Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Worried staff at UHI Perth nursery meet with unions amid closure risk

Members of staff at the nursery were told it faces closure as UHI tries to plug a £3million funding black hole.

Union reps, Pete Wishart MP, nursery staff and children holding a banner outside the nursery. The banner says "save our nursery"
Union representatives, MP Pete Wishart, nursery staff and children protesting the closure. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Staff at UHI Perth’s nursery have held discussions with union representatives after finding out it faces closure.

Members of staff were told the nursery, which has 52 kids on its register, faces closure as part of proposed cuts set out by UHI Perth.

Staff have spoken out saying they have felt the communication surrounding the decision has been lacking and that they should have been told sooner.

UHI previously announced it is cutting 50 jobs in an attempt to plug a £3 million black hole.

Lianne Schemper, manager of the nursery, which employs 14 people, said: “Initially when we got told, there was shock, upset and anger but we still had to put a show on for the children to not affect their day.

Members of the unions Unite and EIS met with nursery staff and MP Pete Wishart in the nursery garden
Members of the unions Unite and EIS met with MP Pete Wishart and staff at the nursery. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

“We’ve been told the nursery will close at the end of June and that there will be compulsory redundancies.

“For me there’s been a lack of communication – in the last week no one from senior management has even contacted the nursery.

“The parents have not been consulted at this point so they don’t know if they’ll have to find a new nursery.

“We’re a very successful nursery at leading good practice and we have a low turnover in staff.”

Closure of Perth UHI nursery a ‘big worry’

Lianne also has a daughter at the nursery, and is worried about the personal impact.

She added: “Personally this is a big strain and worry.

“I potentially won’t have a job or a nursery that we’ve worked hard to build a good reputation for.

“I’m also worrying about my staff and their families – it’s really difficult.

Nursery manager Lianne Schemper outside the nursery with a "save out nursery sign" in the background.
Nursery manager Lianne Schemper Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson.

“I hope we can save the nursery, it’s not just about our jobs.

“We are a family and there’s always laughter when people walk in here.”

The nursery cares for children of students, lecturers and members of the public.

Katarzyma Bolesta is a student at UHI and her son, Teo Wolymski, goes to the nursery

She said: “This will have a huge impact on me and my son because I’m not sure how I’ll find another nursery – it’s too soon.

UHI student Katarzyma Bolesta sitting on a bench with her son Teo Wolymski -who attends the nursery - in the nursery garden.
UHI student Katarzyma Bolesta and her son Teo Wolymski who attends the nursery. Image: Kieran Webster/DC Thomson

“I won’t be able to go to college next year because I don’t know if he’ll get a place elsewhere.

“This nursery is perfect because they work around my timetable.

“It’s difficult getting somewhere else – I’ve heard of parents waiting a year for their kids to get in at other places.

“I’m from Poland so I don’t have family here, it’s just me, his dad, and here.

“It’s tough – this is such a lovely place.”

Redundancy news a ‘bombshell’ says union

Representatives from Unison and EIS attended the meeting on Friday.

EIS Perth branch secretary, Sara O’Hagan, said: “We are absolutely horrified when we got this information.

“We were given the bombshell of a restructure and redundancy situation.

“We have been asking for months what we’re going to do with the financial situation – clearly they had a picture in their head.

“The union will fight it all the way – we want to negate as many redundancies as possible.”

Jane Edwards and Winston Flynn from Unison stand with Sara O'Hagan the Perth EIS branch secretary outside the nursery.
(Right to left) Jane Edwards and Winston Flynn from Unison and Perth EIS branch secretary Sara O’Hagan. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson.

Unison rep Jane Edwards added: “Our position is that this has been terribly handled.

“They have failed to face the staff or students in large groups and will only meet in public places – there’s no confidentiality.

“These are 50 compulsory redundancies and we think there might be more, there’s no severance scheme open yet.

“It will have a wide impact on staff, parents, children, the community, students and families.

“They are trying to close the nursery down in a 28-day period – less than the legally required amount of time – and the decision appears to be made already.”

UHI Perth facing ‘serious challenges’

Dr Margaret Cook, UHI Perth Principal and Chief Executive, said: “At UHI Perth, in common with the college sector as a whole, we are facing serious challenges with real term funding cuts.

“As a result, we are in collective consultations with our Trade Unions on potential savings proposals.

“This includes our UHI Perth Nursery and a small number of FE courses.

“We will undertake consultation with all staff impacted by these proposals and no formal decisions relating to these proposals will be taken until the collective consultations are completed.

“The changes being considered are to ensure the long-term sustainability of UHI Perth, while aiming to minimise the impact of the Scottish Government cuts on our students.”