"Absolutely devastated": Cookridge Pre-School parents hit out at shock closure as MP Alex Sobel gets involved
Parents at a North Leeds nursery served with an imminent eviction notice have described their devastation, which is shared by teachers and children alike.
Cookridge Pre-School staff have been told they will lose their jobs, parents' lives put on hold and youngsters have been left in tears after the shock announcement was sprung on them last week.
The nursery was given 12 days' notice by adjoining Trust school Cookridge Primary School, who own the land.
The School, run by Leeds North West Education Partnership Foundation, said the decision was made after reviewing their finances. The pre-school meanwhile, which is run by a charity called Early Years Alliance, has reportedly offered to settle the financial dispute to no avail.
Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, has now written to the Trust asking them to reconsider.
Devastated parents speaking outside the school on Wednesday said they didn't know what to do about finding a new pre-school as the decision was "conveniently" made just days before breaking up for the summer.
Sisters Erica Killen and Lucy Lord, who both have children at the nursery, said they had just started up a bakery business when the decision was announced last week, putting their ambitions on hold.
Lucy said: "It's the lack of clarity that's been given to us. We don't see why the head couldn't consult parents and staff before making the decision."
Erica added: "We are all absolutely devastated. It all feels very convenient that it's happened just before the summer holidays so there is no opportunity to protest it."
Pregnant mum-of-two Hayley Dransfield has one daughter at the pre-school, and said she was hoping to have her unborn child go as well.
"My daughter is in tears", she said. "She has always been led to believe she'll get to be on the same site as her big brother, who goes to the primary school.
"Now she is being told she'll have to go elsewhere. Everytime we mention it she just bursts into tears. She will have no opportunity to transition from one nursery to the next."
"My daughter is in tears - she thought she would be on the same site as her big brother" -- Hayley Dransfield, parent
Amanda Yates said: "My son is three and the nursery staff arranged to have my son referred as he shows classic signs of autism. He was due a specialist visit in September which can now not be facilitated setting him back hugely.
"The school have shown no compassion to any of us."
A spokesman for Alex Sobel confirmed the MP was aware of the issue and was writing to the authorities involved.
The spokesman said: "Alex has been working with parents to try to get answers from the school.
"Alex has written to both the trust and the Early Years Alliance to request a round table meeting to facilitate a resolution or at the very least provide clarity to parents and staff.
"We’ve heard back from the EYA but have yet to hear back from the school or the trust more widely."