Newquay nursery blasted by Ofsted after a child was 'inappropriately restrained'
A NEWQUAY nursery was awarded the lowest grade by education watchdog Ofsted over its handling of an incident that saw a child "inappropriately restrained".
Previously rated grade 1, First Steps Nursery received a grade 4 – "inadequate" – meaning "significant improvement and/or enforcement action" was required.
Ofsted inspector Jayne Pascoe also issued a Welfare Requirements Notice to ensure safeguarding procedures and training are in place.
She found the nursery, in St Columb Minor, failed to follow established procedures to inform Ofsted of "relevant information" or suspend staff while an investigation was carried out into the incident, six months ago.
Ms Pascoe inspected the pre-school on June 27 and her report has just been published. The nursery has 93 places, with 220 children on its roll.
In a statement, First Steps' co-directors Elaine Williams and Julie Elsworth said Ofsted had returned on September 17 and was happy with the action taken.
"The welfare of the children in our care is the key priority of all staff at First Steps," they said. "We are, therefore, very happy to reassure everyone that the actions we have taken mean that we were able to quickly learn from this incident and put in place robust steps to ensure policies, procedures and training remain up to date in future."
They gave no details of the incident but said: "All staffing matters were dealt with many months ago."
Ms Pascoe reported: "Following a recent incident where a member of staff inappropriately restrained a child, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) was not notified immediately as required.
"Since the incident, the providers have not shared further relevant information with Ofsted or informed the Disclosure and Barring Service of their findings about individuals who continue to work with children, which is a legal requirement. The correct procedures for suspending staff while investigating a concern were not followed."
She was also critical of behaviour management training, stating that "not all staff have been positive role models", leaving children "at risk of harm".
However, the directors claimed they followed all the procedures which were prescribed by Ofsted.
"The issues identified in the inspection report relate to a single incident that took place over six months ago," they said.
"We take any such incident extremely seriously and co-operated fully with Ofsted who carried out a thorough investigation in accordance with their normal processes. We are pleased to confirm that First Steps have followed all recommendations given at the time by both Ofsted and the Local Authority. As a result we are now completely up to date with all safeguarding policies, procedures and recommendations."
Ms Pascoe's original report also highlighted positive aspects of the nursery. It stated: "Children are generally happy, settled and secure. The nursery environment is well organised, welcoming and child-friendly."
The follow-up inspection report has yet to be published by Ofsted.