'Inadequate' holiday camp vows to improve

Blooming Buds has dedicated itself to improving under Ofsted regulations.
Blooming Buds has dedicated itself to improving under Ofsted regulations.

A Burnley-based holiday camp branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted has vowed to learn from mistakes highlighted in a critical report from the educational regulator.

Blooming Buds was inspected by an Ofsted official in late August, with the overall verdict being that ‘the quality and standards of the early years provision’ provided by establishment was ‘inadequate’, with similar ratings awarded for their leadership and management, quality of teaching, and behavioural development.

But Blooming Buds’ manager, Kirsten Cross, has expressed the camp’s disappointment in a report she calls ‘not a true reflection of how our setting is run,’ and has insisted the fledgling business will soon ‘receive the fair grading [they] deserve.’

“We are obviously very disappointed with how the report reads,” a Blooming Buds statement ran. “Management feel that the wording of the report is not a true reflection of how our setting is run and contradicts itself in many areas.

“It was an informative visit where the inspector highlighted most areas as outstanding,” the comment continued. “We acted immediately to complete all recommendations, in line with Ofsted’s interpretation.”

One of the report’s more significant concerns centred on the establishment’s vetting procedures, which were labelled ‘not sufficiently robust’, as ‘the provider has not ensured that each member of staff has a current Disclosure and Barring Service check in line with requirements and current guidance.’

In response, Kirsten said: “We’ve been working really closely with our adviser and with Ofsted. One of the big things was the new DBS system and it’s quite hard - when you run holiday clubs and after school clubs, you’ve got different staff for holidays because all our staff work in schools with tonnes of experience.”

Blooming Buds’ comment read: “Due to some inconsistencies in the guidelines, it was felt that the suitability checks we had already completed didn’t meet the inspector’s interpretation.”

“I totally get where the parent [who sent the complaint] is coming from,” continued Kirsten. “As a parent myself, I always read Ofsted reports. Our advisers said it was down to the DBS updates.”

Also a concern was child supervision, with the numerous Blooming Buds supervisors being unable to retain every child within eyesight due to a shrub in the play area, leading the report to claim that ‘staffing arrangements do not always ensure children’s safety.’

“Children are never left unsupervised but are encouraged to explore both environments and have supervised free choice to the variety of activities on offer each day,” Blooming Buds insisted. “The outdoor woodland area, which the inspector herself couldn’t praise enough, has now been attended to and the children can now explore further.”

“There was a shrub-bush and five or six children behind it,” added Kirsten. “Within days it was completely removed. We’re a holiday camp, not a nursery; it’s worded that the children play unsupervised, but then we were told to cut back on staff.”

Praised for the ‘fun, welcoming play environment,’ Blooming Buds was generally lauded for the behaviour of the children and their highly-esteemed settling-in procedures, with the report stating: “Parents have a highly positive view of the setting. They comment on how friendly the staff are and how their children enjoy going there.”

In the wake of such positive comments, Blooming Buds insisted: “We are confident in saying that Blooming Buds has an outstanding reputation within the town; we have a very strong relationship with both children and parents/carers, as well as schools and the local community - this shows on a daily basis.

“We don’t feel this report will dampen that,” it continued. “All our children are extremely happy and nurtured in a fun, safe environment. We look forward to welcoming Ofsted back in the near future where we will receive the fair grading we deserve.”