Fear over Donaldson’s nursery contracts

Parents protest the changes outside Donaldson's earlier this year.
Parents protest the changes outside Donaldson's earlier this year.

West Lothian Council has moved to allay fears over letters sent to parents of children in private nursery placements .

We reported in January how the council had removed funding from Donaldsons nursery in Linlithgow causing a backlash from parents over the decision. The council eventually backtracked, overturning the original ruling.

Now, letters sent by the council to parents of children being offered a place from August 2014 has a caveat added to it, which states that the placement is dependent on the private partnership continuing.

Complainers feel that this will allow the council to remove the funding with impunity, meaning children could start a nursery place, but be removed before starting school if the axe falls on the agreed partnership.

A letter signed by 25 parents has been sent to the council’s chief executive, detailing their concerns and expressing the unfairness they feel new parents are being subjected to.

Hopwever, a spokesman for the council said: “We can assure all parents that there has been no change in the contract.

“The change in wording was inserted to make it clear to parents at all private nurseries in contract with the council that continuity will not apply in cases where the contract is ended or not renewed. This has always been the case, and is an inevitable consequence of contracts with a fixed length. European and Scottish procurement legislation prevents offering permanent or everlasting contracts, or any guarantee that a contract will not end.

“The only difference this year is that this fact has been made clear to all parents. We feel it is important that parents are aware of this fact when considering requesting a placement at a private nursery provider.”