Crescent Corner Day Nursery in Sheffield may face longer suspension if Ofsted investigation drags on

A Sheffield nursery which has been temporarily shut down due to possible risk to children may face longer suspension if enquiries are not completed within this period.

Monday, 31st January 2022, 2:56 pm

Education watchdog Ofsted has imposed a six-week suspension on Crescent Corner Day Nursery, on Halifax Road, Grenoside, in a decision made on January 13 after an inspection was conducted the day before.

This means, the nursery could only reopen after the suspension period ends, which is on February 22.

Crescent Corner is owned by Cornerstones Nurseries, which has several branches in the city, including the now closed Beechwood Day Nursery, in Dyche Road, Jordanthorpe.

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Ofsted said it imposed a six-week suspension on Crescent Corner Day Nursery, on Halifax Road, Grenoside, in a decision made on January 13 after an inspection was conducted the day before due to possible harm to children.

The Star obtained a copy of the letter, which has yet to be made public on Ofsted's website, which notes that the suspension was imposed while an investigation takes place.

This is the content of the letter, signed by Lisa Troop, Ofsted’s Early Years Senior Officer for North East Yorkshire and Humber Region and sent to parents.

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Crescent Corner Day Nursery in Sheffield shut for six weeks as Ofsted investigat...

When could Crescent Corner Day Nursery reopen?

The letter read: "We have suspended Crescent Corner's registration to provide childcare at: 104c Halifax Road, Sheffield S6 1LH

“The suspension is for an initial period of six weeks from 12 January 2022 to 22 February 2022.

“Your childcare provider knows that we are writing to you.

“The purpose of the suspension is to allow time to investigate our belief that a child may be exposed to a risk of harm and for any necessary steps to be taken to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm.

"We will review the situation regularly and will lift the suspension within this period if we believe children are no longer at risk.

What has Ofsted said about Sheffield nursery suspension?

“We have suspended the registration because of significant breaches of the Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage found during an inspection on 12 January 2022.

“Suspension is a temporary measure. We will write to you if we lift the suspension and Crescent Corner's can resume providing childcare. We will also write to you again if we impose a further period of suspension if we cannot complete our enquiries within this initial period.

"Suspending the childcare service does not necessarily mean that your childcare provider will continue to be suitable to provide childcare in the future. We will assess their continuing suitability as part of our ongoing investigation.

"We will let you know our decision about your childcare provider's continuing registration. We suggest that you contact your local authority if you wish to obtain details of other childcare providers with current vacancies.”

‘Inconsistency with staff’

Parents of the affected children have expressed their dissatisfaction with the abrupt suspension, claiming that they deserved a more detailed explanation from the nursery.

They believed the suspension was due to ‘inconsistency with staff’.

She said: "Staff have been allowed to work at other locations – not sure if Ofsted know this or not. But we were then informed that the manager had failed to train staff with safeguarding knowledge, with Cornerstones still dismissing the investigation as invalid.

"This week we were then informed that as they failed the inspection they no longer qualify for free childcare places."

She and several of the other parents are now attempting to obtain a refund for their childcare after paying for this month and the nursery closing for the first full week of January.

Cornerstones Nurseries has not responded to queries.