Updated: Thursday, 23rd January 2020 @ 1:00pm

Bolton nursery puts 'children's welfare at risk' say Ofsted – but they hit back calling report 'totally wrong'

Bolton nursery puts 'children's welfare at risk' say Ofsted – but they hit back calling report 'totally wrong'

By Annabal Bagdi

A Bolton nursery deemed inadequate in every way and criticised for putting children’s welfare at risk by Ofsted has hit back at their report calling it ‘totally wrong’.

The education watchdog gave Deane Nursery, on Vicarage Street, the savage assessment after visiting in July.

The report, published this October, revealed staff were handling food without any food hygiene training and failed to acquire up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding principles, compromising youngsters’ safety. 

Inspector Jennifer Kennaugh said: "No member of staff has had training in food hygiene, in order to have sufficient information to handle food for children safely. This compromises the well-being, safety and welfare of children."

She also noted: "The progress check for children at age two has not been correctly implemented due to staff having insufficient knowledge of the requirements of the revised Early Years Foundation Stage. This is because of a lack of training and performance management."

She went on to say that the safeguarding of children was 'inadequate' because none of the staff demonstrated sufficient knowledge and understanding of the procedures to follow in the event of an allegation made against a member of staff.

"As a result, staff and the owner are not fully able to act on concerns about the welfare and safety of children in their care," she said.

However nursery owner Kim Hall hit back at the report.

“It is totally wrong," she said. "Someone that I know read that report and they thought it was a different place. It does not at all reflect what goes on in here.”

Inspector Kennaugh critiqued the nursery’s multiple breaches of the Early Years Foundation Stage after undertaking observations on staff and examining welfare and learning documentation.

The entire team at the nursery were without valid food hygiene certificates meaning they were unable to ‘safely handle foods at snack times or help children serve themselves from their packed lunches’.

A lack of effective learning support and inconsistent teaching were also identified as violations.

Yet the nursery has hit back at claims they provide an inadequate level of care and instead blamed the ‘horrendous day’ the inspection occurred on.

Ms Hall said: “The Ofsted inspector couldn’t have come on a worse day.  Everything would have been so different if she came on a different day.

“It is not a true picture at all.”

Falling at the same time as external assessments of nervous student workers, the inspection saw Ms Hall uncharacteristically abandoned during the day.

“On any normal day there would have been two or three members of staff and we do certain activities but because I was by myself on the day they didn’t go to plan and didn’t go how they usually would.”

Speaking of the lack of relevant food credentials, Ms Hall said she was not aware documentation was needed as children independently consume their packed lunches, with staff only pouring drinks.

“If I had known that we had to have one I would have done it way before but I didn’t realise you needed one if you don’t cook and prepare food,” she added.

Ms Hall further attributed the little grasp of whistle-blowing procedures and safeguarding policies identified in the report to the team’s limited responses to questions rather than uncertainty of guidelines.

Shocked by the day’s outcome, the nursery has protested against the rating but is yet to receive a response.

Ms Hall said: “It wasn’t a fair day and I have written a complaint. The inspector has not taken into account what’s gone on.”

Committed to improving the ranking, she added: “We are working very closely with our Early Years Consultant who is coming in every week and we are doing a lot more supervision with staff.”

Image courtesy of MarsMet 491, with thanks

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