Axed nursery set to bounce back under new owners

Laura Webb at the nursery
Laura Webb at the nursery
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A NURSERY axed by the city council last year is set to reopen under a private company, and will welcome babies for the first time in its 70-year history.

High School Yards nursery closed last summer after the government ratified the council’s decision to close it, despite the concerns of local residents about the loss of an important facility.

Private firm The Really Good Company (Edinburgh) Ltd purchased the premises on High School Yards from the council at the start of the year and will reopen the revamped nursery at the end of this month.

The former council nursery was originally established in the late 1930s and for the first time in its history will accept babies as well as older children.

It will offer spaces to 56 babies and children, aged from three months to five years, and the city-centre nursery hopes to become a partnership nursery with the council, which means it could offer funded pre-school places.

The nursery will be managed by fully qualified primary school teacher, Laura Webb.

The 28-year-old, who lives in the city centre, said: “It’s very exciting, I’m a qualified teacher so this is a really new thing for me.

“We have done a lot of renovation work to the nursery and it’s looking amazing inside. We can take much younger children now as well – it was just pre-school before [three to five years], whereas now it’s a full day care nursery from three months up to five years.

“The area is steeped in history, which is great because you can use it with the children to learn more about Edinburgh and their heritage.”

The renovated nursery will feature three separate rooms – a baby room for three months to two years and a pre-school room for three to five years, with a tweenies room for two to three years opening later in the year.

The Really Good Company (Edinburgh) Ltd, which is run by Jane Gilbert, also owns Claylands Nursery in Newbridge.

The nursery currently has four staff, including Miss Webb, but hopes to have up to 15 employees in future.

Miss Webb, who was previously a teacher at Stenhouse Primary and manager of the Abbeyhill After School Club, said there was plenty of outdoor space for the children to enjoy, including a large outdoor sandpit, nature trail and wild garden.

She added: “There is a beautiful wild garden, which is quite unusual for the city centre. It’s almost like a country garden with wild flowers. There are two ‘bug hotels’, which are basically bricks and bits of salvaged wood that bugs live in – there are spiders, ants and beetles, and we’re hoping to attract butterflies. It’s great for the children to see things like that, especially in the city centre.”