Rastrick nursery to close due to child shortage

Field Lane Children's Centre, Rastrick.
Field Lane Children's Centre, Rastrick.

A nursery in Rastrick has become the first victim of a review of Calderdale “Sure Start” Children’s Centres.

It will close at the end of September due to its inability to attract enough under privilaged children.

But the centre, which is attached to Field Lane Primary School, will continue to offer high quality early years education, crèche facilities and support and training for families.

Calderdale Council agreed a fortnight ago to put out to tender the work carried out at 16 centres and promised that they would all remain open.

It carried out a review of the council-run services at Field Lane and found it was seriously underused.

“Taking into account the number of vacant childcare places at the centre over the past 12 months, the council is proposing to close the day care service from October,” said a spokesman.

“We are working closely with the very few families who use the day care service to ensure they continue to get the childcare support they need currently and after the closure.”

At the moment, about half of the centres are run by social enterprises and the rest by the council in partnership with schools, at an annual cost of £5.6 million.

The council employs 157 centre staff and it intends to “discontinue” centres where fewer than four out of five children are from the most deprived areas. It has been subsidising day care places in some centres by between £1,449 and £4,404 per child and there is no such subsidy for private nursery providers.

“The Government’s Localism Bill means we have to retender these centres,” said Coun Megan Swift.