After 50 years, Filton pre-school faces closure

July 01 2019
After 50 years, Filton pre-school faces closure

Filton Park Pre-school Playgroup will close after the next academic year - ending 50 years of early years care and education for Filton children.

Filton Park Pre-school Playgroup will close after the next academic year - ending 50 years of early years care and education for Filton children.
The site in Charborough Road will become part of a wider redevelopment which includes the former training buildings and Charborough Road School.
Filtonvoice understands South Glos Council and the Olympus Trust, which runs Charborough Road Primary, are in discussions over part of the land being used as an extended field space for the school with the remaining area, including the pre-school site, to be developed.
Staff at the pre-school have agreed with South Glos that the 2019/20 academic year will be the last and it is believed after that some pre-school education could be offered within Charborough Road Primary.
There are fears that the loss of the 'Good' rated pre-school, which caters for around 33 children, will mean limited opportunities for parents in Filton with the Bluebell pre-school at Shield Road the only comparable facility in the town.
Long-serving pre-school leaders Sue Packham and Viv Kidd said that South Glos had previously agreed to keep the pre-school on the site, and the team had hoped to seek grants to redevelop the building.
They said: "We are gutted for the children. Filton does not have enough pre-school spaces now.
"We do so much to get children ready for primary school, assisting where there are special needs and helping the parents."
They said a lot of the decorating work in the playgroup was done by the staff themselves.
They added that communication with South Glos had not been good and they had to fight to be allowed an extension for the next year.
The pre-school pays rent to South Glos of just over £7,000 per academic year.
A South Glos spokesman said: "Plans to make changes on the Charborough Road site surrounding the Charborough Road Primary School have been in development for a number of years. A number of council services that used to be delivered there have moved elsewhere. We are discussing with local providers of existing schools the possibility of on-site provision of a pre-school in the future.
 “We have recently met with the pre-school and agreed to grant an extension to their lease so that they can remain in their current home until the end of the next academic year - 19/20. We understand that families will be keen to know what options for pre-school provision there are in the area for the future and while discussions are still going on, we would emphasise that we are confident there will be adequate places for the number of pre-schoolers after 19/20."
Town councillor Adam Monk, who has been working with the pre-school for some time, said: "I am frustrated at South Glos for moving the goalposts but we are working now to ensure we can provide for the demand in the local area."


Parents' views

Lynne Costanza
"I have two children, both of which have been fortunate to have attended Filton park pre school playgroup.
I am truly appalled at the treatment and blatant disregard that South Gloucestershire Council have displayed with approaching the redevelopment of FPPP grounds.
The pre-school has been in existence since the 1950’s and is an important part of the community in Filton Park.
To see it disappear will mean the loss of a highly experienced team of dedicated and well loved staff and a setting important to all the families with young children in the area. Where are these pre-schoolers to go?"

Anna Slater
"Both of my sons attended Filton Park Preschool from 2015 to the present time. The pre-school is an asset to the community with loyal, caring, experienced staff who give you the comfort that your child is in the best hands, getting them prepared to start school.
Despite the building being in a poor condition, the staff have lovely displays and decorations with pictures of the children and their work, making it feel a warm and cosy place to be. All of the staff have given many years of service to the pre-school and put the children and their needs at the heart of it as well as keeping it affordable for local families.
I am very sad to hear the preschool is closing and just feel relief that I do not have any more children needing pre-school care after this year as I simply don't know what I would do."