Royal Holloway nursery 'closes after contract change'

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A university has said a nursery on its campus in Surrey has temporarily closed after the contract for nursery provision went to a different supplier.

Royal Holloway University, in Egham, said it changed providers for Orchard Cottage nursery before Christmas.

It said it expected a "smooth transition" at Easter but current provider Nature's Nursery told parents it would not reopen after Christmas.

Nature's Nursery said lawyers had been instructed and it could not comment.

'No formal notice'

Bright Horizons Family Solutions, which won the contract after a tendering process, will now take over as quickly as possible, the university said.

In a statement, the university said: "We had expected to organise a smooth transition between our previous provider - Nature's Nursery - and our new provider, with the new provider in place immediately after Easter and continuous provision in the meantime.

"However, we now understand that Nature's Nursery have informed their staff and parents (but not college as yet) that they do not intend to reopen after Christmas, leaving parents without a nursery with no notice."

A spokeswoman for Royal Holloway said the university had not been given formal notice of the closure but had seen information given to parents.

She said Orchard Cottage was supposed to have opened on Monday, but all children had now been found alternative places at nine other local nurseries.

The spokeswoman said the university was unaware of any pending legal action.

'Staff to remain'

A spokesman for Bright Horizons said: "Following a competitive tendering process, Bright Horizons has been awarded a contract to operate the onsite nursery at Royal Holloway, University of London.

"Ahead of the planned transition date in April 2014, the current provider has chosen to cease providing services at the nursery with immediate effect and this will result in a short and as yet undefined period where the nursery will be closed.

"We understand that the loss of service will cause difficulty for parents and carers during this period and we are working closely with the college, Ofsted and the local authority to establish next steps"

Bright Horizons said its team would be at the nursery site on Monday from 08:00 GMT to 18:00 GMT to talk to parents and carers.

Managers would retain any staff that wished to remain at the nursery, it said in a statement on the university's website.

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