Mystery surrounds sudden closure of nursery group

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A decision to close the six settings operated by Headstarts Day Nursery in Swindon, West Berkshire and Basingstoke, was taken last week.

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An Ofsted spokeperson said, ‘We were investigating this nursery provider about a child going missing from one of its nurseries when it told us, on Monday 16 September, that it would close all its premises.’

Reports suggest another of the six settings recently received an 'inadequate' grade from Ofsted, which led to the withdrawal of council funding.

One nursery based in a children’s centre had been undergoing refurbishment and was due to re-open this month, while a message on the group’s website states that the nursery in Newbury closed on 27 August.

A local newspaper reported visiting the nursery in Basingstoke on 12 September, just a few days before the closures, to photograph the opening of the setting's new garden.

The nurseries provided more than 260 childcare places in total.

Nursery World tried contacting the owner of Headstarts Day Nursery, Sara Vare, but failed to receive a response.

Swindon Council is now offering advice and information to parents affected by the closure of the nurseries.

A Facebook page has also been set-up by parents to save the nursery in Eldene, Swindon.

A comment on the ‘Save Eldene Headstarts Nursery’ Facebook page, says, ‘The nursery was a caring and friendly setting. The staff are like family to us and the care they provided to my girls was exceptional.’

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, is lending his support to parents to try and find answers as to why the nurseries closed so suddenly.

He told Nursery World, 'The council committed funding until October, so the nurseries could have remained open till then. I think parents are due an explanation.'

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