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University could shut Elephant & Castle nursery

The University of Arts London is considering closing its day nursery at Elephant & Castle as a result of funding cuts.

London College of Communication

If the proposal goes ahead, the nursery at the London College of Communication campus will close at the end of the academic year in July.

"There are funding cuts across the whole higher education sector and in common with many institutions nationwide the UAL is having to make efficiency savings," says Julia Yates, assistant director of student services.

"The closure of the nursery will allow the university to provide services that will benefit all students and free up some prime space for student-facing services."

The university provides subsidised places at the nursery for up to 30 children of students and staff, at a cost of 130,000 a year.

Six members of staff would be made redundant and 14 student parents and eight staff parents will need to find alternative child care.

A series of consultation meetings with UAL management is currently taking place to allow unions, staff and parents to voice their concerns.

A decision will be made at the end of the consultation period which has been extended from the end of April until 21 May.

The students' union said it was concerned about the potential closure. Carly Aslett, culture and diversity officer for the union, said: "We and the student parents we've spoken to understand that money is tight at UAL.

"Our main priority is to make sure that the student parents who currently use the nursery do not find themselves unable to attend UAL in September due to lack of childcare."

Ms Yates said the university was providing information to parents about alternative childcare options in the area, as well as near their homes.

"In addition, we will continue to provide advice on all aspects of student finance and the university subscribes to a nursery vouchers scheme which is available to all staff," she added.

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