Green light for nursery school merger

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COUNCIL bosses in Sheffield are to push ahead with plans to amalgamate a nursery school in the city with a nearby primary school, it was announced yesterday.

Earlier this year, the council’s cabinet committee agreed to start a consultation on plans to merge Birley Community Nursery School with Birley Primary School.

Now council leaders are expected to ratify a deal which would see the nursery run from the primary school, starting from next April.

Sheffield Council is currently reviewing the future of all three of the city’s stand-alone nursery schools as it says the current model is “unaffordable.”

Coun Jackie Drayton, the authority’s cabinet member for children, said: “We are currently reviewing the whole way we deliver early years services across the city to make sure that we are delivering the right model in the most efficient way.

“Amalgamating the nursery into the primary school at Birley means we can still keep the nursery provision, which parents told us was really important to them in our review.

“We want to make sure that the children in Birley are getting the best possible standard of education, which is why these plans are so crucial.

“The reduced funding from central government means that if we don’t take action now there is a danger that the nursery will have to close in years to come. This would leave Birley children with no early years provision and this is not acceptable at all.

“Although the quality of provision in the existing nursery school is excellent, the merger is the best option to ensure high-quality early years provision can continue on the Birley campus.

“The close links with the reception class will also build on the existing good practice for children moving up from nursery to school in years to come.”

Cabinet members are recommended to agree to the merger at their meeting next Wednesday, December 21.