York College nursery closure ‘is final’

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

YORK College is pressing ahead with the permanent closure of its day nursery following the tragic death of a little girl in the playground.

The college paid tribute to the nursery’s 26 members of staff – who face losing their jobs – but said it believed it was taking the right course of action.

Three-year-old Lydia Bishop died in September after being found on an outdoor slide with a rope around her neck.

The closure proposals were announced last month, to criticism from some parents, and Melanie Onn, of the union UNISON, claimed earlier this month that “isolated and abandoned” staff would struggle to find work elsewhere because of the “stigma” attached to them.

She said she strongly believed it would be possible for the college to retain the facility.

She said yesterday she had put several alternative options to the college – that the nursery could reopen as a staff co-operative or with another provider, or on another site in the area – but these had all been rejected, and all the staff now faced redundancy.

“I am disappointed,” she said. “There’s some feeling that the consultation was just a formality.”

The college said in a statement that, following the period of consultation, it had now made the decision to permanently close the nursery.

“The college wishes to pay tribute to the nursery staff, and to the support they have received from families of children who attended the nursery,” it said.

“The college believes this to be the right course of action in light of the complexity of the ongoing police investigation and the tragic circumstances which led to the initial closure.

“The thoughts of everyone at York College remain with Lydia Bishop and her family and all those affected by this tragedy.”

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