AN award-winning nursery near Penrith could be saved from closure, it emerged this week.
Bosses of Askham Bryan College, which runs the Early Years Centre as part of its management of the Newton Rigg College campus, announced earlier this month that the nursery would be shut at the end of the summer term.
Opened in 2001, the Early Years Centre has 10 staff and is attended by almost 60 youngsters.
Askham Bryan College, which took over the Newton Rigg campus last year, said it had taken a decision to close the nursery because it could no longer afford to run a service which had been losing money “for some time”.
Parents reacted angrily to the news, claiming not enough had been done to keep the nursery open. They formed a group to protest about the closure and submitted a 12-point letter to Newton Rigg managers outlining their concerns and seeking feedback.
However, on Monday, at the second of two meetings arranged to provide parents and staff with more information on the matter, it emerged that the nursery could be saved.
A joint statement issued this week by parents’ representatives and Newton Rigg senior management revealed that a working group had been formed to look at ways to keep the nursery open.
“We are working together with the goal of protecting and securing the outstanding nursery provision to find a mutually acceptable solution to overcome the nursery’s financial challenges,” said the statement.
“The working group has proposed that invitations to tender for the nursery provision are sought without delay. The representative parents have offered a rich resource of skills which can be drawn upon, full details of which will be available as part of the tendering process.”
A spokesman for the parents’ group said the meeting had been both “positive and productive”, and added: “We are excited about the potential opportunities and appreciate the engagement with the college’s senior management team to consider solutions for the future of this outstanding nursery.”
Another option which could be feasible is the creation of a charity or co-operative group to run the nursery.
Wes Johnson, Newton Rigg College principal, said: “It was a very productive and positive meeting and we are working closely with the parents’ group with the genuine hope that nursery provision will continue at Newton Rigg. Our immediate task is to get the process of inviting tenders under way as quickly as possible, and we are focused on doing just that. Meanwhile the nursery will continue to operate as usual.”