Mum’s shock at 16 hour shut down notice of Westbrook nursery Space for Play’s under-3’s facility

Miyo says daughter Opal loved being at Space for Play

A nursery in Westbrook has contacted parents to say it has closed its ‘Nest’ space for little ones under three-years-old – giving just 16 hours notice.

Cliftonville mum-of-two Miyo Padi was notified by Space for Play in Canterbury Road at 4pm yesterday (March 1) that the Nest was being shut due to staff shortages.

Miyo’s 17-month-old daughter Opal was due to attend the nursery today. The short notice has resulted in Miyo losing work as a freelance national journalist due to the lack of childcare.

A message sent to parents from nursery boss Paula Nation says: “It is with regret that I am informing you the Nest will be shut down permanently from March 2 due to a shortage of staff.

“I am so sorry to have to make this decision, which was not taken lightly, but I have no other choice as we would be breaking the law opening as normal as we would be working over ratio.”

The decision has left Miyo and husband Edward, an IT specialist, now having to find a new nursery for their youngest daughter.

Miyo, 32, said: “Opal has been there since September. The young staff were really devoted and lovely with Opal and she loved it.

“In December a message in the family app from Paula said there was going to be a new building for the nest by January but there wasn’t, although I think there are builders there now.

“She also requested fees for the next month to be paid by Friday so we’re over £300 out of pocket on top of everything else.”

In her message Ms Nation says parents will “receive any fees that have been received for March and all transition reports.”

All affected parents were refunded and received their deposit back in a timely manner.

The Space for Play facebook page appears to have been removed as of this morning. The website is currently under maintenance. Calls made to the nursery by The Isle of Thanet News were unanswered. Messages requesting a statement have been sent to the nursery.


  1. As a parent of a child who has attended Space for Play for two years, I’m really sad about this news – they have looked after my daughter amazingly during her time there and I have never once been concerned about the standard of care she receives. What I’m more disappointed about is that in the wake of what is obviously a really horrible and traumatic experience and decision from Paula, the owner, doubts are being cast about the level of care and ratios at the nursery in such a public, unnecessary way. She has made the decision to close the Nest BECAUSE of the ratios and I know that will have been a much agonised over and thought about decision. I have no doubt that this is a really difficult time for all involved. Shaming, blaming and naming does nobody any good in these situations and I would suggest Paula deserves more empathy, respect, consideration and compassion than this article offers.

    • Hi Holly, no-one is blaming Paula,the words from her letter make it clear she is doing this due to laws around safety and ratio and the mum says that she was happy with the care but not the amount of notice she received.

      • So the owner is abiding by the law and protecting staff and the children. I don’t see the problem here at all? I can understand why the parent in question is upset but she needs to look at it from the perspective that if the nursery operates over ratio and a child is seriously injured or worse, then the staff present are held accountable and the owner risks going to prison. She has put the children’s safety first and abided by the law. Hardly newsworthy but must be a slow news day.

    • I totally agree. My son was one of the first children attending space for play. He has thrived and absolutely loves it. He has gone from the nest to pre school and will be sad to leave for school in September. He has flourished and has made some solid friendships with other children St the environment. It is very loving, caring, laid back but ensuring all health and safety are within limits legally to ensure the children are always safe. I know that Paula Nation would have been heartbroken and devastated to have to close the nest area and very upset that she had to do it suddenly but the explanation is very valid. If Paula had kept it open and sometji g happened with not appropriate staffing then this article would have said something different. Instead of complaining and making people’s lives miserable try looking at the fact to why a decision like this had to be made and perhaps offer support. The media don’t help and its not nice that all people want to do is focus on the negatives. Yes it is frustrating it closed with little notice but your child had a great time there and has progressed in ways she may not have done elsewhere and she will continue to thrive in other nursery settings.

