Ipswich/Kesgrave: Race against time for parents following closure of out-of-school clubs

After school clubs closing

After school clubs closing - Credit: Archant

Fears were raised today by parents in Ipswich and Kesgrave as they face a race against time to find alternative out-of-school care for their children.

It was announced this week that Seagulls after school club, which is run by an independent provider but operates from Cliff Lane Primary School, will close by the end of October.

It follows news last week that Rhymes clubs at Rose Hill and Heath primary schools will also stop operating.

The closures mean dozens of parents now need to find new care arrangements for between 3.15-6pm, a particular worry for those who work full-time.

It is understood the future closure of Seagulls is largely down to a recent poor Ofsted report, however parents whose children attend there say they are shocked by the decision and have said they feel there was a lack of consultation from the school.

The owner of Seagulls has said she is “disappointed” that she is having to close and will be seeking alternative premises. It is believed the school is looking for another childcare provider.

One parent said: “I rely on Seagulls after school everyday, as I work full-time and have no family in Ipswich to help with after school pick up. I feel extremely sad, very stressed and angry that this has happened.

“I feel the club has always offered a really fun, happy and safe place to leave my children and they both have loved every minute of it.”

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Another parent, who asked not to be named, added: “I work full-time so if that does close there is no alternative, I’m going to be quite financially stricken. I will need to cut my hours down by half.”

Writing on The Star’s Facebook page, Sharon Daynes added: “I think who ever are making these decisions are not thinking of the working parents that it is effecting and what struggles it is causing especially for those poor parents who had a day’s notice.” (sic)

The Rhymes Club at Heath Primary School, in Kesgrave, was also used by youngsters from Cedarwood Primary School.

Cedarwood did not have clubs running from its own premises, but officials from the school say they are now looking to put provisions in place to help parents.

Helen Robson, school business manager, said: “We are looking to set up our own before and after school clubs, certainly from January, which we were planning to do anyway, but we are trying to bring that forward now because some of the parents are very anxious and we are looking to help them by bringing that forward.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council added: “We are available to work with any school or childcare provider to explore all options and, where practical, find an alternative to closure.”

If you have concerns about childcare, you can contact the Suffolk Families Information Service on 0845 6080033 or 0345 6080033. The Suffolk Family Services Directory, on www.suffolk.gov.uk/family to search for alternative childcare providers.

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