Funding crisis is putting nurseries at risk – owner

A NURSERY owner whose setting has again been praised by Ofsted has warned that continued Government underfunding is putting the sector at risk. 

Lisa Mann, owner, Clyde House Day Nursery in Nevil Road, Bishopston, said: ‘We were delighted to maintain our Good status at our recent Ofsted inspection. 

‘This really is no mean feat given the challenges of the last three years, the ongoing recruitment and funding crises at nurseries nationwide, not to mention the introduction of a new assessment framework at the same time!

“Providing inspiring care for Bishopston children for more than 30 years, I am thrilled that the continued hard work and commitment of all our staff – led by head of operations Sue Bennett and manager Becky McAuley – has been recognised and praised by Ofsted.

“As a small, family-feel setting, we pride ourselves on building close relationships with each and every child, respecting their individuality and interests. It’s great that this was highlighted in the inspection, with Ofsted saying, ‘Parents are impressed by staff’s responsive flexibility in their planning. …if a child brings in a favourite or special item from home, staff quickly focus an activity on it and develop children’s interest and knowledge further.’

“However, while Good Ofsted ratings are positive, they will soon be meaningless if the government continues to underfund the sector, leaving increasing numbers of nurseries in Bristol and beyond with no option but closure. With huge cost pressures on parents and settings at the moment, I really hope our MPs step up and take a deep look at the sustainability of the nursery sector before it’s completely brought to its knees.” 

Clyde House opened in 1992 and has 45 children on roll. Ofsted inspector Rachel Howell visited in December and rated it Good for quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management. 

Ms Howell’s report highlighted the strong development of communication and language skills, including for those children with English as an additional language.

“Parents say that children are well cared for, and that staff are kind, lots of fun and build close relationships with each child that respect their individuality and interests. Children behave well,” the inspector said. 

“Staff encourage children to be increasingly independent. They offer them lots of praise as they try to do things for themselves, building their confidence and sense of responsibility effectively.

“Partnerships with parents are strong … Staff communicate successfully with parents through daily chats and messages, as well as entries in an online app. Parents all say they feel well informed.”

 Lisa Mann’s comments came before the Budget on March 15, when the Chancellor promised a huge expansion of early years education and childcare. 

For some years, providers have complained that the amount they receive from the government to fund ‘free’ hours for three and four year olds does not cover the costs. More money is promised to pay f

or funded provision for one and two year olds but the detail is still awaited.