Potty about nurseries;Letter

8th January 1999 at 00:00
I AM writing to express our offence at the article "A rose by any other name" (TESS, December 25), which sought to poke fun at the names of educational establishments.

There are hundreds of nurseries for parents to choose from in Edinburgh. When we ask parents why they chose our advert from all those in Yellow Pages, in the majority of cases they reply because the name shows that we have a sense of humour and it stands out.

So rather than making pointless comments about our name I think you would have shown yourselves to know more about your subject by making wiser observations on the nature of advertising.

I was also interested in the article "Extra cash for nursery training". Given the partnership agreement between the local authority and private nurseries, in what format and how much of the pound;3.5 million will be allocated to the private sector as we are expected to carry out training too? Is any of it going to be given to us to cover our costs in meeting the administration required by the agreement?

Here are a few examples of the extra private nursery costs due to the partnership:

* We now have to employ a teacher who is on a higher salary than the nursery nurses replaced.

* At least four days of inspections per year when we require extra staff to cover those talking to the inspectors. Otherwise we break our staff-child ratios which are law under the Children's Act.

* Staff pay while carrying out administration purely for the partnership.

* Administration behind the financial arrangements to incorporate the partnership into nursery fees. The state works by terms and operates in arrears. Private nurseries generally for commercial reasons work by fees paid monthly in advance as we are open all year. The incompatibility is exceedingly complicated to administer.

The money could also be well spent training new teachers and nursery nurses rather than being soaked up by the local authority for "in-service training". The authority also takes a sizeable amount off the grant per child which was supposed to go towards parents' fees.

Private nurseries have been told they are not allowed to take a penny towards the extra administration and expense they have incurred in carrying out the partnership agreement. The state sector are allowed to take as much of the money allocated to parents by the Government as they want.

In addition, private nurseries are not allowed to operate with the same staff-child ratios as the state sector and would be breaking the law if they did. Thus private nurseries must pay almost double the wages bill of the state sector. All nurseries are equal but some are much more equal than others.

Ruth Jessop The Potty Place Grange Loan Edinburgh

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