Keep a nursery in Headcorn
Keep a nursery in Headcorn
The families of Headcorn are asking KCC to ensure the continued provision of a nursery within Headcorn village.
Three years ago, KCC stepped in to support the families of Headcorn when The Old School House nursery closed, in recognition of the fact that Headcorn needs a nursery. As a result, Junior's Day Nursery opened, in a building on temporary loan from Headcorn Primary school, caring for 54 children each day, 50 weeks a year, ranging from three months to five years old.
Three years on, the school needs the space back, Junior's has been unable to find suitable alternative premises in the village, and the families of Headcorn, once again, find themselves under the imminent threat of having no viable, local, early years childcare provision.
The need for a nursery in Headcorn now is greater than it has ever been, with over 380 new homes built, or being built, in the village since Junior's opened in 2018. New homes that are heavily marketed at families, citing the village having a nursery, primary school and commuter links as selling points.
An alternative location was identified within the village, however due to delays in agreements with KCC, and COVID and Brexit delaying contractors and building materials, it would not have been ready before the school needed the current building back. Junior's has been forced to relocate to Boughton Monchelsea; seven miles outside of Headcorn. A 30 minute return car journey in good traffic, 45 minutes to an hour in rush hour, taking into account the time needed to drop off/collect children.
For families without a car, those with limited access to a car or those who cannot drive, it will be impossible to keep their child at Junior's in the new location. Not to mention families who have older children at the village primary school, who will struggle to drop children at different settings, miles apart, and still get to work on time. The new location is therefore a significant barrier to access, one that disproportionately impacts lower income families, single parent families, and those with disabilities or other medical needs.
All other local childcare settings with an offering similar to Junior's (extended hours, open year round, and taking babies from three months) are full and have long waiting lists. The only local settings with spaces are unable to offer the number of hours needed by working families.
Under section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006, KCC has a duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents. The effective closure of Junior's leaves the working parents of Headcorn with limited to no childcare options. The families of Headcorn therefore ask KCC to fulfil its legal obligation in ensuring the continued provision of a nursery in Headcorn,