  2. Please try Butterflies nursery, St Crispin’s Road, Westgate. Term time only pre school nursery

  3. Lack of staff is an increasing problem. You need really dedicated individuals to care for children. Or, for that matter,caring for the elderly and frail.
    Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any joined-up thinking at higher levels.
    In one statement, the government talks of reducing the level of immigration, in another they proudly boast of virtual full-employment(so there can’t be any spare workers , can there?) and , then again, they tell us that there are 8 million eligible workers out there. Then we find that they are counting the sick, the disabled and the retired, along with full-time students as those 8 million. So NOT really available for work, after all!

    The end result is the closure of much-needed child-care facilities and no promise of any staff being employed to fill the gaps as the government is going to stop immigration by low-paid workers-such as child-care staff!

    You couldn’t make it up!

  4. As a former member of staff at this nursery I am not surprised at all. She made my life hell and every other person that has worked there. If she knew how to treat staff she wouldn’t have this problem. Constantly shouting at staff in front of the children and blaming them for her own mistakes. It’s a wonder the nursery has stayed open this long and parents haven’t got fed up of their children constantly swapping key people due to staff leaving because of the owner’s unprofessional attitude to staff.

    • I also know someone who worked there for a short while and they did not have an enjoyable experience at all. All that glitters is not gold.. the place looks amazing on the surface but the management of this nursery was very questionable. Appreciate she shut the doors because she couldn’t get the staff, word gets round care professionals!

  5. Our daughter has been attending space for play for almost two years, and we couldn’t be happier with the care and attention she has received both in the nest and at the preschool. It’s a very difficult decision Paula has had to make, and we fully support her. She is and has always been very careful with regards to the law and the childcare ratios, and I really think the accusatory tone of this article is a little unnecessary.

  6. A very negative and unempathetic article. My son attends Space for Play and we have always found the level of care provided to be exceptionally gentle and accommodating of children’s individual needs. This is obviously a very difficult situation for all involved, and the decision to close the Nest won’t have been made lightly. It’s such a shame that a such a wonderful childcare setting has been painted in such a negative light in this article.

  7. My daughter has attended Space for play since Paula opened and she has created a very special, nurturing environment for children. She’s been nothing but supportive and a great help as my daughter has navigated some difficulties. I know the decision to shut the nursery won’t have been taken lightly but was done for the children’s safety, to speculate about ratios is very unfair- Paula operates to a very high standard. I can’t speak for the staff working there but I can vouch as a parent whose child still attends the pre-school, we support Space for Play wholeheartedly and feel very sad this story has been published.

  8. I’m finding it incredibly hard to believe the comments coming from “anonymous” people slating the owners staff management and ownership of the nursery when all the parents who have children who have attended or attend the nursery are saying how excellent the staff are and how their children have received excellent care and accommodating of children’s needs. Surely, if the owner was an awful boss as some of these comments make out then the staff wouldn’t be performing as well in their job roles. Something seems off to me with the above comments from previous staff members. Almost as if they are trying to drag the owners name and business through the mud for a reason which they are refusing to disclose. People need to remember there are two sides to every story and I’m sure this particular case is no different.

  9. Not trying to drag anyone through the mud, the business owner is unable to recruit staff and there’s a good reason for that. A high turnover of staff also indicates there is an issue somewhere and that in itself speaks volumes.. plenty of childcare jobs available elsewhere where employees are valued staff members not shouted at and made to feel incompetent.

    • Totally agree, yes there is two side to every story. The parents that are happy with the nursery because of the experienced, hard working, caring staff and then the other side where the staff are made to be miserable in the work place, it does speak volumes. Staff don’t just leave a job they love without a reason. In the short time it’s been open all staff have left and I’m sure the remaining ones will be getting the brunt of the owners stress and won’t be there much longer. The problem is no staff because she doesn’t not know how to treat staff and also the fact that staff didn’t agree with things behind closed doors and confronted her. And as for being anonymous I know the reason I would rather keep my name out of it as I don’t need the abuse I would probably receive from the owner. Some people like to keep their identities hidden don’t they ‘Steven’.

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