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Ipswich: Parents express anger over sudden closure of Rhymes breakfast and after-school clubs at Rose Hill Primary School

PUBLISHED: 17:54 26 September 2014

The Rhymes breakfast and after-school clubs at Rose Hill Primary School in Derby Road will close today, it has been confirmed, with no guarantee that it will re-open.

The Rhymes breakfast and after-school clubs at Rose Hill Primary School in Derby Road will close today, it has been confirmed, with no guarantee that it will re-open.

Archant

Parents have vented their anger after only being told in the last 24 hours that a popular breakfast and after-school club in Ipswich will close today.

The Rhymes breakfast and after-school clubs at Rose Hill Primary School in Derby Road will close today, it has been confirmed, with no guarantee that it will re-open.

Some parents found out yesterday afternoon when picking up their children. Official letters were received this morning.

The closure has forced parents to find urgent alternative care for their children.

Rhymes has apologised and explained that a failure to recruit a replacement play leader over the last month has forced them to close the clubs. It confirmed that no “suitable candidates” came forward.

One parent who did not wish to be named blasted: “I think it’s disgusting that there has been no consultation with any parents.

“We just received a letter saying it is closing the next day and that’s it, giving us no time to make alternative arrangements.

“While I appreciate all their help in the past I think they will be letting a lot of parents down.

“I hope either the school or another company step in and take over the running of this much-needed out-of-school club.”

Another parent, who also wished to remain anonymous, labelled the decision “absolutely bonkers”.

The parent-of-two said: “My wife and I work full-time and the decision has put us in a really difficult position.

“We have got to find child care provision for Monday next week onwards. If not, then one of us will have to ask if we can work from home in the afternoon.

“They have had enough time to find a replacement play leader, and I can’t believe they have given us such short notice.

“We totally depend on the after-school club and it really benefits the children. Around 30 pupils use it and there are a lot of angry parents.”

The breakfast club ran from 7.30-9am, and the after-school club was open from 3.15-6pm.

Mum-of-three Cherese Bradaum said she has had to find urgent alternative care for her 10-year-old son Andrew, who has learning difficulties.

The teaching assistant, who said she might have to cut back her working hours, said: “Andrew went to both clubs and it really helped him. They played games, sport outside, had hot snack meals – it was an essential service.

“It is not good that they have had a month to find a replacement and could not find anyone suitable.

“Luckily for me, a child minder will look after Andrew in the morning and after school – although he has got to walk by himself for about five minutes to get there. Some parents may have to give up their jobs though.”

A Rhymes Out of School Club spokesman said: “The closure of our Rose Hill out-of-school club is due to the problem we have faced finding a suitably qualified member of staff to take over the role of play leader.

“We have been trying to recruit since our current play leader gave notice. We have to give notice of three months on our lease at Rose Hill and will pay our rent for that period.

“We tried up to the very last minute to remain open but Ofsted regulations will not permit us to operate without a suitably qualified play leader.”

The spokesman added: “We are, regretfully, also closing our Heath out-of-school club in Kesgrave.

“We have been operating at Heath Primary since 1998 but have decided, as a company decision, the closure of Heath is necessary in the best interest of our other settings.”

When asked if the clubs could re-open in the future, the spokesman declined to comment.

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