Arbour Square nursery is based at the Tower Hamlets campus of New City College, London, and supports student parents who are studying at the college. The nursery also welcomes working parents, staff, students, and local families accessing funded places. On the 20th of June 2022, New City College announced plans to close the nursery on the grounds of financial viability.
As campaigners explain: "Instead of closing services New City College should pride itself on providing opportunities to education to those who would otherwise be without. The students accessing the nursery: women, migrants, low-income students, are already facing multiple barriers to their education. The difficulties accessing childcare for study are set to increase as the cost-of-living crisis and squeeze on already low incomes deepens. Suggestions that students on courses at Arbour Square access childcare facilities in the other nursery sites in Poplar or Hackney, for many will just not be financially or practically viable."
The closure will mean the loss of experienced and skilled staff and a dedicated space including a forest garden: "Staff are highly qualified and pride themselves in closely observing and learning the interests and needs of each child and using them to further their growing development. The nursery also provides excellent placement opportunities for students on childcare courses. The nursery has superb facilities and outdoor spaces, including a forest garden for children to ride, run, jump, and play with their friends. Students are happy and at ease having their children onsite at the nursery while they study."
"Over the years the nursery has accommodated students studying various courses such as access courses, nursing, health & social care, hair and beauty, GCSE’s, vocational courses and ESOL. ESOL courses still remain the most popular at the campus, and having the nursery on-site has made it more possible for adult learners to learn English in order to progress on to higher level courses and employment whilst supporting their children and family."
"Closing this nursery means taking away the right to education of the local community, especially women. ESOL students are devastated and horrified after finding out the news of the closure. The college is instrumental in empowering the local community & building confidence, in particular for women through vital education... lack of good local education facilities with childcare leaves them isolated...."
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