'Devastation' at Oxfordshire pre-school closure

Parents and staff have told of their devastation at the closure of a pre-school after it received two 'inadequate' Ofsted inspection reports.

Hill View Pre-School in Banbury, Oxfordshire, is to shut on 28 March after the county council axed funding.

The council said the 32-year-old establishment has not improved in the last year despite extra support.

But a petition launched by parents to save the pre-school has attracted more than 100 signatures.

The closure will affect 32 children and five staff.

'Not happy'

Secondary school teacher Claire Boyland's three-year-old daughter Scarlett-Rose attends the pre-school.

Mrs Boyland, 25, hopes the petition will help persuade the council to keep the facility open until at least the end of the school year.

"All the parents I've spoken to so far are really cross about it," she said.

"Never have I heard one complaint about the school. They are not happy about it closing. They are all going to have to find elsewhere".

Deputy supervisor Margaret Gilkes said: "We are devastated. I have had parents crying . They have been so supportive".

Brenda Pearson, pre-school assistant, said: "Parents are upset. A lot of them are angry because their children are settled and have made friends. Where are they going to be able to take their children halfway through the year?"

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: "Pre-schools sign agreements with the council which make clear that if they provide sub-standard services over a period of time then the council can withdraw funding for placements.

"Unfortunately, due to the latest Ofsted report's findings, it has been decided that this will happen at Hill View Pre-School, and therefore the council has given notice that it will no longer provide funding children who attend there from 1 April.

"The council has had to take the action it has because children attending Hill View Pre-School are not getting a good enough service across the board, as identified by Ofsted".

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