PARENTS are calling for education bosses to rethink a change of plans for a West End nursery.

Concerns have been raised about a council u-turn on a new build nursery that will now be rented out to a private partnership provider.

Initial intentions were to merge Fortrose and Novar nurseries and house them in purpose built facility on the site of the former Broomhill Primary Annexe

But the education department held a consultation and said results showed parents did not want to move their children from Novar to the new site.

In light of the lack of appetite for change, a council committee voted to keep all three nurseries with the Broomhill nursery being offered to a private owner.

After the Glasgow Times told of the news last month, we were contacted by several parents who said the consultation was badly handled and should be sent back to the drawing board.

One of those, dad-of-two Dr Hector Rufrancos, believes a new, more transparent consultation should be held.

He said: “In my opinion, and that of a lot of affected parents, the consultation has been extremely poorly handled.

“Many of the parents at Novar are very concerned that this seems to have been rushed through under the radar and without a chance for them for put forward their views.

“The staff at Novar are excellent but the building at has damp and asbestos, and is too cramped for the children to freely run and play while in their social distancing bubbles.

“It seems a nonsense for the council to give away a brand new state of the art building to a private provider and extremely disappointing that we’ve been told we were moving to this brilliant new site only for that to change.

“I just don’t feel that due process has been carried out and this has been done to evade scrutiny.”

The Broomhill plans are one of three new build schemes for new nurseries, including Tollcross and Govanhill, and designed to accommodate the Scottish Government pledge for free 1140 hour provision for all three and four years old and some two year olds.

This week parents also received a letter from the Novar nursery head teacher saying staffing shortages mean children’s hours will be temporarily reduced.

Youngsters at the nursery have been accessing 1140 hours per year but this will be reduced to the current statutory entitlement of 600 hours from Monday.

Maureen McKenna, director for education, has said in response to questions from councillors and parents that this was not a statutory consultation but a way of seeking a range of views to help shape council plans.

She said the building will not necessarily go to a profit-making private provider but that a social enterprise will be sought.

Any nursery that takes over the building will be in partnership with the council and so children will be able to access their 1140 hours.

Her response adds: “Novar Nursery is fully registered with the Care Inspectorate and inspected on a regular basis.

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“The proposal around potentially moving the service was in no way connected to any concerns about the building which remains fit for purpose.

“I do agree that some works may be needed to improve the building and this is already under discussion for progression with the education estates service.”

Some parents have said they are happy for Novar to remain open and are pleased with the council decision.

But Hector said: “If the informal consultation was really to seek views then why were parents not systematically informed?

“Putting out something in the middle of national lockdown doesn’t really seem to me like a serious engagement of key stakeholders.

“I appreciate that this was not a formal consultative process, as in the case of say Notre Dame.

“But I do feel like the whole process was deliberately designed to muddle the question - there were three nursery related consultations running simultaneously.

“There has been no mention of the potential for Novar, which has asbestos, to move to the new site.

“I find this galling as the site at Novar is decidedly inappropriate for the number of kids in the roll.

“I simply do not see how the council propose to do the asbestos removal and the capital works to upgrade the site with a full roll of children in place.

“It’s only fair if the Novar to Broomhill move is reconsidered, as the council has a duty of care to current children.”

Scottish Greens councillor Jon Molyneux raised concerns of Novar parents at the recent Education Committee meeting.

He said: “I made the point that it’s a big jump to have first consulted on a merger plan, but then to have decided to press ahead with an entirely different proposal, without going back to parents or the local community.

“It’s also clear that many parents felt they weren’t made aware of the original consultation.

“I support the parents and community representatives in their calls for the Council to pause and to reopen dialogue on these proposals.”

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Engagement took place to seek the views of patents and the local community and we used a variety of methods to make people aware of the consultation.

“We know that there’s always people who are disappointed by these decisions but the nursery expansion is about more places and flexibility to meet the needs of all our families.”