Parents shocked at plans to close Donaldson’s nursery

Parents have branded the proposed closure a 'tragedy'. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Parents have branded the proposed closure a 'tragedy'. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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PARENTS of children attending the nursery at Scotland’s national deaf school have slammed plans to close it as part of a cost-cutting drive.

Mums and dads of youngsters enrolled at Donaldson’s School nursery in Linlithgow said they were “surprised and shocked” when news of the closure was announced earlier this week.

The move comes as school leaders battle to cut a debt mountain said to be as high as £500,000, while sources close to the institution have warned it is “haemorrhaging” cash.

It is believed up to 11 teaching and five administration posts are set to be axed under a re-structure aimed at restoring financial stability.

The Evening News also understands that the school’s deaf studies department, which has two staff, is under threat.

Donaldson’s bosses stressed the changes had been proposed to reflect the wide range of educational and support needs currently catered for.

But families today branded the plans a “tragedy” and said they had been plunged into uncertainty.

Fiona Pashley, 41, whose three-year-old son attends the nursery, said: “We’re surprised, shocked and very disappointed.

“The nursery’s grades have been so good – it has such great staff and very supportive parents who have campaigned for it in the past.

“We’re very surprised at the notice given – this is a real loss. The nursery offers really high quality childcare, which is so hard to come by.”

Judy Vickers, 45, whose son is due to leave the nursery at the end of this term, added: “Like all parents, I’m completely shocked and saddened – this decision has come out of nowhere. For it to close is a tragedy.”

A recently published Care Inspectorate report revealed the nursery had been graded “very good” for quality of care, support and environment, while staffing, management and leadership were rated “good”.

The planned closure is the latest controversy to engulf Donaldson’s.

In November last year, it emerged police were assessing claims that sex offences were carried out at the school.

News of the probe came after staff were given a week to come up with a plan for dealing with serious concerns about the way the school was being run.

Donaldson’s leaders said the nursery was “financially unsustainable” but stressed all proposals were “indicative” and subject to ongoing consultation.

Carol Kirk, vice-convener of the school’s board of governors, said: “There’s a significant restructure under way and that is in order to meet the very different needs of the children we have now.

“We want the school to be viable for the future and to ensure the children are getting the best quality education and care for their very specific needs. The nursery is running at a considerable loss and we could not afford that.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com