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Morton Preschool closes its doors after 46 years

From left Morton Preschool staff , Carol Muncaster, June Simmons-Brown, Tina Barnatt, Brenda Birkenshaw and Dawn Hammond. Submitted.
From left Morton Preschool staff , Carol Muncaster, June Simmons-Brown, Tina Barnatt, Brenda Birkenshaw and Dawn Hammond. Submitted.

A preschool is closing after serving a community for 46 years.

The Morton Preschool decided to close after the village’s primary school created a £320,00 preschool unit.

The new unit, which opens its doors on Monday (May 14), caters for up to 30 children and will be open for 30 hours a week.

The current preschool does not have the staff or resources to open beyond 15 hours a week.

Brenda Birkenshaw, who founded the preschool and is its administrator, said that the decision to close the school was made reluctantly.

She said: “We couldn’t do the 30 hours. We would have to extend our hours and provision in general.

“It is a difficult time for everybody. It has been part of my life for so long. You can’t have two preschools in the village.

“It has been lovely working here and we do hope the children and parents enjoy the new school.”

She added the preschool had received the highest rating in its Ofsted inspection in 2011 - ‘outstanding’ and it was good to “go out on a high”.

Funding for the new unit was provided from a Department for Education grant.

George Trafford headteacher Morton Primary School said the grant was made available to schools as part of the government’s drive to provide free child care for 30 hours a week to working parents.

He said: “I think from the point of view of the owners of Morton Preschool, there was always going to be the need to provide longer hours in its lifetime.

“We are really excited about the opportunity to expand our provision to nursery child care.”

The new preschool unit includes a classroom and an outdoor garden, which will have a covered canopy.

The Morton Preschool staff have amassed a combined total of 172 years of service.

Over the years the preschool has taken the children on many excursions in the area such as seeing lambs born at a farm in Hanthorpe.

The preschool began in 1972 in the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom. In 2006 it moved to its current home, a purpose -built facility.


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