Sheffield nursery blames 'inadequate' Ofsted report on 'pingdemic'

A Sheffield nursery where Ofsted says children “do not achieve what they should” has blamed July’s ‘pingdemic’ after it scored the lowest rating possible in its latest inspection.

By Alastair Ulke
Friday, 13th August 2021, 8:18 am

Beechwood Day Nursery, in Dyche Road, Jordanthorpe, has been ordered by the education watchdog to raise its standard of teaching and address a series of safeguarding problems after it was rated ‘inadequate’ in all areas.

Inspectors say they were not impressed by the lack of challenge for the 50 children on its roll and labelled it a “chaotic learning environment”.

However, in response to the new critical report, the nursery’s management team say the visit was marred by Covid isolations causing staff shortages and claim it “does not give an adequate picture of normality”.

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Beechwood Day Nursery says the 'pingdemic' is to blame for it being rated 'inadequate' in all areas in its latest Ofsted report (pic: Google)

The visit was the nursery’s first since it re-registered under the new company name Cornerstone Day Nurseries Ltd in January 2018. Prior to this, under Early Years Care Ltd, Beechwood scored ‘good’ in all areas in its last three reports.

The report, published on August 11 following a visit on July 13, reads: “Children are not well-enough prepared for their future learning.

“During play at the nursery, children fight, throw toys, rip displays off the wall and snatch toys from each other. Staff do not deal appropriately with these behaviours.

"Staff's delivery of the curriculum and the quality of teaching is poor. Staff do not have high enough expectations of children.

"Due to recent staffing changes, the key-person system is not effective in supporting children's emotional well-being… In addition, staff have too many key children in their care. These weaknesses result in a chaotic learning environment.

“In addition, staff fail to demonstrate that they can appropriately safeguard children."

Inspectors have given the nursery until December to improve in a list of areas, including teaching standards and safeguarding policy.

The report was not without positive comments. Inspectors noted that “staff give praise to children” who “arrive happy to play”.

It also noted: “The manager [Abby Cheney] is enthusiastic and has plans to provide toothbrushing activities and do a healthy eating award to be able to advise parents how to provide nutritious lunches for their children. She plans to move the rooms around so that younger children have a more homely environment in which to play. Parents speak highly of the nursery and state their children have made progress while attending.”

In response to the report, the nursery’s management said Covid-19 had had a “massive” impact on the inspection.

In a written statement, they said: “A one-day snapshot of the nursery with supply staff in place does not give an adequate picture of normality which was the case here.

"In 25 years in this industry this is the first ever below average result. I would like to point out that Covid has had a massive effect on the nursery industry as a whole and has in effect caused this result.

"Staff have inevitably had to be changed at short notice to cover the ‘pingdemic’ monitoring service. Employees with children have been called home when their children’s school has called due to Covid, which was the situation on the day of the inspection."

Ofsted typically carry out re-inspection of premises rated inadequate within six months.