Brighton students say: Save our nursery

ON 22 February, around 70 parents, staff and students gathered outside Brighton University’s board of governors’ meeting in a Save Our Nursery campaign protest. Management proposed to close the Phoenix, one of the University’s two nurseries, which would result in five job losses and the loss of a vital service for students and staff.

Jack Poole, Brighton Socialist Students

The demonstration and campaign were covered by the local press and featured on BBC South Today. Children at the nursery livened things up, many with balloons saying: “I love my nursery”.

This proposal was drawn up with no consultation with staff. It would mean that all staff currently working at the Phoenix would have to re-apply for work at the university’s One World nursery, only guaranteeing one job.

In response, staff of both nurseries, Unison activists and parents organised a campaign. Socialist Students members also helped leaflet around the university and build for the demonstration.

After the demonstration a meeting took place between some of the governors, a Unison rep, and a staff member who outlined proposals on how the nursery could be kept open. A joint statement from Unison and the senior management team was produced saying no final decision had been made on the nurseries’ future, and they were currently considering the proposal to keep it open.

The attempt to close Phoenix nursery will undoubtedly be just the start of threatened cuts at Brighton University. We need to show management that staff and students will not take cuts without fighting back.

The campaign is currently waiting for management’s decision on the proposal, and is prepared to fight on if necessary to save this well-run and vital university service.