Mooinjer Veggey still intends offering pre-school classes at five sites around the Isle of Man.
The educational charity, of which Environment Food and Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne MHK is a director, won the contract to operate at five sites after the government removed funding and privatised its pre-school provision earlier this year.
The sites, at Ashley Hill, Willaston, Ballasalla, Manor Park and Ballacottier, have faced difficulties attracting pupils.
At Willaston and Ashley Hill, pupil numbers were sufficient to run the morning sessions but low take-up for afternoon sessions has put them in jeopardy.
‘Because there are not sufficient numbers being booked in for the afternoons, we are focusing on mornings,’ Mr Gawne said.
‘We still plan to expand into the afternoons if the attendance increases, so it is a fairly positive picture.’
Mr Gawne said the provision at Ballasalla was in essence both pre-school and nursery but added at Ballacottier and Manor Park numbers were depleted.
‘Numbers there at the moment are not great enough for us to guarantee to either parents or staff that we can open in September,’ he said.
‘We have sent out a letter to parents and we have continued to call for people to register with us. If we can manage to make it work at Manor Park and Ballacottier we will do so.’
Mr Gawne added since the letter was sent out on Friday, further discussion had taken place and they had decided they could run sessions on two afternoons a week at Manor Park, which would be any two of Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
Two nursery teachers affected by the low numbers at Ballacottier had agreed to take over the running themselves, he said.
He added: ‘We have had to tell our staff at Ballacottier that we can’t afford to pay them at that level of interest so what they are now willing to do is take on the running of Ballacottier for us following our principles.’
Mr Gawne said the pre-school facility would be run under the Mooinjer Veggey banner and the charity would cover the basic costs with staff pay dependent on pupil numbers.
‘We are delighted they are doing that for us. What we really need now is for parents to register,’ he said.
In February the government announced the closure of its 11 pre-schools, effectively privatising the provision but introducing a voucher system allowing all parents to claim £350 subsidised nursery care, with the amount rising to £1,150 for those eligible for free school meals.
Government claimed the old provision was a post code lottery – those without a facility in their area had to go private or do without, while the new voucher system meant everybody received a subsidy towards the cost.
The changes prompted a protest by objectors outside Tynwald in March when a petition was handed over to politicians.
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