Saturday, 16 March 2013

Nursery "inadequate" over safety concerns

A NURSERY near Knowle has been given the worst possible rating by inspectorate Ofsted with concerns about child safety and the quality of teaching and learning.
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Wittsend Day Nursery in Barston Lane, Eastcote has been rated inadequate following a January inspection, its first since opening in 2011.

It said children’s safety is “potentially compromised because the provider's procedures for addressing significant hazards, such as faults to the nursery's boiler, are ineffective”.

It said the nursery is “not sufficiently vigilant about ensuring children are kept safe” after Ofsted responded to staff concerns about the safety of the boiler, which was reported to be giving off an oily smell.

Its report said: “On the day of the inspection, the provider was not able to demonstrate she had taken sufficient action to minimise the risks to children and adults or to meet environmental health requirements.”

It said while action had been taken the boiler had “not been made fully safe”.

It added: “Weaknesses in staff deployment have also potentially affected children's safety and resulted in safeguarding and welfare requirements for adult-to-child ratios not always being met.”

The nursery told The Silhillian it was appealing against the report which it said contained factual inaccuracies. When pressed by The Silhillian it would not say what these “inaccuracies” were.

The report said “too little attention” is paid to youngsters’ physical development with a lack of regular opportunities to learn outdoors.

There is “little evidence of planning and assessment of children's movement, balance, coordination and control” it said.

“Several” babies had to use a toy box or stacked chairs to stand up without staff help, it said.

And it said “awareness of good hygiene is not fully endorsed because they either wipe their hands on a flannel or use a communal bowl of warm water rather than washing their hands properly”.

It said arrangements for staff hand washing are “poor”  and increase the risks of cross-infection because hand washing facilities are in another part of the nursery, which has 44 children on roll.

Yet it said children feel “comfortable and secure” and  “staff are welcoming and comfort them when they feel unsure or sad”. Engagement with parents is good, it said.

The report added: “Children have positive relationships with each other and generally behave well, responding to the staff's praise for their efforts.”

But it said “learning is not consistently and effectively promoted” and the quality of some teaching is “poor, provision for children's physical development is particularly weak and the learning environment is uninspiring”.

The educational programme “lacks sufficient depth and breadth” and “activities and resources often do not match the needs of the children taking part” the report said.

The learning environment is “unsurprising” which “reduces their interest and concentration, and often means they do not have enough to occupy them”.

It said toys and books are not stored or presented so children can see what is available or be encouraged to use them while a lack of planning mean some older children “wander about and they do not play purposefully”.

It said: “Staff's interactions and deployment with these children are haphazard because they are settling or checking on sleeping children, completing paperwork or having their own lunch.”

Ofsted also found the that “monitoring and evaluation of the educational programme is ineffective”.

Staff targets had been set but these “have not resulted in sustained improvements in staff's practice and procedures” it said.

It comes after Tommy Nursery School in Warwick Road, Knowle was also given an inadequate rating, from a December inspection.

It raised concerns that children do not have a key person assigned to them, that there is "limited" activities, that staff have a "poor awareness" of learning areas and there are "inconsistencies" in staff practice.