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Dunnet Play Group

15 June 05
Dunnet Play Group Intending To Stay In Business and Move To Crossroads School
With recent threats perceived by a number of nursery and play groups in Caithness the  Dunnet Play Group is now posting some information regarding their current set up and future aspirations.

  1. We as parents feel it is unfair to close Dunnet Playgroup as it is a well run, excellent facility for our children, who are happy and settled there. We are not prepared to move them to a different centre several miles away where they will be mixing with children they will not go to school with, while some of the children they will start school with will be at a different centre from them.

  2. We have a child at our group with special needs, this child has settled well and made excellent progress. His parents are distraught at the prospect of closure as he would not be able to cope with a large group and would instead have to attend the Ceyac centre in Wick with extra costs for the Highland council for taxis and an escort, while he would not be able to bond with his peers going to Crossroads School.

  3. A centre 7/8 miles away doesn't sound too bad until you add up the weekly miles, 15 to put them in the morning, 15 back home (surely parents are not expected to spend all morning in a car park with smaller children in the car). A total of 150 miles a week! Some parents say they will have to keep their children at home as they cannot afford to travel large distances or have no transport.

  4. As a voluntary committee run group we have been trying to improve our facilities over the last year by relocating to Crossroads School so that the children will have exclusive use of their building, an outdoor play area, ICT facilities and onsite links with the teachers and the school environment. We have raised 17000 through grant aid and fundraising and are only waiting for plans and a lease from the council to take the project forward.

  5. We have 7 children registered for the new term in August, another 2 when we are on site at Crossroads, and another 3 enrolled for starting after Christmas. These children will use the centre as their only facility as it will be based at their primary school, unlike our present situation where children split their sessions between two centres. Castletown Nursery is at capacity already and Canisbay is relatively full, if extra sessions have to be arranged to accommodate the children from Dunnet, surely extra costs will be incurred!

  6. The important numbers is the children coming forward in the next two to three years, not the past. We have researched our numbers of children wanting places at our group for the next three years and these stand at 11 to 12 a year. We are very concerned about the knock on effect to our local primary school, Crossroads. Will you close our school next ?

  7. The Scottish Executive lead us to believe they want to extend free pre-school education, which should be available to every child.
    By closing our playgroup, the Council are disrupting our lives, causing unnecessary problems. We are real people with families, who have daily routines. We are not statistics. Please consider us as individuals and reconsider your decision to close our playgroup.

Dunnet Play Group Inspection Report 1 June 2005 from HM Inspectors Of Education