Outrage as Cork northside preschool prepares to close its doors; protest planned for today

The closure will affect 29 children, 11 from the junior class who were to move into the senior class and 18 who were due to start in the junior class.
Outrage as Cork northside preschool prepares to close its doors; protest planned for today

Speaking to The Echo, Julie Goldsmith, whose daughter Ada is in the school, said parents on the northside are now struggling to find alternative preschools.

A CORK mother has raised concerns about the closure of the Stepping Stones preschool in Farranree which she said parents had “no inkling” about.

Speaking to The Echo, Julie Goldsmith, whose daughter Ada is in the school, said parents on the northside are now struggling to find alternative preschools.

“Basically, we just got a letter last Monday morning to say the school would not be reopening on August 30, which is weird because [the kids] met their new teachers three weeks ago, they got to see the new classroom they were going to. We had no inkling of any of this happening,” she said.

“The teachers were blindsided to it as well... they had only found out on the Thursday previous... they got a phone call to come for a meeting and told that their jobs were gone, that the school wasn’t reopening,” she continued.

Ms Goldsmith said funding issues and difficulties in maintaining a Board of Management were cited as the reasons for the closure.

She said the closure will affect 29 children, 11 from the junior class who were to move into the senior class and 18 who were due to start in the junior class.

“What they said is that the Board of Management had stepped down and that they had hoped that someone else was going to take it over, and last minute last week the two new directors pulled the plug and pulled out of it,” she said.

“If we thought that funding was an issue, we would have rallied and done a fundraiser to try and keep it open this year, or do something.”

STAFF WERE 'OUTSTANDING'

She described the teachers in Stepping Stones as “outstanding” and said she had been very happy with the service.

Ms Goldsmith, who set up a Facebook page called ‘Save Stepping Stones’ following news of the closure, said Múin preschool in Blackpool had been in touch with her to say they had contacted Cork City Childcare, stating that they would take over the management of the school and that they were awaiting a response.

Parents are planning a small protest outside the school today which will be attended by Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould, and Sinn Féin city councillors Mick Nugent and Kenneth Collins.

Deputy Gould said people “cannot afford” to lose the service in the heart of the Farranree area.

“Parents rely on the service and teachers have jobs. It is a preschool that children are thriving in, and given the shortage of childcare places at the minute, we must do everything we can to save it.

“I’ve contacted Cork City Council, the Board of Management and the Cork City Childcare Committee. We are committed to working with everyone to try and resolve this issue,” he said.

Councillor Nugent, who recently raised the issue at a Cork City Council meeting, said “it is important that Cork City Council work with everyone to ensure that this facility stays open”.

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