Nursery school is deemed ‘no longer viable’ as it closes its doors after half a century

The pre-school ran from the Trinity Free Church, in Huntingdon. Picture: GOOGLE

The pre-school ran from the Trinity Free Church, in Huntingdon. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

A nursery school that has been providing spaces for children in Huntingdon for 50 years has closed its doors.

The Hansel and Gretel pre-school, based at the Trinity Free Church, in Buttsgrove Way, is "no longer financially viable" according to manager Diana Harman who has been at the pre-school for more than 20 years.

The facility closed for the final time on July 19.

"It is such a great shame to have to close with a 'good' Ofsted report, but the pre-school will not be financially viable to go into another year," explained Mrs Harman.

Mrs Harman said she had also struggled to find enough people to serve on the committee, which had made things difficult.

"So many parents work these days and we have found it increasingly difficult to get people for the committee."

The pre-school had been serving the community in Huntingdon for half a century and in its last Ofsted inspection, the inspector said: "The manager and her staff have worked hard since the last inspection to address weaknesses. They have successfully implemented new and effective systems that help them to provide purposeful learning experiences that children enjoy".

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It went on: "Staff build strong relationships with children and their families. They understand children's individual needs and work well with parents to settle new children into the pre-school".

The pre-school's last inspection took place in April and was carried out by Ofsted's Veronica Sharpe.

A previous inspection, in November 2018, had rated the setting as inadequate but inspectors acknowledged in April that extensive work had been done to turn around the pre-school, resulting in a much improved rating.

Mrs Harman added: "Hansel and Gretel has been going for 50 years and in its last Ofsted it received a good rating in all areas. It is very sad that the pre-school is closing after so many years. I have worked with some wonderful staff and committee members over the past 21 years.

"All the staff have enjoyed watching and helping all the children grow and learn new skills and we wish them good luck for the future as we know the pre-school will be missed."