Press Releases

Wishart meets with nursery staff at UHI Perth following shock closure announcement

Published date : 26 May, 2023

News Release from Pete Wishart MP

Attn: News Desk                                                     For immediate release 26 May 2023

Wishart meets with nursery staff at UHI Perth following shock closure announcement


Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, has today (26 May) met with nursery staff at the University of Highlands and Islands Perth campus. The meeting follows UHI Perth’s announcement of their plans to cut up to 50 jobs and axe courses, as well as close the onsite nursery, citing a £3million funding black hole.


During the meeting, Mr Wishart heard from staff about what they feel has been a lack of communication from management surrounding the details of the proposed cuts.


Mr Wishart also heard from staff that their understanding is that the nursery, which has 13 staff, will be closing at the end of this academic year. If this goes ahead it will mean the staff, some of whom have been working there for over 20 years, have been given little over a month’s notice of its closure.  


The plan to close the nursery comes despite it currently running at full capacity with 54 children enrolled. It also has a lengthy waiting list for all age groups and a full intake waiting to join the new term in August. This has raised concerns that students who have children currently enrolled in the nursery, and who are due to continue their studies in the next academic year, will not be able to complete their course.


Furthermore, Mr Wishart also heard that the nursery is frequently used as an exemplar model by Perth and Kinross Council, with staff from other nurseries in the region regularly coming to see the facility to get insight on its working procedures.


In addition, Mr Wishart was told that the nursery currently provides childcare for families from deprived backgrounds, some of whom do not have English as their first language, including refugees. The announcement of the nursery’s closure has raised concerns among staff about the disruption this would inflict on these children’s learning, and the impact this would have on their development.


Since the announcement last week, a number of Mr Wishart’s constituents have contacted him to inform him about the positive experience they have had with the nursery and to express their concerns about its closure.


Commenting, Mr Wishart said:


What was made clear from my meeting with staff and students at UHI Perth was that the recent announcement of cuts has come as a complete shock to everybody, with no prior warning given and many questions still left unanswered.


“I have particular concern about the closure of the nursery, having heard countless testimonies about what an outstanding facility this is, which has been a lifeline for student with young children who, in many cases, would have been unable to complete their studies without it. I am utterly perplexed by the plan to close it despite its obvious and far-reaching benefits.


“I was also deeply troubled to find out that the intention is for the nursery to close in little over a month’s time. Staff at the nursery have long been commended for their exemplary provision of childcare, so for them to now be given such minimal notice about the facility’s closure is completely unacceptable.


“Going forward, I will be doing everything possible to encourage management to engage constructively with staff and students in order to avert the worst of these cuts and, crucially, to keep the nursery open.”





Back to All Press Releases