Bramley: Parents at under-threat nursery set to march

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Bramley Little Owls nursery. Photo: Google, July 2022

By John Baron

Additional reporting: Don Mort, local democracy reporter

Parents of children at Little Owls Bramley are rallying to save their nursery from possible privatisation – and are planning to march through the heart of Bramley tomorrow (Saturday) to make their concerns heard.

A campaign was launched after Leeds City Council launched a review of Little Owls nurseries as part of cost-saving measures.

Three of the centres – Kentmere, Chapel Allerton and Gipton North – were confirmed as at risk of closure.

Nurseries at BramleyBurley Park and Hawksworth Wood are among 12 across the city where alternative provision, including being taken over by private providers, is being explored.

The review is set to be discussed by the council’s executive board on June 19.

But parents have said any decision should be delayed until after the July 4 general election because a change of government could alter the council’s financial situation.

A spokesperson for Stop the Closure of Little Owls said: “Now the general election has been called July 4, the economic outlook for Leeds City Council may be in flux in the coming months.

“We call on Leeds City Council to hold off any firm decision on Little Owls nursery until after the general election. Closing or privatising nurseries is not the solution to the childcare crisis and it is not in line with the council’s stated desire to make Leeds a child-friendly city.”

Leeds City Council already delayed the possible closure of the three nurseries until August at the earliest in response to feedback from parents.

A council spokesperson said: “As we have previously stated, we understand the concerns of parents, carers, staff and communities which could be affected by the proposals.

“These are proposals at this stage and we are continuing to engage with parents, carers and other stakeholders before any final decisions are made.”

Comments on the future of Little Owls, which runs 24 nurseries in the city, can be submitted to LittleOwlsReview@Leeds.gov.uk

Campaigners in Bramley will meet at 10.15am at Bramley Shopping Centre tomorrow (1 June), set off at 11am and march to Bramley Park. 

Councillors Adele Rae and Kevin Ritchie (both Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) will be joining them. Cllr Ritchie confirmed his attendance, saying he understood parents’ concerns and wanted to nursery to stay council-run because of its high-quality provision, support for pupils with special educational needs, and the staff ‘who do a great job’. He said the wider campaign was about cuts to local government funding from central government.

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