Hillingdon Council supports those affected by closure of early years childcare

Friday 19 August 2022: Hillingdon Council is offering its support to parents, carers and staff affected by the impending closure of its early years childcare provision.

External view of the Civic Centre with blue skies and Platinum Jubilee flower bed
Contrary to recent local media reports, ward councillors and the council's Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, Cllr Susan O'Brien, have already been in conversation with affected families, offering them support.

Parents, carers and staff have also been sent letters by the council detailing the next steps and available support, including contact details for the council's Families Information Service who will support them to look for alternative options for childcare. Nursery staff will also support children and families as they transition to new providers.

The council announced last week its three early years centres located in Hayes, South Ruislip and Uxbridge are set to close on 31 December 2022. The authority recognises this is an anxious time for all involved and wants to ensure people can transition to new providers as smoothly as possible.

Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: "From the moment we announced the closures, we've been in open communication with parents, carers and affected staff.

"I recognise and regret the anxiety and difficulty that the decision will cause parents and carers with children attending the centres, and to our staff.

"This was not an easy decision to make and is a highly emotive topic. As such I'd urge residents to be wary of media reports that serve only to gain clicks, rather than offering any tangible support to those affected.

"With increasing inflation rates, the council is having to reconsider how it operates and explore where efficiencies can be found. And while I empathise with the frustrations of those affected, if we were presiding over a year-on-year loss of more than half a million pounds for any other council tax payer-funded service, residents would rightly be asking why it's continuing.

"Our focus remains on helping and supporting those affected to ensure minimal disruption to the children, their families and carers ahead of the new year."

Despite attempts to improve their financial viability, the three centres cost the borough's council taxpayers more than £532,000 a year in subsidy.

Council-run childcare provision represents only 1.3 per cent of the capacity in Hillingdon (102 childcare places) with current take-up of only 1 per cent. Other providers in the borough (96 per cent of which are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted) are easily able to meet demand.

Page last updated: 15 Feb 2024