public nurseries

Save Our Public Nurseries

Quality nursery provision in Tower Hamlets is under threat.  Our local government has proposed to close three local public nurseries. John Smith, Mary Sambrook and Overland (The only nursery that has special provision for deaf children).

We’re campaigning to keep these nurseries open and we hope you will too. Please get in touch and come along on the 27th of June at 4pm  for a stay and protest outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall to show the council there are many of us who care about nursery provision for all children in Tower Hamlets. Bring your little ones along!

During our long running campaign we have collected 2033 signatures, we’ve had a consultation with over 80% not in favour of privatisation and  if you have helped us with this so far we are so grateful for you support. It does seem like a slap in the face for people who may have voted for our Labour council in recent local elections because of promises to support early years.

This campaign has also been running since 2014. It’s been a long road but we are not giving up unlike some of the Labour politicians who gave so much support when proposals to close these nurseries were made by then Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

“Nurseries are a vital frontline service for children and their families, so I’m very pleased that Mayor Rahman has reversed his decision to close all council-run nurseries in the borough.

The parents who have been campaigning against this vicious cut have run a very strong campaign and they should be very proud of their work. The Labour Group will continue to support them and their families as we move forward.”

We are very pleased the four nurseries that faced closure will now remain open.” Danny Hassell (now cabinet member for Children, Schools and Young People)

Childcare in Crisis

Most mothers know that returning to work after mat leave can feel like an incredible mission. Finding the right childminder or nursery setting to look after your precious little one is a very difficult decision.

Tower Hamlets waiting lists for the best nurseries can be incredibly long. The costs are so high you might even question if it’s worth it. With the currently underfunded 30hrs scheme many nurseries are struggling to pay their staff and provide a good standard of service. 1,000 nurseries in this country have had to close!

For those families on a low-income or who have children with special needs, these decisions can be even more difficult.

But research suggests that Sure Start nurseries have a better uptake of 30hrs for families on low incomes who need them most.

More than Childcare

Early years specialists with training in things like nasal gastric tube feeding and catheterization will lose their jobs. Any privately-run nursery will more than likely not have staff to attend medical appointments with families or work closely with community nurses in family’s homes. Often privately run nurseries do not have the same capacity for children with complex needs. Supporting children with additional needs can get in the way of making a profit.

It is unclear where these children will go. The fees are much lower than the average for nurseries in the area and there is a deaf unit at the nursery which the council plans to move to a nursery school. There is no denying that our Nursery Schools are amazing but the service they provide is different from the one currently offered by our public day nurseries. They normally do not accept children until they are 3 years old while the public day nurseries accept children from infancy. Early intervention is key for helping children develop communication skills they need. This would also be a difficult situation for any family with a deaf child struggling on a low income.

The network of social care around these public nurseries not only helps children with special needs but also those on social care plans. Some of the children have serious child protection cases.

Public nursery schools have a focus on education and help to address socio economic imbalances. So that by the time children are ready for school they are up to speed with other children in the borough who may have had more advantages. This has an impact on the sort of education all children in Tower Hamlets can receive.

With 1 out of 2 children in Tower Hamlets living in poverty these nurseries are extremely important for the future of all our children. Schools will struggle to meet the needs of catering to an already overwhelmed system if children are at disparate levels of ability.

Working parent’s fees could go up to three times the rate of the public nurseries and those on low wages will probably not be able to afford a place. This will result in a bigger demand on Social Services across the borough and many mothers will be unable to return to work. Early Learning 2 year old funding for families on low incomes or benefits would not be available as there would not be enough to cover the private nursery fees. With the the population of children under nine in Tower Hamlets set to increase by 10% in the next 4 years any reduction to affordable nursery provision within our borough will further impoverish already struggling families.

Further Information

Location: Tower Hamlets Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG

Date: 27th June 2018 4pm



1 Comment

  • Thank you so much for letting people know about this. It’s so important for TH residents to get behind and support us parents regarding this hideous proposal. Please sign the petition. Let your voice be heard. Come and join us on 22nd March.