Parents' outrage as Sidcup toddler groups face closure

News Shopper: Youngsters enjoy their last few weeks at Royal Park School. Youngsters enjoy their last few weeks at Royal Park School.

Outraged parents from Sidcup have spoken of their sadness after learning their children's beloved toddler group could close.

Royal Park School in Riverside Road currently hires out rooms to the North Cray Children's Centre to hold toddler groups and classes on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

But due to the school's new partnership with Shenstone School in Old Kent Road, Crayford which will see the building adapted to house 32 children with special educational needs, the rooms will no longer be available from September.

Mother-of-two Henrietta Ford, 34, of Maylands Drive, Sidcup, uses the school twice a week with her children, Daniel, aged two-and-a-half and baby, Olivia.

Mrs Ford told News Shopper: "It just feels like they're giving with one hand and taking with the other.

"It's great that they're making provisions for children with special needs but there's so little for young families in Sidcup.

"Luckily I do drive but if you don't drive then you're stuck really because there's nowhere else to go on those days.

"It's always over subscribed - it's so popular, it would be a real shame if it had to close."

Rachel Carpenter, 36, of Cherrydown Road, Sidcup, attends sessions with her 21-month-old son, Ethan and is desperately trying to find somewhere else to house the group which is run by Sure Start.

Mrs Carpenter said: "The mothers who live in the area and use this centre will be lost without it.

"I really hope they can find somewhere else otherwise there will be lots of bored babies and young children and fed up mothers."

A Bexley Council spokesman added: "As a result of the works being carried out to provide the much needed additional SEN places, some of the rooms previously hired by the North Cray Children’s Centre as part of an informal agreement will no longer be available.

"Together with the North Cray Children’s Centre we are working with the parents that attended these toddler sessions to find another venue to hire and feel sure that an alternative can be found in time for the September 2014 term."

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