In July, the SU was informed that the Nursery’s future was at stake. Within a month, LSE had made the decision to bring forward the closure of the Nursery to September without formal consultation. This has forced student parents to find alternative provision for their children at incredibly short notice.
The School claims that due to the ongoing pandemic, they are unable to invest in a new space for the Nursery. The SU believes that this is a pretext to cut down its general childcare commitments long-term, which LSE has tried to do several times previously. The most recent attempt was in 2015, but was staved off by a previous SU campaign. It is our view that the School’s actions speak volumes about LSE’s attitudes to childcare and gender inequality in the workplace.
Laura Goddard, the SU Community and Welfare Officer said:
“LSE’s decision to close its Nursery after nearly fifty years of operation is a disastrous move that will hit women and student parents the hardest. It is a cost-saving exercise, made during the height of a pandemic. As a community we must act to reverse this decision and reinstate accessible, affordable childcare on campus.”
LSE must provide a new, on-campus Nursery for students and staff by Summer 2021
LSE must reinstate the Nursery discount of 50% for students
LSE must secure emergency childcare provision for the 20/21 academic year
LSE must invest into making its campus more child and parent friendly
UPDATE ON NURSERY CLOSURE - MARCH 2021
LSESU is disappointed in LSE’s latest decision to close its nursery and instead enter into partnerships with three private nurseries. This is against the backdrop of a series of attempts by the School to close down the nursery in the last ten years. Due to the pandemic, increased home-working by staff has reduced the demand for nursery places, and the School have chosen to take the more affordable option of paying for a number of places in private nurseries instead of running an on-site nursery.
The School has been clear that the main reason for this decision is cost. Despite the gender equality concerns raised in LSESU’s consultation on the nursery, the School said that “affordability considerations as well as the demand for places” are the key considerations for LSE childcare. This falls short of LSE’s publicly stated commitment to gender equality, and the growing body of evidence that the pandemic has set women back. LSE’s nursery has been a fundamental part of LSE for nearly 50 years, and comments from staff and students in the consultation show that it is crucial for women to be able to continue working, especially for lone and low-income parents. In the words of a staff member in the Media and Communications department: “Accessible childcare is, as LSE research has shown, the basic infrastructure for gender equality. For the LSE to remove this resource suggests that the School is totally divorced from the very principles that it claims to support.”
In addition, the SU has concerns about whether this private partnership will work for students. An LSE-run nursery operates in accordance with the academic year, and doesn’t require parents to pay for a full calendar year, which makes it more affordable for parents. Whereas staff are encouraged to continue home-working, students will still be on campus and will need facilities close to their studies. Affordability is a major concern, as private nurseries are often more expensive, and the additional 5% discount is unlikely to offset the additional costs of travel, paying for a calendar year, and application fees. For international students, who do not qualify for UK government support, this problem is compounded. Laura Goddard, SU Community and Welfare Officer said:
“The announcement from LSE’s Senior Management that the LSE Nursery’s reinstatement will not be considered until at least 2022 marks a truly sad day in LSE’s history. After 50 years of operation, the impact of its closure will fall hardest on the most vulnerable parents and carers in our community, particularly for international students and lone parents from low-income backgrounds.”
We will continue to fight for a commitment to reopen the LSE Nursery on campus. Until the School agrees to this, we cannot say we are part of an LSE that puts gender equality and social mobility above financial cost-saving.
The Students' Union carried out its own consultation to ensure that the School's decision-making was evidence-based and could be compared to our own findings. The report is available on the website.The main findings were:
- The Students’ Union’s campaign, #SaveOurNursery, has received broad support from across the LSE community. Five hundred students, staff, and alumni have signed the Students’ Union’s petition calling for the LSE to: re-open its on campus Nursery, provide reduced rates for students, provide emergency childcare for students in the run-up to the reopening of a nursery, and for the LSE to make its campus a more child-friendly space.
- The campaign to re-open an LSE-run, on-campus Nursery has also received the backing of LSE’s staff networks, and the Gender Equality Forum has contributed to this report via a letter of support.
- This report provides information about the opinions of the LSE community regarding the closure of the nursery and the impact this decision has had on individuals across the School.
- It also provides analysis of the results of our survey which was completed by prospective and former staff and student users of an LSE on-campus Nursery, and a look at childcare provision at similar institutions.
- It is the view of the Students’ Union that all of this information clearly lends itself to the decision to reopen an on-campus Nursery at LSE for student, staff, and external parents as soon as possible.
2 November, 2015
Nursery World - Student parents campaign for university nursery renovation
13 November, 2015
Nursery World - LSE students campaign to save on-site nursery from axe
23 October, 2020
Show your support for the #SaveOurNursery campaign by signing the petition here.
Email - Laura Goddard, SU Community and Welfare Officer
CLOSED: Fill in the LSESU Nursery survey if you are a parent or carer who has used the nursery before, or are intending to do so in the future.
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