Owner yields in council fight

3rd April 1998 at 01:00
Claims from a private nursery owner who has put her school up for sale, saying she has "had enough" of fighting Clackman-nanshire Council, have been dismissed.

Eileen Flanagan is selling the privately-run Rosemount Nursery in Dollar, which she says is a viable business. She said the school had 78 children on its books ready to start in August. But Government funding to local authorities, contracted where necessary to private or voluntary centres, is only for five half-day sessions a week.

"Not a single penny of the Government's money for Clackmannan is going to four-year-olds of working mothers who require full-day provision," Mrs Flanagan said. "There will always be a need for somewhere like Rosemount because of its integrated all-day education and care. I just feel very sorry for the mothers."

But Sandy Wilson, the authority's head of lifelong learning who has responsibility for the pre-fives, said he was puzzled by Mrs Flanagan's figure of 78 children, since the nursery was registered to take only a maximum of 33 children in each half-day session. The council's figures show it currently has 28 children in their pre-school year, and 24 younger children.

Mr Wilson refuted charges that the council was ignoring the private sector or the needs of working parents. Last week the council had agreed to channel money to private and voluntary groups specifically targeted on low income families who wanted extended day and all-year childcare and education.

Mrs Flanagan now aims to join her husband, who has a job abroad. Mr Wilson says his understanding is that "the nursery has been put on the market for family reasons but as a going concern, and I would be very disturbed if Mrs Flanagan feels she has been forced to do so because of a misunderstanding over the council's policy".

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