Caroline Lucas MP meets staff at Bright Start in 2010
Brighton’s Bright Start nursery’s battle to escape closure from funding cuts has been won – after the the new Green-led Brighton & Hove City Council reversed the cuts.
Green councillor Sue Shanks, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People met the nursery advisory group this week to tell them the nursery, based in Brighton’s North Laine, will stay open and to hear their views about the future of the nursery.
Sue said, “We want the city’s children to be happy, healthy and able make the best of their abilities through good nurseries.
“While there was a question over the numbers of children attending and the level of subsidy provided, we think we can improve on both these aspects.
“The uncertainty around Bright Start has not helped it become sustainable.”
Bright Start is a city council-funded nursery for six months to five years old children based in North Laine in the city centre.
In October last year, the council, then under Tory leadership, proposed the closure of Bright Start in response to cuts in Central Government funding.
At the request of Green councillors, and Green MP Caroline Lucas, the Council’s Chief Executive agreed to ‘call-in’ this decision so a scrutiny committee of councillors could review it.
Greens took minority control of the council after the local elections on 5 May 2011.
A campaign to promote the nursery had an impact with a number of new children starting including children with free places funded by the two-year-old scheme.
Sue said: “Good nursery provision is vital as the early years of a child’s life are so important to their future development.
“Ofsted inspectors said that the nursery provides excellent support for children’s learning.
“I also want to ensure that our most disadvantaged children can benefit from the nursery including increasing the number of two year olds with free childcare places.”
Bright Start nursery cares for more than 80 children. The number of 3 and 4 year olds has increased to 39 compared to 31 a year ago.
The group are planning a nursery open day and table top sale to help publicise the nursery.
Ofsted inspectors recently praised the work of the nursery.
Bright Start was inspected in February 2011 and achieved an overall good judgement, an improvement on its previous inspection.
Inspectors said: “The nursery is well organised with a confident and trained staff team providing good quality childcare to meet children’s needs overall.
“Children enjoy an attractive and highly stimulating play environment, with many well presented resources and play areas. ”
Bright Start will be holding an open day for parents interested in the nursery on Friday 1 July. Please contact the nursery on 01273 291570 for more details.
The Green campaign to save Bright Start was taken up by Caroline Lucas, the local MP last year.
For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.