Angry parents have been left scrambling to find childcare after a primary school holiday club shut down “without warning”- just weeks before the summer holidays.
Parents affected say there is a “real reliance” on Sir Edmund Hillary’s holiday childcare scheme, which closed due to funding issues despite charging £30 per child per day.
They are now “desperately trying” to secure childcare as the six week summer break looms.
Amy Doona relies on the childcare scheme at least three days a week for her nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son.
She said: “I’ll be honest, I’m worried.
“I’ve recently changed jobs so I don’t have the flexiblity I did before, and there’s only around six weeks to go until the summer holidays begin.
“There’s a real reliance on this service. We were not consulted on the closure and would have been happy to sit down and discuss strategies for keeping the provision open.”
An HR manager for a local manufacturing company, Natalia Fernandez-Bird says she “fully understands the need for childcare options” for working parents.
Natalia, who has a nine-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, said: “The thing that frustrates me is I chose Sir Edmund Hillary because they offered this kind of provision.
“I’m lucky as my company promote flexible working, but there’s only so much an employer can do.
“At £30 per child per day and an average of ten children using the service, I don’t understand how the scheme can’t pay for itself.”
Chris Guest, headteacher, confirmed the provision had closed “with great sadness and frustration.”
“School funding, which used to cover support for extended service provision, has been constantly cut over the last five years and unfortunately the club is not sufficiently well attended to maintain itself,” added Mr Guest. We gave advance notice in April that there may be some questions over the capacity of the school to maintain the holiday provision and this was confirmed earlier this week. We are however able to continue to provide our After School Club during term- time as this is attended at a sustainable level.
“We are seeking to support parents in making arrangements for holiday child care and any information that can help us in doing this will be gratefully received.”