Parents fear university will shut nursery after 40 years

Fiona Oatman with Sarah at the nursery
Fiona Oatman with Sarah at the nursery
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PARENTS of children at a nursery where students carry out psychological tests on the children have spoken of their fears that it may close after more than 40 years.

Mother-of-two Fiona Oatman, from Newington said she was told by staff that the Uni-Tots Nursery, in the Department of Psychology at Edinburgh University, will close in August. The university said no formal decision had been taken to close Uni-Tots but added that it is “examining a range of options” for nursery provision.

Mrs Oatman’s four-year-old daughter Sarah has been attending the nursery for the last 18 months.

The nursery is used to support research and teaching in the university’s psychology department, with children occasionally taking part in games which provide insights for professional psychologists and students into the development of thinking and social behaviour in the pre-school years.

Mrs Oatman, 49, said: “I was devastated when I found out the nursery was closing because my daughter has got another year to do. I was shocked because it came out of the blue.”

Fellow parent Jenny Caldwell’s four-year-old daughter Evie has been going to the nursery, which overlooks George Square, for just over a year. The 35-year-old from the Grange said: “I think they should find another space for the nursery rather than closing it.”

A university spokesman said: “No formal decision has been taken to close the Uni-Tots nursery. A service of this kind would not be closed until all users were offered alternative facilities.

“The university is strongly committed to nursery provision and is currently examining a range of options regarding the nursery services it provides.”