Guidance issued to Headteachers by the Director of Education at a meeting on 22nd January laid out a stark message with regard to part time nursery places - if parents don't take them up then their children will not be guaranteed a full time place when they reach four years of age.
The Labour Cabinet have decided that as from September this year children will only be entitled to a full time nursery education from the term after their fourth birthday, not from age three as has become traditional in RCT.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell, who himself has a child who will be affected by these proposals, says
"Many working parents have said they would find it difficult to take up a part time place as they would have no way of transferring their children to a child care provision for the rest of the day. Whilst some schools may consider providing child care on the premises, others are going to find it difficult to do so.
"The Council are saying that if parents turn down the offer of a part time place then they will have to reapply for the full time place around a month before their child would start full time. There is no guarantee a place would be available at that time, which would mean parents having to look for another school just weeks before their child's starting date.
"It shows once again that these plans are ill thought out and do not consider the knock on effects of the decision taken by the Labour Cabinet."
The advice given to Headteachers states:
'All Nursery capacity will be assessed in future based on headcount, not full-time equivalents. Published Nursery admission limits, which include both Nursery and pre-Nursery pupils will be strictly adhered to in future, any request to exceed this limit will be closely scrutinised on a school by school basis and considered alongside documented evidence, which will include availability of places in alternative schools and registered settings in the area. When a Nursery class is deemed to be full, no further children, either of Nursery or pre-Nursery age will be admitted.'