15pm — leaving parents hanging about for 45 minutes with primary-aged children, potentially in poor weather with nowhere to go.

“We walk to school, but we’re not local enough to return home and come back again. The last thing I want to do is drive, adding more congestion to the car park, so that we have somewhere to sit for 45 minutes in the rain.

“I’ve spoken to many other parents who feel the same. The overview is they have accepted a place but may not take it if the timing doesn’t change, or they will remove their child from the nursery session early, causing disruption for the staff and affecting the younger child as they won’t receive their core hours.”

A spokeswoman for ERC confirmed that all nurseries will have the same opening and closing times from August.

She continued: “This is the result of feedback from all our nurseries and is to ensure we are offering equality and equity to all our families across the board.

“Parents who would prefer a swap to a morning or afternoon as a result of the change of hours can approach their nursery directly to make the request.

“We welcome feedback and would encourage anyone with comments to get in touch.”

She added that ERC would “continue to consult with families in the weeks ahead”.

Netherlee Parent Council is aware of complaints, but commented that the issue is “not the remit of the parent teacher council or the school”.

Chair Simon Cunningham added: “However, if parents want us to take the matter further, we can write a letter on their behalf.”