Ladybirds pre-school in spot of bother over base

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A village pre-school has launched a desperate appeal to find a new home.

Ladybirds Pre-School in West Pinchbeck has been run in a classroom at St Bartholomew’s Primary School for more than ten years.

But as the school continues to grow, it has told Ladybirds it needs to claim back the classroom from September – leaving the pre-school committee to find an alternative by the end of the school year next month.

It is waiting for official confirmation it will be able to use some Pinchbeck Parish Council owned land next to the school, but now needs to raise between £5,000 and £10,000 to buy a mobile classroom to put on the site, suitable for its 14 children andfour staff.

Deputy manager Becky Richardson said: “We were only told last week so now we need to fnd an alternative quickly.

“It is not the school’s fault at all. They are growing and just need the classroom back – there’s nothing they can do about it.

“The worst case scenario if we can’t find somewhere else is that we will have to close, at least temporarily, and once you do that people find somewhere else for their children to go and it’s hard to get started again.

“There are also some parents who do not drive and would be unable to take their children elsewhere and they could be in a real mess.

“But we have a dedicated committee who are already coming up with ideas of what we can do to raise the money.

“We are applying for a Lottery grant, but that’s quite a long process, so we need something more immediate and would appreciate any help anyone can offer.”

The pre-school runs five mornings a week during term-time from 9am to noon and has 19 children on the books, although only 14 are “in school” at any one time. As well as the four members of staff, there is also an apprentice.

Bryn Chappell, chairman of governors at St Bartholomew’s, said asking the pre-school to leave had been the hardest decision the board had ever had to take.

But it had become necessary as the school has grown from around 50 pupils when the pre-school moved in to the mid-90s today and some classes currently have to be held in the staff room, headteacher’s office or school hall.

He said: “That is obviously OK on a short term basis but not in the long term.

“We had hoped to find enough money to extend the school but haven’t been able to do so the decision had to be taken to take back the classroom.

“We are keen to work with Ladybirds – our partnership with them is good for our school – and we will offer them every assistance possible so they can stay close by.”