Sad day for St Annes nursery as it closes doors on 22 years of early years learning

A two decade-old St Annes kindergarten is closing down today – leaving staff and parents feeling heartbroken.

By Wes Holmes
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 12:30 pm

LSA Montessori on Harrogate Road was forced to announce its closure after Lancashire County Council refused to renew the nursery’s 20-year lease on the request of neighbouring Clifton Primary Academy, as the school wants to establish its own nursery on the site.

This means the nursery, which breaks up today (July 22), will not reopen after the summer holidays.

Wendy Mulela is being forced to close her nursery LSA Montessori in St Annes.

Owner Wendy Mulela, 60, said: “I’ve run nurseries in St Annes for 30 years. It’s quite an emotional goodbye, because it’s something that’s been forced upon us, and it’s not the way I envisiaged the end of my career working with children and families in the community.

“It has been a busy 30 years. We’ve seen an awful lot of children come through out doors and leave to embark on the next part of their journey in life.

"We’ve seen quite a few changes in those years. Apart from the changing needs of children and families, there has been an increase in paperwork from authorities like Ofsted, which is forever changing.

"Running a nursery, you have to wear a lot of different hats, from taking charge of staffing and recruiting to working with the children directly, completing learning journeys, safeguarding, special educational needs – we’re expected to change our roles to fit the needs of the children, whatever they may be."

Wendy Mulela is being forced to close her nursery LSA Montessori in St Annes.

The axe was positioned to fall on LSA Montessori at the start of 2022, after Clifton Primary School announced plans to start its own governor-led nursery for 16 young children.

Wendy described the shock news as ‘a body blow’, as she now must look for work elsewhere while also battling incurable lymphoma – cancer of the lymphatic system – which she was diagnosed with two months ago.

She said: “All my savings have gone into this building, so I can't afford to retire. It is challenging finding a job at my age; I have a lot of skills to offer, but having been just diagnosed with cancer that makes things all the harder.

"My retirement plan was to sell the nursery, because we've been a successful business all this time.

“We’ve scraped through Covid-19 and survived, and worked our socks off all this time, so to come out of all that and have this dumped on us was unbelievable.

"I don’t think the reality has really sunk in yet. Everybody’s a bit down, but we wanted to do something nice for the children on their last day – play some games, and we’re choosing toys from the nursery which are special to them to make a gift of.”

She added: “I have to say the staff that I have are absolutely increcible. I’ve been transparant with them from the beginning, they’ve known from the start that their jobs were on the line, and most of them have stayed with me to the end despite some being offered jobs if they left earlier. They’ve been incredibly loyal, incredibly supportive, and anybody lucky enough to have them after this has got diamonds.”