PARENTS of children at a nursery school under threat of closure have launched a petition to secure its future.

Proposals have been submitted to close Albert Hill Nursery School, in Prescott Street, Darlington, and merge it with nearby Gurney Pease Primary School.

Darlington Borough Council said that falling pupil numbers and probable future financial problems are key reasons in wanting to close Albert Hill.

They claim that if action is not taken now, both Albert Hill and Gurney Hill would not survive individually.

In a report, officers said: "The intention is to transfer the quality and quantity of provision directly to Gurney Pease. Both schools are successful and offer a high-quality educational experience for children.

"The changes, however, are necessary to ensure that this high quality is retained and built upon still further."

Parents have voiced their objections to the proposed closure, and have formed an opposition group.

The Friends of Albert Hill Nursery group has launched a petition saying that Albert Hill gives an exceptional pre-school education and experience valued by all parents.

Parents say the closure would be a tragic loss to many people.

The final decision on the merger - and over the proposed closure of Rise Carr Primary School - will be made by the borough council's school organisation committee tomorrow at 1.30pm.