Manchester day-care centre branded ‘unsafe’ by Ofsted hit back at ‘unfair’ report

A Manchester day-care centre has hit out at ‘unfair’ Ofsted, after they were branded inadequate when inspectors witnessed children falling over in its ‘unsafe’ play area.

Ofsted gave privately-run Lemon Tree Day Care Nursery and Pre-School the lowest possible rating following a January inspection, stating that the centre is in ‘a bad state of repair’.

Inspectors also received no evidence that a large new roof – under which children play – meets health and safety requirements.

However, Tehmeena Shah, Centre Manager at the nursery, rebuked the report telling MM that the education watchdog had ‘exaggerated’ their claims, and revealed that construction work at the site had been agreed with Ofsted in November.

“We feel the outcome Ofsted was unfair as we were just trying to safeguard the children in our care,” she said.

“We strongly feel that Ofsted have over-exaggerated the whole situation.

“Furthermore we had to spend a lot of money constructing this shelter and have now come to find it was not necessary – yet we made the shelter from Ofsted advice.

“We’ve have had an architect and a surveyor whom where happy with the construction and now we are due to have a member from Manchester City Council in to finalise the area and give us a certification of safety.”

The centre on Plymouth Grove cares for children aged between one and four years old, but Ofsted found it to be either inadequate or requiring improvement across four criteria.

The report said: “The outdoor surface is in poor condition and uneven with raised concrete flags.

“During the inspection, children fell over due to stepping into holes in the ground.

“Furthermore, children attempting to ride tricycles got their wheels stuck, which resulted in children falling off.

“Concrete brick pillars are left exposed and the outdoor surface is in a bad state of repair – side fences that have been removed or broken are patched up with wood and the area is dark and gloomy.”

‘Personal development, behaviour and welfare’ was one area in which Lemon Tree was deemed inadequate, the other being ‘effectiveness of the leadership and management’ where staff’s attention to potential hazards was criticised.

The ‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’, along with ‘outcomes for children’, were seen as requiring improvement – Ofsted’s second lowest rating.

In this respect, inspectors noted: “Younger children benefit from challenging activities. However, staff working with older children focus too much on themes.

“Some older children show little interest in the theme and some of the activities do not always take into account children’s individual stages of development or what they need to learn next.

“Older children are not supported to make at least good progress in their learning.”

Along with the report inspectors issued a Welfare Requirements Notice focused on improving risk assessments and health and safety, as well as more tailored outcomes for children.

Image courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks

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