A PRE-SCHOOL is to close next week in a move which has shocked parents of children who attend.

Early Steps, run by St John’s Pre-School in Carterton, will shut its doors on Wednesday.

Mum-of-two Katrina Brooks sends her three-year-old son Jonah to the centre, based at St John the Evangelist Church in Burford Road.

She said parents were told of the closure with less than three weeks’ notice, on January 27, and are now struggling to find places for their children at other nurseries in the town.

In a letter to parents, the pre-school, which has about 30 children on the register, said: “It is with regret that we have to inform you that we have decided to close Early Steps Pre-School at half term.

“Despite the hard work of the management team, staff and support from Oxfordshire County Council we find we are in a situation that does not allow the group to carry on any longer.”

Mrs Brooks, of Milestone Road, Carterton, said: “It was all a bit of a shock. I was hoping to go back to work part-time soon, as I have been on maternity leave, but this is going to make it really hard.

“I’ve managed to get him into another nursery now but only for six hours and he is entitled to 15 hours so I am not sure what I am going to do.

“I just keep getting told there will be more spaces in September but that doesn’t help us now.

“We have not really been told the reasons why it has closed, but some people were saying it is because of county council cuts, and there are lots of rumours flying around.

“It’s not what a lot of parents need right now with such short notice.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Sam Henry said the closure was because of financial reasons.

He said: “The county council works in partnership with early years providers to ensure that all Oxfordshire children have access to high quality provision, which helps them reach their full potential.

“We have worked with the operators, providing additional support and resources, to allow them to continue.

“However, they have taken the decision to close the nursery for business reasons.

“We are currently assisting families in finding an alternative place for their children through the Oxford Family Information Service.”

Early Steps did not return calls from the Oxford Mail.