PARENTS AND children were subjected to disgusting intimidation last week as education managers forced through a nursery closure in Hackney, east London. Officials of the Learning Trust, which now runs education in the borough, believed that an occupation was planned at St John's nursery. On Thursday of last week they did everything possible to stop parents getting into the facility.
From early afternoon they assembled children in the garden, posted security guards, and had contractors ready to board up the nursery as soon as the last child was handed over. But furious parents defied the intimidation and managed to enter the nursery. The authority's response was to call in a squad of around ten police. Parents bravely carried on with an occupation despite a threat to board up the nursery with people inside!
Over 100 people came to a festival to support the occupation. They included Paul Foot, the Socialist Alliance candidate for mayor of Hackney. The occupation ended on Sunday afternoon after parents were made aware that harsh legal moves were being prepared against them.
The nursery has been in operation for over half a century, and was immensely popular with staff, parents and children. St John's parents and children are sad and angry that their nursery has gone. But they are proud of having fought and to have extracted at least some concessions.
Campaigning and persistence led to nearly all parents getting the 'least worst' option for their alternative nursery.
THE CAMPAIGN to save Laburnum School in Hackney held a day for supporters last Saturday. The council has begun the process of consultation over closing the school. Campaigners believe the school will be sold to property developers.