Parents and teachers gathered outside Huntingdon Nursery School last week to protest against proposed government funding cuts – plans which threaten to undo the ‘outstanding’ work of the site.
The nursery, which caters for up to 135 pupils, is one of 400 state-funded schools across the country potentially facing a cut in its funding of almost 50 per cent from 2019.
Now, a petition has been launched to raise the issue in parliament, with more than 10,000 signatures already on the list.
Bernie Froggatt, nursery governor, said: “What people don’t under-stand is that this is not a play group or pre-school – it is a school and as such we have qualified teachers and specialist early year staff so we can help children and help other settings with the expertise we have here.”
The nursery, in Ambury Road, has received an Ofsted rating of ‘outstanding’ for the past 15 years, and is also run by head teacher Kay Dimelow, who was made an OBE for her services to education.
It is also known for supporting children with special needs, and helping different nursery settings to develop.
Ella Heather, whose daughter attends the school, said: “What they [the nursery] offer is not only an incredible start for children in need, but an amazing network for families struggling to cope with raising children.
“I am disgusted that anyone would jeopardise our communities at such a grass roots level, risking failure to thrive for generations to come and for families to fall apart.”
Now with 10,000 signatures, the government must respond, before a total of 100,000 means the issue can be discussed in parliament.
Ms Dimelow said: “The position is looking like we won’t be able to afford the teacher salaries and all the things that come with being a school.
“Without the funding all those things we do to help other people develop and help other children will all stop. We need the people of Huntingdon to respond to the petition and go online and sign it.”
To sign the petition, visit savenurseryschools.org.