Hastings nursery rating cut after ‘serious incident’

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A nursery found to have prioritised cleaning over supervision has had its Ofsted rating slashed after “a serious incident involving a child”.

Ofsted inspector Jo Caswell visited Greenway Nursery, in Waterworks Road, earlier in the summer after concerns were raised about children’s safety, staff deployment and supervision levels.

Reporting on the nursery, which is run by the Fellowship of St Nicholas charity, Ms Caswell said: “Senior staff do not take enough action to make sure children are protected from risks within the nursery.

“Staff prioritise cleaning routines, rather than supervising children. As a result, a child was put at risk.”

In her report, Ms Caswell rated Greenway ‘inadequate’ over all, when it was previously ‘outstanding’.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management, as well as the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the children were rated ‘inadequate’, while the quality of teaching, and the outcomes for children were rated ‘requires improvement’.

Charity trustees said they were “deeply disappointed” with the outcome of the inspection.

A spokesman said: “However, we did all we could to re-assure families that we are absolutely committed to care of children and we continue to do everything possible to bring the setting to a good place. We have welcomed the advice and guidance from the inspection report taking decisive action to address the issues raised at the time of the report.”

In her report, Ms Caswell detailed nine areas Greenway needed to improve.

They included the need to improve staff’s understanding and vigilance in using risk assessment to accurately check the nursery for potential hazards; improve the way staff were deployed to ensure they were more vigilant in keeping children safe, while supporting their learning and development, both inside and outside the building.

In addition, leaders needed to improve the quality of teaching to ensure staff took more account of the specific needs of children who spoke English as an additional language as well as those with special educational needs and the quieter ones who preferred to learn in different ways.

The trust spokesman added: “All concerns have been addressed, and we continue to work closely with East Sussex County Council, to ensure that Greenway returns to the ‘outstanding’ provision formerly enjoyed.”

When it came to the nursery’s strengths, Ms Caswell acknowledged staff worked closely with parents to help them support their children’s learning at home.

She witnessed some good teaching while children were exploring using their senses.

The lesson involved the use of a paint and glue mixture and staff encouraged children to describe how the mixture felt, introducing the youngsters to new words, such as ‘squidgy’. Ms Caswell also recognised that all staff knew what to do when it came to reporting any concerns about a child’s welfare.

When it came to the outcomes for children as they worked their way up to primary school, Ms Caswell painted a mixed picture.

She said: “Weak teaching and inaccurate assessment for some groups of children hinders their progress. This means staff cannot be sure that children with special educational needs, and those who speak English as an additional language make as much progress as they could.

“However, when teaching is better, most other children make suitable progress. They concentrate well, listen attentively and engage in activities that interest them.

“There are opportunities for them to be independent and most children behave generally well.”

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