The University of Brighton must rethink proposals to close the One World Nursery at its Moulsecoomb campus later this year, as it would be a devastating blow to the local community, says UNISON today (Friday).
The nursery looks after around 50 children of students, staff and the local community, and has won multiple awards in its almost 40 years of operating, says UNISON.
Closure of the nursery – due to take place in July – means 11 experienced and committed staff could lose their jobs and a vital community resource wiped out forever, says UNISON.
The union, which represents the nursery staff and other non-academic staff on the campus, has lodged a formal dispute with the university and plans to ask staff if they would be prepared to take strike action over the proposed closure.
University of Brighton UNISON branch secretary Ivan Bonsell said: “This knee-jerk decision is a terrible one. It will only save a few pounds, but would end a tradition of decades of dedicated childcare and early years education at the university.
“One World Nursery is a shining example of the university’s commitment to widen access to higher education by providing excellent quality childcare and early-years learning to students with young children.
“Higher education should be a possibility for everyone. One World Nursery is vital way of making that happen. We can’t afford for it to close.
“The university should think again, keep the nursery open and save jobs.”
Commenting on the plans, nursery staff said:
“Anyone who has been touched by the nursery will be heartbroken at the University’s decision to close it. It’s unlike any other early years setting I have known. I feel privileged to work there.”
“One World feels like my home and my family. Something that meant so much was it becoming a setting of sanctuary working alongside refugee families. These people need our support and care and if the nursery closes this will be taken away.”
“This is a mean-spirited cut to essential jobs and services. The nursery and its workers are being sacrificed for short-term financial gain. If it closes it will be a devastating loss for the local community.”
“The nursery’s history and ethos have helped keep it at the cutting edge of best practice. One World is an irreplaceable resource that has flourished within an institute that has education and learning at its heart.”
Notes to editors:
– Case studies are available on request.
– UNISON is campaigning against the closure. It is asking local people to sign the nursery workers’ petition and write to their local MP and candidates running for election to Brighton City Council urging them to oppose the closure.
– University of Brighton subsidises One World, and many other services, from student tuition fee income, which is the main source of revenue for virtually all higher education institutions. The nursery’s annual subsidy of £83,000 is a tiny fraction of the University’s £197m turnover and significantly lower than the vice chancellor’s salary of £240,000.
– One World is the last remaining nursery operated by University of Brighton and the only childcare facility they provide.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.