Ceres after school club to be axed

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CERES Primary’s after-school club will be axed after Christmas, Fife Council has confirmed.

The service will be merged with its Kennoway counterpart in the new year, with a trial run taking place in November.

Youngsters will be bussed to the new venue at the end of each school day — but parents will be expected to travel to Kennoway to pick their children up again.

The cost-cutting move has been met with dismay by Ceres parents, who had hoped the village hall-based club could be saved.

Carol Notman, the council’s head of operations for childcare and early years services, said: “We’ve had a look at how many youngsters attend the Ceres after-school club, but unfortunately there just aren’t enough to keep the club going beyond Christmas.

“However, to make sure the children who do attend the club don’t miss out and to minimise disruption for parents, we’ve organised an alternative and have written to parents affected to let them know what we’ve decided to do.”

Dr Margaret Connolly, chair of the Ceres Primary School parent council, described the decision as ‘very disappointing’.

She said: “In general parents here feel that the small community of Ceres is being made to bear too great a proportion of the cost savings this department of Fife Council are required to make.

DIFFICULT

“Effectively merging the Ceres after-school club with Kennoway will just mean that Ceres has no after-school provision, since the alternative is so unattractive that no-one wants to use it.”

Dr Connolly also hit out at Fife Council’s handling of the affair, including the decision to announce the merger plans during the summer break when many parents were on holiday and communication with officials was more difficult.

Cost-cutting suggestions from parents — such as increasing club fees or attempting to negotiate a reduction in village hall hire charges — were allegedly not explored by the council.

Dr Connolly added that efforts to save the after-school club were hampered by the fact parents were understandably unwilling to give up places with Ceres’ limited number of childminders without firm assurances over the club’s long-term future.

Describing the new arrangements, Ms Notman said: “Children will be picked up each day after school by bus and be taken to Kennoway out-of-school club, under supervision by a member of the childcare and early years team.

“Kennoway out-of-school club offers the same high quality of care and has great play space available.

“We are going to trial this new approach in November with a view to formalising the new arrangements in the new year.”