MSPs urged to halt closure

Parents campaign outside outside Donaldson's nursery gates
Parents campaign outside outside Donaldson's nursery gates

Determined parents of children at Donaldson’s School have vowed to continue their fight to save the nursery by taking their campaign to the Scottish Parliament.

They plan to petition MSPs to intervene in support of their plan to maintain the facility as an independent community nursery.

‘‘Donaldson’s School receives public money direct from the Scottish Government,’’ said Ruth Bratchie, a nursery parent.

‘‘We believe that if the school decides to close the nursery, it should have an obligation to look at ways to ensure that the public benefit offered by the nursery is not lost to the community.’

The governors have rejected the proposals for a community nursery but parents question their claim that leasing the nursery space to a community group would pose a financial risk to the school or interfere with its strategic vision.

Parents also hope that the Scottish Government, which has made childcare provision a priority, will step in and have written to education secretary Angela Constance to ask her to intervene.

Ruth Bratchie said: ‘‘The Scottish Government seems to be able to step in and intervene in failing A&E departments and schools so it seems appropriate that they could do so at Donaldson’s which is a national example of ‘best practice’ in the nursery sector.’’

The Scottish Government has championed the need for high-quality childcare to be available to all pre-school children and is currently consulting on plans to increase the free provision from 600 hours to 1140 hours a year.

But it faces a huge challenge in delivering care which meets the needs of both children and working parents.

Research for the UK Government published in 2012 shows that improving the quality of childcare depends on sharing the learnings and best practice of highly skilled staff, to help nursery students and struggling care providers to see what good practice looks like in action.

Donaldson’s nursery has been involved in sharing best practice for some time and its loss will be felt across Linlithgow and the wider community.

The parents’ petition will be considered by the seven MSPs who make up the public petitions committee.