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A group of worried parents in Manchester have started an e-petition in a bid to retain their current childcare provider – Brighter Beginnings.
Parents of children who attend Brighter Beginnings Nursery, which was rated ‘Outstanding’ in its last inspection, are worried that the new private childcare provider awarded the nursery after Manchester City Council’s tender bidding process will have a negative impact on their children’s care.
Brighter Beginnings run the Claremont Sure Start Children’s Centre from the council-owned building in the grounds of Claremont School in Manchester.
The creator of the petition, Stephen Bradley argues that Manchester City Council has not fulfilled its duty to contact and consult the parents of children attending the nursery during the tender process, which will see Brighter Beginnings leave and be replaced by another childcare provider on 1 September 2013.
In the petition, he said: “The parents of children at this nursery have been trying (in vain) to get some information about how the tender procedure was carried out and what, if any, op-portunities to appeal they may have and how they can affect this decision but ultimately the aim is to retain Brighter Beginnings as the team they entrust our children to.
“Brighter Beginnings have been the most caring and nurturing group any parents could hope to find.
“As such the parents of children at Brighter Beginnings nursery on Claremont Road in Man-chester have recently been horrified to learn that this team is to have the centre taken away from them and given to another provider. A company which, from the little already known, the parents have absolutely zero faith in.
“This change seems to be an exercise in cost-cutting by the council as the families of the vast majority of children are indeed from the area and the service provided to them by Brighter Beginnings has been outstanding.”
The petition also raised concerns about the level of training the new company’s staff have, claiming: “It is understood that the company taking over already have an existing nursery in another area of Manchester where the staff are only trained to Level 2 standard in their childcare qualifications whereas the staff at Brighter Beginnings are all either at Level 3 or working to attain this level. This suggests that the level of care the children can expect to receive from the new provider will not be up to a standard that is expected and that was searched for by the parents when selecting a nursery.”
Responding to the questions raised about the way the council ran the tender bidding process to find a childcare provider, a Manchester City Council spokesman said: "The privately-run childcare provision delivered from the council-owned Claremont Road Sure Start building is to be delivered by a new provider following a rigorous tender process to ensure a high quality service and good value.
“We can assure parents that we will offer to work with providers to ensure that the handover will run as smoothly as possible and try to ensure that parents notice little difference in their day-to-day experience of the centre."
With currently 89 signatures on the e-petition, the campaigners hope that once it reaches 100 signatures, the ‘right people’ at Manchester Council will take notice of the concerns of the group of upset parents.
To read the full petition visit: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/manchester-city-council-save-brighter-beginnings-as-provider-of-nursery-care-at-claremont-road