CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ONGOING CAMPAIGN TO DATE. THE COMMUNITY OF CORBY IS AN INSPIRATION TO EVERYONE!
THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO THE NCC PRESS RELEASE STATING THE DECISION HAS BEEN DEFERRED!!!!!
Fairly shocked to receive a press release before we had a formal letter from county officers and there does seem to be a huge amount of county council confusion around when the decision to defer was made. Our MP was informed deferral was imminent before they even received our written submissions and this is not the worst news nor the best news.
All we have ever wanted to do was to be able to continue our work to provide the best possible service to children and families in Corby. Our governors and parents campaigned to save Pen Green from these cuts because they have personal experience of what we do and why it makes such a difference to their lives and their children’s success. We are not like other children’s centres/nursery schools; it has taken 27 years to grow this centre. It appears to be the case that the decision is deferred until July and that whatever decision is taken then it would not be implemented until 2012, which still leaves us very concerned.
Parents, governors, county councillors and staff are still committed to going to Schools Forum.
We keep being told that Schools Forum have a crucial role but they are highly dependent on information from county council officers. We need to be there and tell them how it really is. Our hope is that if the Schools Forum really has the decision making power, as set our in their constitution, they will hear us and make the right decision. County council officers have repeatedly told us that the decision rests with Schools Forum.
We know that the services we run are outstanding, Ofsted and HMI have repeatedly, over 27 years awarded the centre an excellent/outstanding rating. In 2009 they stated that “staff and governors managed the nursery resources well and provided outstanding value for money”. Few schools get these kinds of accolades and we’re proud of them, its a major achievement. We’ve provided a mass of information to NCC and are always willing to provide more although I am concerned that the decision was made before senior officers by their own admission had actually read the data!
In 2006 our services were thoroughly dissected and minutely disaggregated through county council committee and we were promised then that when we became a school and when our budget was put into the DSG that we would be allowed to get on with our job. Lets hope that in July they make the right decision.
I want to thank all our local families, our governors, particularly our chair of governors Mark Pengelly Deputy Leader of Borough Council, and Corby labour and liberal councillors for the cross party support we have received.
Now we have to plan for the future. Pen Green Research Base gained a significant grant last week from the DfE to lead a project around developing outstanding children’s centres as teaching and learning centres supporting the training and development of early years staff in their region. Pen Green children’s centre will be the first children’s centre in England to join this programme as it is the one children’s centre in England that already has extremely well embedded training roots from Diploma, to Foundation Degree to MA to PhD and we hope by next year to be able to offer EYP and teacher training.
At the children’s centre we plan to expand our provision for children under 5 this year. There is an enormous demand from parents for us to open our second baby nest for children under 3. We have a huge waiting list and this government and this local authority believe that parental preference should drive services.
Nursery schools no longer have catchments areas so we can service the whole of Corby and beyond. And this year we hope to be working with lots more Corby parents and children.
During the campaign we’ve offered some new services to say thank you to families, because at Pen Green we are committed to working with families as well as their children. We’ve had tea time play sessions called ‘Thank God Its Friday’, we’ve had Saturday cinema sessions and Sunday ‘Bring Your Family’ an intergeneration and drop-in and play sessions and dad’s group continues to run Saturdays and Sundays, so come and see our services and judge them for yourself.
I want to just finish by thanking Louise Bagshawe for what she’s contributed to the campaign. I’ve got one important message for her – we really do need to arrange that Pen Green governors meet with Michael Gove in Corby. At times over the last 27 years it just feels like Pen Green is a political pawn being manoeuvred buy county councillors who on the whole don’t have many votes in Corby. It’s time we got ourselves into a position where we could use the amazing energy and capacity of this organisation for the purpose it was intended which is to raise standard for children and offer really supportive services and their families.