16 FEBRUARY 1991, Page 24

Sir: We write as parents of a child attend- ing

the Thomas Coram Children's Centre, in response to Alexandra Artley's letter.

Our three-year-old son who has hydro- cephalus has certainly benefited from his eight-month attendance at the nursery. There is a high staff to child ratio. The nursery staff are trained in child develop- ment with teachers and nursery officers working alongside one another, a model of childcare practice which has received wide acclaim. Children with a range of special needs are integrated into the nursery alongside ordinary children, a process which eliminates the stigma attached to the labels of 'special needs' and 'disadvantage'.

If Lady Wagner and the governors are seriously interested in finding out what is local need, a good starting point would be to listen to past, present and future parents and local community groups who are saying with one voice: 'Keep the children's centre, because it works.'

F. Murphy and V. McClarey

62 Foundling Court, Brunswick Centre, London WC1