'Sadness and disappointment' after a preschool in Market Harborough reveals it will be closing

The school says it is closing due to lack of funding.
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Parents have been left ‘sad and disappointed’ after a preschool in Harborough announced it is to close due to lack of funding.

Welland Park Academy Pre School will be closing this July with seven members of staff now at risk of redundancy.

In a letter to parents the school said it was working with Leicestershire County Council to provide alternative placements for children.

Welland Park Preschool. Google Maps.Welland Park Preschool. Google Maps.
Welland Park Preschool. Google Maps.

The letter, signed by principal Pete Leatherhead, said: “As I am sure you are aware, we are experiencing a cost-of-living crisis. Many of you will be facing difficult financial decisions of your own, with rising energy kills and food prices. I regret to inform you the preschool’s budget is also affected by these economic circumstances, and our funding has not been increased to cover the additional expense.

“As a consequence, it is with a heavy heart I write to inform you as from July 2024 the Welland Park Preschool will close.”

The decision was made by the governing board at a meeting on March 19. Letters were sent to parents three days later, just ahead of the Easter break.

Mr Leatherhead added: “It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we have been working hard to find solutions to the challenges we face. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, there is now no alternative but to close the preschool at the end of summer term.

“Our governing board and senior leadership team will be working hard to minimise the impact on your children and our staff.

“We also understand the timings of this letter may seem difficult before a holiday, however the governing board only made this decision and we wanted to give families the maximum time to plan ahead.”

A mum who has a child at the preschool, and did not wish to be named, says the news came ‘out of nowhere’ and has been made so the school can provide more spaces for senior school students.

She told the Mail: “My child has been at this preschool for nearly two academic years and I cannot express how grateful and indebted I am to the manager Tammy and her amazing staff for the support I have received and the love and care they have shown myself and my child.

“All the staff are effectively being made redundant. They are all local and have homes and families, and this devastates me.

“They were given the disastrous news but have maintained their composure and have continued to care for the children to the highest standard.

“They have the best reputation locally and it seems ridiculous they are receiving a forced closure when their reputation would put them at the top of the childcare providers list.

“There is a crying demand for preschool places in Market Harborough and I believe other nursery settings have waiting lists that go out to September 2025 so this is very unsettling for parents who are now scrambling to get an immediate place for their children.”

Parents say they have contacted local MP Neil O’Brien and plan to launch a petition in a bid to save the school.

Welland Park Academy had not responded to request for comment at the time of going to press.