NURSERY places will be found for 160 children affected by the closure of two Tilbury nurseries, the council has pledged.
Allen Mayes, Conservative councillor for Tilbury Riverside raised the issue of the closure of Little Pirates and Neptune nurseries at full council on Wednesday.
Mr Mayes said he had been approached by residents who were worried about finding places for their children and he asked what plaans there were for alternative provision.
Barry Johnson, councillor responsible for education and children’s social care said: “Since the decision to close the nurseries, to date we have not experienced any parents having difficulty finding an alternative nursery provider for their child.
“I’d like to assure everyone in this chamber that every effort was made to find an alternative provider for these nurseries. Sadly our staff remuneration packages, including pension costs were simply too high for any provider to run a sustainable business and whilst the closure was a regrettable decision it was the correct decision for the council to take as the model was simply untenable and it’s certainly not the fairest way to spend tax payers money by propping up a council run nursery when other private-run nurseries needed to pay their own way.”
Mr Johnson added: “The end of year roll saw 160 children across both nurseries. 62 of those four-year olds will be leaving nursery and entering school in September. We’ve collated a list of vacant nurseries in private day nurseries, school nurseries, pre-schools and local childminders and are sharing these with parents so they can decide where they would like their child to attend.
“Currently the local schools have over 90 places available and local pre-schools and day nurseries who have shared vacancies could take up the balance quite easily.
This is a statutory duty to ensure each child is offered a nursery place so each child will be.”
Staff still on site to help parents find alternative places
The closure in September affects 30 staff and will result in the loss of 126 nursery places.
The closures will help plug a £34.4 million budget gap.