There was welcome news this week for staff and student parents at Goldsmiths as it was announced that the college nursery is to be rescued by a Student Union take-over.The victory comes after a tireless ‘Save the Nursery’ campaign launched by the Student’s union after news of its threatened closure last year.
In the package, agreed by the university and union, the nursery will continue to stay open after September 1, when it was due to close. In a message to all staff Hugh Jones, Registrar and Secretary said:
“After a year-long investigation, the Students’ Union decided they would take over the management of the nursery. They will do so with the full backing of SMT, and we will continue to support their efforts and offer guidance as they take over the management.”
Jones added: “I’d like to offer my thanks to the childcare working group, to Bindz Patel, outgoing Students’ Union President, and Graham Gaskell, Students’ Union Chief Executive, for their tireless efforts.”
Under terms of the new agreement the nursery will open for 45 weeks of the year instead of the current 38 weeks. Although the college will continue to support it, the union says it will now bear all the financial risk if any losses are incurred.
Student Union president Bindz Patel said: “The success was down to parents and non-parents at Goldsmiths who understood the benefits of a nursery and also to the other campus unions as well as local people.”
The college announced that this new move includes establishing: “A college fund for students with childcare responsibilities, regardless of whether they use the nursery or not.”
Nursery manager, Karen Roe, said the team are absolutely “thrilled” that the nursery has a future and that staff and students with childcare needs will continue to be supported.
Parent Jane Desmarais has had three children at the nursery. She said of the campaign: “Its been a long haul but in the end it has shown Goldsmiths at its best: passionate, disciplined and creative.”
With uncertainty hanging over the nursery a lot of people had withdrawn their children – or decided not to put their names down on the list – so there are now a number of vacancies. Although priority for places at the nursery still remains with students and staff at Goldsmiths, the union say that, if places aren’t filled, then the community are welcome to apply for them.
This news comes after Lewisham council announced huge cuts in funding to local nurseries resulting in closures and a hike in prices in April as reported by ELL earlier this year.