Welwyn Garden City pre-school announces closure

Harwood Hill JMI and Nursery School, in Welwyn Garden City.

Harwood Hill JMI and Nursery School, in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: Archant

A Welwyn Garden City pre-school is closing down this summer despite two consecutive outstanding Ofsted inspections.

Adam Taylor with fiance Lisa Begbie

Adam Taylor with fiance Lisa Begbie - Credit: Archant

Michelle Oxborrow, the administrator at Harwood Hill Pre-school, wrote an email to parents on May 7, announcing the closure.

She wrote: “It is with great sadness that after 14 years we have to announce the closure of Harwood Hill Pre-School at the end of the summer term.

“Despite our two consecutive outstanding Ofsted inspections, Harwood Hill JMI School wish to make changes to the nursery and reception areas and do not want to include the pre-school, and have given us notice to vacate the premises.

“We would like to confirm that Lunch Club is continuing to run daily until our last day which is Wednesday, July 19, 2017.”

The pre-school, run by six members of staff, looks after a maximum of 20 children aged from two to under eight years at any one time, and is open each weekday from 12.30pm to 3.30pm during term time.

Yvette Page, headteacher at Harwood Hill JMI and Nursery School, said: “We are very sorry to be asking the pre-school to relocate.

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“It has been a valued member of the Harwood Hill community for a number of years.

“However, we need to prioritise provision for our own children and have plans to develop the classroom currently used by the pre-school into a flexible space for our foundation stage pupils, as well as creating new outside space.

“We are very excited about these new developments.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “We are working with the pre-school to find alternative premises.

“There are a number of other early years providers in the area with vacancies.”

Parents can find details of local early years providers by visiting www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/childcaredirectory”

Parents have been sending the Welwyn Hatfield Times their thanks and heart warming messages to the preschool staff.

Adam Taylor, 32, and Lisa Begbie, 31, of Welwyn Garden City, sent their daughter Isla to Harwood Hill Pre-school as her older sister and brother went to the school.

Lisa told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Nothing is ever too much for the staff at the pre-school and they deserve some credit and to be honoured for all their work, and to feel the support from everyone before they leave.

“It’s utterly devastating to know our children will never again have the wonderful experience of joining this safe, friendly and professional preschool that has given so many the best start in their school life.”

Adam said: “The pre-school has done nothing but everything they could to help Isla and the progress she made from when she started to now was amazing.

“They are without fail the best pre-school in Welwyn Hatfield.”

Mandi Amos, of Welwyn, whose two daughters attend the pre-school, said: “The staff are extremely friendly and loving towards the children and in turn my children had a great mindset for school life.”

Hayley and Dave Pomfret, whose two children attended the pre-school said: “Both of our children attended the pre-school recently and loved every minute of it.

“The whole team are fantastic and it’s such a shame to say goodbye.”

Ellie McFarlane, whose daughter attends the preschool said: “We really couldn’t praise staff enough for providing our daughter with such a caring, loving and attentive environment.

“Such a shame to have such dedicated and enthusiastic staff unable to continue the fantastic work they’re doing.

“Good luck to all the staff and best wishes for the future.”

Alicia Warwick, of Welwyn Garden City, said: “My son currently attends Harwood Hill Pre-school and I have never met such a caring kind group of people.

“They will go out of their way to do everything and anything to make the children and the parents feel comfortable and I am so sad to hear that they are being told to leave and loosing their jobs after 14 years there.

“My son wakes up every morning excited to go to pre-school so thank you all for everything you’ve done for him.”