Lack of checks put children at risk at nursery

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  • Burnley nursery graded ‘inadequate’
  • Problems with references and staff checks
  • Staff relationship with children praised
  • Children ‘happy and settled’ in nursery
  • Owner pledges to turn round bad report

A damning report has revealed children’s safety has been put at risk at a Burnley nursery.

Ofsted inspectors recently visited Selina’s Childcare Services, in Brunshaw Avenue, and graded it “inadequate”, highlighting how the provider has failed to ensure the safeguarding of the youngsters.

Now, disappointed manager Selina Cardiff has vowed to turn round the “bad” Ofsted – promising a better grade at the next inspection.

Although the quality and standard of early years provision has, in previous years, risen from “inadequate” to “requires improvement” when the 60-child establishment was last inspected, inspector Donna Birch, felt on this occasion, a lot of issues had to be addressed and “significant improvements” had to be made immediately.

In her report, she stated: “Children’s safety is put at risk as the provider has failed to ensure all staff are suitable and safe to work with, and have regular contact with, children. The provider has not carried out the required Disclosure and Barring Service checks on all staff to ensure their suitability.

“Furthermore, the provider’s procedures for recruitment are not robust. For example, the provider does not always seek appropriate references for new staff, to further ensure their suitability for their role.”

The report also commented on the level of teaching: “Teaching is variable and therefore requires improvement. Staff do not always ensure that planned activities are closely matched to children’s individual interests or learning styles. Consequently, children are not supported to make good progress.” 

On a positive note, the inspector noted children were “happy and settled in nursery”. “Children enjoy playing with a range of toys of their choice,” she said. “Staff have good relationships with their key children. The staff have some systems in place for observing children’s play. Risk assessments are in place, to identify and remove hazards for children while on the premises and during trips. Staff carry out daily checks of the premises and equipment, to ensure they are suitably maintained and are safe for children to use.

“Parents are welcomed into the setting and are encouraged to contribute information about what their children know and can do. However, staff are less efficient at sharing information with parents about their children’s on-going achievements in the nursery. Additionally, staff do not ensure parents receive information to support children’s learning at home.”

Looking ahead, she said: “New systems for monitoring children’s progress are beginning to have an impact on identifying any emerging gaps in the learning and development of some children.”

Reacting to the report, in a statement to the Express, Selina said: “We acknowledge what Ofsted have said and are keen to turn this report around. We received an inadequate report in December due to our cook not having a DBS check as he was never required to supervise children and they were not under his care. We have since completed his DBS check and ALL staff have full DBS checks.

“We have contacted Ofsted for a re-inspection, but the current turnaround is six months. We look forward to a re-inspection and are confident of a good grading. Regarding the references, we originally had telephone references, but then changed to paper references although some companies policies are to not provide references for staff, therefore, a few of our staff do not have a references, but are fully competent at their job after starting out on a three-month trial.

“We are also currently in the process of transferring our learning journeys on to an online system where parents will have continuous full access to their own child’s development and learning and receive regular updates on their child’s achievements. We provide affordable flexible childcare for parents who work shifts or complicated hours and find this is very beneficial to the majority of our parents.”