Parents left shocked and angry after sudden closure of Sussex children’s nursery

Parents left shocked and angry after sudden closure of Sussex children’s nursery

Hundreds of parents of children at a Sussex nursery were shocked and angry after he announced its sudden closure.

Elan Nursery in Horsham Road, Steyning, told parents in an email on Thursday that it was closing “with immediate effect”.

It follows an Ofsted inspection in September which found the nursery to be ‘inadequate’ and a further inspection on 1 December after which a ‘welfare notice’ was served on the nursery.

The notice found that the nursery was not meeting some of its legal requirements and was given until December 19 to rectify the matter.

Hundreds of parents are shocked and upset by the sudden closure of their daycare center in Steyning

But nursery owner Chris Holmes said in his email to parents that the nursery couldn’t meet the requirements in two weeks.

“Therefore, unfortunately, I feel that the only way we can really move forward is to close the nursery with immediate effect,” he said. “We fully understand that this is causing a great deal of concern and excitement for you and your children and we apologize for that.”

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a complete nightmare. We have nowhere to take our child – not just next week, but January and beyond. We’ve been told by several other nurseries – nearby – and further afield – that they don’t have spaces.

“If we don’t have childcare, how are we supposed to work? We also feel very much for the staff as this is happening just before Christmas.”

Many parents have frantically tried to find alternative kindergartens on social media.

In his letter to parents, Chris Holmes said: “Unfortunately the nursery has had a turbulent few months. Recruitment in the early years is extremely difficult, which has had a particularly negative impact on us. We have had many lengthy discussions and attempted to develop plans to provide the level of quality care and education you have come to expect.

“Our staff have been under tremendous pressure since our original Ofsted report in September and due to the nature of social media this has only gotten worse since the last report. And I’m pretty sure that contributed to the very high level of absenteeism that we’re experiencing.

“We take the mental health of our employees incredibly seriously and we must continue to prioritize this during this time. In a situation where we are closing rooms at short notice, we cannot continue working as this is very disruptive for you as parents and unsettling for the children.”

He said The Den, which caters to children with breakfast/after-school facilities, would remain open as planned and would close on December 16. “However, we firmly intend to reopen Den for the start of the school year in January, we are currently awaiting confirmation from Ofsted on how this will work.”

He added: “This was an incredibly difficult decision and one that was not taken lightly. I am very sad about what happened.”

The welfare notice issued by Ofsted asked the nursery to ensure a list of measures was implemented, including measures on safeguard procedures, staff training, staff qualifications and staff recruitment.

The kindergarten was asked for further comments.

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