Brighter future for Pen Green

CORBY. SCHOOL'Deputy Head Angela prodger & family worker Shelley Bannigan from Pen Green school, Corby with pupils Leona, Jewel, Kasper & Luka. Staff at the school have successfully fought to save the school's budgets from cuts.
CORBY. SCHOOL'Deputy Head Angela prodger & family worker Shelley Bannigan from Pen Green school, Corby with pupils Leona, Jewel, Kasper & Luka. Staff at the school have successfully fought to save the school's budgets from cuts.
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The Pen Green children’s centre is looking to the future a year after it was told huge cuts would be made to its budget.

The centre in Rockingham Road, Corby, found out on January 21 last year it would lose £350,000 a year from its budget for the following three years.

This equated to more than half the centre’s budget and sparked a wave of public support which had the desired effect when the cuts were put on hold for 12 months in July.

Director Dr Margy Whalley said: “It was just shock and horror 12 months ago. The parents were so amazing in their campaigning and became an even more powerful advocate for the centre. We learned a lot from the campaign.”

Last year’s cuts decision was taken by the Schools Forum, a county council body responsible for allocating Government schools grants.

Dr Whalley said she felt the centre had been consulted a lot better about budget cuts this year.

She said: “They have asked us to take a small cut but done it in a manageable way. They are listening and trying to build dialogues. After 28 years it feels like we’re being seen as something the local authority can be proud of and learn from.”

Centre bosses remain far from complacent about the future but they say it is looking a lot brighter with major projects in the pipeline.

In September, the research arm of Pen Green was chosen to lead a national programme to drive up educational standards in children.

It then announced plans for an expansion programme to double its nursery and toddler places.

The centre, which runs more than 50 groups for parents and children, is now negotiating with the county council about how it can help tackle a shortage of reception places.

Deputy head Angela Prodger said: “It’s in the news every day about the shortage of reception places.

“We’re looking at different ways of working to offer better outcomes for children and families. We’ve got to keep future proofing.”

Corby mum Lee Burnet, 38, who has one child at Pen Green and two who used to attend, said: “The cuts would have affected the service. It is the backbone of the town.”