Protest called to stop closure of Hunslet nurseries

Parents campaigning against the planned closure of council nurseries in Hunslet have called a demonstration on Saturday (4 May 2024).

Little Owls nurseries at Hunslet Rylestone and Hunslet St Mary’s are amongst 15 council nursery facing closure or privatisation across the city, but a campaign led by worried parents has already put the council’s timetable back as they demand proper consultation.

Parents received letters in March with the news that three nurseries were slated for closure in May while 12 more, including three in South Leeds, faced proposals to find alternative providers in their area.

The council has postponed the three closures to August and is consulting with parents at all 15 affected nurseries. However, parents and carers have criticised as fundamentally flawed Leeds City Council’s ‘engagement events’ to consult parents on proposals for closures and possible privatisation.

The online consultation events, one per nursery, are at times around the bedtimes of nursery age children (6-8pm), with no provision for parents who have got places for children to start at nurseries in the imminent future.

Amy Greenshields, a parent at Kentmere Little Owls (which is proposed for closure) said:

“This is incredibly annoying, as when the consultation for my children’s nursery will take place I will be away for work. There is no way my husband would be able to go to the event with two children to feed and get to bed at the same time.”

A spokesperson from the campaign said:

“The council clearly never intended to consult parents with its original decision planned for “mid-April 2024”, and now we have instead this rushed consultation. This is why we are calling for the council to shelve these proposals and put their review and ‘sufficiency analysis’ into the public domain and run a proper consultation with multiple sessions to ensure all parents, carers and families with places can take part.”

Parents and carers in the Save Little Owls Nurseries Campaign are calling on Leeds City Council to:

  • Put in the public domain all documents relating to the review of Little Owls nurseries
  • Withdraw the current proposals to close three Little Owls nurseries and explore options for a further 12 Little Owls nurseries
  • Work with trade unions and community campaigns to demand sufficient funding from central government to fully cover funded nursery places

The review of Little Owls nursery comes as the council struggles to balance its budget in the face of continuing deep government cuts to its funding.

The protest on Saturday 4 May will gather outside Little Owls Hunslet Rylestone on Whitfield Avenue, LS10 2QE at 9:45am before marching to Little Owls Hunslet St Mary’s.

Other protests have included a lobby of the council’s executive board meeting on 17 April and march through Gipton on 20 April and more protests are planned throughout May and June around the city.

Parents and carers lobby the council’s executive board

You can find out more about the campaign on Facebook here.

And sign their petition at:

The three Little Owls nurseries proposed for closure are Chapel Allerton, Gipton North and Kentmere (in Seacroft), they were originally proposed for closure in May but following pressure from parents this has been delayed until August.

The 12 Little Owls nurseries due to be explored for alternative provision including possible privatisation are Bramley, Burley Park, City & Holbeck (Hunslet Hall Road), Hawksworth Wood, Hunslet Rylestone, Hunslet St Mary’s, Meanwood, Osmondthorpe, Parklands (in Seacroft), Quarry Mount, Rothwell, Shepherd’s Lane (in Harehills).


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