Pewsey Children’s centre leader forced to quit with only four days notice (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Pewsey Children’s centre leader forced to quit with only four days notice
12:00pm Friday 31st August 2012 in News
Anger has been expressed at the treatment of Ali Perry, Pewsey Children’s Centre co-ordinator, who was this week given four days’ notice that she would have to leave her job.
Mrs Perry, who has been credited with leading the centre to an outstanding Ofsted inspection last month, only heard last Friday that she had been unsuccessful in reapplying for her own job. This was made necessary by a restructuring exercise by 4Children, the company which runs Wiltshire’s children’s centres.
Sue Deedigan, of 4Children, said: “Because of our restricted budget we had to look for the most cost- effective way of operating. It was agreed to appoint a co-ordinator to cover three sites, in this case Pewsey, Marlborough and Tidworth.
“Four people applied for the job and unfortunately Ali was not successful.”
Mrs Perry was offered a similar post covering three centres in the south of the county but, as she lives in Rushall, only a few minutes’ drive from Pewsey, she opted for redundancy instead. She has worked for children’s services in the area for many years, through Voluntary Action Kennet and other agencies.
Mrs Deedigan said: “We are all very fond of Ali and we are very sorry to see her go. But the changes will mean that we can increase the number of support workers and outreach workers we can employ.”
But parish councillor Caroline Dalrymple is livid at the way Mrs Perry’s case had been handled. She said Mrs Perry had been treated in a disgraceful way because she only heard about it last Friday and she leaves today.
Coun Dalrymple said: “It has all happened so quickly that most parents won’t have heard about it and I know they will be upset because Ali is so loved by everyone. She works so hard to make the place work. She even goes in and scrubs the floors.
“We might accept the changes, but it was the way it was done that is so upsetting. I am on the advisory board for the centre and I only heard about this on Tuesday. It has been completely mishandled by the bureaucrats in London.”
Lynda Sparshatt-Potter, a parent who is also chairman of the centre’s supervisory board, said that the board is to write to 4Children asking them to reconsider their decision over Mrs Perry.
She said: “We got an outstanding Ofsted report because of all the hard work Ali did. Even though she was in hospital at the time of the inspection, she had got everything up together and that is why the report was positive.
“She has years of experience in dealing with the community in Pewsey and that is something we will miss.”
Pewsey Children’s Centre, behind Pewsey Primary School, was inspected by Ofsted in July and received an outstanding grading, the highest of the four grades.
The inspectors wrote: “Management of the centre is outstanding and is the key to the centre’s excellent capacity to improve even further.”