Sefton nursery where children’s wellbeing ‘compromised’ hits back at Ofsted report

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“It’s not a true reflection of our nursery”

The owner of a nursery given the worst possible rating by Ofsted claims it is “unjustified” and slammed the inspection system as “ineffective and inefficient.”

Early Days (UK) Ltd on Linacre Road in Bootle was inspected in November by Ofsted, with a report giving the provider an ‘inadequate’ rating following the visit.

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In that report, which was released last week, inspectors said that failings at the nursery meant “children’s health, safety, well-being and learning are significantly compromised.”

Inspectors identified a number of breaches, which were noted to have contributing to a “failing to deliver a good level of care and education.”

Issues around hygiene practices were noted, including instances of staff carrying drinks by putting fingers in the cups without having washed hands. Health and safety issues included children playing with broken toys and concerns around the safe use of a slide at the nursery.

The report also said “expectations of what children can achieve are not ambitious enough” with children “at risk of falling behind” due to problems with the nursery’s approach to learning and development.

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Identifying seven key areas that need to improve before the nursery meets the necessary requirements, the report detailed various breaches around safeguarding, recruitment, disclosure and barring procedures, approach to hazards and risk assessments, staff supervision, teaching practices and curriculum.

Speaking to the LDRS following the publication of the report, the owner of Early Days (UK) Ltd Clare Russell said she felt the report was “misleading” and was left “frustrated” by the Ofsted system.

Ms Russell added that following the publication of the report she had been “inundated” with messages of support from parents of children attending the nursery.

She added that she believes the inspection result for the nursery, which was previously rated ‘good’, was in part due to confusion over safeguarding documentation, which inspectors at the time had not accepted as valid.

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She claims that she has since checked out the paperwork and believes a mistake has been made and the documents were in fact valid, but she had been unable to get Ofsted to change the report.

Ms Russell said: “I feel the inspection was unjustified based on the fact that they didn’t accept some of our qualifications which I have since had checked and I have a valid case to say their inspection is flawed.” She said she had written to Ofsted about the issue in a bid to get the report altered, adding: “I said they were going to publish inaccurate information but they said that’s our procedure.”

Ms Russell also claims that criticisms of DBS procedures were “particularly misleading” and had left some parents fearing staff checks had not actually been carried out. She said: “All of our staff are fully checked, it’s just the system they didn’t like.”

Ms Russell also claims her staff were left “intimidated” by two inspectors turning up instead of the usual one.

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She said: “The staff were intimated by these two, being asked questions where they didn’t really understand what was being asked.”

Ms Russell said that the nursery has been working to address the issues raised in the report “when it is possible to do so” and adds that she is “super confident” of a “return to good or even outstanding” when inspectors return in May.

Ms Russell said: “I’m just really unhappy at what’s happened and felt it was unfair. It’s horrendous and unfair and it’s coming from central government. They want nursery providers to do this service but we’re all underfunded.

“One does feel like saying to central government to open a nursery themselves. Ofsted were quite bullish, years ago it was the local authority who carried out the inspections, it was a more satisfactory process then.

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“We’re just stuck with it though, this label of inadequate for now, but it’s not a true reflection of our nursery.

“We’re in an area of deprivation and it is very important to me those children are in a safe environment, it’s a bit of a travesty but have a look at the government.”

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