Hackney nursery occupied by parents

Submitted by on 30 August, 2002 - 10:49

St. John's nursery is now being occupied by parents, in protest at its closure by Hackney Council. We managed to set the occupation up despite the presence of a vanload of police and security guards standing by to board up the premises while the children were still inside!
Hackney Council has also been foiled in its attempts to trap us in the building by locking fire exits.

The nursery is Hackney's oldest, established more than fifty years ago, purpose-built, and in a beautiful location (especially for an inner-city area). Over 40 children enjoyed excellent care at the nursery, in a positive, multi-racial setting.

But Hackney Council would rather shell out money to private companies and over-paid Directors than continue to provide decent public nursery care. Many other community facilities have suffered cuts and closures, and nursery campaigners are hoping to link up with these for a united fightback.

Nursery workers had been prepared to take industrial action against the closure, but did not receive sufficient support from their trade union, UNISON. This has been a big disappointment.

Comments

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 09/09/2002 - 16:18

An update. Unfortunately, the occupation is now over and the nursery closed. All the children have now taken up places at other Hackney council nurseries - mostly, the nursery they wanted, the Council having conceded to pressure on this.

Parents decided to end the occupation on Sunday 1 September after heavy-handed legal threats from the Council / the Learning Trust. The director of education wrote an open letter to the occupiers accusing us of damaging children's education. The bare-faced bloody cheek of it!

I think what is urgently needed now is to pull together parents' and workers' representatives from all the children's services in Hackney to form a united resistance against further attacks. They come thick and fast in this Borough - Laburnum and Kingsland schools are facing closure, the Playbus has had its Council grant withdrawn, community nurseries wage an annual war to save their funding.

Thank you to everyone who sent a message of support to the occupation. They were much appreciated, and despite losing, the parents and workers are pleased and proud that we at least put up a fight.
e-mail: JBooth9192 at aol.com

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