In the 2021 pre-registration to access a municipal nursery of Barcelona facing this course 21-22, more than 2,000 families were left without a place; 35% of the total. Figures that have been repeated and that show the public offering shortfall and the “imperative” need to increase the places in the 0-3 years stage in the city. Based on this reality, the Barcelona’s town hall prepare a regulation to integrate private nurseries into the public networkas long as they meet some requirements of spaces and quality and “as long as there is a public interest“Obviously. “They will not be ransoms,” he warns at the outset Maria Truñó, Commissioner of Education of the townhall. It will be “one more way” that the consistory will have to increase the offer, along with the classic ways of building new centers or rehabilitations.

Truñó also underlines that in addition to the public interest, the Education area will ensure that “the new offer has the same educational quality and spaces” than the current 103 municipal ‘escoles bressol’, with its 8,588 seats, “our jewel”. “We want to grow but we will not lower the quality,” she insists. In this initiative, the Education area has also kept in mind the objective of universalize education in the range from 0 to 3 years, in line with European guidelines.

The draft already makes clear the reasons that justify the regulation: “Given the lack of land, the high cost of constructing new buildings and the impossibility of growing places in the existing municipal nurseries, the only solution is to take advantage of the places offered by privately owned centers that voluntarily request to be integrated into the publicly owned service. The management of these centers will be channeled through the Municipal Institute of Education of Barcelona.

The conditions

Regarding the requirements, there are two basic ones that must be present: that the private day care center requests it and that there is a public interest given the lack of places in the area in question. This will also depend on budget availability.

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Private nurseries must also have minimum features “that allow its integration into the model and quality standards of the city council’s ‘escoles bressol'”. These are to have, logically, the authorization of activity, availability of the property, that it has independent accesses and the perimeter of the school for exclusive use. In terms of space, they must have a minimum of five classrooms, a patio of at least 75 square meters, a multipurpose room of at least 30 square meters, a kitchen of at least 20 square meters with a pantry and a room for teachers and management. 15 square meters minimum.

The document guarantees the cstudent continuity enrolled in the center at the start of the integration process.

For purposes of Workers of nurseries, the regulation contemplates integrating the teaching staff who have an indefinite contract and who have the qualifications established by current regulations. The kitchen staff, cleaning staff, monitors and other non-teaching staff may be subrogated if considered appropriate. The address will remain in the hands of civil servants of the educational service.

General framework and case by case

The town hall has been inspired by the decree of the Generalitat that it does not contemplate the stage 0-3 and works only for the stages of second cycle infant, primary and secondary and that allows the Department of Education to study the integration of concerted schools to the public network if they request it and if there are needs of schooling in the area. In the case of ‘bressol schools’ public, the ownership belongs to the council, which did not have its own legal framework that would allow it to go through this route. The new regulation fills this gap.

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“The regulation establishes a general framework. From here, there are many cases and we will see case by case,” explains Truñó, who points out that the integration process can be opened at the request of the interested nursery, ex officio by the consistory or via a specific call for a certain area. She clarifies the Commissioner that there is currently no specific project on the table. The Eixample and Gràcia neighborhoods They are the ones that register more demand every year and where more families remain unattended.

In Barcelona there are some 150 private nurseriess integrated into any of the three associations existing: the Catalan Association of Llars d’Infantsthe Association of Llars d’Infants de Catalunya and the Coordinator of Bressol Schools of Catalonia. With these three entities, which already have the draft of the regulation, the consistory will meet on May 19, 23 and 26 to analyze it together and introduce the contributions they make.

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The calendar with which the consistory works is to have the regulation approved within a period of six months, and then pass it through the government commission and by the municipal plenary session. It could come into force for the 23-24 academic year.

Truñó admits that the decline in the birth rate is a factor that adds “an important level of uncertainty”, but the council is guided by the figures that reflect that there is more demand than supply: “We assume the uncertainty 10 years from now. But As we now have a deficit, we will act there to meet the demand and universalize it,” he defends.

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