LSE is at risk of losing its nursery once again. As a result of its mounting deficit, the school has conducted research into its childcare provisions over the last few months and claim that there is a lack of demand for LSE's nursery, consequently putting childcare in jeopardy for both our staff and students.
In response to LSE's survey question designed for parents: 'If you required nursery services when you returned to work, did you (or do you intend to) use the LSE Nursery', 22 out of a total of 25 respondents answered 'No'. However this small sample seldom gives a holistic overview of the history and current state of the nursery, and why it is that parents do not feel they can use it.
This is not the first time that management and the nursery have come into conflict. In 2010 the nursery was due to be shut down for similar reasons as today. However, proposals were unsuccessful after a campaign to save it that brought together students, staff and parents. It is unacceptable that an institution such as LSE would even consider closure as an option. LSE boasts of its gender equality and accessible approach to education whilst simultaneously failing to put these crucial principles into practice.
Over the last eight years the nursery has been underfunded and de-prioritised, whilst the LSE continues to act like a property development magnate, expanding its campus for the benefit of management. 10 years ago the nursery was relocated, ironically due to high waiting lists, from an LSE owned building, to a privately rented facility - a basement with no outside space. The nursery has been consistently marginalised in decision making and as a result, its future over the next five years is uncertain within the schools' vast campus redevelopment plans.
Management have continued to neglect the facility with regards to leakages and general maintenance. This, along with the high childcare fees levels and low Ofsted ratings unsurprisingly led to a drop in registered children this year. Other nurseries at London universities are at full capacity with high waiting lists, and with the plans to increase student's numbers further; this is only likely to rise. It is essential that LSE prioritise the maintenance of this facility in order to raise its Ofsted rating from 'satisfactory' to 'good' to prove its supposed commitment to accessible education.
LSE should reinvest in, renovate and relocate the nursery to a more suitable location to show their commitment to both its staff and students through the provision of affordable childcare.