Memorandum submitted by Gillian Leonard, Walkergate Early Years Centre

May I again bring to your urgent attention the plight of the nursery within Walkergate Early Years Centre in Newcastle.

1. I am very honoured to work as a nursery nurse in the nursery at Walkergate Early Years Centre alongside a whole team of very dedicated staff. The nursery is unique as it offers children fulltime places (along with only 5 other nurseries in Newcastle) in a predominantly deprived area of the city.

2. I hope you can imagine our feelings & emotions when we have been recently informed by the Government that they are to offer part time places only(15 hr) to all children throughout the country .This is beneficial to those settings already offering 12 hr places but sadly this has detrimental effects for the nursery at Walkergate Early Years Centre.

3. We at the nursery ( within the Centre) provide the children with much needed full time places 30hr- 5 days a week, 6 hours a day (including a healthy and nutritious lunch). Giving the children time & space to express their physical needs, social and emotional experiences to enhance their mental development and above all else a secure place in which to spend quality time with highly qualified staff who genuinely care and understand these children's needs.

Childcare Act 2006 states: Families need to be able to afford flexible, high quality child care that is appropriate to their needs by increasing the free entitlement to Early Year's Provision.

4. Walkergate Early Years Centre is also a pillar of strength to the local community, a welcoming & vital link to all families. Offering parents opportunities to engage in activities in both nursery and hands on taster sessions aiding their understanding of their own child's learning. We devise these courses throughout the day for the parents to attend, helping them to return to work whilst their children learn through play in the safety & security of the Nursery.

Childcare Act 2006 states: Key driver to achieving Government long term strategy to halve child poverty is to get parents back to work.

5. If the nursery was to only offer part time places would WEYC be able to find double 104 children?

6. If the nursery cannot fill its places STAFF JOBS are very much at risk?

7. If the children are not cared for on a full time basis in this area of Walkergate, will they not become more at risk in many areas of neglect, care & deprivation?

8.If parents are not stimulated, listened to or encouraged to learn, will this not have a negative effect on both their own & their child's welfare & safety?

The nursery does NOT wish that ANY of the above to happen. But they most certainly will if the nursery can no longer provide full time places.

9. The parents, former families & staff cannot believe nor understand why such a great nursery should not be made exempt of the Government 15 hr core offer and to use the recent Ofsted 'outstanding in all areas' as an example to others. Why undo something that works, has worked and will continue to work!

10.Further to the Government shock, Newcastle City Council have decided to reduce the budget for education, cutting the nursery budget by a third over the next coming year and the following two years. Again the nursery has not been fully supported in this area which will result in yet more staff cuts with many of the nursery's dedicated and highly qualified staff losing their jobs.

11. Please give this letter the immediate attention it deserves. Children, parents & staff are all at risk in many, many ways. Your support is vital to us at the nursery within Walkergate Early Years Centre.

November 2009


Ofsted report 2008

Walkergate Early Years Centre is outstanding.

It has maintained the same high standards,

It's the head teacher and staff have successfully raised children's achievements and personal development by the provision of excellent teaching & learning.


The role of parents in their children's learning are strengthened because of effective communication which has enhanced their understanding of childhood development.

The centre& its staff are held in very high esteem by parents & children.

Children benefit from the high level of adult support. The nursery at Walkergate Early Years Centre is in an excellent position to maintain its strengths.


Quote - Minister for Children & Young People

The quality of outcomes & experiences for children are fundamentally dependent on the experiences they have everyday in their childcare setting, which depends on the training, experience & quality of staff.