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Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School faces mid-year closure after lack of funding
A PRE-SCHOOL for disabled and able-bodied children faces mid-year closure after a lack of funding.
Parents and staff have vowed to save Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School (LOPS) which needs £15,000 to stay open beyond March next year, although Lewisham Council have secured funding until March 2014.
The nursery, which was rated “outstanding” in its latest Ofsted report, is the only one in the borough offering an inclusive environment for children with and without special needs.
If closed, the pre-school — based in a temporary building behind Ladywell Leisure Centre — would leave 25 two to five-year-olds out of school before the end of the year.
Parent Barry Keevins, who lives in Rushey Green, has a three-year-old son Archie, who started at the school in September.
The 40-year-old said: “Archie loves it.
“The best thing for all the kids is the really high pupil teacher ratio.
“You don’t get this in the private sector.”
Parents are desperate to save the charity-funded school and are rallying community support and hosting fundraising events.
To cheer the kids up, LOPS supporter and former Dragons’ Den contestant Gary Hillman, from Hither Green, let them explore his fleet of novelty cars, which include the tiny Peel P50 vehicle seen in the latest Cadbury’s chocolate adverts.
Headteacher Christine Johns says the pre-school has been a victim of local authority cuts and is facing an uncertain future.
She added: “It would be a real shame if LOPS can’t survive until the end of the academic year, and to do so we need £15,000 or more if we are to survive in the long term.”
A Lewisham Council spokesman said: “In July 2011, we awarded Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School three-year grant funding, which is secure until March 2014.
“We have been advising it of ways to diversify its funding base and improve its long-term viability.”
A Twitter campaign against the looming closure is @SaveLOPS. People can donate by searching for Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School in the charities box at charitygiving.co.uk