Furious parents launch petition after nursery asked to relocate

PUBLISHED: 09:29 28 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:48 28 October 2016

Staff and parents protest outside Lemsford Hall

Staff and parents protest outside Lemsford Hall

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Furious parents have launched a petition after a Lemsford-based nursery was asked to leave its premises of 23 years.

Children from Annabel's Montessori School decorating a banner in protestChildren from Annabel's Montessori School decorating a banner in protest

Annabel’s Montessori School, currently based in Lemsford Village Hall, has been asked to relocate by Hatfield Town Council (HTC) by January 3.

The petition has garnered more than 650 signatures, and instigator Semra Nevzat said several parents burst into tears when the news was broken to them.

“People are panicking,” she said. “They are worried for their children. Some only just put their children in and they are still going through the settling period, and they will have to go through all this again.”

She added: “Some people were crying and staff were upset. We are upset for our kids. They are only between two and five years old, it’s not fair on them.”

Fellow mum Natalie Streets, 30, branded the decision “ridiculous”, and said parents who will need to relocate will struggle to find nursery spaces.

She said: “It’s uprooting my son twice in the space of a school year. They are not thinking about children, they are just thinking about themselves.”

Montessori nurseries are different because they claim to be “learner-centred”, rather than “teacher-centred”, and are often specifically chosen by parents.

Several mums also claimed they only found out within the last couple of weeks.

However, town council leader Lenny Brandon told the WHT: “HTC is committed to not only upgrading its facilities but making them more user friendly and financially sustainable.

“Part of that process at Lemsford Village Hall meant Annabel’s Montessori being relocated. After negotiations they agreed they would relocate to another of HTC’s venues, Roe Hill Hall, in Hatfield.

“They were given six months notice to allow them time to get full Ofsted certification on the new venue.

“They were also given a rent-free period, that would cover any relocation costs. This news appears not to have been relayed to the parents until last week.”

Regarding the petition, he added: “Forty children attend the school and 640 people have signed the petition. Is that not a little bit lop-sided?”

No one from Annabel’s Montessori School was available for comment at the time of going to press.

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