Epping Forest nursery’s outrage at Ofsted report

A baby’s cot was placed next to live wall sockets leading to electrical devices such as an oil-filled radiator at an Essex day nursery, an education watchdog has said.

Ofsted said risk assessments of the baby room at Scribbles Day Nursery in North Weald Bassett, Epping Forest, were not thorough enough to identify potential hazards, and gave it an overall rating of inadequate.

The nursery says it takes children’s safety very seriously and no babies were in the room at the time of the inspection because it was closed for cleaning, which is also why the cots had been positioned where they were.

A separate regulatory visit from Ofsted this month also found the nursery had met safeguarding and welfare actions raised at the inspection, including rearranging the furniture in the baby room.

What did the report say?

According to the inspection report, the nursery did not liaise with local safeguarding partners with regard to intervention.

It also said the key-person system used by the nursery was not effective, because it did not account for staff absences due to sickness and part time working.

While the curriculum was delivered well by some staff, the level of support for children’s development was not consistent, with some children having little adult interaction.

Leadership and management at the nursery was weak and systems for keeping records were not efficient, the report continues.

However, the report also said parents are happy, feel children enjoy attending and are well-cared for, and would recommend the nursery to other parents.

At the regulatory visit on January 21, Ofsted found the lead practitioner and the management team had improved their knowledge of safeguarding responsibilities.

It also found extra senior staff had been trained to undertake a safeguarding lead role, arrangements had been made for staff absences, the person in charge each day had access to records and that the cots in the baby room had been reorganised.

What did the nursery say?

Manager Lesley Seville said in a statement: “The Ofsted inspection took place on December 23, there was no babies in the baby room, with two staff on duty.

“The room was closed for cleaning. The cots were close together because the Christmas wall displays and Christmas lights were being taken down ready for the following term.

“How they could make this judgement about the room when it wasn’t even open is beyond understanding.

“We take the safety of the children in our care very seriously and to read this about us is very upsetting.

“This has been a nightmare for the staff, particularly those in the baby room who pride themselves on providing the highest care for the children.”

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter