Sheffield nursery defends Ofsted report which says children are “not safe”

A damning inspection says children at a Sheffield nursery are “not safe” with unqualified staff, poor safeguarding and a filthy building which needs repairing.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 9:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 9:27 am
Daisy Chain Private Day Care in Oughtibridge
Daisy Chain Private Day Care in Oughtibridge

Daisy Chain Private Day Care on Langsett Road South, in Oughtibridge has received an “inadequate” Ofsted rating in all four of the inspection categories.

Its owner Debbie Beetlestone has disputed the report and says every issue has since been addressed.

She said: “I was shocked when I read the report. I have rectified everything and did it within the first couple of days of the report. Everything has now been corrected and we are working with Sheffield Council towards getting a Good rating next time.

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“Three parents have removed their children but we have around 50 children and 90 per cent of parents say they have been with us for years and know their children are safe and there’s no issues.”

The report says “children’s health, safety and wellbeing are compromised” and their progress and, in some cases, their preparation for school “are hindered”.

The report highlights serious safeguarding issues. “Children are not safe. All staff have a poor understanding of child protection, particularly wider safeguarding issues.

“The nominated individual and manager have not attended appropriate training. The nominated individual does not have effective systems in place to ensure that staff have appropriate qualifications for the duties they carry out, including the manager and deputy manager. She does not ensure that staffing arrangements meet the needs of all children.

“At times, the nursery operates without any qualified staff working on the premises. The quality of teaching is poor. The nominated individual does not implement effective supervision arrangements for staff. They do not have professional development opportunities to improve their practice.”

Mrs Beetlestone says all staff have all been on safeguarding courses and know the procedures.

“If children were not safe, Ofsted shouldn’t have left them, they have the power to close us down and take my licence away. I know this is really important because we are looking after somebody’s children,” she said.

“When the inspector came, it sent the staff to pieces. They know exactly what to do and have access to safeguarding websites and reports in my office but when the inspector asked them, I think they were nervous.

“We didn’t have any notice about the inspection at all. For three hours that the inspector was here, she didn’t get a good picture of our nursery.”

The report says staff don’t have full qualifications and sometimes there are no qualified staff on duty. Teaching is weak and younger children are left to “wander aimlessly around the room”

Dustbins in the playroom “are encrusted with food waste” while carpets and soft furnishings in all rooms are dirty. There is no privacy in the toilets, staff don’t have any good hygiene training and most meals are frozen or instant food from packets.

There is a hole in the conservatory roof and rotting wood on the decked play area and not enough space to play indoors.

The report says: “Despite being aware of structural damage to the building, the nominated individual has not taken action over a significant length of time to address this issue. The nominated individual does not ensure that the nursery is maintained or is fit for purpose.”

Mrs Beetlestone says the decking was not damaged.

The report said children had been taken in vehicles which are not adequately insured. Mrs Beetlestone said all vehicles had insurance.

The teaching and the nursery’s relationship with parents are also heavily criticised.

“Observation, assessment and planning are not used effectively to identify children’s individual needs or provide purposeful activities that capture their interests. Resources are of poor quality,” the report said.

“Children are not motivated or engaged in their learning. Partnership working with parents is poor. Parents are not informed who their child’s key person is or encouraged to become involved in their child’s learning.”

Mrs Beetlestone said: “This report has done us some damage. Inadequate is terrible, the inspector made a massive decision that impacted on a lot of people’s lives in the few hours that she was here.

“I have had the nursery 15 years and my youngest son and my grandchildren have come through here.

“The parents have been fantastic and have been very supportive. We have just concentrated on putting things right. I know we are going a good job but this has totally demoralised staff.”

Ofsted has told the nursery to make a number of improvements and will do another inspection in a few months.

The full Ofsted can be read here